No.42 - Sat 18th April 2015; Mid Essex League Premier Division;                                   2pm at William Edwards Sports College, Stifford Clays Road, Grays, Essex, RM16 3NJ


Matchday images (63)

Stifford Town (1) 2  Braintree & Bocking United (0) 3

'A Bocking great come back'

'They say that in life a change is as good as a rest, donít they? Well that can apply to hopping too. So for the first time this season I decided to dip my toe into a new league today with a trip down to Grays in Essex for the Mid Essex League game featuring league leaders Stifford Town who are taking on Braintree & Bocking United in a Premier Division fixture. 

I must confess at this point that I had heard differing reports from fellow hoppers about this competition so I wasnít really sure what to expect. Indeed after reading a worrying headline regarding teams not turning up to games at the end of the season, on the league website, I was a bit more reassured before setting out from Racing HQ when the Stifford Town FC club secretary confirmed that the game was definitely ON.


The club currently plays at the William Edwards Sports College, a well established complex off Stifford Clay Road in North Stifford. Itís all part of a modern housing suburb close to the busy A13 and only a stoneís throw from the popular Lakeside Shopping Complex (where I'd dropped my girls off for some retail therapy earlier). The expansive school site dominates the local area with a large number of educational buildings on its sprawling campus. A hand painted mural next to the main entrance proudly displays that famous moment when Bobby Moore is being held aloft by his team mates with Jules Rimet Trophy in hand. A sign on the wall is dedicated to Olympic Gold Medallist Darren Campbell who opened the main car park in 2005. The school has access to an impressive large sports centre which is established as a centre for badminton excellence in the South East. This building also provides adequate (nothing more) changing facilities for the football club around the back.


Needless to say I was pretty chuffed when, upon arrival, I noticed both sets of players were already out warming up alongside the main pitch (one of several on the school playing field) marked out closest to the sports centre. Phew! The game itself played on a hard bumpy pitch in extremely windy conditions was a superb advert for the league. Stifford opened up a comfortable two goal lead before the visitors fought back to score three times and win the game 3-2 in front of just eleven spectators.


I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised at the standard of football on offer. It certainly seemed as good, as if not better, than many of the local matches I had taken in so far this season. Incidentally, ambitious Great Baddow, with several games in hand, look to be title favourites and are set to move back to the Essex Olympian League for next season. Hoppers may also be interested to know that Stifford Town FC intends to relocate at the end of the season moving down to the Lakeside pitches in order to improve their facilities and perhaps the chance of moving up to the EOL themselves.


I would, on the evidence of this visit, certainly attend more games in the Mid Essex League in the near future. To find out more about the club and the league click on the links shown below. The joys of watching football in a new league remain just as exciting as ever...'.     

FGIF Match Stats

                Scorers: (H) Godden (25), Greaves (46) and (A) Morgan (49), Harle (60), Grimsey (67)  

Attendance: 11; Admission and Programme: None; Match rating: 4/5; Ground rating: 3/5.


edited on 19/04/15