No.26 - Sat 9th January 2016; Cambs County League Division 3B;                                  2pm at Earith Recreation Ground; Bridge End; Earith; Huntingdon; Cambs; PE28 3PT


Matchday images (48)

Earith United (0) 3 Chatteris Fen Tigers (3) 6

'A goal-den light at the end of the rainbow'.

The village of Earith is situated in the Cambridgeshire Fens and lies between Chatteris to the south and Huntingdon to the east. The name ‘Earith’ is said to have come from an old word which means 'mud' (or more probably gravel) and the word ‘hithe’ refers to a landing place. It’s a remarkable location having two artificial diversion channels which leave the River Great Ouse, to form the Old Bedford River and the New Bedford River on a course leading to what is known as the Denver Sluice near Downham Market, where they rejoin the Great Ouse in its tidal section.

Historically the Earith Bridge has always been important. As early as 1346, the local community complained to Parliament that this bridge, which had been used from ancient times, was in need of dire repair. A bridge and causeway (known as 'Earith Causey') over Haddenham Fen were looked after by hermits in the 14th and 15th centuries, and indulgences were granted around 1400 for the repairs and maintenance. This bridge was still in existence in 1637. A new bridge over the old Bedford River was erected in 1812, and a further cast-iron one was put over the new Bedford River in 1826. Many Quakers had their homes in Earith after 1650, and a Meeting House has existed there since.

To the north east of the village, between the two rivers also lies the remains of an English Civil War fort known as Earith Bulwark. It is believed to have been constructed as early as 1643, to fortify the crossing point of the River Ouse. Many fenland inhabitants resented the Royalists because they believed that the King's drainage projects undertaken by Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden, had damaged their livelihoods (his Forty Foot Drain had been completed in 1637). Today, the fort is visible as a series of earthworks only, showing a square fort design with ditches and corner bastions. The village is also home to a marina, and during the winter months, ice skating is popular at nearby Bury Fen both activities being depicted in the village sign.

The football club formed some fifty years ago is only a three quarters of an hour drive through the sticks from Racing HQ. It plays its home games at the Bridge End recreation ground (or Meadowlands Park as it is shown on Google Maps) located close to the banks of the Great River Ouse. It is tightly shoehorned in between local housing and woodland which back onto the venue. A small car park is situated behind the near goal with a brick built pavilion set at an angle from the pitch over to the right hand side of the field. Steps on either side of the building lead up a communal club room, tea bar and changing rooms. It is ideally placed offering shelter from the elements and near enough to the pitch so that you can watch the action unfold at close quarters. To the right a brightly coloured and unusually shaped metal seat offers some comfort for spectators. Behind this a children’s playground and a floodlit caged MUGA providing basketball and five-a-side facilities for the community to use.

Today the football club is facing local side Chatteris Fen Tigers in an eagerly awaited Cambs County League Division 3B fixture. With only three places separating the sides in the middle of the thirteen team table a close match is in prospect. There's added interest as the visitors come here to seek out a bit of revenge following a 3-2 defeat at the Sportsman ground in Chatteris back in October.

Despite the incessant rain that had fallen in these parts during the last few days leading up to the game the pitch looked in excellent condition when I arrived for the scheduled 2pm kick-off. The groundsman had even been able to get his mower out onto the grass making the surface look quite pristine (in neat alternating stripes) for this time of the season.

Within minutes of the game starting a brief but heavy shower soon gave way to bright sunshine revealing a magnificent double rainbow that straddled the playing field perfectly and made for some unique photo hoppertunites. As the game continued the visitors settled more quickly and raced into what was a comfortable 3-0 lead by half-time. The only blemish of the first period came on the half hour mark when the hosts’ Joe Leader was sent off by young referee Charlie Houghton for a clumsy challenge. It was one of those awkward decisions that could have gone the other way had it been on any other day. 

The second half produced more goals and with some twenty or so minutes remaining the Tigers had upped the tempo to increase their lead to 5-1. United fought back strongly though and scored twice in three minutes towards the end the game which finished at 3-6 making it a fine advert for the league and an enjoyable afternoon’s entertainment despite the constant drizzle which re-appeared for most of the second half.

The match attracted a dozen or so spectators several of whom chose to remain inside the pavilion to watch the match action without getting wet. A much appreciated free hot cuppa was available at half-time for all patrons from the tea bar. As expected like the majority of clubs in the lower reaches of the county league Earith United doesn’t issue programmes.

It really had been a great day out. Finding out that my first choice game had beaten the elements was a pleasant surprise and a real bonus. With little driving time involved (home before Final Score!), plenty of goals and a warm welcome thrown in, what more could the happy traveller want! The joys of Fenland hopping continue. Have fun wherever you go!   


FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) Schwier (48), Egan (83), Binnie (86) and (A) Streets (16, 30, 90), Bracey (32, 67), Batizovszky (55)   

Attendance: 15; Admission: None; Programme: No; Match rating: 4/5; Ground rating: 3/5.



edited on 10/01/16