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Tuesday 18th September 2018 ko 19.30

Sussex R.U.R. Charity Cup 2nd Round

SEAFORD TOWN 6 (Lee 8 Rainford 23 Storer 41 Anderson 50 Guillou 75 Zabadne 85)

SOUTHWICK 1 (Lester 6p)

Att 15

Entry & Programme £5

Roughly speaking Seaford lies on the other side of the River Ouse from Newhaven, or in my terms just about as far as it as possible to get from a 5.30pm start from Oxford and make a 7.45 kick off. In this day and age you tend to assume you’ll be delayed getting past the M3 turn on the M25! But on this occasion England’s motorways decided to cooperate and I arrived at 7.25, just in time to hear two sounds….

The first was the referee’s whistle calling the two captains over for the toss-up- I genuinely didn’t know this was a 7.30 kick-off! Mind you if I had, I’d have probably picked another game, my good progress was that surprising! The other noise was the muffled sounds of a ship’s horn as a ferry left Newhaven bound for Dieppe. I found myself remembering the opening minute or so of Dire Straits eponymous debut album. If you want to know what I heard here, Mark Knopfler reproduces it very accurately on a Fender Stratocaster!

In my rush, I’d managed to walk through the wrong entrance. Seaford play at one end of The Crouch Gardens, and as such there is a public footpath along one edge of the ground. I’d found the entrance in Bramber Road, use the one at the end of Bramber Lane and you’ll come out right by the bowls club and the clubhouse.

It is the cleft stick I suspect the club have found themselves in. By anyone’s standards The Crouch is a fine ground to grace the Southern Combination, but on the other, you can see why in the past they’ve looked to move. On a more immediate point, I looked at the floodlights and pondered how persuasive someone in the past was to convince the powers that be to grant them planning permission! The nearby houses look expensive, and all too many football clubs know the rule that states the…

Likelihood of gaining planning permission is inversely proportional to the proximity of houses time the value of said houses. 

Perhaps Seaford Town is the exception that proves the rule!

I suspect the Sussex R.U.R. Cup sat a little more easily when the league was still the Sussex County League. The R.U.R. stands for the Royal Ulster Rifles; the regiment presented the trophy to the Sussex FA in 1897 after the regimental side the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles won the Sussex Senior Cup, Brighton Shield, Charity Cup and Vernon Wentworth Cup in 1895/6 and were recognised as ‘Sussex Champions’, with the trophy seen as a mark of their achievements.

These days a third of all gate receipts from the matches played in the competition go to the SCFA Benevolent Fund for injured players. On that basis it was a shame to see such a low attendance for two sides in the Combination’s Step 6 Division One.

And if you wanted goals you were certainly the right place! And while Seaford are higher in the table than Southwick, I don’t think anyone foresaw the mauling that the hosts dished out. In the end it became difficult to watch as the Seaford substitutes picked at the bones of an utterly demoralised Southwick defence.

I’ve been watching games in this league for a long time, right back to the days of the 3 divisional cup finals played across Good Friday. I’m not sure why I haven’t clocked up more of this most hopper-friendly of leagues. It’s time to put that right.