Groundhopper: St Cuthbert Wanderers 4 Nithsdale Wanderers 2 Malcolm Stephenson

St Cuthbert Wanderers 4 Nithsdale Wanderers 2 (30/7/2016)

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It’s only about eight weeks from last season since I watched my last competitive game. The time between each season seems to become shorter and shorter as time goes on.
I was only holiday in Dumfries and Galloway and was due to leave for home the day of the match. I managed to persuade the wife to stay a bit longer as i took in this match in Kirkcudbright, a pleasant and picturesque harbour Town on the Solway Coast.
The club is named after the Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne the Patron Saint of Kirkudbright and they play at St Marys park. Apparently a group of young men met before going to church one Sunday and decided to set up a football club. They did just that, forming in 1879. It’s a really tidy little set up for this South of Scotland league club. You go through the doubles gates and someone is there at a little table to take the admission. There are no turnstiles as such. As I expected there was no match day programme although one of the officials  offered to send me one from a previous Scottish cup game. Many smaller clubs do this now ie just publish one for bigger cup games. I offered to give him something for these programmes and include the postage but he would not take anything. There’s service for you!
The side you go into the ground has the changing rooms, tea room and club offices. Opposite is a tidy covered stand but there are no seats anywhere in the ground. Around the pitch are railings but with two alcoves down each side of the pitch to include portable goalposts. This would appear to support local junior (Children’s) football as the club has a 3G pitch which undoubtedly services the local community as well. The council put this pitch in for the club. There is no terracing but some hard standing around parts of the ground. The ground also has four floodlight posts down each side of the pitch. Behind each goal are large metal fences to stop the ball going out of play. As i say they are really big and in immaculate conditions unlike many dilapidated fences/netting i have seen at many other grounds.
St Cuthberts game out in blue and white strips. The opponents today were Nithsdale Wanderers who wore an all black strip appearing more like undertakers assistants with shorts instead of trousers, than footballers. Nithsdale were once a Scottish football league club for four years but dropped out in 1927. They completely folded in 1964. The club is from Sanaquar in Dumfries and Galloway and after they folded they were not reformed for another 37 years until 2001.
Both teams were eager to get going before kickoff for the competitive stuff once again after weeks of training and friendly games. A local paper predicted a convincing score line for the home team and current league champions. I suspect they did not go up the pyramid system due to increased travelling costs. The game kicked off and if anything the visitors were creating a few more actual chances on goal. The game was heading towards a 0-0 score line as the first half was creeping towards the last 10 minutes. St Cuthberts took the lead before the break and added another about 10 minutes after the break as well. The home side seemed to take control of the game and I was thinking Nithsdale were not going to come back from 2-0 down and a third goal really killed it for the visitors. How wrong was I to be? Nithsdale, in the face of adversity fought back with two quick goals and I thought it was game on. Just as the Nithsdale players were probably thinking the same, disaster struck for them and St Cuthbert scored a fourth to really end the match convincingly.
It was a slow start for the Champions but they won the game handsomely in the end. For Nithsdale it was always going to be a tough start away to the league champions on the first day but they can take courage from their performance.

Admission- £4
Attendance- 60 (estimated)
Programme –none
Scotch pie-£1.20 (excellent)

P1000433

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