Thursday, 8 May 2014

London Colney - Cotlandswick


London Colney FC
Cotlandswick
North London Road
London Colney
Herts
AL2 1DW


01727 822132



Ground Number: 368

Wednesday 7th May 2014
Risborough Rangers 0-3 Kings Langley
Spartan South Midlands Division 1 Cup Final



The season was drawing to conclusion by now and games were getting more tricky to find, so I was glad when this fixture was announced a few weeks back. I had actually been to the semi final where Risborough Rangers beat Kentish Town to get to this final. It had been a good evening watching football and so I was looking forward to this final, especially as it was at one of the remaining Spartan South Midlands Premier grounds thatI had to do.


London Colney is the second largest village in England, behind Cottingham near Hull. It's noted for it's  large number of pubs, relative to it's size. A German spy, Karel Richter was captured here in 1941. After parachuting down nearby, he hid all his stuff via burial and hid himself away for a couple of days. He was found by a couple of lorry drivers who asked him where London was and were not convinced by his reply.  The village also houses the training grounds of professional sides Arsenal and Watford, such is it's close proximity to the M25. As for the football team, who would be hosting this final, they were formed in 1909 and have been in the Spartan South Midlands League since 1992. Their best ever finish came in 2002 when they won the Premier Division but did not take the step up to the Ryman League.


Risborough Rangers only recently installed floodlights this season, mainly due to their promotion back to Division 1 of the Spartan South Midlands League. They had been there previously but had been relegated in the 2002-03 season and it had taken all this time for them to work their way back. The club were founded in 1970 as a junior team, eventually progressing into and adult team and playing in the Wycombe Senior League. They joined the South Midlands League and after gaining promotion in the 1992/93 season had their record league finish of 6th in the senior division the following season. Following the merger of the South Midlands and Spartan Leagues they were placed in the Senior Division (renamed Division 1) before their relegation in 2003. They had never participated in the FA Cup or FA Vase but had won the Anagram Trophy in 2011/12 and were runners up in the Spartan South Midlands Division 2 Cup the season after. The most famous player to play for the club was Jefferson Louis who started his career at Risborough Rangers before going onto play for around 30 clubs including Oxford United, Bristol Rovers and Mansfield Town in the Football League. I had seen them earlier in the season as they beat Kentish Town 4-0 to reach the final of this cup. They had a steady if unremarkable season, finishing in 14th.


Kings Langley had a great season, finishing in 2nd and earning promotion alongside fellow Watford based side Sun Postal Sports who went up as Champions. They are one of the oldest clubs in the county of Hertfordshire being formed in 1886 but it wasn't until 2001 that they joined the Spartan South Midlands League, having spent most of their history in the Hertfordshire League. Initially joining Division 1, they were relegated to Division 2 because of ground grading in 2005. They were back with the necessary improvements in 2008 as they were champions and have never looked back. After a series of top half finishes they gained promotion to the Premier Division after finishing runners up this season. They also had their joint ever best run in the FA Cup as they reached the FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round before losing 6-1 to Ryman Premier League winners Wealdstone. They have never won in the FA Vase, losing all 4 ties that they have played but they have had a fair bit of success in local cups, most recently winning tonight's competition last season.

I had a fairly busy day at work, not finishing till 1.15. I had to get petrol too and added to the fact that there was a bit of traffic, I didn't get home until just before 2. After having lunch I had a bath, watched some YouTube videos and did a few other bits. Before I left I had some lamb curry before leaving at 5.15. I picked Anwar up at 5.45 and we went to a shop to get some stuff for the game. It had been on the news that there were big delays on the M25 but luckily we had no problems until we got off at the London Colney junction. It was busy there with around 15 minutes delay but we still got to the ground just after 7.


After paying to get in out of my car window, which was £5 including a programme, I went out and uploaded a picture to Instagram before typing a bit of tonight's blog. I then went and got some pictures of the ground on my main camera before taking a seat in the stand for the game. Risborough had bought some great fans who were very vocal and it was their team that had the better of the early exchanges. Gradually the favourites Kings Langley came back into back into it and it was they who took the lead on 23 minutes when a shot from the edge of the area was driven in the bottom corner to give them the lead. The advantage was doubled on 35 minutes with a cracking volley from distance into the top corner. That was how it stayed until half time and at the break I went to the toilet. I was going to get a Bovril but the queue was so long that I decided not to bother.

I retook my seat for the second half and the game was a lot duller. I looked on the internet for fixtures and provisionally planned in a cup final at Cradley for next Tuesday. I was also disappointed to see that Man City were beating Aston Villa as I thought that Liverpool's attacking style of football deserved to win them the title. The game was livened up a bit when Risborough's number 2 was booked by the referee for telling the official that he was 'fucking shit'. This summed up the evening for Risborough Rangers who were very poor on the evening and will be disappointed with their performance on their big night. The game was wrapped up in the last minute when the Rangers keeper was unable to get enough on the shot to prevent it going in. I was by the car by the time the game finished and so I was able to get a quick getaway. After dropping Anwar off in Aylesbury at 10.10, getting home myself at 10.35. I finished typing my blog and watched TV before going to bed at 11.30. 

COTLANDSWICK is a fairly basic ground with all the covered accommodation on one side. The stand is one of those metal ones and it held around 150 on blue tip up seats. Along side it was a small shelter, probably only holding around 15. The rest of the ground was open hard standing. There was a bar with a tea bar inside which seemed pretty decent, though I didn't try anything. The ground seemed pretty isolated, so you would probably be out of luck if you wanted other pubs or takeaways.

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