Sunday 1st April 2012 ko 2.30pm
Morrison Bell Cup Quarter Final
SIDMOUTH TOWN 0
SEATON TOWN 7 (Highet 2 Norman 31 34 56 60 Cross 45 Love 71)
Att 88 (h/c)
No programme (old copy free)
With the first game overrunning I was grateful to Martin Bamforth who’d left early and covered the early stages of the second game of the day for Mike and I.
The town with its wide esplanade, has a Regency feel to it, but a series of south-westerly storms in the early 1990s washed away much of the shingle beach protecting the esplanade’s masonry. A series of artificial rock islands was constructed to protect the sea front, and tons of pebbles were trucked in to replace the beach.
Sidmouth is home to the Norman Lockyer Observatory and Planetarium, located on Salcombe Hill. The facility, completed in 1912, fell into disuse but was saved from demolition by the appeals of enthusiasts to East Devon District Council. The observatory now operates as a science education project and is open to the public.
This fixture looked to be an intriguing encounter with local rivals pitched against each other. Sidmouth won last season’s Devon & Exeter League and now sit in the lower reaches of the South West Peninsula League. Seaton are in pole position to take over as champions but may not be able to gain promotion as their pitch is too narrow.
With the elevation in status, there’s work in progress at the ground. The pitch is now railed on two sides and a green hardstanding path laid by the far touchline. Soon this will be augmented by a bus shelter-type cover. It won’t make the place the greatest place in the world to watch football but it will help to remove the sense of Park Pitch that is the pervasive feeling now.
With me dashing in late, I had no opportunity to jot down the lineups and make a judgement on what I was watching. It was quickly obvious that this was no contest whatsoever, as Seaton made easy work of their hosts, rolling in goals with steady ease. Norman helped himself to four, the third a magnificent turn and lob, as the hosts had absolutely no answers to their visitors’ questions.
So, was it simply that the top flight of the Devon & Exeter League is stronger than the Division One East of the SWPL? I got my answer after the game when I got the line-ups from the home secretary. He admitted that while Seaton where completely focused, Sidmouth in contrast had decided to cobble together a team from the reserves and Sunday sides, even putting a midfielder in goal!
It appears that Mike and I without ever meaning to, prioritised the correct game. I wonder if the participating clubs both thought the same? This brought to an end my visit to Mike, Christine and the beautiful Jurassic coast. I’d like to thank both of them for their company, local expertise, and their wonderful hospitality.