Chinese pagoda, Essex Senior League, FA Cup, Hoddesdon, Hoddesdon Town, Lowfield, Mark Summers, Sawbridgeworth Town, Spartan South Midlands League, Stewart Edwards Stadium
Friday 14th August 2015 ko 19.45
FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round
HODDESDON TOWN 4 (Summers 38 43 67 Wade 90)
SAWBRIDGEWORTH TOWN 0
In groundhoppers’ circles football grounds and clubs get known for certain characteristics. For example there’s the stand at Treharris, the Chinese pagoda at the Olympic Stadium, Stockholm, but Hoddesdon Town gets talked about in hushed tones for one reason, the programme.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the Lowfield, shared as the land is with a the cricket, which is why this game was played on a Friday night. It did, after all cope with a huge crowd in poor weather, but there was a surprise in store for many.
Let’s talk about that programme, by reputation its huge, mine was 128 pages in size when I visited Hoddesdon first, around a decade ago, so you can imagine my surprise when my £1 “only” bought 36 pages! Some didn’t get even that, the crowd was larger than the club expected and the programme sold out three-quarters of an hour before kick-off.
I was one of the lucky ones, so I found a quiet corner, not easy when there’s this many people present, and found myself sufficiently engrossed to lose track of time for people to start leaving the clubhouse for kick-off! Yes, Hoddesdon’s famous programme may have been under Weightwatchers wing for this season, but the quality is as good as ever.
It set up the game nicely with Step 5 Spartan South Midlands League Premier Hoddesdon taking on Step 5 Essex Senior League Sawbridgeworth. The gap in class though was obvious right from the outset, with Hoddesdon missing a host of chances, but once Mark Summers scored his first, his team cruised to an easy victory, and Summers himself to an expertly taken-hat trick.
Sawbridgeworth looked out of sorts, and failed to muster more than the odd half chance, and at no stage looked likely to improve on the club’s dismal record in the competition in recent years. In contrast this looked to be a real filip to the FA Vase’s first winners, but the hopping fraternity will have to get used to a programme you can actually fit in your pocket!