No.9 - Sat 12th September 2015; Norfolk Junior Cup Round 1;                                   2.30pm at Old Hunstanton Playing Field; Old Hunstanton; Norfolk; PE31 6AF 

 

Matchday images (63) https://picasaweb.google.com/footballgroundsinfocus/RedgateRangersFC02

Redgate Rangers (3) 4  Gimingham (0) 0

'A coastal breeze...'

'Itís really nothing to brag about. In fact after events on Saturday I have to hang my head in hopping shame. A combination of very poor planning (an understatement to say the least) and slow moving traffic almost scuppered my chances of getting to a game today. To be honest it was down to nothing but pure luck that I even managed to get in some action at all.

 

My intended destination was the outskirts of Kings Lynn where Castle Rising Football Club was entertaining Runton in a much awaited Norfolk Junior Cup first round tie. I couldnít wait. However upon arriving at the ground (well ahead of the scheduled 2.30pm kick off), I was horrified to find that the place was not only completely deserted but also that both of the goal posts were even laying flat on the grass. This was obviously not what I had expected and in all truth I could only blame myself here having set out at lunch time without checking the match details first. Tut, tut, I hear you say, as to this simply awful hopping faux-pas! To rub salt into the wounds this was not the first time I have failed to get in a game here after (dare I say it) a similar experience last season when a game in the North West Norfolk League was called off at the last minute!

But this isnít the full tale. Yes, thereís more. Having put all my hopping eggs into one basket I hadnít really thought about a Plan B, in other words, a back up game. With time now passing quickly by I grabbed my trusty Samsung smart phone, logged on to FGIF and scrolled through a couple sites in the hope that I might find something else. By sheer chance I spotted (on the Norfolk FA pages) that Redgate Rangers FC (members of the Anglian Combination League) were also at home (on their new ground) in a junior cup game. But could I get there in time? It was going to be a race against the clock though as I had to cover the ten or so miles up to Hunstanton in less than twenty minutes if I was to arrive before the match started. Even though it was going to be tight, I decided to go for it.

The first part of the journey seemed to go well and I reached the popular seaside town without any difficulty. The ground, listed as the Old Hunstanton Road recreation ground, was just a couple of miles further along the A149, a notoriously busy winding and slow road packed with day trippers. And of course today, of all days, it was particularly slow with not only cars but tractors thrown into the mix! Sadly under the circumstances I didnít appreciate the cliff top sea views as much as I should have! The clock now read 2.28pm and I still couldnít see the entrance. Had I gone past it?

Realising I had at this point probably gone too far I decided to do a gear clunking U-turn down a side lane and head back towards the town. Approaching a sharp bend I spotted, through a gap in the trees, what looked like a recreation ground beyond. Was this the right place? It was all or nothing as I shot through the main entrance and onto the playing field. With my heart racing, I noticed a sign on the gate advertising all the essential match details. As I pulled up on the grass I looked out of the car window and saw a group of players making their way from the changing pavilion onto the pitch ready to start the game. By now it was 2.33pm. I had finally, against all odds, made it. Phew!!!

Todayís game saw the visit of Gimingham to the recreation ground. Based on the far side of the county near to Mundesley it was a longer than usual away trip (some sixty miles) for the side from the North East Norfolk League who needed to be at their best to get anything from the game. By the time I had composed myself, the hosts had, as expected, taken full control of the match laying siege on the opposition goal for lengthy periods. For the record Rangers went on to win the contest easily by 4-0 to progress into the next round. Notably young Ryan Juby, making his debut, scored an impressive hat trick.

The match, played on a well grassed but side to side sloping pitch, in beautiful warm sunny conditions attracted nearly twenty spectators. Although the club doesnít issue programmes a range of hot and cold refreshments was available from the impressive club house in the corner of the field. During the match I got into conversation with spectator Terry Malkin, a former Wisbech Town midfielder back in the 1980ís who in his latter days played here for Old Hunstanton FC in the NWNFL (sadly the side packed up two years ago). He explained how the ground had developed over forty years since he first played here with the introduction changing rooms meaning the players didnít have to strip off in their cars before matches. He also explained how more recently a tea bar had been built onto the side of the building for the use by both players and spectators.

Since gaining promotion from the North West Norfolk League a couple of season ago these are exciting times for Redgate Rangers Football Club. Having recently moved here from their previous base at the Smithdon High School in Hunstanton the club now has a more permanent base and improved facilities here in Old Hunstanton. The site is a veritable leafy oasis surrounded by woodland and has an enclosed feel about it. The pitch is now railed along the far side with plenty of advertising hoardings helping to promote business links. Although as yet there is no spectator cover two new dug outs (with club logos affixed onto the ends) are positioned close to the half-way line on this side of the ground.

A visit to this friendly club comes highly recommended. Check out the links below to find out more. And finally if you are struggling to find the ground entrance which is not easy to spot donít leave it to chance like I did. As a guide look out for the Caley Hall Hotel which is virtually opposite the main gate (before the sharp bend). Have fun wherever you go. The joys of last minute hopping continue!!'. 

FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) Juby (6, 32, 34), Johnson (og 80) and (A) N/A  

Attendance: 18; Admission: Free; Programme: None; Match rating: 3/5; Ground rating: 4/5.

Links

http://www.redgaterangers.co.uk/

http://www.angliancombination.org.uk/

 

edited on 13/09/15