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Friday 27th December 2019 ko 19.45

Eastern Counties League Division One North

FRAMLINGHAM TOWN 8 (Berry 24 66 89 D Smith 30 57 75 Ling 47 Willett 51)

FELIXSTOWE & WALTON RESERVES 2 (Ingram 23 Norman 68)

Att 75

Entry £5

Programme £1

It is difficult to avoid reference to Ed Sheeran in Framlingham, and in any case, why try? The singer/songwriter is Framlingham’s most famous son, and while there doesn’t seem to be quite the same connection with the club that Olly Murs has with Coggeshall Town, the singer has tweeted his allegiance to the club after being spotted at, of all places, Stamford Bridge! Perhaps that’s why Framlingham Town market a replica shirt with Sheeran’s name on the back.

The town is most famous for Framlingham Castle, a fortification has been in situ here since the 12th Century, with Ed Sheeran managing to square the circle of his song “Castle on the Hill” by playing a concert there in 2017! The castle is the other side of Badingham Road from the football ground. I do slightly regret visiting for an evening fixture!

I’m beginning to think that awkward time between Christmas and New Year is the time I tick off Eastern Counties League grounds, taking full advantage of the fact the Friday evening football clearly works here.

My real surprise was that I was the only hopper at Badingham Road, particularly as this is only Framlingoham’s third season in the ECL, following promotion from the Suffolk & Ipswich League. They’ve had something of a roller coaster ride since then being promoted in their first season and relegated the season after!

Another, and pleasant surprise was just how well appointed the ground is, save for the main clubhouse being around 100 yards outside the ground. Ground grading rules man that the area being behind one goal is out of bounds as there’s no hard standing, but that looks to be a issue that’s easily solved.

Perhaps the lack of hoppers was due to the opposition, groundhoppers and reserve teams often don’t mix. I seem to have seen plenty of Felixstowe’s second string over the last couple of years and whilst they do tend to lose they don’t tend to collapse like they did here.

The odd part was that you couldn’t have seen it coming. Framlingham are lower mid-table and the visitors took the lead after all! But once an hour elapsed Felixstowe collapsed and the hosts ran riot with the unusual feat of two players scoring hat tricks being achieved.

It was the inevitable beast of a journey back to Oxford afterwards, but during the Christmas break those are the journeys you attack. At least you don’t have to get up early the next day!

Dedicated to Lisa Colcutt (nee Carton) whose untimely death I heard about whilst here. Rest in peace to a lovely friend and lady who was one of those few people who could legitimately claim to have a positive impact on everyone she met.