I’ve been meaning to tick off Dorchester Town’s home, ‘The Avenue’, every since I began on this whole groundhopping adventure back in January 2014. It was recommended to me on numerous occasions, I know a couple of lads who claim to support Dorchester, and it’s ever so easy to reach via train. Unfortunately, I’d never got round to it. Something else was always getting in the way. Until now, I made the decision, I was finally going to Dorchester…
Let’s be honest here, it wasn’t exactly as exciting as I’m making it out to be. A pre-season game, in the picturesque town of Dorchester, against freely-spending Wessex Premier side Salisbury FC. I’m sure there were better things I could have been doing with my Wednesday evening, but a lot of you reading this are in the same boat as me. There really is nothing I’d want to do on a sunny July evening other than watch football. Onwards to Dorch please driver!
My train rolled into Dorchester with a good hour or so until kick-off, so the only thing remaining to do was find the ground. Quick left and then left again and I was on the main road heading towards The Avenue. 15 minutes later, I found my destination, or at least I thought I had. If you’ve ever had a discussion about the club, their neighbours Tesco are often jokingly bought into the conversation (the ground is literally smack bang next door to a Tesco store). Turning left at the road signs showing the ground, I found myself staring through the window of their supermarket friends. Needless to say, jokes of wingers bombing down the fruit and veg aisle were soon inhabiting my mind…
For a simple mind like mine, the next issue was buying a ticket. Locating the only open turnstile, I was directed to the ticket office, where I was charged full whack (£8), as apparently the club don’t recognise the existence of students. I was turned away for a concessions for being too young (over 65’s only please), and voted against asking for an U16’s as my dodgy facial hair that evening probably would have given the game away. Fuming at what was an overly expensive ticket for their first friendly of the season, I walked through the turnstile to have my ticket taken off me for counting reasons. I don’t know how big time Dorchester Town think they are, but it was all a bit pointless. Ticked me off a bit too. I felt like I should have been able to keep my piece of paper having re-mortgaged my parents house to get into the game in the first place.
I enjoyed a pint in the newly refurbished bar area with the time I had remaining before kick-off, whilst tolerating the tennis that was being shown live on the TV ahead of me. I think it was a big game in some well-known tennis competition beginning with W and ending in ‘On’. Might have been the Wolverhampton Championships, but there was definitely a lot of unnecessary grunting every time a ball was hit.
With kick-off approaching, I made my way around and into the large seated stand on the near touchline to enjoy the first half. The ground is obviously at Conference level standard, with the main seated stand being joined by standing terraces across the rest of the place. I perched myself in the seats to enjoy the opening 45 minutes, allowing me to gratefully take advantage of the team sheets that were being dished out.
The two sides were separated only by a late goal at the interval, in what in all honesty was another drab half of football. I would elaborate more on how the goal was actually scored, but in truth, I’ve completely forgotten. There seems to be something about opening pre-season games lacking any real quality at the moment…
My mood was brightened by the purchase of a half-time chip butty however, as well as joined by Gabriel and James (a Weymouth fan by the way) behind the goal for the second half. The interval soon passed with both sides entering the pitch for another 45 minutes of scintillating pre-season action.
I don’t remember exactly how much I was charged for my half-time snack, but I remember thinking it was slightly overpriced. That being said, the food was excellent, and so my complaints soon dwindled as I tucked into my grub. Give my regards to the chef please.
Having been dragged into an improptu photo, in which the floor seems to have grabbed my attention, I turned back to the football ahead of me. Yup, still lacking that spark that you get from competitive football. The game was ultimately settled by a second Salisbury goal in the 84th minute, but I don’t remember a great deal else happening. I certainly couldn’t tell you how the goal was scored, possibly a header if my vague memory is telling me the truth. That’s not with any disrespect to either side, I’ve just published this blog three weeks late!
The Avenue is a fantastic ground, and despite my annoyances, I did enjoy my evening at the game. I love the feeling of character that surrounds the place, and how everybody seems to know everybody else as they walk around the ground. Don’t get me wrong though, I wasn’t happy about paying league prices for a friendly, and perhaps the club could look into adjusting that for coming seasons. That’s just my opinion however, a lot more goes into pricing decisions than an 18 year old lad ranting about it on the internet!