No.12 - Sat 3rd October 2015; Essex FA Junior Trophy Round 1;                                    2pm at Stephen Marshall Avenue; Finchingfield; Essex; CM7 4LZ 


Matchday images (51)

Finchingfield (0) 1  Marks Tey (2) 4

'Full Marks to visitors...'

Today Iím heading to the picturesque village of Finchingfield for my footy fix. Located between the Essex market towns of Saffron Walden and Braintree it is often called the most beautiful village in England. Being one of the most photographed places, it  has appeared in television programmes, films, and commercials, as well as on chocolate boxes, biscuit tins, and other products with a duck pond and village green surrounded by Georgian and medieval cottages as well as St John the Baptist Church on the hill and an eighteenth-century windmill.


There has been a settlement in Finchingfield since historical records of the area began. There also is archaeological evidence for a Roman villa 400 metres south-south-west of the village church. Finchingfield was recorded in the Domesday Book as Phincingfelda. The village was an official stop for horse-drawn coaches travelling from London to Norwich.

Spains Hall, the nearby Elizabethan country house, was built in the early fifteenth century. The hall is named after Hervey de Ispania, who held the manor at the time of the 1086 Domesday Book. Since then, the land has been owned by three families: the de Ispania family, the Kempe family, who acquired it when Margery de Ispania married Nicholas Kempe in the early fifteenth century, and the Ruggles family (later the Ruggles-Brise family who reside there today). The hall was the hub of the community, those families owning much of the village, and employing most of the villagers.

In more recent times the village also featured on Stage Three of the Tour de France in 2014 (from Cambridge to London). Thousands of cycling fans and visitors descended on the place to stand tightly packed along the narrow winding roadside (as well as watching the coverage on TV) to applaud the riders in the peloton as it made its way through the village during the early afternoon of Monday 7th July.

The football club is based at the recreation ground located off Stephen Marshall Avenue, a stoneís throw from the main High Street. Itís a basic but homely venue. Enclosed on all sides by tall trees itís a verdant football oasis. A small brick changing pavilion is found inside the entrance and adjacent car park. A low veranda connecting both sets of changing rooms provides an element of cover albeit some distance from the pitch which is found to the right side of the field.

Today Finchingfield Football Club, who play in the Cambridgeshire County League Division 4A (one of football's anomalies), is entertaining Markís Tey from the Colchester & East Essex League in an Essex Junior Trophy First round tie (the competition is for clubs in local feeder leagues beneath those entering the Essex Junior Cup). After taking a year's break the visitors (previously in the Premier Division) have been placed in Division Two. A glimpse at the respective tables tells me the each side is half-way in the rankings after a handful of matches. So with little current form to speak of itís difficult to predict the outcome of a game between two teams playing in different leagues but isnít that part of what being football neutral is all about?!

In a close match it's the visitors from Colchester who prevail with a convincing 4-1 victory in a game played in mostly mild but overcast conditions in front of just three spectators. To be honest I was impressed by the overall commitment shown by both teams who contributed to the making this an entertaining spectacle. As expected neither programmes nor refreshments are made available.

It goes without saying that a visit to Finchingfield comes highly recommended. It's a beautiful part of the world and who knows you may even be tempted to make a detour from the High Street and take in a game at this delightful tree-lined venue. For more details about the club, Cambs County League and Essex Cup competitions go to the links listed below. The joys of visiting lovely places continues - have fun wherever you go. 

FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) C Luxton  (56) and (A) Tollhurst (15), Bloomfield (25), Rayner (50, 79)   

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



edited on 04/10/15