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Saturday 10th October 2020 ko 14.30

Anglian Combination Division 4

NORTON ATHLETIC 2 (Burcham 9 MacDonald 24)

THORPE ST ANDREW RESERVES 0

Att 23

Free Entry

Programme by donation

On the face of it there wasn’t much going on in the south Norfolk village of Norton Subcourse. Just a crossroads, a bus stop with no bus service, and the round towered St Mary’s Church, with one service every two months. It’s rural, with a farm and a cement works but despite the fact that the entire population is only around 300 you’d be hard pushed to find a more vibrant club.

You’ll find The Highfield on the Loddon Road just south of the fields that give the village it’s suffix ( the subcourse of the River Yare). The ground has the farm at one end, but initially at least your attention is drawn to the changing rooms block, seats and tea hut at the near end. That hut is a focal point for just about everything that happens here. It’s where you pick up the programme, a mushroom soup or even a latte! 

In the end you can’t help but pay attention to that farm at the other end. Any photographer is going to love having those barns and silos as a backdrop, even if the weathervane is from the wrong type of agriculture! But there’s was a subtext to the game and that was the farmer was demolishing a barn. It wasn’t being done by any means a health and safety manual would recognise, just three blokes, a telehandler, and an oxy acetylene blow torch!  It didn’t look safe, and I’m glad no one was hurt, but having sparks and fire to work with was a unexpected bonus. 

One topic of conversation was does this complete the set of Nortons? There was the now defunct Norton United, Hook Norton  , Brize Norton, Chipping Norton Town , Norton & Stockton Ancients, and Clapham-based Norton FC but do I count Welton Rovers who of course play in Midsomer Norton? 

One of the great beauties of the Anglian Combination is you always forget what level of the game you’re watching. Just like Dersingham Rovers a month ago you need to check you’re watching two teams 12 promotions from the EFL. The truth of it is known to all of us who’ve delved into this league; it punches way above it’s weight in footballing terms. Why do you think I’ve spent so much time and effort in trying to get a groundhop set up for the league?

And if the game were replicated in front of a crowd of groundhoppers numbering roughly the population of the village, then I’m sure all parties would love the experience. Norton picked up their first points of the season, the farmer took some more chunks out of his barn, and we headed back west as satisfied as anyone could expect to be. Some place that Norton Subcourse….