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Saturday 13th July 2013 ko 13.00 (approx’ !)

Pre-Season Friendly

SUTTON ATHLETIC 1 (Desanges 84)

V.C.D. ATHLETIC 3 (Duckworth 4 Ramsamy 35 Greaves 45p)

Att 47

Entry £3

Programme- None (old copy free)

Bacon & Egg baguette £3.50

I suppose the first question for me to answer is which Sutton?  Its Sutton-at-Hone, a village 2 miles (3 km) south of Dartford in Kent, and should not be confused with the London borough of Sutton of Sutton United fame far to the west. This is the Sutton of the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. The humanitarian order was set up in the Middle Ages to provide assistance for sick of injured pilgrims in the Holy Land. The base in Sutton was established in 1199 and the building is now a National Trust property.

Except, at no point was I actually in Sutton! With the introduction of the Kent Invicta League the club realised that their home at The Roaches Recreation Ground, was never going to fulfil ground grading requirements so the club moved 2 and a half miles across the M25 to Lower Road, Hextable, a village I managed to misspell twice as Huxtable! Clearly the Cosby Show was more of an influence than I thought!

Its tucked away near the end of the lane, so much so I could have easily turned round, thinking I’d missed the place. It’s a work in progress, but a lot’s happened just to get this far. Tonnes of earth and rubble were moved to level the pitch, and the clubhouse and changing-rooms provide the club with an income, and a sense of home too. Future plans include floodlights on 6 pylons, two prefabricated stands on the mound side, a perimeter fence and fully-tarmacked car park. Its ambitious, but at no point did I feel that any of these plans wont come to fruition. One little money spinner that is well worth a mention is their baguettes, mine was excellent, well worth not stopping elsewhere for.

The game was always going to be tough for Sutton, with the opposition playing 2 notches higher in the Isthmian League Division One North. That small fact created a smile when I confirmed this with one of Vickers Crayford Dartford’s (to use their full name once!) officials. Her response was

” Nah mate, we play in the Ryman League!” Ryman of course are the sponsors of the Isthmian League… Oh well!

In sweltering heat, it wasn’t easy to watch a game, let alone play in one! VCD controlled the game, and the wide men Enoch Adeji and Damian Ramsamy were at the start of most good things the visitors did. They rattled in three goals before half time, changed half the team for the second half, declaring in the process. With a few minutes I began to edge towards the car, as the time was against me to get to the next game. The final whistle went, I started the engine and drove away, glancing behind at the dust cloud as I went.