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Saturday 28th February 2015 ko 14.30

Anglian Combination Division Two

BECCLES CAXTON 3 (Gorbould 18 Hume 42 Scriven 64)

WELLS TOWN 5 (Brewster 9secs 85 Harrison 55 Moss 68 78)

Att 9

Entry & Programme £2

As you clock up the ground visits, you soon pick up on the clubs that are in crisis. There’s the vital signs you see the absence of, the club taking a series of beatings, the quick turnover of players, the down-at-heel feel of the ground. You turn up, you commiserate, you watch the game, and you leave with a heavy heart.

Beccles Caxton have been there, and are coming out of that crisis. They’re older than Beccles Town next door, older than Norwich City and older than Ipswich Town, but September and October last year saw the club lose 10-0 three times, and fail to fulfil 3 fixtures due to a lack of players. They were deducted 3 points for those missed games, stood at the brink of oblivion, but instead of giving up decided to fight.

They were supported by Norwich City legends Darren Eadie and Iwan Roberts, and Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas (born in Cromer) and soon enough they had a new squad to carry on playing.

It helps that in Commercial Manager Derek Bird, and Secretary Karl Olley they have men of calibre. Derek has been at Enfield, Waltham Abbey and Great Yarmouth. In fact he was at Great Yarmouth during their ill-fated Eastern Counties League “Hop” game, in March last year.

“It was great to get a big crowd,” he said, (the crowd was 163). “But we had a fight with the printer of our programme, so we ran out of them, and we had no idea how many were going to turn up, so we ran out of food too. In fact it all seemed that something from the league was missing.”

Now as one half of GroundhopUK I know I’m biased, and here’s why (click here) but it does seem grossly unfair to dump 150 people on an unprepared club. That goes against everything we at GroundhopUK, and other organisers have worked towards over the years.

Back at Caxton Meadow you could see the patient’s vital signs getting stronger. An old wooden storage hut has been turned into a tea bar, and Derek is gradually piecing together the club history. That looks like making the iron gates redundant, as there are indications that the club was founded before 1890! Derek has started programme production,” Because I hate going to a game without one,” and there’s now active Facebook and Twitter accounts too.

I’ve visited a few Anglian Combination clubs over the last few years, and whether its Shaun at nearby Bungay, or Cromer with their tangled lease, or Hoveton where everywhere seemed to be called “Roy” I enjoyed the clubs’ company, and dear reader you can add Caxton and Wells to that growing list. After all, in 1697 grounds visited I can count on the fingers on one hand I’ve been thanked for coming by BOTH sets of players!

You could see Caxton’s revival on the pitch too, but only after 10 seconds! Yes, they kicked off, immediately conceded possession and watched horrified as Wells’ Ross Brewster skipped through a static defence on a gluepot pitch to slot past Peter Sausa in the home goal. From then on Caxton more than held their own.  Wells had two goals disallowed (correctly) for offside, and were punished by two Caxton breakaway goals.

Could the side with just the 8 points for a disastrous season hold on for a famous win? That proved to be a “No” as the defence collapsed allowing Aaeron Moss to collect a quick brace, and Brewster to seal the win late on.

Yes, Caxton will almost certainly have to rebuild in Division 3, but this was a side light-years from the hapless bunch that conceded 30 in 3 games. They’ll be a real force next season if they stick together and with that committee behind them, the future looks positive for this gallant little club.