No.10 - Sat 19th September 2015; Norfolk Primary Cup Round 1;                                   2.30pm at Blakeney Playing Field; Langham Road; Blakeney; Norfolk; NR25 7PG 

 

Matchday images (75) https://picasaweb.google.com/footballgroundsinfocus/BlakeneyFC

Blakeney (0) 1  Morley Village (1) 1

2-3 AET

'Seal-side Special...'

'For the second consecutive Saturday Iím heading up to the North Norfolk coast for my hopping fix. My chosen game this week is in the Norfolk Primary Cup, where Blakeney Football Club is taking on Morley Village in a much awaited first round tie. From Racing HQ the journey is a long one with the final ten or so miles following a difficult winding route on narrow roads several with tall hedges on either side. After almost two hours in the driving seat I make it safely to the recreation ground in time for the 2.30pm kick-off. Phew!

 

Blakeney itself is a coastal village that lies within the Norfolk Coast AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and the North Norfolk Heritage Coast. The village is about twenty miles to the north west of Norwich and ten miles from the neighbouring seaside town of Cromer. In the Middle Ages it was a major shipping area with Packet ships running to Hull and London. This trade declined as ships became too large for the harbour, and it is now silted up with access only for small boats. The harbour and surrounding marshes owned by the National Trust have become a nature reserve where seals can be seen basking on the sand. Now recognised as a popular tourist resort during the summer months it offers activities including crabbing, fishing, canoeing and bird watching. The marshland around Blakeney Point, owned by the National Trust, attracts up to a hundred species of birds throughout the year.

 

The football ground is based at the Village Hall/Community Centre a mile or so inland from the sea front. Itís easy to find with the site on the crossroads where the A 149 (Hunstanton to Cromer) and the B1156 (from Langham) roads meet. The large impressive building shares its facilities with the local community (today a birthday celebration is in full swing as I arrive) and hosts both football and tennis clubs. The changing rooms are situated around the back and face the playing field. A new set of floodlit tennis courts and a childrenís play area are positioned alongside the pitch which is bordered on the far side by local housing. Another adjoining field swings away to the right. From the far touchline it is possible to make out the wind farm turbines that fill the horizon close to Blakeney Point.

 

Todayís game sees the hosts (members of the North East Norfolk League) welcome Morley Village from the Central and South Norfolk League. The visitors have made a long cross country trip from Attleborough to get here for this the opening round tie. With only a few games played by both sides in their respective league competitions itís hard to tell on paper which side will prevail and this of course naturally adds to the football addictís pre-match anticipation.

 

The game turns out to be a real cracker and definitely gains my vote as the best Iíve seen so far this season.  The action unfolds late on. After scoring deep into first half injury time Morley look to have won the game when the hosts gain a direct free kick outside the box with only three minutes to go. The equaliser proves to be pretty dramatic as the ball comes back off the crossbar before being nodded home from six yards out to make it 1-1 and send the game into extra time.

 

Despite taking the lead for the first time in the game, the home celebrations donít last long. Itís heartbreak for Blakeney: within the space of eight second half minutes the visitors soon draw level following a penalty kick and then take the lead once again when the ball is drilled home after a decisive counter attack through the middle of the pitch to make it 3-2. So it's Morley (sporting at least three variations of socks in their ranks todat) who progress into the next round of the competition.

 

The match played on a sloping (both directions) and undulating pitch in lovely warm, bright sunny conditions attracts eighteen spectators. Although I did manage to get hold of the line ups before kick-off, neither programmes nor refreshments are made available. During the game I got into conversation with one of the locals who was a former player when the side used be members of the North West Norfolk League many years ago before joining the NENL. He explained how the players used to get changed in an old wooden hut (literally on the spot we were standing) before matches which then attracted over a hundred spectators - how times have changed?!   

 

To find out more about the club, league and Norfolk Cup competitions click on the links shown below. A great day out and one I would recommend to all fellow ground collectors. The joys of hopping at remote outposts continue, have fun wherever you go'. 

FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) Nairn (87), Cattrell (pen 105+1) and (A) Reeve (45+1), Oakley (pen 107, 113)   

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

Links

http://www.norfolkfa.com/

 

edited on 20/09/15