Ask most people what “sharpness” is and they’ll say to you it’s the “quality or state of being sharp” – and they’re not technically wrong. Well, it’s what anyone who recently swallowed the Oxford English Dictionary will tell you. It’s a no brainer, though, isn’t it? After all, doesn’t any word with “-ness” at the end of it tell you something? Some examples for you to get on with are “weakness”, “goodness” or “Graeme Souness”. For Boro’, however, there’s another definition. That’s ‘cos Sharpness are one of our long-lost opponents; the object of our nostalgic affections this time out.
Our 1985-6 FA Vase run took us to the banks of the River Severn. That Round Four tie saw us come out on top versus a side playing in the Hellenic League. They weren’t long taking part in that competition; joining it from the Gloucestershire County League in 1983. But they returned to the county set-up in 1990.
Sharpness: The Facts
Hamfields Leisure Centre
Hamfields, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, GL13 9TN
Let’s first set the scene, as you’ll not know much about The Sharks. This is a side that comes from one of the UK’s most inland ports. Formed in 1900, the club didn’t exactly make a name for themselves unless you were from Gloucestershire. Three times during the 1920s, they won the county’s Northern Senior League. You can read on their own website about how they were “very much to the fore and played at the highest standard in Gloucestershire football” after the Second World War Two. We only have their word for that, however.
The ever-helpful and always-excellent Football Club History Database doesn’t pick up the trail ’til 1968, for a start. That’s because it was at this time in history that Sharpness were founder members of Gloucestershire County League. After some good and (frankly) not-so-good seasons, the Sharks were crowned champions in 1984 and gained promotion to the Hellenic League Premier Division. The club had also started to compete in the FA Vase. And it’s that competition that paved the way for our one and (Spoiler Alert. Ed.) only meeting.
How to get to Sharpness – Travel Information – Distance: 132 miles
This is quite a strange trip to be making; taking you right to the banks of the River Severn in rural Gloucestershire. And the best way to do this by car is to go cross country; heading south on the A1(M) from Stevenage and then taking the M25 for the M40.
Jump on the M40 until Junction 8. From here, take the A40 and stay on it for a good while; turning left onto the A436 as you approach Andoversford. After more than four miles, you’ll come to a double roundabout. Follow the signs to stay with the A436.
You’ll come to a roundabout on which The Air Balloon sits. Here, take the second exit for the A417 down the hill. Go on for 3.3 miles, at which point exit for the M5 towards Bristol. You’ll be on the M5 for just under 10 miles; exiting at Junction 13 for the A419.
Take the third exit at the roundabout and then go left onto the A38 at the next roundabout. Go over the next roundabout in 3.4 miles and stay on the A38. Just after you pass Berkeley Heath Motors on your right, there will be a right turn onto the B4066. Turn here.
Don’t take the Berkeley bypass at the first roundabout you come to. Go straight over for Canonbury Street instead, and continue on through the village. Head towards the power station and, when you get there, the ground will be off to the right.
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