Brimscombe and Thrupp are linked villages on the banks of the river Frome just South-East of Stroud. I have to say that I can't see the name without conjuring up a scene from Blackadder in my mind. Thrupp, to me, sounds like some Medieval ailment. 'Forgive me Lord Melchett, I fear I cannot attend the Queen's gala for I must attend to Lord Percy who has come down with a rather nasty bout of Thrupp'.
Apologies to the good people of Thrupp. It is, of course. a rather lovely part of the world and there is nothing better than watching a game of football, under the lights, on a balmy spring evening in Gloucestershire. Brimscombe & Thrupp FC only made it into the Hellenic League in 2011, winning the Gloucestershire County League and being promoted to the Hellenic Division 1 West. They installed floodlights in 2012 and a year later earned promotion to the Hellenic Premier League as champions. In their first season at Step 5 level they attained a very creditable 12th position as well as winning three cup competitions. Highworth are Hellenic Premier veterans, having won the title in 2004-05.
The Meadow, Brimscombe's ground, is situated just off the main road through the villages wedged between the road, the railway line and the River Frome. The first thing you notice when you arrive is that the actual playing surface is way below the level of the road and car park (see photo above). Once parked you have to walk behind the main stand, paying the man your £5 entrance fee as you go, and then down a slope to the clubhouse. At this point you are still a good 20 feet above the playing surface. There is a covered seating and standing area to the right of the clubhouse, running along the side of the pitch. This is also elevated well above the playing surface and gives a very good view of the match. You can, of course, go down to pitch level and there is hard-standing around the ground. The dugouts are, as is non-league standard, opposite the main stand.
Credit to Brimscombe & Thrupp for acknowledging Highworth's FA Vase exploits with an announcement prior to the game. A very nice touch.
Highworth began to knock the ball about with the look of a side full of confidence and, in a half of very few clear cut chances, definitely made more opportunities than their hosts. Despite this though, the half finished 0-0.
As the second half kicked off I was expecting to see Highworth take up where they left off and dominate the game. I really did think it was just a matter of time until they took the lead. For the first 5 minutes or so, this was the case. Highworth looked more composed on the ball and were putting together some nice passing moves.
However, on the hour mark Brimscombe shocked the away side by taking the lead. A very nicely worked move down their left flank culminated in a ball into striker Ash Caldwell just inside the Highworth box. A quick turn and shot low into the near corner of the net and it was 1-0 to Brimscombe & Thrupp. A nice move and a very tidy finish.
From this point and for the next 15 minutes Highworth, who I believe also played on Tuesday evening, looked out on their feet. The home side were dominating play and another goal would have finished the game off. Brimscombe kept pushing but the goal wouldn't come and then, 17 minutes after taking the lead, a stray pass lead to a long clearance from Highworth. TJ Bohane latched onto a slip by a home defender, took the ball into the Brimscombe half and played in Callum Parson to slot the ball home. It was against the run of play at the time, but Highworth were level with about 15 minutes remaining.
The goal seemed to perk up the Highworth team and, after seeming down and out, they suddenly looked more dangerous and had a spring in their step again. There were one or two chances at either end but no more scoring.
On the balance of the game as a whole a 1-1 score-line was probably a fair result for what was an entertaining game.
Brimscombe & Thrupp - @btfcthemeadow
Highworth Town - @highworthtownfc