No.8 - Sat 5th September 2015; Cambs County League Division 3B;                                   2pm at Lakenheath Pavilion; Eriswell Road; Lakenheath; Suffolk; IP27 9AF 


Matchday images (62)

Lakenheath Casuals (0) 0  West Row Gunners (1) 2

'Gunners find fire power...'

'Lakenheath village is situated in the Forest Heath district of Suffolk, close to the county boundaries of both Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and is a meeting point of The Fens and the Breckland natural environments. As many readers may know already it is host to the largest USAF base in the United Kingdom, RAF Lakenheath and is closely related to its sister base at neighbouring RAF Mildenhall. The United States has maintained a presence in the community since bombers were stationed here during World War II conducting raids on Europe.


The host wing is the 48th Fighter Wing (48 FW). It is also known as the Liberty Wing, assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA). Indeed F-111s from the 48th TFW participated in Operation El Dorado Canyon in 1986 when the bombing of Libya prompted the mock-acronym, Lakenheath Is Bombing Your Ass. During the operation one F-111 from Lakenheath was shot down by Libyan forces and the two crew members were killed. The Libyan government eventually returned one of the bodies, however there is still much controversy over the remains of the other missing pilot.


Excavation of three early Anglo Saxon cemeteries at RAF Lakenheath between 1997 and 2002 uncovered a total of 394 inhumation and 17 cremation burials, including one 6th-century grave with a horse burial: a man was buried next to a fully armored horse.

Lakenheath is also remarkable for its medieval church, built in the local flint construction style. The church contains medieval paintings and medieval carving on the pews. The faces of the church's wooden angels bear the scars of the English Civil War, as none of the angels retain their original facial detail, due to religiously motivated vandalism by puritan soldiers. In early 2009, the church received a large grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and local organisations to restore its rare medieval wall paintings which including local saint St Edmund, angels and birds amongst other subjects, are believed to date from the 13th century.

Founded back in 1971, originally playing as a Sunday League side (hence the name), Lakenheath Casuals Football Club joined the Cambs county League four years ago. The club is based at the Lakenheath Pavilion which is found off Eriswell Road (B1112). The expansive site is bordered by local housing on two sides and the picturesque Weir (Cut-Off Channel) which flows through adjoining fen land. Visitors pass through a smart wooden entrance gate and continue along a short driveway before reaching the impressive multi-function building (including changing rooms) at the far end. Opened in 2012 and fashioned from a combination of brick and stone, it really is a lovely facility. Look out for the ornate clock affixed to the gable. It’s also a magnificent sporting oasis with the tree-lined cricket field (used by Lakenheath Cricket Club who are coincidentally playing here today) away to the left and the main un-roped football pitch (with a smaller junior one running parallel) over to the right.


Although there’s no pitch-side furniture on the football field a wooden fence running along the nearside and children’s play area at the far end give the playing area a semi-enclosed feel. Hoppers may be interested to learn that the club is located only a couple of miles from the Nest, home to fellow CCL side Lakenheath FC and of course the vast airfield from RAF Lakenheath which is also just ‘up the road’.


Although matches in the top three divisions of the CCL started a few weeks ago today marks the beginning of the season and the opening round of fixtures for the rest of the clubs playing in this competition. In fact for opponents West Row Gunners it is a rather special day as the club returns to the league after pulling out a couple of years ago when they struggled to find enough personnel to run the side. I hear that there’s a bit of resentment towards them in some quarters as the side have been fortunate to take their place back in Division 3 rather than start again from scratch on the bottom rung of the CCL pyramid (the lowest division in fact is now 5B). To rub salt in the wounds it also appears that the Gunners have recruited several former Casuals’ players to strengthen their squad and some are on the team sheet to face their former club. Ouch! Throw into the mix the small matter of a local derby and as a football neutral you have one tasty hopping treat to look forward to. Bring it on!


Despite some of the pre-match hype this turned out be one of the best games I had seen so far this season with plenty of skill and endeavour on show in a well contested match. For the record the visitors took all three points scoring a goal in each half much to the delight of the travelling fans. Played in warm sunny conditions on a superb well grassed surface the fixture attracted almost twenty spectators. Although not one plane passed over, a large number of tractors carrying pre-harvest loads on their trailers (a regular feature in these fenland parts) could be seen trundling over the Weir along Undley Road behind the goal at the far end of the ground.


A visit to the impressive Lakenheath Pavilion comes highly recommended. For more details about matches here travellers can check out information on the club and league sites by clicking on the links shown below. Ah the joy of watching local derbies continue – have fun wherever you go...'. 

FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) N/A and (A) Winkworth (14), Peacock (46)  

Attendance: 25; Admission: Free; Programme: None; Match rating: 4/5; Ground rating: 4/5.



edited on 06/09/15