Cirencester Town 2 Harlow Town 0 - Southern League, Division One Central
Cirencester is market town in Gloucestershire, situated 80 miles west of London. It lies on the River Churn, a tributary to the River Thames and is the largest town in the Cotswolds. The Roman name for the town was Corinium and the town’s Corinium Museum has an extensive Roman collection. Before 1974 the town was administered by Cirencester Urban District Council. Following the reorganisation of local government, the urban district council was replaced by the new Cotswold District Council. Cirencester Watermoor Railway Station was closed to passengers in 1961. The nearest station is now at Kemble, 3.7 miles away. The rock drummer Cozy Powell was born in Cirencester.
The football club was established in 1989. Progression via the Cheltenham League, and Gloucestershire Northern Senior League, saw the club become founder members of the Gloucestershire County League in 1968. Further progression via the Hellenic League enabled the club to be promoted to the Southern League in 1996. The Gloucestershire Senior Cup was won in 1996 and this feat was repeated in 2016.
Due to ongoing issues at Harlow Town FC, the clubs were able to reverse the fixtures enabling the match to go ahead. Cirencester Town will visit Harlow in the return match next year. An added bonus for this Pieman, was that I was invited to travel in the club secretary’s car and this was almost first time that I had travelled in an official vehicle - an exception being when I bunked on the Harlow coach at Hampton Court for five minutes on the way to Molesey in 1990. The coach was collecting players that worked in London, including the legendary Richard Head.
The club secretary’s chauffer likes to support local hostelries when travelling. On this occasion he diverted to The Greyhound at Siddington, just a couple of miles from our destination. At this establishment, I enjoyed a rather good pint of Wadworth 6X (4.1%). This classic crafted amber ale is malty and fruity on the nose with a balancing hop character. Suitably refreshed we then made our way to the Corinium Stadium.
To facilitate the change of venue at short notice meant that the home club’s Development side brought forward their Hellenic League fixture against Kidlington Reserves to midday. This match was reaching its conclusion as I toured the ground taking photographs. This rather smart venue has covered seating on both sides. A larger stand straddles the half way line on one side, whereas a smaller smart stand forms part of the extensive clubhouse building. There is also covered standing area behind one of the goals. Other facilities include the clubhouse bar, a club shop and the snack bar, where I purchased and soon demolished ‘The Centurian’ – a double burger, lettuce, cheese, onion all topped with a hash brown!
In blustery conditions both teams cancelled each other out for most of the contest. However, a red card for Harlow Town’s Josh Steele with over an hour left to play meant it was going to be a testing time for the visitors for the remainder of the match. The referee was keen to remind us that he was in charge and the higher quota of yellow cards issued to both sides did not reflect the nature of this match, which was played in good spirit.
The home side eventually made the numbers count with a couple of goals in the second period, but for the majority of the second half the visitors dug in and can be proud of their resolve in difficult circumstances. Once again, we were made to feel welcome by a club in this neck of the woods – very friendly folk. This Pieman won the matchday raffle which included a large bottle of fizz (I almost dropped it, much to the amusement of club officials!). With a national rail strike taking place I am most grateful to those Harveys for getting me to and from Gloucestershire.