Saturday, 29 August 2020

Ground 300!

Little did I know that when myself and my then housemate Ben (now partner) attended Haig Avenue to watch Southport FC in November 2016 just 'for something to do', that three and a half years later I would have been to three hundred different football grounds and would class myself as a 'groundhopper'. It was a cold evening and I had zero inclination that watching football in this capacity might become a hobby. I didn't even know it could be a hobby.

Fast forward to 2020, after many days travelling to strange places, thousands of miles covered (whether that be by rail, road, air or water), hundreds of goals witnessed, countless coffees consumed and multiple photographs taken, we pulled up to Allithwaite, just outside Grange-over-Sands on the evening of 17th August. The previous day had been overcast, though this day the sun was shining and seemingly ignoring the amassing storm clouds overhead. The conditions were fantastic for photographs and couldn't have picked a more appropriate evening for this occasion. Having seen a few images of Quarry Lane beforehand online, I knew that I would enjoy this one. I was not wrong.

We approached from the top of a hilly lane, already giving us a taste of how we were about to spend the next ninety minutes: we were faced with a large, partially grassed over quarry behind one goal. As we neared more details began to reveal themselves: to out left was a building housing the dressing rooms, alongside this was car parking and a grass bank soon to be dotted with spectators. To our right were a number of houses lining the road running parallel beside the ground and beyond these, further in the distance was the sea. 

This match itself had many aspects which would send some groundhoppers running for the hills: it was played out in 3x 30 minute thirds rather than the traditional 2x 45 minutes halves, there was no programme issued, it was a pre season friendly, it was played between two reserve teams and the pitch was not railed off. To me it was paradise. There are not enough superlatives to describe the ground and I honestly suggest you look to watch a game there yourself, whoever is playing. Cartmel 'A' are currently using it, due to their home ground not yet ready. It was topped off by the appearance of a rainbow, which stayed for almost the entire game.

Here's to the next 300...

You can view the full set of photographs by clicking here.

Ps. I've been terrible at regular blogging throughout August. Will try better in September!

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