No.10 - Sat 20th September 2014; Norfolk Primary Cup Round 1; 2.30pm at Flitcham Playing Fields; Abbey Road; Flitcham; Sandringham; Norfolk; PE31 6BT
Matchday images (32) https://picasaweb.google.com/footballgroundsinfocus/FlitchamHillingtonFC
Flitcham & Hillington (1) 2 The Woottons (0) 0
An empty cup (tie)...
'I must confess that for the first time this season my choice of game certainly did not live up to my prior expectations.
When the first round draw for the Norfolk Primary Cup (one of my favourite competitions) was announced a few weeks ago I decided to keep my options open and picked three possible games featuring clubs that were all in fairly close proximity (geography wise) to each other. Marshland Saints FC, Flitcham & Hillington FC and Docking FC, coincidentally all members of the North West Norfolk League, were at home and (depending on the time I had available) each provided a strategic 'hoppertunity along a route by-passing Kings Lynn.
By 1.45pm and at the Downham Market turning I decided to push further along the A10 and leave Marshland Saints (near to Wisbech) for another day. With the journey up to Docking possibly too far by now (especially considering the number of tractors I had already got stuck behind en route) I opted instead to travel towards Sandringham and head for the tiny village of Flitcham for my footy fix today.
The village and its neighbour Hillington play host to both football and cricket. Flitcham is for football and Hillington for cricket with the stumps set up in the grounds of beautiful Hillington Hall some four miles away from here. Both sports have been played in the area for many years.
The football club plays its games at the local recreation ground in Abbey Road, found along a narrow lane bordered by low hedges. To say that the set up is basic is an understatement with little in terms of facilities to inspire even the most well seasoned hopper. An unmade potholed car park leads to an old brick built pavilion surrounded by overgrown nettles, long grass and weeds in the nearest corner. The interior is truly cramped as pitch marking equipment competes for space in the changing rooms and adjacent cob-webbed toilet (with its own artistic owl painted lovingly on the old rickety seat)!
The one and only pitch on site is a joy to behold. I speak with tongue firmly in cheek here. With a marked side to side downhill slope and unbelievable undulating surface it certainly isnít conducive to playing (good) football on. With no pitch barrier and spectator facilities to speak of (apart from one park bench close to the half-way line), this is certainly a characteristic setting for a local junior grass roots football club and just adds to the rustic charm of the place. Incidentally beyond the trees in the distance a number of hawks can be seen circulating high overhead to provide a welcome distraction.
In all honesty the game was an extremely poor spectacle. Todayís visitors Kingís Lynn based The Woottons (also members of the NWNFL Division Two) had the lionís share of the play but just couldnít hit the target. Flitcham keeper Jamie Thurston, a former stopper at Dereham Town in the ECL, making a return to football after a ten year lay- off, was certainly kept the busiest player on the field making several fine saves as he rolled back the years.
The hosts had three counter attacks during the whole game and managed to score in two of them. For the record striker Matty Garrod scored both goals: the first (on 18 minutes) a cracking volley from distance followed by a delightful free-kick (on 59 mins) to book his club's place in the second round. The game played in dull conditions attracted only seven spectators. As you would expect neither a programme nor refreshments were available.
Word has it that the club is currently facing difficulties both on and off the field. I was informed pitch side that there may not only be problems in finding enough personnel to run the club but also in attracting new players (today only a bare eleven turned up to play). Donít be surprised if the club (after 50 years membership) withdraws it place in the league and cup at some stage. I certainly hope not but this trend is becoming a sad reality in the lower echelons of junior football where playing the game is no longer seen as a priority or passion for young lads these days.'
FGIF Match Stats
Scorers: (H) Garrod (18, 66) and (A) N/A
Attendance: 7; Admission: Free; Programme: None; Match rating: 2/5; Ground rating: 2/5.
edited on 26/09/14