Grier's Guide to Bowers and Pitsea
When: Saturday 17 October 2020, 3.00pm kick-off
The club: Bowers United and Pitsea FC merged in 2004, playing in the Essex Senior League. They won promotion to Isthmian 1 North in 2016, also making the semi-finals of the FA Vase, and then the Premier Division in 2019.
The town: Pitsea, where the ground is, is a small town with a long history, now joined to Basildon after the latter was expanded as a new town in the 1960s. Bowers comes from Bowers Gifford, a village in between Pitsea and Benfleet.
The ground: The Len Salmon Stadium, Crown Avenue, Pitsea, Essex, SS13 2BE. It has a decent-sized main stand, a good covered terrace behind one goal and a smaller one behind the other.
Ticket prices: £12 adults, £6 OAPs/students/12-16 year olds, £3 7-12 year olds, free for under 6s.
Covid security: Tickets can be bought online in advance (https://bowersandpitseafc.ktckts.com/) but can also be bought on the turnstile. Temperature checks may be in operation, and everyone will have to give test and trace details and respect social distancing. Their website specifically notes that goal celebrations are banned, other than elbow taps.
Directions: About an hour and a half from Kingston if traffic is OK - head round the M25 and over the Dartford Crossing (remember to pay for it online) and then take the A13 towards Pitsea. There's a car park at the ground, with more spaces at the nearby Eversley Centre on Crest Avenue if it gets full. Pitsea station is half an hour's walk away, although buses 5, 5A and 5B will take you there from either Pitsea or Basildon. Both are on the line from Fenchurch Street and West Ham.
Our record there: Last season's visit was scheduled for April and didn't get played before lockdown - this is therefore a new ground for Ks and, it's fair to assume, the vast majority of our fans. The two teams did play out a fairly miserable goalless draw at King George's Field near the start of the season. The nearest we've played is probably Basildon United, where we won 2-0 on our only visit in 1985.
Recent form: Bowers and Pitsea were the surprise early league leaders with three wins and a draw, a 7-0 hammering of Leatherhead standing out. Despite a defeat to Worthing they're still in the playoff places and a point ahead of Ks.
Players to watch: Billy Knott has banged in seven goals already this season, with Daniel Trendall hot on his heels with four.
Crowd: Last season's average was only 145, although their fine start to the season might encourage a few more along.
Drinking: There are no pubs particularly near the ground so, if pubs are even still open given the deteriorating Covid situation, Basildon Town Centre may be your best bet. There's a Wetherspoons and a pool hall/bar a close walk from the station.
Food: A small row of shops on Rectory Road, about a seven minute walk from the ground, includes Martella's a chippie. If coming from Pitsea station there are fast food options including Subway, KFC and a few pizza places.