No.9 - Sat 13th September 2014; Norfolk Junior Cup Round 1; 2.30pm at Rackheath Playing Fields; Green Lane West; Rackheath; Norfolk; NR13 6LH
Matchday images (48) https://picasaweb.google.com/footballgroundsinfocus/HomeCareUnitedFC
Home Care United (1) 1 Hoveton Wherrymen (2) 6
Visitors sail to victory...
'Itís that time of year again! The Norfolk Junior Cup, one of my favourite local competitions, starts today. Many teams throughout the county begin their journey on the road to a possible place in the final to be held at Carrow Road, home of Norwich City FC, next April. As always it gives me pleasure to look through the fixtures in the days leading up to the scheduled game. It also offers the chance to watch a match where clubs from different leagues play against each other.
After careful consideration I head to the wonderfully entitled, Home Care United FC, for my footy fix. The club, members of the little known Norwich and District Saturday Football League (formerly Business League), take on Hoveton Wherrymen FC in this a crucial First Round tie.
As expected the visitors who ply their trade in the Anglian Combination Football League, (which on paper should be several rungs higher up the pyramid), prove too strong and win the contest comfortably by a 6-1 scoreline. Itís a bit flattering really because for forty minutes of this tie United match their opponents all the way, fighting back from an early gift goal to equalise mid way through the first half. An ankle injury to their keeper after the break turns the game on its head and the hosts collapse in dramatic fashion. This provides a catalyst for the lacklustre Wherrymen who suddenly find more time and space on the ball to add further goals (including a couple from inside the six yard box) and in so doing book their place in the Second Round.
The match, played in sunny conditions on a rather well grassed but undulating pitch, is watched by only 18 spectators including a member of the Norfolk County FA committee (whose presence appears to un-nerve the referee forcing him to make a lengthy check of the players boots, tie ups and jewellery delaying kick-off by over five minutes!). As expected there are no programmes or spectator refreshments on offer today.
Home Care United FC formed in the mid-1990ís by a middle-aged couple running a home help enterprise, began life in the Norwich Business League where they have remained ever since. Joint managers Mark Jeffries and Mervyn Butterfant (whose son is in the squad but not playing through injury) offer a warm welcome as the teams take to the pitch. They have scouted for local young players and gained recent success in winning promotion up from the Norwich and District Saturday League Division 2 in 2012-13 and then earning a creditable fourth place last season in Division One. So far this campaign they have played two games winning one to Yelverton Reserves and losing the other to current league leaders Frettenham United.
The club is based at the playing fields in Rackheath, a small village some five miles to the north-east of Norwich. It can be found by approaching from the A47 by-pass (to Great Yarmouth) and coming off near Great Plumstead (a couple of radio transmitters provide a useful landmark) and then following signs to Rackheath along a couple of narrow, winding lanes. The ground is located immediately off Green Lane West and is sign-posted Stracey Playing Field.
A narrow driveway leads to a long pavilion complete with changing facilities and a function room paid for by a lottery funded grant. Unusually (or perhaps not) a heart defibrillating machine is attached in a purpose built frame to the outside wall of the building. There are two pitches on the enclosed tree-line site (surrounded by open countryside) with the first team using the (un-roped) one nearest to the changing rooms. Without any cover or dug-outs it is pretty basic to say the least!
To find out more details about competitions run by the Norfolk FA (including the Junior Cup) and the Norwich and District Saturday League visit the website addresses shown below. Ah the joys of watching junior football in this cracking little competition continue...
FGIF Match Stats
Scorers: (H) Gill (26) and (A) Franklin (3, 48); Drake (40); Hare (63); Kettle (82, 87)
Attendance: 18; Admission: Free; Programme: None; Match rating: 3/5; Ground rating: 3/5.
edited on 16/09/14