Appearance – 3/5
Facilities – 2/5
Parking – 4/5
Refreshments – 2/5
Located in the middle of an industrial park in Runcorn, you will find the Pavilions Sports Club. It has a large clubhouse, bowls greens, football pitches and the home of Runcorn Town FC.
Pavilions is fairly easy to find, after exiting the A557 dual carriageway you only have to travel another 400 yards or so, make one left turn and the ground is signposted clearly.
The sports club itself has a large car park which is enough to accommodate the cars for a normal game, though they may struggle with the big crowds. When other events are on at Pavilions there is a tendency for it to become overcrowded too, but there are a lot worse car parks in the NWCFL.
You enter the ground itself through a small wooden hut in which two turnstiles are located. After paying a regular adult price of £5 you emerge behind the goal but about five feet below the pitch.
Following a climb up the steps to pitch level you will notice that the main points of interest of this ground are down both touchlines. There is little space behind both goals, with only a small walkway at both ends of the ground.
Looking to the left from the turnstile there are two stands – a small covered standing area and then a decent-sized seating stand that, at a guess, holds between 150 and 200.
Down the right touchline are another two covered standing areas, one right behind the dugouts with a single step for people to stand on, and a smaller one a bit further down that is similar to the one on the opposite touchline.
Also down the right touchline is the big blue clubhouse, but with the changing rooms also in this building, the clubhouse itself is not as big as you would think (with only four or five tables) and on the bigger games I imagine this is a nightmare to get through.
The tea hut is also inside here but this only seems to have burgers, chocolate bars, fizzy drinks or tea. The lack of pies and chips I’m sure will be extremely disappointing to a lot of fans!
Pavilions is only a small place, there is not much space around the ground and they would really struggle with a large crowd, but for the level they are at now it does the job.
They have done well to rise up the leagues quickly, just a few years ago they were in the West Cheshire League so they have had to make fast changes to the ground, and it is noticeable. An interesting ground, but the facilities do lack something, if they continue their rapid rise up the football ladder then the ground will need a lot of work.
We only have a couple of weeks left in the North West Counties Premier Division season, and it looks as if we are in for a great finish at both ends of the table.
At the top there are still five teams in with a chance of promotion, but let’s switch our attention to the bottom of the table. The fight against relegation is proving to be as dramatic as ever, Stone Dominoes are already certain to go down, meaning it will be one of Squires Gate, Ashton Athletic, St. Helens Town or Silsden that will have the misfortune to occupy the final relegation place.
Bacup Borough could still technically go down too, but with them lying seven points clear of the relegation zone with at least four games in hand over all of their rivals, you would like to imagine they will be safe.
Just like in the Race for Promotion article on the website a few weeks ago, let’s take a look at the run-in for each of the clubs battling to stay in the league, as well as predicting the final results (shown in italic next to the fixtures) just as a gauge to I think the table might end up.
Gate are the team that currently sit in that dreaded final relegation place, they are on 29 points – level with Ashton Athletic who lie one place above them. They have played a game more than Ashton Athletic, and the two teams meet tonight at Athletic’s Brocstedes Park in a huge game.
Gate are struggling at the moment, having picked up only two points from their last five games, but they did record a good draw at home to fifth-placed Winsford United on Saturday.
They have three games remaining, all of which are away, so if they lose to Ashton Athletic tonight you struggle to see Squires Gate getting out of this.
23.04.13 (A) Ashton Athletic – Draw
27.04.13 (A) Bacup Borough – Draw
01.05.13 (A) AFC Liverpool – Loss
Ahead of their biggest game of the season tonight, Athletic are not in the form they would like to be – their last win came on the 9th of March and they have failed to win any of their last six games.
Three of their last four fixtures are at home which gives them advantage, especially when you take in to account their awful away record; they have lost 16 away from home this season, the joint-highest in the League.
Although Athletic and Squires Gate have the same points total, Athletic have a better goal difference at -36 compared to Gate’s -43, so a draw tonight would not be a bad result for Athletic, but a win would give them much more confidence of avoiding the drop.
23.04.13 (H) Squires Gate – Draw
27.04.13 (H) Padiham – Loss
29.04.13 (A) Bacup Borough – Win
04.05.13 (H) AFC Blackpool – Loss
St. Helens are currently 19th, one place and one point above Ashton Athletic with four games left to play.
Their next three games are at home and they need to take advantage of that, if they can pick up four points from those fixtures, which is very achievable, then they should be safe.
Although their form is not great (winning two of their last six games), it is actually the best of the four teams being discussed in this article. Taking that, and their fixtures, into account, I think Saints may live to fight another year in the Division.
25.04.13 (H) Glossop North End – Draw
27.04.13 (H) Stone Dominoes – Win
04.05.13 (H) Bootle – Loss
06.04.13 (A) Bacup Borough – Loss
Silsden sit in 18th on 33 points, and although that is four points clear of the relegation zone, they have a real danger of being dragged in to the mix with only two games remaining.
If teams below them pick up points over the next couple of weeks and they fail to do so, then they could be in trouble.
Their final two fixtures are at home but are not easy by any means, they face Alsager Town and Runcorn Linnets, and could easily lose both. One win should be enough to keep them up, but they have not done that for eight games.
27.04.13 (H) Alsager Town – Draw
04.05.13 (H) Runcorn Linnets – Loss
Final Predictions Table
Going off my predictions this is how the bottom of the table will finish, although anything is possible in this League.
18. St Helens Town – 34 points
19. Silsden – 34 points
20. Ashton Athletic – 33 points
21. Squires Gate – 31 points
Appearance – 4/5
Facilities – 4/5
Parking – 5/5
Refreshments – 4/5
Stone Dominoes are the most southerly club in the North West Counties Premier Division, but the distance you may have to travel is worth it to visit a very pleasant little ground.
Wellbeing Park is not based in the town of Stone itself, but in the nearby village of Yarnfield. It’s a very nice area and an enjoyable drive down through the country roads and villages after exiting the M6 at junction 15.
The ground is simple enough to find, located on a main road and easy to spot with it being in the country and not hidden in a housing estate like other grounds.
Parking is good too, they have a large gravel-covered car park on location, which is probably one of the largest in the league.
After entering through the gate to the facility you are first greeted by the well-known Domino statues, four of which stand on the grass at about four feet tall.
There are also a couple of pitches, used for junior games and Stone Dominoes training, and a café to be seen before you enter Dominoes’ home itself.
The café is small with only around five or six tables, but it is of good standard. It’s a modern-looking place with a good selection of food and drinks available, and Sky Sports on the TV.
After travelling down a passageway next to the café you reach the turnstile to the ground where you pay an adult price of £5 to enter.
You emerge by a corner flag, to the right is the only stand in the ground – it runs down the entire touchline and is mostly standing, apart from a small seated area in the middle with approximately 50 seats.
Behind both goals are rows of shrubbery on a raised platform but no steps and only a small area to stand.
On the far touchline, where the dugouts are based, is a raised grassy knoll that runs from one corner flag to the other and stands at around six feet high.
Stone have the lowest average attendance in the North West Counties Premier Division, but Wellbeing Park deserves more visitors. It’s a small ground but well kept and it a nice location. With Dominoes all but relegated now, it’s a ground that will be missed from the league next season.