Monday 5th May 2014 ko 15.00
Devon & Exeter League Premier Division
THORVERTON AFC 5 (Osmond 18 Riggs 35 Khoo 77 Place 87 90)
BUDLEIGH SALTERTON RESERVES 0
If you were to trace the line of the River Exe north from Exeter, in around 8 miles you’d reach the pretty village of Thorverton. Its a peaceful place, with cobbled streets, a square, and a pub in the middle. It’s the kind of place that has a garden open as part of the National Gardens Scheme, and there was, but there is a more turbulent history to the place. The name suggests a Viking background, although that’s unproved but the village did change hands during the English Civil War, and a garrison of American soldiers was stationed here during the Second World War. But let’s not kid ourselves, this is the kind of place where you park up at the hostelty, enjoy a pub lunch, then walk up the street to the playing field, admiring a rose-edged doorframe along the way.
There’s not much in the way of football furniture here, but then why would there be? The pitch is roped off, there are portable dug-outs, and the changing rooms have a kitchen, so you can buy a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate at half time. There are trees, a view of rolling hills, thatched roofs, and at least two gardens where the resident could put up a deck chair and watch the action. It couldn’t be more beautiful, or more English, not that those two are mutually inclusive.
The game had little riding on it, both teams are comfortably mid-table, but I was rather shocked that the bottom two places in the division are held by ex-Peninsula League sides, one notch above the this level, namely Topsham Town and Heavitree United. It was obvious on arrival that Budleigh were having problems raising a side, the tell-tale sign of their manager stood at the entrance nervously talking into his mobile phone was worrying. He got his numbers up to just the basic eleven, and even then there were two passengers due to injury. They fought hard, and picked up a couple of bookings for their troubles, but Thorverton rattled in an entirely realistic 5 unanswered goals to win the game for the hosts.
I doubt I’ll remember Thorverton for the game, just two decent friendly sides at a breathtakingly beautiful part of the world. I was just fortunate to be there.