Wednesday 9th October 2013 ko 19.45
Essex Senior League Gorden Brasted Memorial Trophy First Round
GREAT WAKERING ROVERS 10 (Skeels 7 18 Trenkel 24 43 82 85 Baldwin 40 62 Sparrow 56 Read 59 )
SPORTING BENGAL UNITED 2 (Ougbo 47 79) Riviera missed penalty 72
When I used to follow Oxford United both home and away I used to dread the Southend arterial road. Time does dull the memory, and roadworks made the usual hold-ups still worse on what is, after all, a pretty much straight road. After passing by the almost perpetual suburbia of Southend itself, the scene changes rapidly. You become more aware of the flat land, this is I suppose the southernmost tip of East Anglia, and soon you reach the village of Great Wakering.
The village has links to the MOD island of Foulness, much of the land around Great Wakering is inaccessible due to their restrictions, the beach area is often used as a firing range.
The village’s most famous son is footballer Les Stubbs, who was discovered playing for Great Wakering Rovers, and went on to play firstly for Southend United, then Chelsea. He won a League Championship whilst playing in the capital. Curiously his career eventually went full circle, returning to Southend and ending back at Great Wakering. He died aged 81 in 2011.
Burroughs Park looks exactly what it is, an Isthmian League ground in waiting. The club were relegated from the league in 2012, and are currently top of the Essex Senior League. There was a buzz about the place, even though they were playing Sporting Bengal for the second time in 5 days, and were happy to print me off a teamsheet as I’m afraid I’m not much use at Bangladeshi spellings!
Sporting Bengal are an interesting bunch, being formed from the Bangladeshi community in East London. They initially played in the London Asian League, but entered senior football in 2003 when they were accepted into the Kent League, switching to the Essex Senior League in 2011 to reduce travelling costs. I remember seeing them at their Mile End Stadium Home in 2008 where they played Croydon and were more comprehensively beaten than the 3-1 score line suggested.
A glance at the excellent programme suggested that the Bangladeshi defence looked suspect (23 goals conceded in 6 games) but the game 5 days earlier had finished 3-2 to Great Wakering. Whatever the form book suggested, no one could have predicted the highest score in the history of the competition.
Writing these articles you occasionally get to comment that the score didn’t reflect the passage of play. This was not one of those evenings, as dreadful defending and an obviously injured Amando Hall in the visitors goal allowed Great Wakering to run riot. Player-manager Dan Trenkel helped himself to four goals, his first hat-trick for 3 years, and young forward Joe Skeels helped himself also to well executed first half brace. Aaron Baldwin’s brace was either side of half-time, but by the time he notched his second, the Tigers were in disarray.
I suspect the Bangladeshis’ main problem is that on a good pitch that they like to play a passing game. They do it well, that’s how they scored twice and earned a penalty, but they do get knocked off the ball easily, and they are nowhere near as adept out of possession as with it. This time Great Wakering realised this quickly, and took full advantage, although I do wonder whether Dan Trenkel would swap the score here for that of the league encounter given the goal difference?
That of course is inconsequential, what I do know is that I drove back to Oxford with a silly grin on my face, and the occasional shake of the head. That’s why I love football, just occasionally you get days like these.
My thanks for Peter Miles and Paul Tolchard for their help with the research for this article