No.35  - Sat 27th February 2016; Norfolk FA Primary Cup Semi-Final;                               2pm at Bradmere Lane; Docking; Norfolk; PE31 8NQ


Matchday images (70)

Docking (1) 1 Dereham Taverners (2) 5

'Cup Cheers for Taverners'.

'For travellers interested in watching local cup competitions this has to be one of the key dates in the grass roots football calendar. After several rounds of fixtures we have now reached the exciting, all important semi-final stage of the Norfolk Primary Cup, one of my favourite competitions. My fix today takes me to the tiny remote village of Docking located in the north of the county and after a long and winding cross country journey I arrive at the modest but picturesque playing fields in Bradmere Lane where the hosts are taking on the current cup holders Dereham Taverners in a bid for a much sought after place in the final.

It's going to be a tough call for the hosts who currently sit in eighth place of the ten team North West Norfolk League Division Two. Incredibly their opponents from Dereham have not been beaten in a run lasting forty-two games in all competitions. It's an impressive record for the side who unsurprisingly head the Central & South Norfolk League Division Three with a magnificent goal scoring tally of eighty goals in just thirteen matches. I was lucky enough to attend one of their league games back in August when they thrashed the now defunct Dereham Athleic by a 13-0 scoreline at the delightful Beetley Playing Fields.

The ground is reached by turning up Bradmere Lane from the B1454 running through the village. An entrance on the left hand side leads to a car park in the corner which opens out into reveal an expansive playing field. The site is surrounded by a swathe of very tall trees bordering the pitch which is marked out in the diagonal corner of the field. This setting gives a most pleasant and lovely enclosed feel to the venue as well as providing a surreal backdrop to the action. To the left and behind the nearside goal is a tidy wooden pavilion incorporating a function room and changing facilities. A smart framed photo (complete with some news cuttings) records the day when Docking won the Primary Cup back in 2009 beating Pott Row 2-1 in the final held under floodlights at Dereham Town FC. Adjacent and set back slightly are some floodlit tennis courts belonging to the local tennis club. Over to the right of the field and marked at a right angle to the main pitch is a much smaller mini grass training pitch.

A much larger than average crowd (over 50 spectators) including many who have travelled up from Dereham has turned up to watch this crucial cup game today. It's a frantic start with goals coming inside the opening minutes of the first half. As expected the visitors soon find the back of the net through Jamie Ryan (12) but are quickly rocked when Docking draw level after a wonder strike from Ricky Ramsden (16) just moments later. With the game swinging from end to end its the Taverners who regain the lead when Stuart Woodcock (45) rifles home from close range after a goalmouth scramble on the stroke of half-time. The tie is finally put beyond reach of the hosts when the visitors score three more times in the second half as Sam Brien (60); Tom Smart (63) and Dean Vann (81) take their side into the final of the competition for the second consecutive year in a match to be held in April at the FDC in Norwich.

The game played on a bumpy roped off pitch with an end to end sloping surface is not made easier by the strong swirling wind which affects ball control particularly during the first half. Although programmes are not issued the club lays on what is a terrific spread inside the pavilion with a wide range of hot drinks and snacks available throughout the afternoon. For more details about the Norfolk Cups as well as the North West Norfolk League click on the links shown below.

It's another great afternoon's entertainment at a friendly and most welcoming club. A visit to Bradmere Lane home of Docking Football Club comes highly recommended to all travellers. The joys of watching matches in this cracking little competition at remote outposts continues...have fun wherever you go!

FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) Ramshaw (16) and (A) Ryan (12); Woodcock (45); Brien (60); Smart (63); Vann (81)   

Attendance: 51; Admission and Programme: None; Match rating: 3/5; Ground rating: 4/5.



edited on 28/02/16