Ground number 125
First Visit = Ramsbottom 1-1 Workington (4-11-14) Evo-Stick Premier Division
Another ground that should have been visited a few years ago, being a relatively short and easy journey away. While this is a tidy ground, it seems amazing to think that if Ramsbottom continue their early season form they could find themselves just 2 divisions below the football league.
As the name suggests, this ground is near a river; although it was surprising to look over the wall and see just how close the Irwell is. With a history of flooding it must always provide sleepless nights when we have a long period of prolonged rainfall. The other issue is that the pitch is fairly boggy, with longish grass to protect the surface.
The football and cricket clubs share some of the facilities and it makes for a rather tight perimeter stadium wall along the dugout side of the ground, another potential hitch should they wish to progress further through the football pyramid.
The pie hut was an excellent feature of the ground; a dedicated hut with seating, and handily for a cold night, heating. There is also an effort at a programme shop which is always appreciated . The most welcome aspect, and something I have never seen at this high level of non-league was getting my hot chocolate in a mug. In fact with a relatively sedate crowd, the primary role of the stewards appeared to be mug retrieval!
There is also the slightly surreal background noise of the generator that powers the floodlights. This sounds like it is struggling to produce any power and a decent shout for an abandoned game, but once it gets going the lights are very strong. It was though, slightly disconcerting to see three of the six pylons turned on as the players left the tunnel two minutes before kick off.
Overall this is a fairly standard ground for the level, although it does have some stand out features that mark it out from new grounds like Nantwich.