Posted by: musinganorak | August 22, 2010

Go West!

So what do you do after you return home after driving 3000 miles in 2 weeks? Drive some more  to take in the first day of the football season of course!

Today wasn’t just about the football though. Oh no. I was going to hunt down some more of the Bath Lions. I set off down the M4 with the plan to try and see all of the Lions sited in towns and villages outside of Bath itself. Despite being  a Summer Saturday the traffic wasn’t too bad and by late morning I was photographing Lions. They were situated in a variety of locations including inside a farm shop and inside a pub. Pride of place, though, went to the two lions placed atop skips outside a recycling plant on one of the main roads heading out of the city.

By early afternoon I had seen the 10 lions that I had targeted plus a bonus 1 that I picked up whilst cutting through Bath en route to football. 86 down, 14 to go.

And so to the football. I was going to watch Melksham Town v Hengrove Athletic in Division 1 of the Western League. The biggest surprise of the day was the admission charge, and for once it was a pleasant surprise, only £2.00. I heard the gateman telling the person in front of me that it was a temporary charge until the club sorted itself out. Apparently the club had been taken over by a group of local businessmen at the end of June and the long term plan was to make it some kind of members club. Whilst they are sorting themselves out you can take advantage of what must be one of the lowest admission charges at Step 6!

Melksham had been relegated at the end of the previous season and the ground certainly looked like it had seen better days, one corner was fenced off because it was deemed to be too much of a danger. There were signs, though, that the new regime was beginning to make small inroads in to improving things. One of the things I heard was that the club were keen to become a community club and source as many of their players as possible from Melksham itself. In these days of clubs spending way beyond their means I think that this approach is to be applauded.

The visitors, Hengrove, had finished in the top half of division 1 last season and are apparently one of the fancied teams for this season. I’m sure Melksham would have preferred an easier start to the season but they started the game the better and took the lead midway through the first half. This spurred the visitors in to life and they started to get on top. They couldn’t make their domination pay though and it looked like the home team may hold on for a valuable first day victory. In the 75th minute, though, the equaliser came from a looping header, and 5 minutes later Hengrove had taken the lead with a well finished move. Melksham came very close to snatching a late equaliser but in the end the task was just too much for them. A decent crowd of 135 saw an entertaining game on a sunny August afternoon.

After the match I headed to the nearby village of Lacock where I visited the two GBG pubs there. Hopefully this will prove to be the first of many such pleasant Saturdays in the forthcoming season.

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