No.12 - Sat 4th October 2014; Central & South Norfolk League Ben Smith Memorial Cup Round 2;           3pm at Rocklands Playing Field; Green Lane; Rockland All Saints; Attleborough; Norfolk; NR17 1UA 

 

Matchday images (37) https://picasaweb.google.com/footballgroundsinfocus/RocklandUnitedFC

Rockland United (2) 5  Bar 33 (0) 1

A ground to Rock-U!

'Every so often on your travels you come across an absolute gem of a ground. This was certainly the case on my visit to the delightful Rockland playing fields home of Rockland United Football Club for the visit of Bar 33 in the lesser known Central and South Norfolk League for a Ben Smith Memorial Cup Second Round tie.

Located in the tiny village of Rockland All Saints only a few minuteís drive from Attleborough town centre the ground is definitely situated off the beaten track. Based at the end of Green Lane, a narrow and bumpy approach road, the site opens out into what can be described as a beautiful oasis of green. Bordered by open fields it has a lovely enclosed feeling with breath-taking facilities the envy of many clubs not only in the C&SN League but also higher up the football pyramid.

Adjacent to the large gravel car park is a smart well appointed pavilion with bar lounge and TV which also houses the playersí changing rooms. The spacious playing field which also hosts cricket has two (end to end) football pitches and a floodlit training area in situ. The main one marked out on a beautiful well grassed surface over on the far side to left is a joy to behold with sturdy barrier rope adorned by advertising banners (featuring many proactive club sponsors) surrounding most of the playing area perimeter.

Pride of place goes to the new main stand completed and opened by league chairman John Turner at the end last season which straddles the half-way. The terrific wooden structure which proudly displays the club name along the fascia provides covered standing with a couple of elevated steps and several accompanying rows of red plastic seats to the left at the back. Positioned at either end are two smart, new and complementary dug outs for players and coaches.  To round things of both goal nets and all the corner flags follow suit in the club colours of red and black. In sum it creates a favourable impression to the discerning football grounds neutral and beggars belief that the club are actually where they are (level thirteen and beyond) in the pyramid.   

The new facilities are a credit to the club whose hard-working committee led by chairman Alan Humphrey have been responsible for developing much of the ground in recent years.  A shiny metal plaque lists those responsible for the mammoth efforts. The project which has been largely self-financed with the help from local companies who have each supplied materials, installed fixtures and fittings and completed the work on time. Indeed recent match photos and proposed plans outlining the new changes at the ground can be seen on the clubís own regularly updated website (see address below). Itís certainly worth a look!

Todayís cup game billed beforehand as a bit of a grudge match (with several visiting players returning to their former club having turned out for the United reserve side last year) was as expected a rather physical encounter to say the least. After taking a two goal lead the hosts looked to be coasting until the visitors (from Division Four) pegged one back just after the break to get a foothold in the game. But United prevailed by adding three more goals to run out 5-1 winners over their Attleborough based rivals to progress into the next round. It was a fair result (and a reward for enthusiastic manager Nick Brooks and the boys) in what turned out to be a decent game of football considering he conditions.  

The match played in heavy rain throughout was attended by twenty-two spectators all of whom (including myself) were more than grateful to escape the awful weather under the comfort and shelter of the main stand. The excellent pitch itself stood up to the monsoon and may be one to consider on other wet days. For the record the club doesnít issue programmes but refreshments were made available from the clubhouse throughout the afternoon.  

I spent some time during the first half in the company of affable club secretary and webmaster Simon Mortley who was busy taking photos from his elevated position along the touchline. He explained that the club was really looking forward to this campaign (in Division Two) after facing relegation last season being rooted to the bottom of the table without a win to their name. Itís been a good start for United who currently sit in second place behind leaders Beetley Bees.

Travellers making a visit to this friendly club will certainly not be disappointed by what they find here. It's certainly one of my favourites. You can reach the ground from the A11 by driving through Attleborough and approaching Rockland Al Saints via the B1077 (Attleborough Road). The recreation ground is found just past the village crossroads by turning right into The Street then Green Lane.

Hoppers who are interested can also find more information from the excellent C&SNL competition website which in my opinion is one of the best for club, ground and fixture details anywhere in non league football. The joys of hopping in the sticks continue!         

FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) Pope (8, 60), Whiting (12), Holden (65), Bickle (85) and (A) Fulcher (og. 47) 

Attendance: 22; Admission: Free; Programme: None; Match rating: 3/5; Ground rating: 5/5.

Links

http://www.clubwebsite.co.uk/rocklandunitedfc/

http://www.csnleague.co.uk/index.html

 

edited on 06/10/14