Dudley Sports
Hillcrest Avenue

Ground No. 181
Visited - Tuesday 21st April 2009
Result - Dudley Sports 0-0 Wednesfield
Competition - West Midlands Regional League, Premier Division
Attendance - 41 (h/c)

Founded as a works team in 1925, Dudley Sports’ nickname ‘The Piemen’ dates back to this era, with the club having originally been called ‘The Marsh and Baxter’s Company’, famous locally for their pork products. They changed their name in 1979 after the company went bust and in 1985 entered Saturday football in the Midland Combination, switching to the West Midlands Regional League in 2006. Their ground, Hillcrest Avenue, was built between the wars, and is described as a sports complex, although before images of a dreaded athletics track come into mind, you can be re-assured that the ground itself stands alone at one end of site, with a bowls club being the other sport that shares the facilities.

With the lighter nights upon us, then I’d been determined to try and use them to my advantage to get a few local non-league grounds out the way, and situated just a few miles from work, then Dudley Sports were near the top of my hit list!

Arriving there in good time, then the ground sits behind a car park with the clubhouse and Bowling greens at the near end. The clubhouse itself is actually in a building that is split in two, with a community centre on one side, which isn’t particularly well sign posted, something I found out after going in the wrong one for a pint (they talk about non-league clubs having an ageing supporter base, but I knew something was wrong after walking into what was like the cast of Cocoon having a reunion!) After that, I made my way over to the ground itself. Having crossed the training pitches, then the near end is hard standing, which runs around most of the near side where a small stand sits in the middle, with an unusual seating arrangement, having two blocks of benches, with a huge no mans land in the centre. The far end is hard standing, as is much of the far side, although this seems busier, with the dugouts and a couple of shelters next to the pitch, and the dressing rooms/food hut set a bit further back. As the name suggests, the ground is on the crest of a hill, and from the far side, you can see for miles over the local area.

After taking a few pictures, the game got started with the home side looking the brightest, forcing a couple of saves from the Wednesfield ‘keeper, but it was the visitors who had the best chance of the game just before half-time. Finding space on the left, one of their strikers cut in on the break and slammed the ball past Dudley’s goalie, before seeing it rebound off the bar straight to his fellow striker who fluffed it in front of an open goal to keep the scores level. The second half was largely forgettable, with neither side really pressing. Defence was the order of the day, and despite a late flurry of corners from Wednesfield, neither goal looked likely to be breached, with the match finishing 0-0.

Annoyingly, the WMRL rarely publishes attendances, so there were no details for that, other than a headcount of 30 in the first half, which had grown to 41 by the end of the game. How much that relates to the official version is anyone’s guess.

After leaving, I made my way home, getting back with no trouble. I hadn’t expected a lot from the ground beforehand, and despite that I still left disappointed in it! Whilst the club/council have made a lot of effort in providing a facility that ticks all the boxes, the openness really detracts from making it a venue to warm to. But with that said, I’ve been to worse and if nothing else it’s always one more down!

Welcome to Dudley Sports

The Clubhouse

The Near End

The Far Side

The Near Side

The Joe Forrest Stand

The Far End

Seating in the Mick Davies Stand

The Snack Bar

Ready for Kick Off

View from the Training Pitch


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