My Matchday - 281 Plainmoor

Torquay United 0v0 Wycombe Wanderers
League Two
Friday 22nd April 2011
This year’s Smudgers Easter break was to a land far far away, reet doon into the south-west of England to tick off the three furthest grounds left to complete the current 92.
The first leg of the treble was a 380 mile drive to Torquay in the Torbay area of Devon. The Torquay name originates from the quay of the ancient village of Torre, which takes its name from the tor rock, which can be seen by the town's Tor Hill Road.
The town's economy was initially based upon fishing and agriculture then in the early 19th century it developed into a fashionable seaside resort, originally frequented by members of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and later by Victorian society. The town's warm and healthful climate earned the town the nickname of the English Riviera.
Torquay was the home of “my bread knife’s” favourite writer Agatha Christie, who lived most of her life in the town and as a tribute there’s an "Agatha Christie Mile" tour with plaques, dedicated to her life and work.

Torquay United were formed by a group of school-leavers under the guidance of Sergeant-Major Edward Tomney in 1899. The club originally played friendly matches on Farm fields at the top of Penny's Hill on Teignmouth Road, before joining the East Devon League in 1900.
The club played the next four years at the Recreation Ground, while Plainmoor was being used by Torquay Athletic Rugby Football Club. In 1904 the rugby club secured the lease of the Recreation Ground and United's League rivals Ellacombe moved into the vacated site at Plainmoor, which left United homeless.
The club returned to the farmers field until being forced into another move after the site was sold for development, taking refuge with Torquay Cricket Club in nearby Cricketfield Road for the next four years,
In 1910 United merged with Ellacombe to become Torquay Town, the new club sharing the ground the with local rivals Babbacombe.
After the First World War Devon rivals Plymouth Argyle and Exeter City were both elected to the Football League as founder members of Football League Division Three South, which encouraged both Torquay Town and Babbacombe to merge, restoring the Torquay United name in 1921 and elected into the new league in 1927.

The first wooden grandstand costing £150 transferred from Buckfastleigh Racecourse was built on the east side of the ground in time for United’s debut season in the Football League. Cover was added to the south side terrace in 1933, but little changed at Plainmoor until the 1950’s. The Popular side was partly covered and floodlights were added. The decade also witnessed a record attendance of 21,908 for an FA Cup tie against Huddersfield Town.
The Main Stand was extended in the 1960’s which increased the capacity to 22,000 but just six days after the fire at Valley Parade in 1985 a fire destroyed a third of the stand which saw the capacity fall to under 5,000 due to health and safety matters.

From 1992 Plainmoor finally began to seen some major changes with the mini stand at the Ellacombe Road end replaced with an all-seated Family Stand. The stand is fully covered with a blue cantilever roof holding 1,275 yellow seats and six executive boxes. The stand also has club offices, club shop, as well as the Boots and Laces pub and the 200 Club bar. The directors seats are situated in the middle of the stand below the clock modelled around the club crest.
Away supporters are housed in the Warbro Road End. Cover was added to the terrace in 2000, the roof having a similar style to the opposite goal and has control room at one side.
The Main Stand has a single tier of seats and the extension is made up of yellow wooden seats with a con-iron peaked roof with wooden support beams. Access into both stands are via staircases the sides, where there’s a section of terracing at the front. The stands only run to one side so there’s more terracing towards the Warbro Road End.
The Popular Terrace was rebuilt in 1994, made narrower and fully covered to hold 2,300 fans, with a TV gantry perched on the roof.
The ground is completed by a set of traditional floodlights and the current capacity is 6,000.

The Gulls will look back at this match and wonder how on earth they failed to convert at least one of the numerous chances that would have earned them a well deserved victory and strengthen their position in the League Two play-offs.
Torquay twice hit the wood work, with a Guy Branston header hitting the post and a Ronan Murray effort coming back off the crossbar.
Branston had another header for the hosts and Chris Zebroski forced an excellent save from Wanderers keeper Nikki Bull, but The Gulls biggest culprit was substitute Billy Kee who wasted two glorious chances with just the goalkeeper to beat.
The draw means that Chesterfield are now officially promoted and if Wycombe are to join them in League One next season, then this “lucky draw” could turn out to be a very valuable point.

The Easter holidays started on the Thursday morning with our long haul drive to Devon which took exactly 7 hours including a 30 minute rest stop. Apart from slow moving traffic on the M42 and a busy section on the M5 around Bristol the journey went without a hitch, so we arrived safely at our hotel at 5.45pm
The long hours on the road was made much easier with a good selection of in car CD’s, for example the whole of The Beatles White Album took up a large chunk of time, taking up a good section of the A1 into South Yorkshire.

This was the first time we’ve visited Torquay and I must say we were very impressed with the town and thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the English Riviera , having a pleasant night out on Thursday and a good Good Friday.
Special thanks to Tim Herbert and the staff at Torquay United for making my visit to Plainmoor a pleasant one and I wish the club the best of luck in securing a place in the play-offs.
After the match I hotfooted it back to the car for the next leg of the “Far Far away trilogy” leaving Devon and driving through the hills of Dorset to our base camp in Poole for the next chapter of the Smudgers Easter weekend break.
Torquay made the play-offs after a 7th place finish. The Gulls beat Shrewsury Town in the semi-finals before a narrow defeat to Stevenage in the League Two play-off final at Old Trafford.

Matchday stats
Admission:PP (£18)

Ground no.281 Plainmoor - Matchday Web album (23 pictures)

No comments: