Result: Rudheath Social 4-2 Styal (Hallmark Security Cheshire League Premier Division)
Venue: Griffiths Park (Wednesday 5th August 2015)
Att: 54 (approx.)
A short blog, having been written at 1am on the day before I’m due to travel to foreign shores. But, I shall not let you down, dear reader, oh no! So, here we go, with the Rudheath Social FC blog….
I began this trip via train, beginning at Urmston and transiting through Manchester Oxford Road to Piccadilly, where I was to meet up with the famous Football Spoon, who’d informedme of his intentions to travel to this game late last week, as he targets doing 100 games in a season, a feat I’ve achieved twice in the last two years, though last season, I was convinced I’d done much less than the total I ended up with.
Albeit, I was soon on the sauna-like train carriage on Platform Three, which became standing room only after my arrival. As we set off and progressed towards Stockport, the rain began to fall. The weather has been the bane of the spoon of late, so this was of little surprise to him. Luckily, as we travelled through the north of Cheshire, the rain began to subside and eventually clear, somewhat, to leave dry conditions as we pulled into Northwich station.
After crossing the footbridge over the tracks and climbing the steps up to road level, a left turn sets you on the way toward Griffiths Park & the Rudheath Social Club. If you stroll it, you reach the ground comfortably within ten minutes, though to reach it easily, you continue past the Social Club and neighbouring CO-Op shop, and turn the next left to the ground, which sits at the end of the short lane. But, did we do that? Not a chance, not with me in attendance!
After I directed is down the side of the club’s bowling green, we discovered some changing rooms, but very little else in terms of a football ground. Luckily, just as we were debating which turn to take, a Social player turned into the bowling club and directed us towards the ground. After we thanked him, and he thanked us, we undertook the walk down the access road towards Rudheath Social’s home.
Upon arrival, there is little to inspire your mind. Bar a barred off/roped off pitch and a singular “dugout” there is very little, if anything, else of note to the ground, though there is a large grass verge that towers above the pitch, which will give you a bird’s eye view of the game. There was a trio of spectators who’d taken this option, it appeared. Little did we know at that junction, that one of them was a well known name in footballing circles. As for Rudheath’s story, well….
Rudheath Social were formed in 1993, following a meeting in a public house when a pair of men came up with an idea of starting a Sunday team. This team was Rudheath Social, and they began competing in the Mid Cheshire Sunday League. After struggling initially, they soon began to be competitive during their 15-year Sunday league stint, which featured a number of honours, eventually.
Upon creating a Saturday side in 2008-’09, Social joined the Cheshire League, immediately winning the Crewe FA Challenge Cup. The following season, the club missed out on promotion by a point, but did achieve the feat of winning the Cheshire League President’s Cup, with a 4-2 triumph over Congleton Town Reserves.
2012-’13 saw further success, with Social achieving promotion to Division 1, alongside winning the District Saturday Cup, with a 3-2 win over Barnton, as well as being promoted to the Cheshire Premier for the next season. After a fourth placed finish in their first season at Step 7, Rudheath finished in a solid eighth place last time out.
Back onto today’s game, and Social were to entertain Styal. The visitors had the slightly better of the early stages, but Rudheath slowly gained control, before #9, Craig Millington, broke clear and despite strong appeals for offside, he finished comfortably. This appeared to prompt a group of local rebellious youngsters to the park, and took their place in the “sk8er boys” stand, as Spoony christened the group.
Styal responded quickly, as a horrendous error from the home ‘keeper saw him exit his box to head the ball clear, Neuer-esque, but only for the ball to bounce over his head for Styal’s #9, Tom Pryce, to capitalize on the loose ball and slide in. Alas for Styal, their joy was short lived, as Millington once again found himself in space and fired home unerringly, to give himself the opportunity of a hat-trick.
During the first period, the man known as “Football Tony” made himself known to us, after seeing our tweets on the game and taking a picture of us. We’d been paparazzied! After a short chat and him unmasking the guy on top of the hill as former (brief) Premier League manager Rene Meulensteen, who was watching his son play for Styal, he sat with his father, and we carried on our lap of Griffiths Park.
The score remained at 2-1 until the break, but Styal had a superb opportunity to once again draw level soon after the restart. Pryce was played through the backline and found himself one-on-one with the beaded Rudheath ‘keeper. Pryce, though, paid the price for his lack of composure, as he tamely shot straight t the Rudheath custodian.
He soon made up for his error moments later, as he fired though the legs of the Rudheath ‘keeper to once again draw his side level, and mean that both number nine’s were on a hat-trick. Who’d get there first?!
After a heavy shower of rain had spiced up the surface and Meulensteen suffered an inside out umbrella on top of the, now windswept, hill, it was to be Social’s Millington who got the important strike, beating Styal’s ‘keeper to a corner to not the ball into the back of the net and complete a superb hat-trick and give his side the points, which were secured when Sam Didsbury, who’d supplied Millington for his hat-trick, found the net with a deep cross and celebrated with the words “Get the f*ck in you c*nt!” Wordsmith!
So, 4-2 remained the scoreline until the final whistle, and Social became the first team I’ve seen this season to win a competitive match. So, began the hope of the train getting into Piccadilly for a five minute rush to catch he connection. That was until Spoony told me his missus was to pick us up at Navigation Road in Broadheath, so took at all stress from the journey. Cheers to both Spoony and Eva for the lift back home.
So came to an end my first part of the British season. Now, it’s onto Majorca and a couple of games, hopefully, there. And, there will be no rain, fingers crossed….
Game: 7 (Entertaining contest)
Ground: 3 (Very simplistic)
Fans: 4 (Quite a number turned out)
Value For Money: 9 (Just the £8 travel)