Cheddar (Saturday, December 9)


Cheddar 1 Bradford Town 4

An overdue dip into the Toolstation Western League this afternoon with a trip to Cheddar. As The Fox, Pencilman and I set off from Nottingham, it’s a sunny winter’s day.

By Bristol, there’s a leaden hue looming over the M5 and as we reach Bowden Park, the Mendips are shrouded in rainclouds. It never occurs to me to check if the match is on but much more of this and the pitch might be struggling.

The whole journey is spent working out which cheesy puns I can crowbar into this report but I am whey too mature for that sort of thing!

The gateman is cheerful as he attempts to keep dry. He relieves me of £4 and another £1 for the programme which he is harbouring in his little shed. As people walk in, every single one stops to speak: what a friendly place.

Food smells are permeating out from the clubhouse. The menu is limited but the burger and chips are very tasty. Local bottled real ale is available to wash it all down. Thankfully, the large function room is split in two so we don’t have to suffer Premier League football on the box. The Fox manages to splurge half a gallon of ketchup all over the pristine clubhouse, possibly at the shock of Man Utd being shown live on telly for a change (after all, they’re never on are they?!).

Three sides of the ground are open, which makes the covered seats and the sheltered overhang of the changing rooms crucial on this grim day. The players splat onto the pitch and manage to put on an entertaining match for the 74 fans present.

Bradford Town arrive with an unbeaten record in the league but it is Cheddar who take the game to their visitors: they are one up at the break but one can see Town are very dangerous up front.

At half time I discover that tea costs only fifty pence from the hut on the terrace and a quid from the clubhouse! The programme takes very little time to read.

As expected, Bradford come good in the second half and rattle in four quick goals. Their chances are boosted when the referee sends off Cheddar’s keeper for handling outside the area, the sort of misjudgement that normally sees a yellow issued. Even then, the home bench and players emit very little dissent at the officials: a credit to the large ‘Respect’ banners in the stand and the programme (if only the same could be said for the visiting team!).

This was a thoroughly enjoyable match, which was nowhere near as one-sided as the score suggested. I must return one day to see The Mendip Hills in all their sunny glory and to experience the warmth of Cheddarians again.

Ticket value 4, Programme 1.5, Food 2, Bar 4.5, Toilets 1, Welcome 4.5, Match 4, Overall: 4

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