Sunday 8 May 2011

Rayners Lane

I visited Rayners Lane back on Sunday 26th September 2010, as the last game of the Hellenic League 'hop'. They play in Division One East of that competition. The tidy ground is a lovely venue, & it was a decent enough game to watch, once the match was finally sorted! Initially it was a cup tie against Launton Sports, but the visitors couldn't raise a side. Northwood agreed to step in, to save the day, for a friendly, but their manager was sacked the night before, so they then pulled out! At very short notice Rayners Lane pulled out all the stops to get some oppostion, and ended up playing Middlesex Leaguers Broadfields United! An old cup was found to play for, so it was officially a competitive encounter, which finished 2-2 on a very wet afternoon; going straight to penalties. Broadfields winning the shootout 5-3.

The clubhouse is the first thing you see on entering the grounds. The pitch is to the left, you could walk in that way, but the 'gate' table & programmes were the other way past the clubhouse.

At the end of this drive.

Some of the hoppers present were busy taking down the teams as they were being written up on the board!

We are just ot the right of the changing rooms, which are all part of the club building we walked past to get in. Looking toward the pitch we see the 'tunnel' & two small stands opposite, on the dugouts side of the tree lined ground.

They are of similar size.

This is the other one.

Instead of taking snaps immediately I waited a little, by which time the rain has started to fall, so we will stroll round in the wet! As you can see from this snap in front of the buildings.

Hard stading at the front, with park benches along the slight grass slope, more hard standing behind that, as we saw in the previous photo.

This is the tea bar, with the team line-ups board next to it.

Who needs a notebook eh? ;-)

Moving onwards there are picnic style tables and chairs outside the bar area, & a covered wooden verandah for the smokers.

Taken over by a cluster of groundhoppers sheltering from the downpour.

Beyond this point it is just railed off.

Glancing back along the clubhouse side.

It can be very lonely being a golakeeper sometimes!

Turning the corner it is still only railed off, nothing firm underfoot.

This small plaque is in front of the trees. I actually missed it initially, only noticing it on the way out.

From this end we look back along the side we've seen.

Now moving on, toward the goal.

Past the net, to our left, we see the covered stands.

At the next corner now.

Again just a grassed area to stand along the side, with the rail continuing.

Here we reach the first section of cover, with paved hard standing in front of it.

There are two rows of benches under the roof.

In front of this stand we see the first dugout is just past it.

This is the stand, from on the pitch.

Then we get to the next one.

From this part of the ground, inbetween the two small stands, we turn back to one of the dugouts.

Here we see the dugout from pitchside, with the next stand beyond it.

Like the other one the second stand has two rows of blue benching.

Also paved hard standing in front, & the second dugout past it.

Seeing inside it, once the spectators have left.

The two stands in the same photo, from on the pitch.

Past the second enclosure now, looking back at it.

Past the dugout the hardstanding continues up to the corner.

The trees are a delightful backdrop.

Almost at the next corner.

Looking at all the greenery it's hard to imagine that we are still well within the Greater London boundary.

Another corner flag shot over the pitch.

Now behind the goal at this end, the paved hard standing continues at this end.

From the edge of the area we see the stands once more.

And then directly up the pitch.

The paved path around the pitch ends where the trees finish too. There is then an open car park area.

More than usual parked up today, thanks to the 'hop'.

Along the clubhouse side the paving starts up once more.

And here we are back where we began, at the 'tunnel', for the start of the match.

The teams line up for the hand shaking & to meet Hellenic dignitaries & the 'hop' organiser.

There they go, working themselves along the line.

A few action shots...

Before the penalty shoot out.

Game over, off they come!

Time for the goalmouths to be protected.

Job done!

The duo behind the 'hop', & many successful others. Many thanks to them for all their hard work in getting things organised,

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