Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Dorking Wanderers F.C. - Westhumble Playing Fields

Dorking Wanderers F.C.
Dorking Wanderers F.C.
Westhumble Playing Fields
London Road

Ground Number: 68
Date: Tuesday 30th January 2018
Score: Dorking Wanderers F.C. 2-2 Tooting and Mitcham United F.C.
Competition: Bostik League Premier Division
Attendance: 195

As a groundhopper, I normally have around 5 grounds that I really want to every season and so far I have ticked off 4 of the 5 grounds that I really wanted to visit which are Skinners Field, Croydon Sports Arena, Nyewood Lane and Grosvenor Vale and there was one team/ground left I had on my list which is Westhumble Playing Fields which is the home of Dorking Wanderers.
The reason why Dorking has been on my top 5 list for this season is because they are moving out of Westhumble in early 2018 and I wanted to visit the ground before they moved out. Dorking Wanderers are moving into Meadowbank which was the old home of Dorking FC who now no longer exist. Meadowbank was originally closed due to it being unsafe but Dorking Wanderers have made some changes to make it suitable and they will be moving in during the early months of 2018.
Since the plans of Dorking moving into Meadowbank have been released, I have been trying to find a game when I can go to Westhumble but most of the time, Sutton have been playing at home when Dorking are playing at home and I haven't been willing to miss a home game to visit Westhumble. Throughout November and December 2017, there was a few opportunities for me to visit Westhumble but it would mean I would need around £30 for the visit but since it was the run up to Christmas, I didn't have a lot of money and I couldn't afford to go there.
However, after Christmas I had some money left over and whilst looking through Dorking's fixtures, I saw that they were home to Tooting and Mitcham on Tueaday 30th Janaury and Sutton weren't playing on that day and my dad had the day off which meant I wouldn't need to spend my money on the game and I would be able to save that money for another groundhop because once I told my dad about this game, he said he wants to go and he said he would pay for it.
The week before the game was spent at college doing some assignments and then on Saturday, I was supposed to be at Barrow AFC but it got postponed and so I went to Lancaster City FC instead and you can read about my adventure here. Sunday was a chilled day of just being at home and so was Monday and the only thing I did on Monday was went into Sutton to get some things for my trip to New York in two weeks. I had time to watch some previous highlights of Dorking's games this season and I also got to look into their history before going to bed at 11pm.
Dorking Wanderers were founded in 1999 and are based in Westhumble near Dorking and they currently play their home games at Westhumble Playing Fields and the ground has a capacity of 1,500 and there are around 250 seats. The club's nickname is `Wanderers` and they currently play in the Bostik League Premier Division (England's 7th Tier). They've had 10 promotions in 18 years which is unbelievable. The club started out in the Crawley and District Football League and then swapped to the West Sussex League. By then the Sussex and they already had a few promotions under their belt and they had ground problems just after 2010. The club joined the Isthmian League (now Bostik League) in the 2015/16 season and joined the Division One South of the Bostik League and by the end of the 2016/17 season, they were promoted to the Bostik Premier after being neighbours Corinthian-Casuals in the play off final on penalties at Westhumble.
I woke up on Tuesday at 7am feeling very tired and then spent around an hour on my phone and then did some housework for my mum and then I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon at home because I wasn't at college today because I didn't have any work to do so once again they said I may as well stay at home. I quickly picked up my sister from school at 3pm and then my dad came round at 3:30pm and I got my things ready for tonight as I was staying round there. I then went back to my dads and had dinner which was fish and chips and then we watched some of `Pointless` before leaving my dads at 5:30pm.
I originally wanted to leave at 5pm to try and go to the Stepping Stones pub in Westhumble but seeing as my dad didn't have a lot of money for tonight, we decided to leave the pub out of tonight's plan and just leave a bit later and go straight to the ground. We left my dad's house at 5:25pm and there here was a bit of traffic in Carshalton and Epsom but we found ourselves on the open road to Dorking by 6:25pm and funnily enough, this was the way that we take when we go to Bognor but obviously we weren't going to Bognor tonight!
Whilst driving through Leatherhead, we decided that we would park in the small village of Westhumble and walk to the ground and when we arrived in Westhumble, I didn't realise that the roads were narrow but we found somewhere to park just past Box Hill and Westhumble Station and we checked Google Maps and the ground was a 10 minute walk which isn't bad but when we walked past the pub, I was a little annoyed but I suppose drinking when I've got college tomorrow isn't the best idea!
Whilst walking down the main road, I was slightly blinded by the headlights from the oncoming cars but we managed to get to the ground at 6:50pm with our sight still intact! The car park seemed busy but then I suppose it would be because the nearest place to park is at least a 5 minute walk if you're lucky to find a space that near to the ground! We paid to get in and tonight's admission prices were £10 for my dad and £7 for me (concession) so £17 to see a Tier 7 game which isn't bad! We then purchased a programme for £2 and a Dorking Wanderers pin badge for £3 and we then walked round the ground to take some pictures of the ground which is my 70th ground and 68th on the blog!

Westhumble Playing Fields has a capacity of 1,500 are around 250 seats. The ground is not the best and is not very built but this is because the ground is located in a green belt area. There are two small seated stands which together hold around 250 seats and a small bar and tea hut, behind one of the goals is a completely open flat terrace and behind the other goal is another flat terrace but with a small covered terrace that can hold around 50 people and is located next to the goal. The ground only has 3 sides as the side opposite the main stands is just a fence behind the dugouts. I like the ground as it is open and in beautiful surroundings but in terms of facilities at the ground, its not the best and should really be in the Step 9 not Step 7!
After walking round the ground to take some pictures, we went inside the bar and it is very small but modern and I kind of like it but there is no dart board or pool table which was annoying. We then read the Non-League Paper as there was one on a table and we then got something hot to drink which was a coffee for my dad and a hot chocolate like normal for me! We then went and sat in the stand and read the programme whilst having our hot drinks. The teams then came out and I got some pictures and then we went and stood in the covered terrace behind the goal as Dorking Wanderers were kicking that way.
The first half kicked off and it looked very even. The first chance of the game came in the 9th minute when Dorking shot at goal but the shot went just past the post. The next 10 minutes of the game was fairly even with no chances coming through but on 20 minutes, Dorking was given a free kick but the shot went over the goal and the score remained 0-0. Tooting and Mitcham then had a chance on 27 minutes but it didn't trouble the Dorking goalkeeper. Dorking then had a shot 6 minutes later but nothing came from it but then one minute later, bottom place Tooting and Mitcham took the lead and the travelling support went wild. Tooting then had a chance to make it 2-0 before half time but the Dorking goalkeeper was on hand to keep the score at 1-0.
Half time and it was Dorking Wanderers 0-1 Tooting and Mitcham and looked very even in the first half but come to the last 10 minutes of the half and Tooting seemed to gain a lot of confidence and looked much stronger and I suppose Tooting did deserve to be winning based on their excellent 10 minute spell. We went back to the tea hut and I decided to get a bottle of water and a bacon roll and my dad just got another coffee and I have to say that the bacon roll wasn't the best and the bacon didn't have much flavour and I would probably recommend trying a hot dog or burger if you ever go to Westhumble. We then went and sat in the stand for the second half.
The second started very lively as Dorking had the chance to make it 1-1 after only 4 minutes being played of the second half and there was a scramble in the box but Tooting managed to clear the ball. Dorking then had another chance two minutes later but the ball was headed over and the lead still remained with Tooting and Mitcham. Dorking levelled the scoring on 56 minutes and the 150 or so Dorking fans went wild. Dorking then had a chance to make it 2-1 via a header but the Tooting goalkeeper was on hand it keep it at 1-1.
Dorking then took the lead on 61 minutes via Daniel Walker who is a new signing for the club and then Tooting started to get back into the game and managed to have a shot over the goal and have a cross into the box but the Tooting player wasn't able to get to the ball in time but it all seemed like game over in the 90th minute when Dorking were awarded a penalty but the Dorking player shot the ball over the goal with too much power and then with 3 minutes added time, Tooting continued to press on and with a minute to go, they were awarded a corner and they managed to score from thr aftermath and they had gained a large point in their relegation battle and it finished Dorking Wanderers 2-2 Tooting and Mitcham.
We walked back to the car feeling slightly disappointed that Dorking didn't get the win but none the less it was a good game of football and we had finally ticked off Westhumble Playing Fields and all in for around £30 which was good value for money for a evening in Westhumble for football. Once back in the car, we drove back to my dad's house and I was updating my social media whilst on the way back and we got back at 10:30pm. I would recommend going to Westhumble Playing Fields before Dorking Wanderers leave the ground but you will have to do it ASAP as they only have a couple of games left there!
Stadium: 6/10
Bar: 6/10
Food and Drink: 7/10
Atmosphere: 7/10
Friendliness: 8/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Overall Rating: 6.8/10

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