Sunday, 30 July 2017

March Town United - GER Sports Ground

March Town United FC
GER Sports Ground
Robingoodfellows Lane
PE15 8HS

Ground Number: 703
Saturday 29th July 2017
March Town United 0-3 Holland
Eastern Counties D1


The club was formed in 1885 as MARCH TOWN. They added the 'United' part following the second world war when they took over the ground of March GER United. They joined the United Counties League and stayed for 6 seasons, with them being crowned champions in 1954. They switched to the Eastern Counties League in 1954 and remain there to this day. In the final season of the league being a single tier, March Town United were champions in 1988. They then had a spell until 1997 in the Premier Division, when they finished bottom and were relegated to Division 1. They'be been there to this day, the best finish being 12th in 2012.

The club has had a number of good FA Cup runs, reaching the 1st Round twice - in 1955 they lost 4-0 at Brentford and in 1978 they lost 2-0 at Swindon Town. A spell in the FA Trophy passed without much success, although they did reach the FA Vase 3rd Round in 1989, where they lost 2-1 at home to Sudbury Town. Their record attendance of 7,500 came in 1956 for an FA Cup game against Kings Lynn.


Although I was more than happy to do the United Counties part of the organised groundhop, I wasn't as keen on the Peterborough & District part. I'd checked both of the grounds and they were both just fairly plain fields. Whilst some hoppers enjoy them, in fact there were a few that were going solely to the middle two fixtures, they weren't for me. I was glad that the Eastern Counties League had scheduled games on this weekend, thanks to the FA Cup starting really early for the second season in succession. There were possibilities at Fakenham & Wisbech St Mary, but the one I'd wanted to do for ages was March Town United. I'd been to their ground on the way to Kings Lynn a few years ago and it was a ground with plenty of character. There was a terrific old wooden stand that wouldn't be around for much longer according to the groundhopper magazine, so I was glad to see a game there before they potentially replaced it with some dull flatpack monstrosity.

I'd also been impressed with the range of pubs in March and it was a bit of a shame there was a little too much to enjoy, what with me limited by driving. I was planning on keeping it fairly simple, the Wetherspoons was pretty near the ground and would provide reasonably priced food and a decent choice of drinks. I had been considering George's, a decent looking pub with food and 5 real ciders. However, I knocked that on the head when I discovered that the 'craft cider' was from the Blind Pig company, which most definitely wasn't 'real' and was some ghastly alcopop that had tasted horrendous. There was one other pub, the Rose & Crown, which did a local cider, but that was 20 minutes walk walk away.

It was a slow getaway from the previous game at Holbeach, thanks to a road junction that had more traffic than it was used to thrown at it. We got to March at 1.25 after making good time. First stop was the Hippodrome, an excellent Wetherspoons where I had an unexpected bonus, ticking cider 19/20 in the festival, a week after it had ended. The 4% Broadoak Moonshine Rum & Raisin was very pleasant. As it was quite busy, I didn't bother with food and moved on just before 2. I made my way to a nearby chip shop where I had a chicken wrap with chips and drink for a fiver. I then popped into Heron Foods where I spent a few quid on some well-priced snacks. Back at the ground, there were similar bargains, entry was just a fiver and a decent programme with free raffle was just £1.

There was a minutes silence before the game for a couple of people from the hosts who had sadly passed away. Holland started on the front foot and they had a goal, a header from a left wing cross, ruled out for offside after 5 minutes. They eventually did take the lead with a cracking left foot volley from 25 yards by Tom Holdstock which flew into the top corner. They doubled their lead on 32 minutes, a nice through ball presented Keelan Sorrell with a chance and he finished well with a low shot from just outside the area. They'd had the better of the first half, but March stepped it up in the second. On 72 minutes, they had their best chance when a shot was cleared off the line. But instead of reducing the arrears, Holland broke and it was another cracking goal by Holdstock from 20 yards for their third, which pretty much sewed the game up. There were no further goals, and so the season got off on a bad foot for March.


The GER SPORTS GROUND was a venue that I had visited on Saturday 2nd November 2013 whilst on my way to Kings Lynn Town. Luckily the ground was open as the team were collecting their kit to go to an away game. I was very impressed with what I saw, plenty to take pictures of, including a wooden seated stand that looked bigger than its stated 500 capacity. To the side of that was an interesting stand alone press box which was brick built and had a unique viewing gallery. Opposite is cover for a few hundred fans, whilst the rest of the ground is open hard standing.

Upon my revisit for a game some 4 years later, there had been some decay and I noticed that half of the ground was closed. It was still a great ground and had a very smart bar, though drinks choice was a little limited. The tea bar was very good, as was the programme. The ground is very close to the town and you will find a great range of pubs and takeaways.


1: Ground facilities & condition (for the level)

Great ground, looking a bit jaded mind (7)

2: Area around the ground (parking, food/drink, public transport)
Lots of parking, near a town with a great selection of pubs (9)

3: Welcome / Club Friendliness

Nice person on the gate (7)

4: Value for money

Great stuff, £5 entry, plus other things are good value (8)

5: Social Media & Website

Fairly regular updates (6)

6: Programme

Excellent for £1, like many others in this area, handled by Barnes Print (8)

7: Game entertainment

A reasonable contest (6)

8: Tea Bar

Decent, with good prices (7)

9: Bar / Clubhouse

Smart enough, drinks choice reasonable (6)

10: Club Shop
Standard for this level, just club badges (5)





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