No.25 - Sat 3rd January 2015; Cambs County League Division 2B; 2pm at Red Lodge Sports Pavilion; Hundred Acre Way; Red Lodge; Bury St Edmunds; Suffolk; IP28 8FQ
Matchday images (33) https://picasaweb.google.com/footballgroundsinfocus/RedLodgeFC
Red Lodge (8) 12 Mepal Sports (0) 0
Itís been pouring down with rain for almost twenty-four hours now and Iíve almost given up hope of finding a game thatís still on. Unsurprisingly all of my chosen matches have been called off having been postponed due to waterlogging. With one final throw of the hopping dice I go back to the lap top computer looking for something on the local league websites that might have escaped the precipitation. Incredibly one fixture stands out on the Cambridgeshire County League Full-Time pages and thatís the game at Red Lodge. Itís now 1.30pm and if I get a move on can just about make the kick-off. Thereís no time to make a check call but at least it offers hope.
The rain is hammering it down even harder as I pull off the A11 heading over one of the flyover bridges following signs towards the village of Red Lodge. Most travellers will have probably passed here on many occasions as they make their way into Norfolk. Itís a massive modern housing development which stretches for a couple of miles before the main Fenland roundabout at Barton Mills. The Red Lodge Sports Pavilion and recreation ground is found hidden in the estate along Hundred Acre Way and itís very easy to miss. I did twice but a glimpse of the playing field between the houses helps direct me to the car park. I quickly pull up and espy a couple of players dressed in red shirts walking over to the main pitch marked in the centre of the field. With only five minutes to kick-off Iíve made it. The gameís on. Phew!
Today visitors to the recreation ground are Mepal Sports for Division 2B league fixture. Iíve already seen them once before this season when they lost narrowly at home to current leaders Fordham by a 2-0 score line back at the end of November. Red Lodge have also made a cracking start to the campaign having won ten out of ten games so far. Their involvement in various league and Suffolk County Cup competitions means they are playing catch up in the league and should be vying for honours come May. They've got a great record in the Cambridgeshire County League in recent seasons having stormed through the divisions in the last few years.
Despite the incessant rain the pitch looks in terrific condition and is perfectly playable. Itís all one way traffic as the hosts completely dominate proceedings and play some lovely passing football creating chance after chance. By half-time the contest is over as a spectacle with the homesters taking an eight goal lead into the break. The second half is pretty much the same fare as Red Lodge continue to press forward and eventually beat a pretty wet and demoralised opposition with a comfortable 12-0 victory to consolidate their promotion chances. Itís my highest scoring game of the season to date.
The game is attended by a handful of spectators including a couple who have come over from Italy to attend a funeral the day before following a bereavement in the family. As a tribute I am invited to take a team photo and spend some time chatting to club captain Gareth Simpson (see him in action in the thumbnail above). The former Cambridge City, Mildenhall Town, Newmarket Town and a former pupil of mine back in the 1990ís explains that he hasnít quite hung his boots up yet and since moving to the village (his house is visible from the pitch) still enjoys playing the game.
The site dominated by the expansive housing estate which runs parallel benefits from having a modern community pavilion which doubles a pre-school nursery facility. The changing rooms found at one end of the building are some distance from the un-roped pitch marked in the centre of the field. Thereís no cover and travellers are reminded to bring plenty of warm clothing in the event of bad weather (like today!). A smaller rugby pitch runs parallel. Keep a look out too for the rather unusual but beautifully detailed totem pole found at the top of a grassy bank near the entrance and childrenís play park.
A visit to Red Lodge FC comes highly recommended to all travellers. It might be one to think about when the weather is poor. I shall be certainly keeping an eye on their results on the Full-Time site (see link below), a real life saver in every sense of the word!!'.
FGIF Match Stats
Scorers: (H) Atkinson, Brown, Gale, Gooden (x4), Simpson, Smith (x2), Spratt, Stevens and (A) N/A
Attendance: 11; Admission: Free; Programme: None; Match rating: 4/5; Ground rating: 3/5.
edited on 04/01/15