Tuesday 16th January 2017 ko 19.45
Essex Senior League
SAWBRIDGEWORTH TOWN 5 (Mays 35 Cleaver 46 67 Wickenden 62 Monk 80)
HULLBRIDGE SPORTS 0
When I started clocking up the grounds the aim was never completion in any league or region. Years later I still like the idea that I can pick up the Football Traveller and still have plenty of options across the levels of the game particularly midweek. But for better or for worse, and for what little it’s worth, this game saw me complete the Essex Senior League. It is after all an achievement notable only to me, and there is a tinge of regret as I do have a lot of time for the league. So for now my journey through the ESL has reached its terminus, but it did end rather oddly.
I have a suspicion I caught Sawbridgeworth Town on a bad day, well the off-field side of things anyway. It ought to be one of the most straightforward of the ESL’s grounds to do from Oxford, it is in Hertfordshire after all, but as is its habit the M25 intervened. At least least league secretary Michelle Dorling had been kind enough to let me know that the game was definitely on, a kindness that was much appreciated.
Robyn and I hightailed it into the Crofters End car park right on kick-off time. We dashed over to the turnstile and was surprised to find it locked. We weren’t to know the entrance was being taken in the bar and after gaining entry via the players entrance, we owned up and paid in the correct place.
Then there was the programme. I think just about every groundhopper has heard the line, “We’ve been let down by the printers” but that tends to be when there is no matchday magazine. Here there was a programme but the club really had been let been down by their printers. The date on the front was wrong, the wrong lineups on the back, and blank pages inside. The club were completely up front and apologetic about it, and I ended up buying one for novelty value. For the record, I’ve bought worse publications elsewhere that were exactly how the editors planned them!
From then on it was Hullbridge’s team’s turn to have a bad day. I enjoyed Sawbo’s facilities, you do have to try the tea bar by the way, while watching the hosts utterly destroy their visitors. I spend too much of my time explaining that in my opinion a scoreline was flattering in some way, but not in this case. The beating they handed out was as thorough as any I’ve seen this season.
I strolled round staving off the effects of a cold night, enjoying as I usually do the bits of the ground that are quirky and unique and there are plenty of them here. It all drew to a close as it always does but this time there was still that hint of regret, that for now that’s it for me and the Essex Senior League for the time being. So if Michelle Dorling or any of the league’s committee are reading this please can you elect some new clubs and grounds into your league for next season? I like visiting this league!