Blockley Sports & Social Club is on the North-Eastern perimeter of Blockley village. The sports complex hosts both the football team(s) and cricket. There is also a 3g 5-a-side pitch and cricket nets on the site. Accessed just off Station Road, there is a good sized car park and clubhouse which looks out over the cricket and football pitches. There are no covered spectator areas but there are dugouts on the allotment side of the ground, furthest away from the car park. There is a good vantage point behind the clubhouse end goal where a raised walkway runs between the pitch and the 5-a-side area. A few spectators took advantage of this whereas many stood on the cricket pitch side.
It looks to be a pretty good setup for this level of football, although for a West Brom supporter (I do tend to whisper that fact these days, but we'll be back one day), with the home side having a Villa supporting captain and Wolves supporting right-back, it did feel a bit like enemy territory. In all seriousness though, it is worth a visit for any groundhoppers out there who might fancy a change. I came through the village on the way to the ground and it looks very picturesque. Might be worth a stop off before or after a game in one of the two local pubs.
Until the end of last season Blockley had just one team, Blockley Sports. However, following an amicable parting of the ways because of some different ideas, there are now two teams in the village, Blockley FC and Blockley United. A quick look at the Full-Time player register from Blockley Sports shows that the split of players across the two new teams is not too far off 50/50. Looking at the the final Blockley Sports line-up from last season (3-4 home defeat to Inkberrow Academy), 10 of the squad that day were in the teams for this evening's game, seven of them playing for Blockley and three for United.
The Blockley sides met back in September. A Tom Dan goal for Blockley and a Jack Kristunas goal for United, saw the sides fight out a 1-1 draw. Since that time, Blockey have not been on a good run at all. They last won in the league back in October, a 2-1 win at Tysoe United. Both of their three-pointers this season have come on their travels, a plus point for this game even if it is a very short away trip. Top scorer Talib Kargbo (who no longer seems to feature in games) has 8 goals in 9 games, although 5 of these did come in one game, the 6-1 defeat of Bearley back in September.
United last won a league game just last month, a 3-2 win at Inkberrow Academy. They also have a better away record than at home. They have conceded fewer than any other team in the lower half of the table but also don't score too many themselves. Top scorer for United is Javan Nurse with 16 goals in 15 games including 7 in his last 6 outings.
As both teams play in the traditional Blockley colours of gold and black it was Blockley, officially the away side, who had changed kit and were playing in their red and black striped shirts. It was a quite a cagey opening to the game with no real chances created by either team inside the first 10 minutes. On the quarter hour mark Blockley keeper Edd Brownrigg, who I think I saw arrive just a few minutes before kick off, showed great reactions to get down low to a snapshot and turn it around the post for a corner. United were starting to get on top at this point and a couple of minutes later Sam Parsons tried his luck from just outside the box, dragging his effort wide of Brownrigg's right-hand post.
It was just past the half-hour mark when Blockley made United keeper Alex Payne earn his keep for the first time when a deflected cross looped up and was dropping in under his bar before he back-peddled and tipped it over. Two minutes later it was Brownrigg stretching to tip a ball over his bar when a free-kick from inside the United half was pumped into the box, the bounce almost catching out the keeper.
On 35 minutes the home side took the lead. Jack Kristunas cut out a wayward defensive pass about 25 yards out on the right. He immediately slipped it into Javan Nurse who swivelled and hit a cross shot past Brownrigg, only for the ball to come back off the far post. However, there was Callum Peters to slot home the rebound. 1-0
HT Blockley United 1 Blockley 0. On balance the score reflected the game in the first half. United had the lion's share of possession but didn't create as many clear cut chances as they would have liked. Blockley would not count themselves out of this by a long stretch, but they too need to create more and start to test Payne in the home goal.
With just over ten minutes to go the unfortunate Stevens saw another effort come back of the United bar. This time he took a free-kick from the right flank which drifted over everyone before coming back off the woodwork. It was hard to tell if it was a deliberate attempt at goal or a miscued cross but if it was indeed a shot, it was a very good effort. Blockley continued to exert pressure on Payne's goal, forcing a succession of corners but still not finding the breakthrough. Their endeavour to get a goal left them short at the back and twice in the dying minutes Nurse almost made them pay. Firstly bursting into the box on the right before putting in a cross that was, once again, just too far ahead of Peters. Then, with a couple of minutes left, Brownrigg was called upon again, spreading himself well to smother Nurse's close range effort.
FT Blockley United 1 Blockley 0. You can't fault Blockley on second-half effort and, as a neutral, I felt they deserved to have at least had the pleasure of a goal. Ultimately though, United created more chances over the the entire game and Blockley had their keeper Brownrigg (my MOTM) to thank on a number of occasions. I did wonder, with so many players once being team mates, just how amicable the split between the teams really would be. However, the game was played generally in an excellent spirit. The referee did brandish a few yellow cards but, to be honest, there was no malice in the challenges.
Blockley United: A.Payne, Summerhill, Hardiman, Aubrey, Sexton, Kristunas, Curzons, Nurse, Peters, Parsons, K.Payne, Subs: Cooper, Mallory, Matthews, Vick
Blockley: Brownrigg, Tomes, Shotton, Phillips, Cross, Hutt, Francis, Tourell(c), Cashmore, Burdock, Heywood, Clarke, Cook, Wigley, Harte, Stevens
Last Blockley Sports game (3-4 v Inkberrow Academy last May) Bemrose, BURDOCK, CROSS, HUTT, MATTHEWS (u), A.PAYNE (u), K.PAYNE (u), STEVENS, TOMES, Williams, Dean, Halford, PHILLIPS, Varga, WIGLEY, Vanghi
Ground Number: 314