Billericay Town vs Cray Wanderers – Isthmian Premier, Saturday 13th August, 3pm – Match Preview and Directions
This Saturday (13th August) sees the long awaited return of the Isthmian Premier and Cray Wanderers begin another exciting season with a trip to Billericay Town FC. Kick off 3pm
Admission £12 adults, £7 concessions, £3 U12s-17s, £1 U12s. Online or pay on gate (CARD ONLY ON TURNSTILES)
With pre-season now passed Neil Smith has looked to build a mostly new side from the one which last played at Bishop’s Stortford on April 23rd with only Freddy Barton, Anthony Cook and Sam Wood on the retained list .
New arrivals in the summer are goalkeeper Shaun Rowley, defenders Harold Joseph, Jalen Jones, Sinn’kaye Christie and the return of Alex Bentley. In midfield, Sam Skeffington who had a loan spell from Bromley last season has signed along with Jacob Munting who re-joins from Walton Casuals. Also in midfield are Billy Crook and Mitch Chapman and out wide, Nyren Clunis joined from Kingstonian while Michael Ademiluyi arrives from Bowers & Pitsea. There is strength in attack with Danny Bassett and Tom Derry joining from Carshalton Athletic and Welling United respectively. Cray will be looking to improve on last season’s 19th place finish and have assembled a strong looking side with always the possibility of a couple more additions to come.
New signings – Sinn’kaye Christie, Billy Crook and Tom Derry
The Wands face a stiff test on the opening day but an exciting one as Cray head to Billericay Town for the first time since the 2013-14 season. Dan Brown’s side will be expected to be among the leading contenders for the title this season and looking to bounce back following relegation from the National South last season. Billericay were in a battle to stay up with Welling United during the latter part of the season but Welling’s May Day Bank Holiday win at home to Champions elect Maidstone United while Billericay were beaten at home by Ebbsfleet United meant a return to the Isthmian Premier after a four season absence. Billericay though did add silverware winning the Essex Senior Cup for the fourth time after victory against Bowers & Pitsea in the final.
There have been some notable signings at the New Lodge in the summer including striker Chris Dickson (pictured below) who was with the Wands last season and scored twice in the crucial home game with East Thurrock United on 19th April which proved crucial in Cray’s survival in the Premier. Also, Bradley Stevenson who Wands fans may remember from a loan spell during the 2017-18 season arrives from Welling United. Goalkeeper, Harry Seadon, midfielders, Montel Agyemang and Henry Burnett and forwards, John Ufuah, and Jacob Bancroft are amongst a number of new signings who could feature against the Wands.
The sides have only met in league competition eight times since 2009-10 and the Wands have won just once which was the last league meeting on 29th March, 2014 with Cray winning 2-1 at Billericay. That was Cray’s last win in the Premier until August 2019.
Billericay Football Club were founded in 1880 and their early years were in Essex regional leagues and changed their name to Billericay Town in 1946. In 1966 they were original members of the Essex Olympian League and were back to back champions in 1969-70 and 1970-71 earning promotion to the Essex Senior League where they were a strong force around the time that Cray Wanderers were building title winning sides in the Metropolitan League and London Spartan Leagues. Billericay won the Essex League three times in four seasons between 1972-77 and became a force in cup football winning the FA Vase three times in 1975-76 beating Stamford 1-0 at Wembley, 1976-77 after a replay vs Sheffield (1-0) played at Nottingham Forest and 1978-79 also at Wembley beating Almondsbury Greenway , 4-1. They were Athenian League Champions in 1977-78 and 1978-79 and were promoted to the Isthmian League for the first time. Back to back promotions saw Billericay promoted to the Premier Division where they remained until 1985-86. After a bit of tooing and froing between the divisions, they returned to the Premier in 1997-98 and also reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup for the first time losing to Wisbech Town.
In 2004-05, Billericay finished 2nd in the Isthmian Premier but were beaten in the playoffs by Leyton and reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup again losing to Stevenage and reached the playoff final in 2006-07 but lost to Bromley on penalties. In 2007-08 , Billericay once again reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup losing at home to Swansea City. In 2011-12 Billericay were crowned champions of the Isthmian Premier but stayed in the National South for one season before returning. In 2017-18 Billericay won the Isthmian Premier once again and also reached the Quarter Finals of the FA Trophy for the first time. Billericay finished 8th in 2018-19, their highest league position before relegation last season.
This should be a great game to start the season between two sides looking to put the difficulties of last season behind them on what is likely to be a hot mid August afternoo
DIRECTIONS TO BILLERICAY TOWN FC
Blunt s Wall Road
ESSEX CM12 9SA
Admission Prices: Adult: £12, Concessions at £7.00, Under 12s-U17’s £3, U11’s £1
Admission by card only – at gate or online
Printed Programme: Yes
PLEASE NOTE THAT IS EXPECTED TO VERY HOT ON SATURDAY SO PLEASE TAKE CARE TRAVELLING IN THE SUN.
Driving: There is no parking available for supporters at the ground so it is a case of finding some street parking,
Leave the M25 to Junction 28 and take the A12(E) towards Chelmsford. Leave the A12 at Junction 12 and head for a short distance towards Mountnessing (B1002). At the next roundabout take the second exit onto Widvale Road (signposted Billericay). Continue along Wivdale Road as it bears right and then becomes Wash Road. At the next mini roundabout take the first exit onto Rayleigh Road. This is the A129 Billericay Road. On reaching a Ford Garage on the left hand side of a crossroads turn right onto Tye Common Road and then take the second next right onto Blunts Wall Road for the ground.
Train: Please note that due to Industrial action called by the ASLEF Union on Saturday 13th August, Greater Anglia Services out of Liverpool Street/Stratford will be greatly affected on this occasion. Best check with national rail enquiries online for more information. If you should find yourself at the railway station it is located one mile away from the ground or around a 20 minute walk. As you exit the station entrance, proceed straight up the station approach road in front of you. At the top of the station approach road, turn right onto Radford Way. At the bottom of Radford Way turn right at the mini roundabout onto Stock Road. Proceed across the bridge above the railway. After passing the Railway Pub on the right, take the next right hand turn into Western Way. Continue straight along Western Road for around three-quarters of a mile, until you will reach Blunts Wall Road, where you turn right for the ground entrance.
Where to Drink
On past visits to Billericay Town, the club house is exceptionally good and I recall upstairs seating too if my memory is not mistaken.
There is plenty of choice in Billericay High Street if you get there early enough. For Wetherspoon’s fans there is the Blue Boar which I don’t recall on our last visit in 2014. Close by are the Railway pub which I did go to before and is an excellent choice even if you don’t need to catch a train and the Coach & Horses on Chapel Street, both listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide for the real ale lovers amongst you. A little further away on Mountnessing Road is the Inn on the Green and you also have the Kings Head, The Duke’s Head, The Forge and the Fox and Hounds all there if you want to make a day of it.
Churchill’s Fish & Chip shop (60 High Street) is probably the nearest to the ground and amongst the very impressive High Street.
Billericay is a commuter town in Essex in the borough of Basildon. During the Peasants revolt of 1381 there was a battle between King Richard II’s army at Norsey Wood in Billericay and the local rebels which the King ultimately won. The club badge features the legendary Mayflower ship which set off with the Pilgrim Fathers to settle in the East Coast of what is now the United States and Billericay was used as a meeting place by the Pilgrim Fathers before setting sail and the Ship’s governor, Christopher Martin was from Billericay. The badge is one of three that features the Mayflower along with Plymouth Argyle and Boston United. In 2016 during the 1st World War, a German Airship was shot down over Billericay and just missed the High Street.
Billericay is the birth place of singer-songwriter Alison Moyet, comedian/actor Lee Evans and TV presenter/author Richard Osman. Also one of the great punk/new wave lyricists of all time Ian Dury introduced the world to “Billericay Dickie” on the 1977 album, New Boots & Panties and his amorous ways especially with Joyce and Vicky.