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Diary of a Groundhopper: Alvechurch v Kidderminster Harriers

TUESDAY JULY 17th

Alvechurch 6 Kidderminster Harriers 0

A LITTLE over 48 hours after the last kick of the ball at the World Cup, I am crawling along the M42 at a snail’s pace trying to reach my first game of the 18/19 season. Alvechurch is just 50 miles from my house but it is taking an age to get there.

The Church are hosting Kidderminster Harriers in the Worcestershire Senior Cup semi-final this evening. Harriers are also playing Burton Albion tonight, so I am not expecting their first team here. Something else to note is that this is last season’s competition, so should I be counting it as my final match of 17/18?!

I pull into the gravel car park at Lye Meadow and make my way to the entrance kiosk. I pay £6 and am handed a colour teamsheet: no programme tonight. It is more accurately described as a squadsheet, as I suspect the line-ups will bear no resemblance to the actual players on the pitch.

The entrance brings me out behind one goal. I can see a raised covered terrace behind the other goal. The clubhouse is situated down the right touchline with a covered, seated stand along the opposite side. I head for the former.

I divert to the burger bar behind the clubhouse. The burgers are nice but there’s not much choice of other tasty treats. The clubhouse itself has seen (much) better days. There’s a leaking pipe in the toilets and a general tiredness to the place.

The good news is that planning permission has just been granted for a new complex a few miles away, with training and community pitches included. Plans for the new ground are displayed on the walls in the bar and very nice it looks, too. Alvechurch are on the up! As it stands, Lye Meadow still has a certain charm about it. The people are friendly, too.

I take my place on the path by the main stand. The pitch looks green but surrounding areas of grass are brown and tinder dry. Talk of a hosepipe ban is in the air. That’s strange; I could have sworn it was the wettest April on record?

Alvechurch will be playing in the Southern League Central this season while Kiddy are in the National League North. As expected, when the players take to the pitch, Harriers are fielding a young side; not that Alvechurch’s eleven will be retiring any time soon. I feel very old all of a sudden!

The match is a one-way affair. The Church play some lovely football. Play was quick and incisive with none of that rushing down the wing and banging the ball hopefully into the box nonsense. The Beautiful Game has moved on and The Church are embracing the Promised New Land.

Alvechurch rip the kids of Kidderminster apart at will. The young visitors have no answer to the pace and skill of their hosts and are four behind at the break. There is no mercy in the second half either! The final tally is six, including a hat-trick of penalties for Tom Turton. In short, Alvechurch are a joy to watch. I’m not sure this sort of stylish football will get them out of SLC but I hope they stick to their footballing principles.

Info: 8

Welcome: 8

Facilities: 6

Food: 5

Charm: 6.5

Programme: 0.5

Home Team Respect: 9.5

Home Fans: 6

Match: 7.5

Overall Trip: 8

Officials: 9.5

Att: 126

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