It’s a field. No, it is! But there’s a main stand with seats and so the Shots trip to Essex in the fourth qualifying round of this season’s FA Cup will, obviously, qualify as a banana skin given our current state of play but hopefully a positive result for us and a fine day out for the travelling fans.
SO WHERE IS BOWERS & PITSEA?
The football club is based in Pitsea, Essex, England. The club are currently members of the Isthmian League Premier Division and play at the Len Salmon Stadium so it will be a leap into the unknown. More information can be found on the net. 🎣
Shall I continue with more fishy puns or quit now while I’m behind? 🤭
The club was established in 1946 by Bert Salmon as Bowers United and initially played in the Thurrock and Thameside Combination.The club won the league in 1958–59, and became founder members of the Essex Olympian League in 1966, before moving up to the Essex Senior League in 1974. In 1980–81 the club won the league, and the following season saw them win the League Challenge Cup. They won the Harry Fisher Trophy in 1991–92, before going on to win the league and challenge cup double in 1998–99.
In 2004 Bowers United absorbed Pitsea Football Club, adopting their current name. Pitsea had played in the Vange & District Sunday League and the Basildon Sunday League, winning the league treble in 1994–95 and 1995–96, and the league and cup double in 1996–97. In 2014–15 the club won the Challenge Cup for a third time. The following season saw them win the league, earning promotion to Division One North of the Isthmian League. They also reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase, losing 4–3 on aggregate to eventual winners Morpeth Town.
The 2017–18 season saw Bowers & Pitsea finish third in the renamed North Division, qualifying for the promotion play-offs. However, they were beaten 2–0 by Canvey Island in the semi-finals. The following season the club were North Division champions, earning promotion to the Premier Division.
PITSEA is the nearest rail station because these others below don’t appear to exist on the online rail booking system and further research showed that bus replacement services are in place in any event.
ON THE MAP
Its’ in deepest Essex alright. Just look at the walk from Halstow Way rail station – eight minutes! Personally I’d take a taxi.
Okay okay here’s a better view… 🔎
So forget Halstow Way and Wilsner. It looks like the station will be PITSEA which is on the Tilbury Network and you’ll need to go from London Waterloo and catch a tube train over to West Ham and from there you take the train down to Pitsea and THEN, if you’re me, take a taxi to the football ground.
If you walk then you’ll need to go into Pitsea and join Rectory Road, heading northwards until you turn right into Kenneth Road. The football ground is at the far end of Kenneth Road.
Or, from Waterloo you could take a tube to Fenchurch Street and take a train down to Pitsea from there.
Now for the good news. According to their website there will be no segregation on the day and we can buy our match ticket at the turnstiles.
HOW TO GET THERE BY AUTOMOBILE
And finally, the most important information for Shots fans is where to eat and drink near to the ground.
So there is the Members Club which is the Bowers & Pitsea Sports And Social Club. I don’t see a stadium plan online anywhere so assuming it’s in the ground I couldn’t say if it would be open in the day or if it was whether away fans would have access to it.
The only pub near to the ground is The Great Chalvedon Hall, “one of Basildon’s most historic buildings”.
This pub, in Pitsea, has a fascinating history dating back centuries to a time when the Basildon area was made up of four separate villages – Pitsea, Vange, Laindon and Basildon.
Today, the pub stands in the middle of a park, close to a pond and surrounded by housing estates.
But for centuries past, the pub was the prominent building for this part of Pitsea, which is one mile north of the town centre and approximately three miles south of the closest other historic town, Wickford.
According to local historians, there are a number of things that make the building so special.
With remnants still visible today, Great Chalvedon Hall has a small room built in the attic and hidden by a panel during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign in the late 1500s.
This was called the ‘Priest Hole’ and was used to hide Catholic priests who were being persecuted by the Protestant-ruling monarch at the time.
Behind a cupboard in the building was an entrance to a secret tunnel, which was dug to help the priests escape should they need to.
It led south, and exited at a point on the then-Pitsea marshes, now housing estates.
Many believed it led to the Little Chalvedon Hall, built in the nearby Pound Lane – but this myth has been debunked.
Other than Great Chalvedon Hall it’s pretty thin pickings. The Gun, on London Road, is about a twenty minute walk from the station. Shall we pop in and have a look? 🍺
Take a visit and enjoy delicious wholesome pub food and a wide selection of hot and cold drinks served by friendly staff. Locals, families, drinkers and business travellers are always welcome in our bar.
That means Aldershot Town fans instantly qualify of course. If we are anything, we are fine business travellers. 😛
Yes, sounds good. All I have to do now is arrange my travel and hope to see many of you there for another Shots FA Cup day.