No.31 - Sat 14th February 2015; Great Yarmouth & District Football League;                          2pm at Filby Recreation Ground; Main Road; Filby; Great Yarmouth; Norfolk; NR29 3AA 


Matchday images (66)

Filby and Runham (0) 1  Belton (2) 7

'A Belt 'n game of football''

Like many hoppers I do like to see games from as many different leagues as I can during the course of a season. Today Iím heading towards the East Norfolk coast to take in a Great Yarmouth & District League fixture, There are several new ground ticks available to chose from but I decide in the end to take in the game at Filby and Runham Football Club who are entertaining leaders Belton in a league fixture.


The small village of Filby is a popular stopping point for holiday-makers who are heading on towards the more well known seaside towns of Caister-on-Sea and Hemsby, both within a ten minute ride from here. The place derives its name from the viking 'File the Dane', who settled in the area around AD 800. The village is situated on the shores of Filby Broad and Ormesby Little Broad, in the Broads National Park, some six miles north-west of Great Yarmouth and 16 miles east of Norwich. Filby won the village category of the Britain in Bloom competition. Runham which is part of the football club name, represents a small neighbouring hamlet.


Being so close to the Broads means that the area is frequently prone to local flooding and the club does have problems with water-logging during and after periods of particularly heavy rainfall. Today Iím lucky and a quick check text to enthusiastic Nathan Brown (GYDL league secretary and Belton FC committee member) confirms that everything is ok for the 2pm kick-off. Game on!


The recreation ground off Main Road road is easy to find being just past and opposite the Filby Post Office and Stores. A large clock (incorporating a duck weather vane) positioned on top of a gabled bus stop offers a useful landmark too as this adjoins the entrance which leads to a small bumpy rutted car park. A substantial area of land to my immediate left is fenced off and is the building site for a new development to construct a village hall with community use sports facilities. This is due to open either later this year or early in 2016. I imagine officers at Filby and Runham Football Club canít wait for this to be completed when you cast an eye over the rather ramshackle buildings which are used at present as changing facilities for the players. The metal portakabins really do look dilapidated and in need of a bit of TLC.


The site is bordered along its sides by tall trees to give it a pleasant enclosed feel. There are no dug outs or other spectator cover and the solitary pitch marked out in the middle of the fields is un-roped. The surface though well maintained is undulating to say the least. This is definitely grass roots in all its glory!!


Based on current form todayís game looks likely to be a comfortable away victory for Belton. They arrive on the back of 12-0 rout against Bohemians Reserves last weekend and have dropped only four points from their opening fourteen games scoring ninety five goals in the process. Only perennial league champions Catfield FC currently in second place and with three games in hand can look to match them come the end of the season. Filby in comparison sit three places from the bottom of the fourteen team table and have struggled not only to win games but to attract players. Itís not surprising then when they take to the field with only ten players.


For the record Belton win 7-1 in front of just fifteen spectators. As expected the club doesnít produce a match day programme (in fact none of the clubs in this league issue or have done for as long as I can remember) or offer refreshments. Hoppers need not go hungry though as they can still grab a snack from the convenience store which is just over the road Ė itís only a two minute walk from here.  


Although it looks an easy win it did take the visitors nearly thirty minutes to break down the Filby rear-guard. Talking of goals, hoppers may be interested to know that when Liam Williams made it 5-0 (after sixty seven minutes) this represented his sideís one hundred goal scored in the league this season. There canít be many sides who have hit this landmark in only seventeen matches.


Mind you having said that perhaps I should err on the side of caution here. The reason some of the top sides are scoring so many goals might be down to the imbalance of clubs within the league. Only a few seasons ago the GYDL was once a thriving competition with three full divisions. Today itís gone down to just one and this is made up of clubs that previously played in the lower divisions: for example, champions Catfield recorded a 26-0 victory only a month ago against bottom placed side MK Shrubs. So what can we make of the future of such competitions? Surely sides getting beaten heavily week in week out will eventually resign? No wonder league secretary Nathan has posted a request on the GYDL Full-Time home page inviting new applicants to join the league for next season. Watch this space, as they say. 

A visit to this lovely club on the edge of the Norfolk Broads comes with my highest recommendation. For more details about fixtures, results and tables check out the informative GYDL website at the address shown below. Talking of social media, have a look at the stylish pages (including selected pictures from the FGIF album covering today's game) on the new Belton site. And finaly thanks go to Nathan Brown for keeping me in the hopping loop!'.     

FGIF Match Stats

 Scorers: (H) Smith (86) and (A) Williams (28, pen 67), Salmon (38), Hogg (54), Amey (60), Daniels (79), Harvey (82)  

Attendance: 15; Admission: None; Programme: None; Match rating: 3/5; Ground rating: 2/5.


edited on 15/02/15