Grier's Guide to Bishop's Stortford
The game: Bishop's Stortford v Kingstonian, Isthmian League. Saturday 21 August, 15:00.
The town: Commuter town next to Stansted Airport on the Herts/Essex border. In 1825 a number of buildings in the town were set on fire with threatening letters warning that, "Stortford shall be laid in ashes." A man named Thomas Rees was convicted of sending them, though not of the arson itself, and was punished by exile to Australia.
The ground: R&D Advisors UK Stadium, Dunmow Road, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM23 5RG. One of the best grounds in the league with a decent main stand, a smaller seated stand on the far side and covered terraces at both ends.
Tickets: £12 adults / £8 concessions / £6 students / £1 U16s / U12s free with an adult. Cash or cards are accepted on the turnstile.
Directions: It's around 37 minutes from Liverpool Street or 25 from Tottenham Hale, which is on the Victoria Line, and then a mile and a half's walk to the out of town ground. Buses 7, 7A, 309 and 509 towards Stansted stop nearby. By car it's right by junction 8 of the M11 - turn left at the junction and then immediately left again. You can park at the ground for £2.
Our record there: Our last two visits have both seen highly impressive wins immediately followed by collapses in form. We went second in the league in January 2019 with a fine 3-1 win that proved to be Leigh Dynan's last as manager; Hayden Bird oversaw a 2-1 victory in January 2020 that was followed by five without a win.
Players to watch: Frankie Merrifield leads the line, he bagged five goals in what was played of last season and has continued in the goals with four during pre-season. Off the field, former England and Essex all-rounder Ronnie Irani became a director over the summer.
Recent form: Three wins, a draw and two defeats in a solid pre-season. They'd made a strong start to last season before it was curtailed, going unbeaten in their opening six.
Crowd: Much like Ks their crowds are consistently around the high 200s/low 300s mark.
Drinking: The Belgian Brewer brew Belgian-style beers just a few minutes walk from the stadium, with a tap room on site. The nearest pub is the Nags Head, halfway between the station and the ground. Run by Herts brewery McMullen, it's in a large art deco building with outdoor seating that does decent value food. There's plenty more choice in the town centre, including The Three Tuns right by the back entrance of the station.
Food: There aren't many food options nearby, so a pub lunch or eating at the ground may be your best bet unless you want to suffer the holiday crowds and inflated prices at Birchanger Green Services, right by the motorway junction.