No.29 - Sat 30th January 2016; Suffolk & Ipswich League Division 4;                                 2pm at Kesgrave High School; Main Road; Kesgrave; Ipswich; Suffolk; IP5 2PB


Matchday images (45)

Kesgrave Kestrels (1) 2 Stradbroke United (3) 3

'Kestrels' wings clipped'.

Itís what you call a champagne moment. That feeling of achievement a hopper gets after finally visiting all the grounds in a particular league. Whether it has taken just a few months or many years there is a special sense of euphoria after ticking off that last elusive club or ground on the 'must do' list. No sooner have we celebrated our painstaking obsessive crusade then we focus our attention on taking on a different league or competition to start a new challenge. However from personal experience thereís also a hidden tinge of sadness as our trips to a certain area or league no longer become part of our hopping plans. In a way we tend to lose touch as we move on to pastures new.

Take for example the Suffolk & Ipswich League, one of my favourite leagues for watching local football. Itís a competition where the majority of clubs are literally on my doorstep and quite easy to reach. To be honest since taking in all the clubs and grounds some time ago I rarely look at the fixtures these days. So you can imagine my excitement when at the start of the season I stumbled by accident upon some new clubs and grounds that offered reborn Ďhoppertunites. Whilst scrolling through the club information pages on the excellent SIL website I noticed new clubs that Stage Event Security and Sutton Heath Saxons had joined the competition for the start of 2015-16 playing in the lower division.

As I had ticked off the majority of these clubs some twenty or so years ago now I also decided to check through the ground addresses to see if I had missed any recent changes. I suppose itís an age thing but Iím sure many of us have difficulty remembering where weíve been over the last few seasons let alone after a couple of decades. To my surprise and excitement I came across Ipswich based side Kesgrave Kestrels Football Club, a team which I thought I had already visited but in fact hadnít. I had for some reason mistaken it for another SIL side called Willis and Kesgrave FC. Needless to say my interest in the league had fortuitously been re-kindled and it was only going to be a matter of time before I would make a trip across the county to tick off the Ipswich based club.          

Kesgrave itself is a small satellite village found to the north east of Ipswich and is not far from the A12 leading towards Woodbridge and Lowestoft. Itís an area popular with hoppers hosting several non-league clubs with Ipswich Wanderers, to name just one, just a stoneís throw away. Kesgrave Kestrels plays its games at the Kesgrave High School which is easily reached off the Main Road (A1214). A narrow (signed) entrance takes you into the main campus with the school buildings clearly visible on the right and the car park, sports facilities and changing rooms behind here on the left. Itís a sprawling site which hosts many pitches on the playing field located in a large hollow dip below street level. To reach the main pitch on the far side you have to walk down some steps and around an impressive multi use 3G caged games area. The setting is unique with a large and very steep embankment running alongside the furthest touchline offering terrific views over the site. For the avid amateur grounds' snapper this is a great, if somewhat precarious, vantage point from which to take in the action below.

The football club is a relatively new one, founded back in 2010. It operates many teams catering for boys and girls up to adult and veteran sides playing in a number of competitions. It is proud of its recent heritage and boasts the likes of Ipswich Town stars Titus Bramble and Richard Wright amongst its early ranks. The club also operates a wonderful website (see link below) which provides travellers with loads of essential information including up to date news fixtures, results and important directions in helping you to get there.

Today the Kestrels faced Stradbroke United in a important division four fixture. Coming into the game as league leaders (winning all games apart from a 4-4 draw against AFC Elmsett back in November) the side hoped to maintain the top spot with victory over their mid table opponents. However the visitors proved too strong and notched up a fine 3-2 win ending the hosts 100% unbeaten record. It was a great advert for the league in what turned out to be a thrilling end to end game of football refereed expertly by young official Ryan Jones who was being assessed Ė no pressure there then!. The match attended by only eight spectators including four wags was played in lovely bright sunny but cold conditions.

All the essential match details appeared on the excellent SIL website within hours of the final whistle. Along with its club info section and stats links via Mittoo itís a superb resource for those intending to watch a game in this competition. The joys of finding new grounds in local leagues continues. Have fun wherever you go!    


FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) Richards (og. 13) Dougall (62) and (A) Wythe (27, 43 pen), Goodall (34)   

Attendance: 8; Admission and Programme: None; Match rating: 3/5; Ground rating: 3/5.



edited on 31/01/16