Now that Christmas is done and dusted, it’s time to jump back in the saddle and remember how we used to knock about with clubs such as Dorking. It does, of course, feel odd for us to think we were once on the other side of the Conference looking up. Here we are though – a world away on this side of the division and trying not to look down. So, what’s the craic with the Chicks and how did they come to cross the road to play Boro’?
Who are Dorking?
The story of Dorking goes back a lo-o-ong way; long before Queen Vic kicked the bucket. It’s 1880 and little do the Chicks probably realise they’ll become the oldest senior football club in Surrey. Older than Woking. Mind you, it’s not much to be proud of when the game comes down to winning trophies. Up until 1956, the club did a bit in county competitions – before making the move into the Corinthian League. That was also the year they moved to Meadowbank Park, which would be their home right up until the sad demise.
More on that later.
In 1963, the Corinthinan League disbanded and – like others – Dorking found themselves in the Athenian League. But the most significant event to date would come in 1974, when the Chicks merged with Guildford City to form Dorking & Guildford United. It was a short-lived venture, however; the club collapsing during the same campaign that saw Stevenage Athletic go under. They did, at least, fulfil some of their fixtures first.
A new club sprung up in its place almost immediately in the form of Dorking Town. After a few years competing back in the Surrey County League, the new club joined the Isthmian League in 1983 – one year before us. It’s sort of irrelevant to be fair because they were in Division Two South to start with, while we were in the North equivalent. Come the 1988-9 campaign and Dorking smashed it; claiming the Division Two South crown with 109 goals and 100 points to their name. Up, then, to Division One…
Why do we know Dorking?
Two years after the Chicks went up to Division One, Boro’ got themselves back up to that level after a three year absence. But it’s worth remembering that, under Cloughie, we had just started on an epic run that’d lift us into the stratosphere. While we’d been jostling in and around each other’s consciousness towards the back end of the 1980s, it wasn’t until the early 1990s that our planets aligned and got all Russell Grant on us. Horoscopic.
What is our record against Dorking?
Our first meeting against the Chicks came at Broadhall Way in August 1991; Boro’ taking the honours thanks to goals from Shaun Marshall and Mickey Nunn. But the return was a non-event from our point of view; Dorking running out 3-1 winners on their own patch. It was only one of four losses we suffered that season, which ain’t bad going for the Surrey side. But it didn’t stop us romping home to the Division One title and heading up to the Premier Division. So, is that the end of the story?
The 1992-3 season saw Dorking promoted after finishing third; this time being the Chicks’ turn to play catch up with us. We’d already dipped our toes in the Premier water that term, so were primed for action come the start of the 1993-4 campaign. And we made it known; Mark Shanley and Dave Venables both netting a brace in a 5-1 win at Meadowbank Park in August 1993. The return, however, was a much closer affair. This time, Steve Graham got a brace as Boro’ edged out the Chicks in a seven-goal beano.
Dorking: Boro’s Record
Our head-to-head: P 4 — W 3 — D 0 — L 1 — F 12 — A 8 — Pts 9 — WR 75%
Our last tango: Stevenage Borough 4-3 Dorking, 11 December 1993
What happened to Dorking?
For the second time in as many seasons going up against Dorking in the league, we went onto clinch the 1993-4 Diadora League Premier Division title; getting promoted at the same time. For the Chicks, that season is as good as it got. In fact, they went down – not once, but twice; finishing bottom of Division One at the end of the 1994-5 campaign. Their slide continued once more two seasons later; Dorking ending up in Division Three.
In the early 2000s, fortunes took a turn for the better. The 2003-4 season saw them finish second in Division Two (the old Division Three) and go up. But it was only for one season. And, once back down, there was just one more term in the Ryman before moving to the Combined Counties League in 2006. A year later, tragedy hit the club when skipper Stewart Vaughan passed away from cancer; Vaughan still playing on while receiving treatment.
In 2014, the club was forced out of its Meadowbank Park ground after it was deemed not fit for purpose. The Chicks shared with Horley for a time, with the aim of being back home sooner rather than later. But delays pushed back their return and caused financial worries due to the cost of finding another temporary home. In March 2016, it was announced that Dorking Wanderers would put them up until their home was ready the following summer.
Sadly, the club didn’t make it to summer 2017; closing in February that year and merging into the Wanderers.
• WANT TO KNOW MORE? – Dorking club profile