The Rooks go back on the road on Saturday heading to 4th placed Walton Casuals in what promises to be a tight affair. Last week’s win over Cray Wanderers gave the whole squad a massive lift and for a few minutes had the Rooks on top of the Bostik League South. Despite picking up what looked like a serious injury in the second half Bouwe Bosma should be fit enough for the game whilst Jonte Smith is still struggling with his foot injury.
How has this season been so far?
Anthony Gale’s side have once again made a flying start to the season, winning their first five games including the FA Cup tie against Molesey and topped the league throughout August. Defeats against Herne Bay and VCD Athletic, as well as the draw in the opening game at the new stadium against Horsham have seen them drop a few places but they cannot be underestimated. Josh Kelly has scored seven times for them so far including two in the defeat of Kingstonian on Tuesday in the Velocity League Cup. Former Rook Max Hustwick recently signed for them.
How was last season?
Casuals certainly weren’t goal shy last season, scoring 98 goals but
unfortunately, they shipped 99 at the other end. A 7-0 win over Molesey was tempered by a 7-3
defeat at home to East Grinstead Town.
Defeats against the teams at the top ultimately cost them a higher
league position. Unfortunately, the fans
stayed away with the average home attendance as a record low and only two
league attendances breaking the 100 mark during the season. The club will be hoping those fans will
return when the club gets back to Waterside in the Autumn.
Isthmian League South Division – 13th – P 46 W 19 D 8 L 19 GS 98 GA 99 GD -1 PTS 65
FA Cup – Third Qualifying Round – lost away to Moneyfields
FA Trophy –
1st Qualifying Round – lost away to Hythe Town 3-2
Surrey Senior Cup – Second Round – Lost away to
Ryman League Cup – First Round – Lost away to
When did we last meet
Back in August 2016 Walton Casuals were the first visitors to the Pan of
the new season and took away all three points whilst in the return fixture at
Church Road the Rooks won a bruising encounter 2-1 thanks to goals from Charlie
Coppola and Ronnie Conlon, although the game will be better remembered for a
horrible facial injury to James Hammond.
About Elmbridge Sports Hub (Waterside)
After spending two seasons in exile, Walton Casuals returned to
Walton-on-Thames two weeks ago at the redeveloped Elmbridge
Sports Hub, where local rivals Walton & Hersham will also be in
residence. The redeveloped ground,
costing £20m (and partly funded by the sale of Walton & Hersham’s Stompond
Lane ground), also includes two full-size 3G pitches, an athletics track
and a big, new clubhouse. Similar in look and feel to Thamesmead Town’s former ground for those who remember that.
How to get to ElmBridge
The ground is about a mile north of Walton-on-Thames Town
Centre on the edge of the River Thames. From Lewes, head north
up the A23 from the A27 then M23, M25 clockwise until junction 10. Head north on the A3 for a mile until the
Painshill junction and take a left onto the A245 then right again after a few
hundred yards onto Seven Hills Road.
Follow the road into the Town Centre then follow signs for the A3050 s/p
Hampton Court. At the second roundabout after ¾ mile take a left into Waterside
Drive and follow to the end and round to the right where the car park for
Waterside is. It’s a 60-mile trip each way and should take around 90 minutes.
The nearest station is Walton-on-Thames which is 25-minutes
journey time from Clapham Junction in the direct of Woking. The station is
around a 45-minute walk to the ground and so a taxi may be the best option but
you will miss out on some decent pubs in the town centre.
Admission at Elmbridge
Admission last season was £9 for adults at Church Road, £5 for concessions
(senior citizens, students and Under18s), accompanied under 16s were £5 and
Under12s were admitted free. It’s unclear what the pricing strategy will be
this season at Waterside.
Fancy a beer?
Walton has some decent pubs including the Anglers and the Swan on Manor
Road on the way to the ground and on the Thames, whilst the Regent in Church
Street is a former Cinema but has a decent beer menu.