I came up today to visit my parents in the Cotswolds and met with my father, to visit the Flying Monk ground, in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, for a Midland Hellenic League Division 1 clash. The teams involved were, mid table, Malmesbury Victoria and second in the table, Studley FC.
The Flying Monk ground gets its name from a pub which had owned the site. The club has a record attendance there of 310, set in 2009.
The Midland Hellenic League Division 1 operates at Step ten in the football pyramid, equivalent to the Southern Counties East Football League Division 1, whose matches I have also frequently covered in these pages.
The ground has one covered standing area and one seated and covered stand. The ground also benefits from floodlighting. The pitch is grass and the club is served by a decent clubhouse. For some reason, one of the storage units adjacent to the pitch boasts a graffiti image of an orangutan.
The table prior to the game shows Studley sitting just three points behind leaders, Worcester Raiders, but with two games in hand. Studley also show a two goals a game goal difference, which hopefully indicates that this will be a high scoring and entertaining encounter. Malmesbury Victoria are in mid table comfort, sitting in twelfth place.
Studley’s Alfie Bloomer has top scored in the league this season for them, thus far, with 14 goals from 17 appearances, although Sean Brain has 10 goals from his 10 appearances. For Malmesbury Victoria, Harrison Archer comes into today’s game with 9 goals in his 14 matches.
The game opened with the poor surface causing problems with passing for both sides. In the 22nd minute Dale Edwards for Studley opened the scoring, with a sweetly struck finish from the edge of the box.
Less than a minute later, Studley’s number 9, Dan Carter, made it 2-0, with a half-volleyed finish from just inside the penalty area.
On 37 minutes a fine header by club captain, Dan Carter, made it 3-0, giving him a brace. At the half time break, Studley went in with a comfortable lead.
On 55 minutes Dan Carter slid in, to scoop the ball past Adam Clatworthy, the Malmesbury Victoria keeper, claiming his hat trick and making it 4-0 to Studley.
As the final whistle blew, the crowd of 74 went home, having witnessed a clinical, Studley FC, victory. Studley’s top of the table rivals, Worcester Raiders, had suffered a shock defeat to Abingdon, ensuring that Studley ended the day top of the Midland Hellenic League Division 1, with two games in hand.