The Opening Hand

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Saturday July 6th 2013, Kick off 3pm, at the ‘The Hand Stadium’, Clevedon.
Pre-Season Friendly.
Clevedon Town (Blue/White Stripes/Blue) 2-1 Bristol City (Yellow/Navy Blue).
Att 1,106, admission ten pounds, no programme.


Just four weeks after watching my last game of the 12-13 season over four thousand miles from home in British Columbia, I was back in the saddle for 13-14, or more accurately, back on the M4, going westbound.

Prior to the weekend Ros had expressed an interest in either ticking some giraffes in Colchester or some Gromits in Bristol! If you think I have lost my marbles, have a look at >

Initially I was up for the idea of Colchester with a visit to Rye House Speedway on the way home.
But an untimely bout of gout in my big toe leading up to the weekend, resulted in a re-think, and a decision to stay closer to home, especially as I had spotted that Clevedon Town had an attractive looking friendly against the first team squad of Bristol City.


What I hadn’t accounted for was the St Pauls carnival, which caused a little bit of extra traffic approaching into central Bristol, and many were also on foot.

But it was not a major problem and Ros was dropped near ‘Gromit HQ’ to pick up the Gromit Trail, whilst I set the Sat Nav in the direction of Clevedon, which my Sat Nav was telling me was only 14 miles away.
The only problem is, it then sent me to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, unbeknown to me, which had a toll of 50p, and typically I had no change at all on me!
So there I was doing a three-point turn at the entrance point to the bridge, whilst holding up traffic in both directions, ho-hum! don’t make eye contact son!


Not knowing the road layout of Bristol to well, I then decided to head back to the M4, and use the M5 down to Clevedon, I'm sure adding extra mileage, but still getting me there in good time for 14:35.

It’d been 17 years since my last and only visit to the Hand Stadium, so I’d forgotten how rural a setting the ground was in. I was rather shocked to be asked for three pounds to park my car in a farmer’s field, but the club car park was already full and as the only other option was to park in the quiet lane running by the ground, potentially risking losing wing mirrors, I had no option.


My fear about arriving late and not being able to bag a programme was initially well founded, as none were available at the turnstile and no one was selling them just inside. But a quick look around the thirty or forty people nearby already seemed to indicate they hadn't bothered. A steward nearby confirmed it for me, even admitting perhaps they'd made a boo boo with such a large crowd. "We normally struggle to sell them all" he said, well yes I thought, but that is when you have 100 for a league game, not a crowd touching 1,000 (actually it was apparently 1,106). They hadn't even managed to put a team sheet together!


In fact it was worse than that, as over the PA they announced the lineups, BC playing an entirely different team from first to second half, but then at HT admitted that BC hadn't played ball, and in fact didn't honour the 1st/2nd half lineups, so I was really glad I hadn't bothered writing them down.
For anyone interested, these were taken from the BC and CT websites, so hopefully accurate.

City first half: Charles-Cook, Wynter, Carey, Wilson, Williams, Jordan, Woods, Reid, Bryan, Burns, Taylor.
Second half: Roos, Moloney, Flint, Fontaine, Cunningham, Kelly, Kilkenny, Pearson, Hall, Amadi-Holloway, Ajala.
Clevedon T –
1. Danny Greaves 2. Sam Teale 3. Aran Robbins – Goal 17 mins 4. Kye Mountford 5. Kaine Gazzard 6. Matt Thorne 7. Danny Wring 8. Adi Adams 9. Clayton Fortune (c) 10. Ed Vahid 11. George Brimson – Goal 14 mins
Substitutes – All took part in the game at some time. 12. Ben Murray 14. Reeko Best 15. Dave Pearse
16. Luke Mortimer 17. Joe Swift 18. Steve Kingdon, Tim Parker, Lloyd Mills, Liam Lester, Szymon Gromek.


I confess to being no fan of pre-season games, and usually do not watch more than a couple. To me, they follow the same format, a fairly open and competitive first half, as was the case here. Followed by a seamless slower paced second half, fragmented by numerous substitutions, as was the case here. The players are not fully match fit, and anyone with a slight injury niggle is not risked.



City dominated large spells of this game, not surprisingly given their full-time status, and being 4 rungs up the pyramid ladder to CT, and it was only after about ten minutes in as Martin Woods (Trialist/Doncaster) swept in well from about fifteen yards to put the Robins ahead.
Ah I thought, this will be a 0-4, 0-5 game, how wrong I was as Brimson and Robbins struck twice after some pretty shambolic defending after fourteen and seventeen minutes put the hosts ahead. The second half became a possession game for BC, but frankly they hardly bothered the home defence, in which captain Clayton Fortune had been outstanding, my MOM.

CT handled the catering very well, using the walk in club shop as another refreshment area, much-needed on such a warm day, and although the game never got above the status of mediocre it had been enjoyable, just a shame I didn’t have any paperwork to read later!
On the way back, I had the required 50p, and took a ride over the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which is an amazing piece of architecture, one to return to for photographic purposes in the near future.
Oh, and Ros managed to bag 15 Gromits, a good start.


Sean O'Driscoll has something to ponder?
Sean O’Driscoll has something to ponder?


One thought on “The Opening Hand

    laurencereade said:
    July 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Your photos are far better than mine. When I went for a SL game vs Hemel Hempstead the match was close to being abandoned due to fog!

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