Grier's Guide to East Thurrock
When: Saturday 18th January 2020, 3.00pm kick-off
The town: Thurrock is a borough on the northern banks of the Thames Estuary, home to Tilbury docks along with the Circus Tavern of darts fame and Lakeside shopping centre. Corringham, where the ground is, has a distinct feel of an English village with a pretty church, a pub and a green all sitting opposite the ground. You'd have no idea that just a short stroll from Rookery Hill sits the huge London Gateway docks, designed to take the sort of mega-sized modern container ships that can't dock at the older ports further down the river.
The ground: Rookery Hill, Corringham, Essex, SS17 9LB. A slightly cobbled together feel with various small stands and shelters dotted round the ground.
Directions: Stanford-le-Hope station is 50 minutes from Fenchurch Street or 40 minutes from West Ham. The 100 bus will then take you to Corringham. By car a traffic-free run would get you there in an hour and a quarter. There's a free car park at the ground and if it gets full there's plenty of parking on nearby roads.
Our record there: Our most memorable visit was on the opening day of the 2012-13 season, when we drew 1-1 after Andre McCollin was sent off on his debut after clashing with Steve Sheehan, and Wade Small was robbed of a late winner by the referee's ludicrous failure to play advantage when he was wiped out in the process of scoring.
Players to watch: Frankie Merrifield spent most of his career in midfield but has now made a successful move up front and has 14 goals this season. Veteran defender Sheehan is now back at The Rocks following spells with Billericay and Canvey.
Recent form: Seven points from their last three games for the playoff contenders, thanks to a creditable 0-0 draw against high-flying Worthing and away wins over Margate and Bowers & Pitsea.
Crowd: One of the lesser-supported teams in the league but it's usually a friendly place to go and their crowds are better than they used to be following years at Conference South and Ryman Premier level.
Drinking: The Bull, practically opposite the ground by the village green, is the obvious choice and has the feel of a pleasant local. Stanford-le-Hope also has options near the station.
Food: The tea bar was always decent, although it's a few years since we've visited now. Otherwise The Bull is again the obvious option, serving either main meals or sandwiches.