Halesowen Town
The Grove




Ground No. 73
Visited - Saturday 8th October 2005
Result - Halesowen Town 0-2 Bromsgrove Rovers
Competition - FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round
Attendance - 757

With most league games having been called off or moved due to internationals, I decided to look for a local non-league ground to visit, and so after looking down the fixtures list the most attractive game seemed to be Halesowen’s FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round tie against Bromsgrove Rovers.

The Grove was a ground that I’d been looking to visit for a while, apparently it is the oldest in the West Midlands, but pictures showed it to be quite an interesting venue, so I was in a good mood as I set off on the morning. I’d decided to catch the train down there, and after a quick change in Smethwick, it was back across the Black Country again arriving at Old Hill station in good time. From there it was about a 20 minute walk up and down several hills before finding the ground tucked away between houses and the social club.

From the Hawke Lane end of the ground, there isn’t a great deal to see other than the turnstiles and a fenced off car park. At this end is the ‘Yeltz Bar’, which seemed to be where most of the fans were heading for before the game. Beside this is the back of the side terrace, which isn’t especially pretty, a low concrete wall, with a park next to it, leading round to the Stourbridge Rd End, where there was several ornate gates and more turnstiles. It wasn’t really the most imposing ground, however after going in, it opened up a lot more and gave you a far better impression than from the outside.

The first stand that draws your attention to it is the Harry Rudge Stand, sitting at the centre of one side. It only runs for about a third of the pitch, but it looks quite modern and is all seated with ‘HTFC’ spelt out across the seats. Going on around the ground there is another prominent feature at the Hawne Lane End, where there’s an attractive looking terrace with an interesting roof, full of plenty of pillars. The best part though is running up from the edge of the pitch a grass slope, which slopes upwards at one end, and has steps in the middle leading to the players tunnel. Opposite the Harry Rudge Stand is a fair sized strip of terracing, that wraps round to the Stourbridge Road End of the ground, these two sides of the ground are both uncovered, but look good all the same.

Unfortunately, as soon as I’d entered the ground it started to rain, so after getting a few pictures, I soon headed for the Hawne Lane End, and after popping into the club shop on the way, found a place to stand. The game soon got started and by now the rain had become torrential, which affected the quality of the match, with neither side really producing much to shout about, and so a fairly dour first half came to a close with the scores still at 0-0. Halfway through the opening period, I’d decided to go around the rest of the ground to get a few pictures of the crowd, only to find that once getting back to the Hawne Lane terrace, that it was absolutely packed, with no way of getting in, so was left to watch the remainder of the half in the downpour!

After thankfully securing a place back under cover at half-time, the second half continued in the same fashion as the first, although Halesowen started to dominate with most of the possession, but still never really troubling the Bromsgrove goal. With time getting on, and the rain still pouring down, the lighting conditions had become so gloomy that the club was forced to put on the floodlights, and this seemed to spark the game into action. In the 80th minute, on a rare attack, Bromsgrove managed to hit the post only for the ball to fall to Jason Ramsey, who poked home from close range. With this, the visitors took the initiative, and three minutes later they had doubled their lead when Anthony Maguire tapped in a cross to make it 2-0. Despite having virtually camped inside Bromsgrove’s half, Halesowen didn’t have an answer to this, and so after more rain and injury time, the referee blew his whistle to signal that the visitors would be the team progressing to the next round.

Despite a rather large attendance (by Halesowen’s usual standards), there wasn’t really a great deal of atmosphere. Both sets of fans mixed throughout the ground, and it seemed like a fair number had made the short journey from Bromsgrove, with most on the terraces trying to cram into the Hawne Lane End, where there was shelter from the rain.

As ridiculous as it sounds, within minutes of leaving the ground, and walking back to the station, the rain stopped, so that was one particularly annoying aspect, but overall it hadn’t been a bad day. The ground is a decent size, and quite appealing really, so perhaps one of the days I’ll go back there again, its certainly not a bad place to watch football at.






The Hawne Lane Turnstiles


The Yeltz Bar


Rear of the Side Terrace


Exit Gates


The Club Shop


The Harry Rudge Stand


The Hawne Lane End


The Side Terrace


The Stourbridge Road End


The Stourbridge Road End


The Side Terrace


The Hawne Lane End


The Harry Rudge Stand







 

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