The Watkinson Construction Bowl
Most people book time off work with something planned, but not me, that’s way too much forward thinking, so having spent several days at home, bored, then I was determined to at least find a game to go to, to give the week off a little interest and not make it totally wasted. There was a football grounds exhibition on at Derby Museum which looked a good shout, and the choice of two games to combine it with, either Graham St Prims on the Tuesday or Borrowash Victoria on the Wednesday. Both clubs’ grounds are within 50 yards of each other, but I decided to pick Borrowash as it was a bit more developed and more interesting judging by the pictures.
Formed in 1963, the club can actually trace their history back to 1911, with an earlier version of the side having folded in 1957. They joined the Midland League in 1979, and won it the following season in 1981, before being involved in the creation of the NCEL, becoming founder members in 1982. Winning the Division One South title in their second season, they chopped and changed leagues throughout the mid-80s, and became founder members of the Central Midlands Supreme League in 1986, before stepping back up to NCEL a decade later. Apparently they must like being involved in the setting up of new competitions, as come 2008 they completed a hat-trick, competing in the first season of the East Midlands Counties League, where they finished as runners-up to Kirby Muxloe, three agonising points being the difference between 2nd and top spot.
Tonight though was due to be cup action, the Derbyshire Senior Cup to be exact, a competition that they came close to winning in 1991 when they reached the final, only to be defeated over two legs by Gresley Rovers. Fellow East Midlands Counties League side Heanor Sports were the visitors, or at least they were due to be…
Setting off just before midday, the journey up to Derby went by smoothly, a quick change of trains in Birmingham, before arriving at 12:30pm, going first to Pride Park to have a look at the new Brian Clough/Peter Taylor statue that has been erected, before walking up to Spondon, where the ground is located to try and get some pictures before darkness fell later on.
The ground itself is in the suburb of Spondon, just down the road from Borrowash, and makes up part of the Asterdale Sports Club, a large site set out with facilities for bowls, cricket, hockey and rugby, and sadly, sitting right in the middle, the main building itself, derelict and looking a bit of a mess, having been gutted by vandals. The club moved here in 1983, after leaving their Deans Drive ground due to the lack of facilities having seen them refused promotion to the NCEL Premier. Fenced off from the rest of the Asterdale site, the first impression on entering is that this is a ground that should be hosting football at far higher a level than Step 6. Hard standing runs around all four sides, with the Main Stand sitting centred on the halfway line of the near side. A fairly large structure, it has 250 seats spread over four rows and is sat back from the touchline. Opposite are the dressing rooms, whilst at the near end is the clubhouse and a second stand which looks a little older with numerous supporting pillars, and a small section of seats on the terrace. A new clubhouse and changing rooms are being built on the near side, with the foundations in place already.
The weather had been terrible for a few days, but with Graham St Prims having played the previous night, and the rain holding off for most of today, then it never really occurred to me that there might be any chance of a postponement, so after speaking to the groundsman, it was a surprise that the game had been called off due to a waterlogged pitch, especially with four hours to go until kick-off. It was a little bit annoying as well, as whilst the pitch could perhaps be described as boggy, I’ve seen much worse surfaces take games (it was practically bone dry by Alvechurch standards!), so with the bad news confirmed, then I popped over to Graham St Prims, before back to Derby, heading off to the Silk Mill Museum to look at Chris Olley’s photographic exhibition of the 92, before eventually going home, hoping to get back here at some point to see a game.
Welcome to the Watkinson Construction Bowl
Outside the Ground
The Near Side
The Main Stand
The Far End
The Main Stand and Far End
The Far Side
Looking across the Far End
The Dressing Rooms
The Far Side
The Near End Stand
The Watkinson Construction Bowl Panoramic 1
The Watkinson Construction Bowl Panoramic 2