A groundhopper view

Cricklewood Wanderers v Bush Hill Rangers

3pm 9 November 2013

Middlesex Intermediate Cup, Second Round Cricklewood Wanderers 6 Bush Hill Rangers 2 (at 12)

Having spent the earlier part of the afternoon watching a club founded in 1859 and catering for former pupils Harrow School, I headed to Wembley to watch a side at the other extreme of the social spectrum.

Cricklewood Wanderers were apparently founded as recently as 2011 by homeless and "street active disengaged young people". They've made rapid progress since, having established themselves at "step seven" level in the Middlesex County League Premier Division.

I expected close cup tie against another step seven club, from the Herts Senior County League, but it was anything but. The visitors took an early lead, but the first of a couple of goalkeeping errors allowed Cricklewood to equalise.

The home side were 2-1 ahead by half time, but the tie was back in the balance when Bush Hill equalised in the first minute of the second half. I thought Bush Hill might go to win, but instead they were no match as Cricklewood stepped up a gear or two to run in four more goals.

Cricklewood play at the newish Ark Academy, a school and sports centre built on what I remember was formerly a London Transport Sports Ground in Forty Avenue, close to Wembley Stadium. Once I'd successfully solved the puzzle of how to get in I found a caged floodlit 3G pitch, which Cricklewood share with fellow Middlesex Leaguers Kilburn FC.

I think that for league games spectators have to stand outside the fence, to comply with ludicrous ground grading regulations for step seven football, but fortunately for this county cup tie the rules were more relaxed.

Posted by Steve B 23:40


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