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Saturday 28th July 2018 ko 13.30

Peterborough & District League Premier League- Premier Division

TYDD FC 2 (McGuire 59og Clitheroe 90p)

MOULTON HARROX 3 (Bradbury 29 Townsend 50 King 58)

Att 342

Entry £4

Programme £1

The cavalcade didn’t have far to travel from Whaplode Drove to Tydd St Giles, even if our coach driver did manage to drive to Tydd St Mary first! You could see why he made the mistake, Tydd did play there last season!

The title Tydd refers to “Tide”- you’re close to The Wash here, at the most northerly point of Cambridgeshire if in Tydd St Giles, Tydd St Mary is still in Lincolnshire. The area was an important sluice for the draining of the Fens in the 18th century.

Tydd St Mary FC was formed in 1973, and moved to the PDFL from the Boston League in 2012. Since then they’ve been promoted 5 times in 6 years, and its this success that has caused them to move. They left the Memorial Park in Tydd St Mary at the end of last season, as the ground couldn’t be brought up to Step 7 standards. They’ll be spending this season with Spenny and co’ at Wisbech Town while their new home at Tydd St Giles Community Centre is brought up to standard.  That fact gave all concerned a few problems, and a massive opportunity.

On one hand, groundhopping mores meant we couldn’t visit Tydd at Wisbech and league rules and regulations meant we couldn’t visit Tydd at their old ground. The new ground wasn’t ready, but the club were keen to host, not least as the financial boost would help pay for the improvement works. Now when you organise these events you have to have a league that understands what you’re trying to achieve, so all credit must go to the PDFL in stretching a point, and allowing this one-off (for this season) game to be the first game at Tydd’s new ground was a kind gesture on their part that showed an understanding that was far beyond what could reasonably be expected.

So you can imagine how I felt one of the more notorious whingers of the hobby decided to grace us with his presence. He loudly told anyone within earshot that “£4 to get in is taking the p!ss” and how lousy the ground was. I assume he travelled to Tydd St Giles by car, so did he complain to the petrol station about the cost of the unleaded?  Did he really begrudge Tydd FC four measly quid when that £4 was so obviously doing so much good?

Now I know there are some hoppers who fail to see the bigger picture, but this was crass even by his standards! Mind you I won’t complain too much, he paid his £4 as did 341 others, which benefited everyone including no doubt the builders who will help improve the ground.  You see, I do see the big picture, I have to!

A large part of that bigger picture was how the tie attracted locals, perhaps as many as a hundred of them. That hopefully will produce a legacy over and above the financial side of things, and once they’ve returned from Wisbech, hopefully they’ll see some of those visitors week in, week out.

Tydd’s hosting was spectacular, and I hope the huge crowd gave them the impetus to get the works done quickly. Who couldn’t have loved the chill, curry, and yes, special Groundhop beer?! What started as a queue at the entrance ended up as a visit to be put in the exalted company of Sawtry and Kings Cliffe, and one to be used as an example for others to follow.

In fact the only place that Tydd didn’t win out was on the pitch. They’ll play worse than this and win this season, but met a Moulton Harrox side who even at this early stage look like title contenders.

But as is the case with any well-presented hop game this was about far more than just the the game itself. Tydd FC may well be heading for just under a season’s exile but as we headed back to a full-to-bursting car park, it was clear this is a club who still haven’t reached anywhere near their potential.