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Non League Football Under The Microscope

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Eastbourne Borough fans celebrate - August Bank Holiday Monday 2003                                Photograph by Sam Hicks

Stoke Gabriel FC

GJ Churchward Memorial Ground, Broadley Lane, Stoke Gabriel, Devon TQ9 9PU
Telephone: 01803 782223
Devon County League

Note Although formed in 1910, Stoke Gabriel FC (near Totnes) led a somewhat nomadic existence and played on as many as nine pitches (and probably more), relying mainly on the generosity of local farmers, before finally purchasing an area of land in Broadley Lane, just outside the village in 1981. The sloping field cost the club around £12,250 with a further £5,000 spent on levelling, re-seeding and generally making it suitable for hosting football. Eventually, the ground was ready and was officially opened on 1 August 1984 with a friendly against Torquay United.

Named after the Great Western Railway Engineer who was born in the village some 150 years ago, the Memorial Ground has seen relatively little  development since, although is blessed with one of the most picturesque settings in Non League football. The pitch is railed and there is a clubhouse with an overhanging roof that provides shelter on top of a bank in the top near corner of the ground. In common with many clubs, Stoke Gabriel have fallen foul of grading regulations stating that their dugouts were too close together. Hence, a third dugout has been constructed on the far side of the pitch, with the ‘spare’ dugout on the near side used for storage ... or a fourth official if ever required at this level. DB