No.20 - Sat 28th November 2015; Cambs County League Division 3A;                               2pm at Offord Recreation Ground; Alison Lane; Offord D'Arcy; Cambs; PE19 5WA


Matchday images (46)

Offord United (1) 2  Clare Town (1) 1

'A United Front'

'It's a bitterly cold day and suitably armed with plenty of warm layers to combat the early winter wind chill I'm heading north on the A14 dual carriageway from Racing HQ towards Huntingdon for my footy fix. My chosen game today is the eagerly awaited Cambridgeshire County League Division 3A top of the table clash between current league leaders Offord United Football Club and fourth placed Clare Town (from Suffolk).


To be honest I had never even heard of the place before and needed to look it up on my trusty Google Maps smart phone app. After a few clicks I soon discover that the club is based in the picturesque and quaintly sounding village of Offord D'Arcy which is located mid-way between the larger neighbouring towns of Godmanchester and St Neots. To get there by car you need to come off the A14 slip road at junction 24 (also signed Wood Green Animal Shelter), continue into Godmanchester town centre before taking the B1043 heading out towards the Offords. After driving through Offord Cluny continue into its twin, Offord D'Arcy, turning left (at the Horseshoes pub) into Alison Lane where the ground entrance soon becomes visible. With parking at a premium I decided to leave the car in the pub car park instead which in hindsight turned out to be a wise move as I would have been blocked in after the game by late comers.


The site itself is a really basic affair with just a line of separate metal shipping containers used for players' changing accommodation, a toilet block and an equipment storage space standing inside the entrance next to the car park. The players walk past an enclosed basketball cage to reach the playing field beyond where the one and only pitch (roped along the near side) is marked out on the recreation ground. It really has an impressive, well manicured and flat surface that must be the envy of many other clubs in the league. Being surrounded by open fields on three of its sides it is without doubt one of the most exposed locations found in local non league football that I have seen so far. An attempt to landscape the venue has been made with a number of small saplings recently added behind the goal to the right and along the far side. It is possible to pick out a couple of tall wind turbines jutting out on the horizon behind the goal to the left. The frequent sound of express trains passing by (to and from Huntingdon) can be heard zipping along the main Cambridge to Peterborough line which is less than a quarter of a mile away.


Back to the game. Considering the bitter swirling cross winds and heavy drizzle as well as distracting toe numbing conditions (emphasised to create an authentic atmosphere) the match was a superb advert for the league and gained full marks on my FGIF match stats review. For the record the hosts won by 2-1, scoring the winner mid way through the second half when young Casey Nicholson's shot from outside the box screamed into the top corner of the goal to secure three points and consolidate his side's coveted lead at the top of the table. Out of the crowd of almost thirty spectators I was joined pitch-side by fellow local travellers and ground collecting acquaintances George who had (to beat the weather) travelled by car (instead of motorbike) from his Haverhill base and Keith C from Cambridge who true to form took up his position close to the half-way line supported by his trademark shooting stick. Nice to meet up fellas. By full time I must admit that I was glad to get back into the relative warmth of the car. 


It appears that Offord United Football is definitely a team on the up having gained successive promotions within a short space of time since joining the league only three seasons ago. Their record in the county league is impressive: as Division 5A runners up in 2013-14; as Division 4A champions in 2014-15 and looking to make it a hat-trick at the end of this campaign. I shall monitor the club's future progress with interest.


If you are in the vicinity and looking for a decent game of football in the Cambs County League then you could do no worse than make a visit to the Offord recreation ground for your footy fix this season. Hoppers may be interested to note that even after a week of heavy rain that had fallen in the area, the pitch still looked in excellent condition and was perfectly playable throughout. For more details about the club and league click on the links shown below. The joys of hopping in leafy Huntingdonshire continue...have fun wherever you go.         



FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) Taylor (17); Nicholson (75) and (A) Stokes (37)   

Attendance: 27; Admission and Programme: None; Match rating: 5/5; Ground rating: 3/5.



edited on 29/11/15