Combined Counties League
Knaphill is a dispersed urban village in Surrey, close to Woking. The village name was first recorded in 1225 as La Cnappe. Since then there has been various spellings of the name including 'Nap Hill, Naphill and Knap Hill. One of the major employers in the area until its closure in the 1990s was Brookwood Hospital, a vast, rambling lunatic asylum that dated from the late Victorian era. The northern edge of the hospital grounds adjoined the Broadway with the southern edge being denoted by the Knaphill side of the Basingstoke Canal. Most of the old hospital grounds have been redeveloped, the wards having made way for the Sainsburys and Homebase superstores and a large number of houses and council flats. The central building, which is 'A' listed has been retained and converted into luxury flats. Several of the new residential roads were named after the old hospital wards. The former chapel is now a Buddhist temple and the hospital morgue is now living quarters for the temple's monks. Mark Toole lived nearby at St Johns.
The choice was between Liverpool v Chelsea, Champions League on TV or Knaphill v Staines Lammas in the bottom tier of the Combined Counties League. No competition as far as this journalist was concerned, as I headed for Woking via London Waterloo, accompanied by the legendary Nigel Maitland. We were particularly grateful to Nic Adamou for the lift from and to Woking station, saving us a lot of time. Brookwood station is nearer to Knaphill’s Redding Way ground but has a less frequent and slower train service.
Redding Way is a smart venue. The pitch was in fine condition and far greener than many for this stage of the season. The ground is surrounded by new looking high fences on three sides; the remaining side being enclosed by a thicket of well established trees.
The club building, containing the changing facilities and refreshment area, is situated behind one of the goals. The only covered accommodation for spectators is provided by an overhang to the building. A nice touch here was the row of chairs put out by the club in this area. To the side of the clubhouse is the entrance kiosk.
Visitors Staines Lammas FC, in a good position to win the championship, required 10 points from their remaining five matches prior to this fixture to do so. They look an impressive outfit too and after some slick early play, were ahead after 15 minutes, following a fine strike by Joe Johnson. A second goal from Jay Coombs followed a few minutes later and it was clear that the home side would have to step up a gear to compete.
This they did in the second half but not before going a further goal behind scored by Chris Baker shortly after the break. Knaphill finally grabbed a consolation goal with a fine header from Matt Baker as the light faded.
The match kicked off at 6.45 but by the time the referee signalled full time, it was getting quite dark. With players and officials travelling from work, it would be difficult to start any earlier.
Knaphill FC is a friendly club. The match programme is very impressive. This issue contained 56 pages with plenty to read and a good mix of colour photographs and articles.
Knaphill: Shelley, Barbato (Roissetter), Batchelor, Crozier, Pritchard, Fastnedge, Timblick, Taylor, Springett (Hutton), Baker (M), Hughes. Sub Not Used: Coles.
Staines Lammas: Pisani, Ryan (Ridley), Webb, Munns, Willmore, Collins (Bullen), Azagba (Smithers), Piper, Baker (C), Coombs, Johnson.
Programme: with admission
Mars Bar: 50p
Fare: £6-60 (with Gold Card discount)