Grier's Guide to Sevenoaks Town
The match: Sevenoaks Town v Kingstonian, FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round. Saturday 3 September, 15:00.
The club: The Oaks formed back in 1883 and in their early years played a game against Arsenal. They spent the twentieth century playing in various local leagues before eventually reaching the Kent League in 2003 and Isthmian 1 South East in 2018.
The town: Affluent Kent commuter town close to the M25. Its most famous landmark is Knole House, a huge National Trust property that's one of the biggest houses in England. Princess Diana went to West Heath School in Sevenoaks.
The ground: Greatness Park, Mill Lane, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN14 5BX. Their home since they were first formed in 1883, they installed a 3G pitch in 2017. The main stand is in two parts, with a terrace in between, but there isn't much on the other three sides of the ground.
Directions: The nearest station is the delightfully named Bat & Ball, although the train takes over an hour to crawl there from Blackfriars or Elephant & Castle via nearly every stop in South London. It's quicker to get a fast train from Victoria to Sevenoaks and then either a train back to Bat & Ball, or a 1.5 mile walk/taxi. It's close to the M25 and depending on traffic ought to take around an hour to drive from Kingston. You can park at the ground or on nearby Mill Lane.
Tickets: £10 adults, £5 concessions (60 and over) and £1 for Under 18s. They do sell tickets online at https://www.sevenoakstownfc.co.uk/first-team-tickets - they normally offer £1 off if you do book online, it’s not clear at the time of writing whether this counts for an FA Cup tie.
Our record there: Good news for those who like visiting new grounds, as the FA Cup has again thrown up a brand new opponent for Ks.
Recent form: They've reached this round with wins over Horley Town and, after a replay, Merstham. Having won their only league game as well they're unbeaten in their first four and it will be a tough tie for Ks. (Ed: Since this was written, the Oaks drew 0-0 away to Hythe Town on Saturday and were beaten 3-2 at home by Chatham Town on Monday.)
Players to watch: The Oaks have three ex-Ks among their numbers in Ryan Gondoh, Omarr Lawson and one of the stars of our run to the second round in 2019, Dan Hector.
Crowd: Despite an average of only 177 last season they got 391 in for their replay against Merstham, suggesting that cup fever could be grabbing them already.
Drinking: The ground is some distance from the town centre and only The Rifleman is somewhat nearby. It looks pleasant enough with a nice-looking outdoor area and a pool table. The Bat & Ball Inn, which gave its name to the station, sadly no longer exists.
Food: There's a Sainsbury's Local and a few takeaways in the area around Sevenoaks Hospital, close to Bat & Ball station.