Saturday 17th April 2021 ko 16.30
Cambridgeshire County League Senior Cup Group D
COTTENHAM UNITED 2 (Males 32 Course 81p)
MILTON FC 0
Att c60 at King George V Playing Field, Lambs Lane.
The FA’s edict that that matches shouldn’t clash with the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral did create an unwitting opportunity for groundhoppers like me. It wasn’t difficult to find a game beforehand, and there was ample time to travel from Barton Mills westwards for around 30 miles.
Cottenham lies roughly 5 miles north of Cambridge at the edge of The Fens, and before 17th century drainage was the only dry land between Ely and Cambridge. The village’s most famous son was John Coolidge, born in 1604. He emigrated to what’s now the USA- and his descendant Calvin Coolidge became the 30th President of the United States in 1923. In 1928 the President contributed to the restoration of All Saints Church, Cottenham, where his ancestor was baptised.
But the church and its tower aren’t the most obvious landmark in Cottenham. That would be Cottenham Water Tower, that started life in 1843 as a windmill! Storm damage in 1884 saw the sails replaced, and when in 1889 local wells had been polluted and there’d been a typhoid outbreak in the village the windmill was converted to a water tank courtesy of some iron cladding. The building has been converted to a house, and I assume the residents have no issues with water pressure.
This was the third game we’d seen under the FA’s bizarre “Public Spaces only” rule, and of those 3 this was the one that felt least like an open space, to the point that I actually checked this was a designated playing field. The reason it that it is supremely well appointed with a modern changing room block. Opposite is the new village hall, but I do hesitate slightly in calling it that, its far too impressive to compare it to the usual dusty halls with worn wooden floors I’m used to. I’d have loved to watched this game from the balcony there!
That’s why I ended up being surprised that Cottenham, when the season hasn’t been curtailed by a pandemic don’t play at the top level (Premier) of the Cambridgeshire League, but in the second tier Senior A. The quality of the game was notably higher than was the case earlier at Earl’s Barton, which was of no surprise but at times these two talented sides did rather cancel each other out. In the end a well taken shot and a nailed-on penalty was enough for Cottenham to take this group stage game, but the result could easily have gone either way.
We left, and passed by Histon FC’s Bridge Road Ground on our way back to the A14. It had been a successful day in so many ways, but for the saddest of reasons.