Dicing with Football
Dorchester Town 0-0 Lewes (09:04:11)
Dicemen, the plan: Two creatures (Danny and Stuart) whose actions for one day only will be decided by the roll of a dice, the dice choosing from among options created by men - whom have had too much time on their hands.
Stuart and I often revel in the thought of implementing silly ideas into practice (see hiring a coach to take 40 fans across two countries to watch a Slovakian Division Two game for details). So, when I suggested to him that we should set aside a precious Saturday, and leave it in the hands of dice, he agreed. He always agrees.
Within ten minutes (he's good like that), he had drawn up a list of 36 potential games to attend and sectioned them off into regional zones.
So with the dice in position before us, we knelt silently a prayed. Prayed for a fixture not too close to Bermondsey; Millwall were at home to Leeds United and things could potentially get messy around the London Bridge area. Stuart's daughter picked up the dice and began shaking it gaily in the bowl of her hands. Holding the dice above her head she intoned aloud 'Great bleak Blocks of God, descend, quiver, create, Into your hands I commit our soul. Oh, and whilst you're on please don't send the lads back to Walton Casuals.'
The dice fell: it was a five. It rolled again: a three - we were off to Walton Casuals.
Check head is screwed on, tick
Dicemen, the reality: I've been to Walton Casuals. I've been there on derby day and did pretty much every pub in town in the process. It was all as good as gold and that, but I didn't fancy going back. How can you beat the Walton derby? You can't, obviously. So, thinking quickly, we decided to go our separate ways. Stuart was to head to the garden of England for a double dose of Kentish football, and I was to join the Lewes Lunatic Fringe in Dorset for the Rooks crucial game with fellow strugglers Dorchester Town. Don't worry, we're still talking.
Two things immediately struck me as I exited Dorchester South train station; firstly, a magnificent building, namely, The Dorchester Brewery. As my old pal Alfred Barnard noted back in 1889: "..it is certainly the finest specimen of architecture in the district with its imposing structure combing the useful and the beautiful to an eminent degree." He knew his brewing and architectural onions did Mr B. Second thing worthy of note was the pub just down the road called The Station. A pretty dire looking establishment granted, but they had a tribute act on called The Stereoironics. Of course The Stereoironics. We chuckled, gave it a wide birth and moved on.
The Lewes Lunatic Fringe
Tom Browns, 47 High East St, Dorchester: Live music, dartboard, jukebox, extensive pub garden, Dorest Brewing Company Ales plus Tom Brown's house bitter variety of guests own beer. How many pre-match boxes do you want to tick Tom old chap? In we went and lowered a couple of pints of Old Piddle.
The other place in town that embraced local ales was The Colliton Club. £4 for lunch, a skittle alley, choice of six local ales (as advertised) and a cheese and wine evening in the offering for just five English pounds. The latter had of course sold out. 12 wines and cheese for a fiver? How do they do it? It's like stepping back in time entering the Colly, but hey, it suited our grumpy old cynical needs. More Old Piddle please landlord.
Suitably refreshed we set off like lionhearts (Rhineharts surely? - Ed.) to the ground. It was such a nice day we walked (walked!) the 15 minutes down there from town.
The Avenue Stadium has been knocking around for just over twenty years, and is a thing of NLB (Non-League Beauty). Take away the slightly cramped bar and you have a ground that every club at this level would rip of their shirts, beat their chest and be proud of. Weymouth like it so much they wanted to share it. Then they didn't. Nothing is straight forward with Weymouth Football Club - located six miles down the road - and supporting them must be a nightmare. Last I heard was that the Terras' offer of some solar panels (no really) wasn't the deal-clincher they'd hoped for and the whole ground-sharing idea has been filed under bin.
So that's where the twin towers of Wembley got to..
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Jackie Charlton, OBE *applause*
Lewes were slightly more desperate than their hosts for a win to lift them out of the relegation places. 92 fairly uninspiring minutes later and both teams were a point better off thanks to a goalless draw. Highly rated defender Gary Bowles had the home sides best moment striking a post for the Magpies. At the other end, The Rooks had plenty of chances to grab a winner, most notably just before the break when Andy Hutchinson manged to engineer a header over the bar from point blank range and with an empty net before him. How we grimaced.
News elsewhere was favourable in terms of Lewes clinging on to their Conference South survival. Both Thurrock and The Bish lost, and so on reflection, this could well have been a good point well made. Two wins and a draw from the last four games may well be enough to ensure renewed acquaintances, rivalry and crowds in the thousands against Eastbourne Borough next season.
So, I hadn't quite embraced fully the concept of randomness. The dice will have to roll another day. Judging by Stuart's report over at The Ball is Round - he'll be open to the idea again.
Cost of lovely stadium? £3m to you, sir.
Country squires ToSh and Patrick Marber conduct their post match interview*. *Introverted groundsman, Ted unimpressed.
A few more photos HERE if you're bored.
A few more photos HERE if you're bored.
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