It’s odd to think that new faces sometimes turn out to be old flames; clubs like Lewes where our paths went separate ways – before joining back up. We’ve come up against the Rooks in two very different eras two decades apart. But, thinking about it some more, it ain’t so unusual. After all, it’s almost that long since we last played Witham Town. From the weirdly-named Dripping Pan, our head-to-head record against them spans a couple of Boro’ generations.
The first was our two-season spell in Vauxhall Opel League Division One between 1986 and 1988; starting with a defeat at theirs. The next was a lot longer in coming around. We missed each other when we returned to Division One; the Rooks coming down in the opposite direction. So, it wasn’t until the 2008-9 Blue Square Premier season when we came up against each other again. You should also check out their amazing matchday posters.
It’s almost worth going down to the Isthmian League Premier Division again just to get one of our own. Almost, like…
Lewes: The Facts
The Dripping Pan
Mountfield Road, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2XD
The Rooks are bone fide vets of the game, with a timeline that’s stretching way back into the late 19th century. The year? Well, it was 1885 if you’re counting. To be fair to ’em, the length of time they’ve been around is impressive. It’s just that what they’ve done with that chunk of time is perhaps less so. For a long time after forming, they stayed within Sussex boundaries to play their football; Mid Sussex, East Sussex and the ‘county’ as a whole.
The Rooks took the chance to spread their wings and join the Athenian League. It proved a wise move; claiming the Division Two title in 1968 and Division One crown just a couple of years later to end up in the Premier Division. There they remained for three campaigns, before returning to Division One in 1973. Four seasons later, Lewes decided to move into the Isthmian League; going up from Division Two to Division One after just three years.
Why do we know Lewes?
So, the Rooks landed in Division One of the Isthmian League the summer after we came to life. It meant that, to meet them as equals, we needed to come of age. We’d say that it had to be fast, but it didn’t. And it wouldn’t work the other way round; a dramatic fall from grace would’ve seen them back in Sussex circles if anything. It’s lucky, then, we stepped to it and found our way up to their level within nine years of them making it.
How to get to Lewes – Travel Information – Distance: 106 miles
Leaving Stevenage, head south on the A1(M) towards the M25. Or, if you feel confident, go across the A602 to Ware, down the A10 two junctions and skip over to Harlow along the A414 for the M11. Either way, you’re heading counter-clockwise on the M25.
At Junction 7, come off the M25 and take the M23 south towards Gatwick and Crawley. Keep going when this becomes the A23; aiming for Brighton. Keep heading south until you reach the interchange with the A27; here, follow signs for Lewes and Newhaven.
Join the A27 east for nearly six miles. At the roundabout, take the first exit and join the A277 Brighton Road. As you come along next to the prison, turn right for Winterbourne Hollow. As this goes round a left hand bend, it becomes Bell Lane.
By the Swan Inn is a roundabout. Here, take the first exit for the B2193. Go up here to the next roundabout. The ground will be on the other side looking straight on.
You’ll find a limited amount of parking in the Sussex Downs College and Priory School car parks on Mountfield Road, each costing £2. There’s also metered street parking if you feel that suits you best. Otherwise, there’s a Pay and Display car park right outside the ground. This does close at 5pm on a Saturday, which could be cutting it fine.
For midweek games, it’s out of the equation.
Services to: LONDON VICTORIA
Depending on what service you get, you may need to change at Brighton for the routes between London Victoria and Lewes. From Lewes station, leave down Station Road and turn left into Mountfield Road. The walk appears to be a 15-20 minute from the station.
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