Kingstonian v Cray Wanderers – Saturday 10th August, 2019
Saturday sees the moment Cray Wanderers supporters have eagerly awaiting and the start of the 2019-20 BetVictor Isthmian Premier League Season. Cray Wanderers after a five year absence are back in Step 3 football and relishing the chance to back but have a tough start to the campaign with a trip to highly fancied Kingstonian. Kick off at King George’s Field is 3pm.
Tony Russell’s side has steered its way through eight pre-season games and generally has gone very well with six wins and two defeats and plenty of goals. Like most pre-season’s there have been some new arrivals at the club and a few departures who everyone at the club wishes well. Four players have signed, goalkeeper Lewis Carey who has impressed during the pre-season games, midfield general Charlie Allen, and wide players Tom Murphy and Andre Coker.
The team assembled looks strong with Carey assured in goal, defensively quick and commanding with Barney Williams, Tom Carlse, Jay Leader and Mitchell Nelson at the back. The midfield area is an embarrassment of riches with Bradley Pritchard, Tom Phipp, Charlie Allen, Karl Dent, Lee Lewis and Charles Etumnu and out wide Jerome Federico, Aaron Rhule, Tom Murphy and Andre Coker. Up front Joe Taylor has been superb in pre-season with ten goals including five in one match at Whitstable Town while Freddie Parker continues to blossom and scored a hat-trick in the home game with Tonbridge Angels.
Last season saw Cray Wanderers win the Isthmian South-East with 82 points and win their first title at this level and this was a deserved success after the near miss of the season before. The step up to the Premier Division is an exciting one and although all the teams deserve respect Cray Wanderers can go into each game with confidence and the team are raring to go.
Certainly the Wands have a tough start to the campaign with a visit to Kingstonian who are under new management with former Bromley boss Hayden Bird taking over in the summer from Merstham who he led to the Isthmian Premier Playoff final last season. Hayden is assisted by another ex-Bromley man Tutu Henriques. The club have shown their intent in the summer by snapping up 11 players from last season’s Merstham side, Amadou Tangara. Michael Abnett, Ben Harrison, Ollie Cook, Simon Cooper, Tom Cavanagh, Kenny Beaney, Gus Sow, Fabio Saraiva, Dan Bennett, and Calum Davies with five other signings. Jerry Puemo, Youssouf Bamba (who Cray might remember from his Walton Casuals days), Dan Hector, Dan Thompson and Reece Hall so plenty of new arrivals.
Kingstonian will be looking to improve to improve on last season’s 18th place finish in the Isthmian Premier and they look well equipped to make a challenge this season.
The K’s were formed in 1885 and in 1919 just after World War I became an amalgamation of two clubs Kingston Town and Old Kingstonians. In 1929 the club were accepted into the Isthmian League where they have but for a short period spent a lot of their history. In 1932-33 they won the FA Amateur Cup beating Stockton 4-1 in a final replay at Darlington. They reached the final again in 1959-60 at Wembley where they lost to Hendon.
Their golden era came in the late 90’s under the astute management of Geoff Chapple and the team were promoted to the Conference as Champions of the Isthmian Premier in 1997-98. They remained in the Conference for three years earning a reputation as a great cup side winning the FA Trophy two years in a row in 1999 and 2000 in the last finals at the old Wembley beating Forest Green Rovers and Kettering Town. The following season despite relegation reached the 4th Round of the FA Cup beating Brentford and Southend along the way before losing after a replay at Bristol City. They had one or two struggles back in the Isthmian and were relegated to Division One in 2004-05 therefore meeting Cray Wanderers in league football for the first time. They gained promotion in 2008-09 as Champions with Cray going up in the playoffs. They’ve been in the Premier since then and twice reached the playoffs under Alan Dowson in 2009-10 losing to Boreham Wood in the Final and in 2013-14 in the semi-finals to AFC Hornchurch.
The club had to leave their former Kingsmeadow ground now owned by AFC Wimbledon (and also used by Chelsea ladies and youth teams) after the 2016-17 season and the following year groundshared at Leatherhead FC. In 2018-19 the club moved back to the London Borough of Kingston-upon Thames with another ground share arrangement with Corinthian Casuals and now after a few seasons of uncertainty look to be heading in the right direction.
Cray have met Kingstonian 18 times in league competition and the Wands record is in need of improvement with 3 wins, 5 draws and 10 defeats including the last 4 league meetings. The last visit to Kingstonian was in December 2013 with the home side winning 4-0 and repeated the same score at Hayes Lane in April 2014 which virtually confirmed Cray’s relegation from the Premier. The sides have also met in a number of cup competitions over the years, including 3 meetings in the FA Cup with Cray winning 4-1 in 2005-06 during the Wands run to the 4th Qualifying Round. We’ve also met in the FA Trophy, Isthmian League Cup and London Senior Cup with Kingstonian winning those ties.
A club of Kingstonian’s stature in the Isthmian League Premier over many years makes it a very fitting return to the league for Cray and proof how big this division is and a positive result for Cray would be a great start to the season.
DIRECTIONS TO KINGSTONIAN FC
King Georges Field
Queen Marys Close
Hook Rise South
SURREY KT6 7NA
Admission Prices: Adults: £10.00
Concessions: £6.00 (OAP’s, Carers)
Travelling By Car
The ground is situated just off the A3 not far from the Tolworth roundabout. If you are travelling from the M25 you can join the A3 at junction 10 towards London. Stay on the A3 until you reach the 50mph speed limit, continue under the Hook roundabout and move into the left hand lane for about 174 yards. Bear LEFT onto Hook Rise North for 0.2 mile (Tolworth Junction). At roundabout, take the FOURTH exit (as if you were going to rejoin the A3 going towards Portsmouth) then almost immediately take slip road on left onto Hook Rise South for 0.5 mile.
If you are travelling from London on the A3 take the Tolworth Junction exit. At roundabout, take the SECOND exit (as if you were going to rejoin the A3 going towards Portsmouth) then almost immediately take slip road on left onto Hook Rise South for 0.5 mile.
In both cases please be careful as you may miss the slip road into Hook Rise South.
Turn LEFT into Queen Mary Close. Ground and car park under railway bridge on right hand side. Youth Section pitches and changing rooms are in the park on the left.
Travelling By Train to Tolworth
From London Waterloo take the Chessington South train towards Tolworth.
The ground is situated off Hook Rise South just 10-15 minutes walk from Tolworth railway station. Turn left out of the station and walk up to the roundabout where you should turn left again, past where the Toby Jug pub used to be. Walk alongside the slip road into Hook Rise South. Continue down the road until you reach Queen Mary’s Close, where you will see a small sign for the club. Walk under the bridge and the ground is on the right.
Trains from Waterloo run at 14 and 44 past the hour to Chessington South and takes 28 minutes. Returns to Waterloo run at 13 and 43 past the hour and takes 32 minutes. At this stage trains from Waterloo seem to be running fine which is perfect for the start of the season but just keep a check on any delays or problems.
Travelling By Bus
The following buses travel to Tolworth:
• K1 from new Malden
• 265 From Putney
• K2 from Hook or Kingston Hospital
• 406 and 408 from Kingston and Epsom
• 418 from Kingston
• 281 from Hounslow
THE CRAY MASSIVE ON TOUR – CORINTHIAN CASUALS
Tolworth lies in the Borough of Kingston upon Thames and is real Surrey suburbia. We’ve visited in recent years when playing Corinthian Casuals or those that remember going to Norbiton to face Kingstonian you may have been through if you’ve been to Chessington Zoo or World of Adventures in the past. Lying so close to places like Kingston-upon-Thames, Surbtion, New Malden and Chessington you could find somewhere fairly close to visit should be the game be called off or if you have time on your hands. Also there is Kempton Park and Sandown Park racecourses nearby and Hampton Court if you really want to make a day of it and the Surbiton race-way which is a decent race track for youngsters.
Also Tolworth has a massive musical heritage. Both Eric Clapton and Elvis Costello lived there and the now closed Toby Jug pub, played host to David Bowie in one of his earliest Ziggy Stardust live shows as well as Fleetwood Mac, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, Genesis and many more of the great names of British rock music.
There are not too many pubs in Tolworth with the Broadway Bar and Café on Tolworth Broadway the nearest to the ground. There is the North Star pub and the Maypole which are in Hook Road, Chessington which isn’t too far and in Surbiton there is the Royal Oak.
For Fish and Chip lovers there is the Superfish restaurant in Tolworth Broadway widely regared as the best in South-West London or the Tolworth Fish bar which is in Red Lion Road. For Eastern food on Tolworth Broadway there is the Spice House and Laxmi Sri Lankan cuisine restaurants. Staying on the Broadway there is the Seven Stars Chinese restaurant.
Although not maybe as historical as some places that we have been, it certainly is an area with so much going on around it you will find something of interest to keep your mind occupied on something other than football (or beer).