Saturday 30th December 2017 ko 14.00
Suffolk & Ipswich League, Senior Division
EAST BERGHOLT UNITED 2 (Collins 83og Jay 87p)
CAPEL PLOUGH 3 (Alderson 6 Middlebrook 21 Webb 60)
Put yourself in my position. Driving a car-load of hoppers heading east with the ground sodden, and a pitch inspection due at Eastern Counties League outfit Woodbridge Town. The game falls due to a waterlogged pitch so you interrogate the Football Traveller for alternative fixtures. One solution is to divert to Aveley Town’s new ground, it’s on 3G and the game is on. Another is to roll the dice and go for something at Step 7 on grass. So what would you do?
We took the view that Aveley is very doable on a midweek, and floodlt grounds you can get to easily are a very finite commodity. Grounds with lights I haven’t visited before are hard to find midweek these days. So when East Bergholt’s manager tweeted that his team’s game was definitely on, up the A12 we headed.
The village is in Suffolk, but sufficiently close to the border with Essex for some local residents to consider realigning themselves due to a dispute over whether more houses should be built there. You are foursquare in John Constable country here though. The Romanticist painter was born here, and lived most of his life in nearby Dedham Vale. Flatford Mill, the location for his most famous painting “The Haywain” is just a couple of miles away. There’s even a Constable Hall next door to the sports ground.
It’s got to the stage where there aren’t many Step 7 Leagues where I’ve not paid at least one club a visit. The Suffolk and Ipswich League was one, although the village football club sharing a facility with the cricket team is a well-worn theme.
Their opponents hail from Capel St Mary, just the other side of the A12 making this a massive local derby with a bumper crowd to match. It was, as you’d expect, a committed, sometimes fiesty encounter, with Plough having just enough extra sharpness to force the win, despite a late home rally.
We headed for home, and you know what? Noone either asked for, or looked up the Aveley result. We all knew we’d picked the correct game.