For many years Dorking played friendly matches and in local competition before entering the Surrey County Senior League as founder members in 1922. ‘The Chicks’ took their nickname from the towns cockerel emblem played its games at Pixham Lane, before moving to a new ground at Meadowbank in 1956.
The merger didn’t work, leading to the club folding mid season a couple of campaigns later. A new club Dorking Town were quickly formed to complete the fixtures before they dropped down to the Surrey Senior League for the 1977-78 season. By 1983 the club secured a place in the Isthmian League and reverted to its Dorking FC title.
The 1992-93 season saw the good times continue at Meadowbank as The Chicks fought their way to an FA Cup First Round appearance. Peter Shilton’s Plymouth Argyle side left Surrey with a 3-2 victory. Dorking also won promotion to the Premier Division at the conclusion of the season.
Worse was to follow as Meadowbank was shut down by the local council due to health and safety concerns during the 2013-14 season, leaving the club to use several venues as ‘home’ grounds to enable The Chicks to complete the season.
While work took place, Dorking agreed a groundshare to play at The New Defence, home of neighbours Horley Town for the 2014-15 season as the team reverted to their original colours of green and red stripes with former coaching staff re-joining while local businesses began sponsorship.
Having missed my intended train from London Bridge I relaxed before catching the 10am service to Dorking. A ten minute brisk walk through the pretty town saw me at Meadowbank, where a club official was working on the ground.
It was an impressive venue, if showing signs of age. The entrance side had an old Main Stand with red tip up seats, with changing rooms one side and other facilities on the other. A small cover further up the touchline offered protection to standing spectators. The far end had a long low cover right along the goal line. The other end had a couple of steps in the open with grass beyond. The final side had another low cover in the centre, with the dug outs in front. Open standing was either side.
At Horley Town FC
Dorking 4 Epsom Athletic 5 (Friday 1st August 2014) Combined Counties League Division One (att: 150)
The ground hadn’t changed since my previous visit, which can be viewed here, and I decided to have a walk to the far side. The match got off to a very lively start with Athletic wasting two glorious chances before The Chicks went ahead.