Saturday 22nd March 2014 ko 14.30
Anglian Combination Division Two
HOVETON WHERRYMEN 1 (King 67p)
BUNGAY TOWN 2 (Flint 43 Andrews 52)
Nothing for sale
In the Norfolk Broads, the village of Hoveton has reason to feel downtrodden. On the south side of the River Bure is Wroxham, and you cross the narrow swing-bridge to get to Hoveton. You cross to by far the larger settlement, but what did they call the railway station built on the Hoveton side? That’s right, Wroxham with the suffix, “and Hoveton,” was only added in 1966. To add insult to injury the narrow gauge Bure Valley Railway terminates at a station a hundred-or-so yards from the main station. What’s that station called? That’s right…Wroxham!
I parked up in Hoveton, and since the whole North Norfolk area is popular with tourists there were no lack of Fish & Chip restaurants to provide me with my lunch. It was a short walk to the majority of them, but on the way you couldn’t help but notice that the shops all seemed to be owned by Roy. There was Roy the chemist, Roy the toy shop, Roy’s DIY, and even Royzone for fashion. I decamped to, yes, KEN’s restaurant to investigate, and poor Hoveton has come off second best again. The company owning all those shops is Roy of Wroxham! I despaired for the village.
It got worse too, I asked how to pronounced the village’s name. It was originally spoken as “Hoff-ton” but has been corrupted into “Hov-ton” so I am now worried that they have something of an identity crisis.
A Wherry is the Norfolk term for a passenger or cargo boat built for either river or canal use, and the village’s football team bearing the name are tucked away behind the village hall on the A1151 Stalham Road. The ground has neither rope nor rail, but the little clubhouse at the near goal has a history all of its own.
Then club were formed here in 1992 and originally changed in the Village Hall. That was satisfactory for the North Norfolk League, but to progress they needed premises of their own. A sawmill near Horstead had an old prefabricated office that they were able to donate to the cause, but the club had to find a way to get the building back to Hoveton. Fortunately one of the committee was in the book trade so they gained use of a lorry and despite the office weighing far more than anyone expected they managed to get it aboard the lorry and moving along the 5 mile trip home.
They soon hit a real snag though, the bridge over the River Bure. No one had bothered to measure how wide the office was, or find out how wide the bridge either, but they made it with an inch to spare each side! The block has been used ever since and extended, but still the power comes from a generator. They’d like to connect it up to the mains, and they know that the Scout Hut, long since demolished, was wired up, but try as they might they can’t find the end of the cable buried as it is…..
They were many reasons for me being at the game. The league is one I’d like to get my teeth into, and the opposition gave me the perfect excuse. I’d paid Bungay Town a visit on Non-League Day, report here, lured by the club’s excellent Twitter feed @BungayTownFC and secretary Shaun Cole’s cute bit of marketing where the club paid everyone 5p to attend. It not often you watch a game with free admission, and can joke that its more expensive to get in than last time!
It was great to catch up with Shaun, and once again Bungay won, but not quite as comprehensively as last time. A disallowed goal cramped the Black Dogs’ style for the majority of the first half but Shaun Flint’s strike just before half time calmed nerves, and Dan Andrews neat finish early in the second half looked to be the start of something more comprehensive. That didn’t happen as Kevin Riches late challenge earned him a booking and the Wherrymen a penalty. The spot kick was dispatched by Jonny King to give Bungay a nervous end to the game, but in truth the result was the correct one.
The result leaves Hoveton comfortably in mid-table but Bungay are third with games in hand and eying promotion. Its unclear whether two or three will go up, but one thing is now known. Bungay will be on a temporary ground next season as the main pitch at Malting’s Meadow will be relaid. They’ll move to the “A” pitch at the complex, if you’ve paid them a visit its the pitch nearest the car park, and the one you can see from the bar area. Just don’t expect them to pay you just for turning up!