No.43 - Tues 18th April 2016; Cambs County League Bambridge Invitation Cup Quarter-Final;            6.15pm at Litlington Recreation Ground; South Street; Litlington; Royston; Cambs; SG8 0QS 



Matchday images (46)

Litlington Athletic (1) 2  Cambourne Rovers (2) 3

'Holders lose grip on cup...'

It's a glorious warm, sunny evening and I'm heading the short distance from Racing HQ over towards Royston (on the Cambridgeshire-Hertfordshire border) for the eagerly awaited Bambridge Invitation Cup Quarter-Final tie between Litlington Athletic and Cambourne Rovers. There's plenty at stake here as Athletic are in fact the current holders of the cup. This is a long established competition (one of many in the seemingly ever expanding Cambs County League) dating back to the 1950's when aristocrats George and Elsie Bambridge (daughter to Rudyard Kipling) donated a trophy to promote sporting (including football) participation in the catchment area surrounding Wimpole Hall, a country house, situated about eight miles south-west of Cambridge where they resided.


The village of Litlington occupies a thin geographical rectangular shape running from north to south along the Icknield Way (or A505). The parish has been occupied continuously for over 2000 years. A Roman villa probably dating from the 2nd century AD and containing 30 rooms was discovered just west of the village in 1829 and was excavated in 1881 and 1913. Originally it was referred to as Litlingetona c.1080, appearing in the Domesday Book as Lidlingtone and Lidlintone, and in its current form as early as 1242. The name 'Litlington' literally means 'farmstead of the family or followers of a man called Lytel'.


Apparently during the 1960's the place became so overcrowded by traffic (with drivers trying to avoid going through the town of Royston) that a one way system (the first ever recorded in any Cambridgeshire village) was imposed to alleviate the problem before a by-pass was eventually completed in 1971. Indeed as I followed my Sat-Nav directions through Litlington I actually missed the turning for the recreation ground (it's on the left hand side of the road before reaching the crown of a bend) and had to drive back around again through the one way system in order to approach it for a second time. So for any traveller looking for the ground entrance beware it's not an easy one to find!!


The recreation ground, allegedly donated to the village by the lord of the manor, is reputed to be one of the oldest in the country. On the original site dating back to Saxon times, it is enclosed by a combination of fences and tall hedges with some local housing and open fields bordering its perimeter. There are two full-size adult pitches marked out either side of a smaller mini pitch within the playing field. Adjacent to the car park is a dated changing pavilion, an old Cambridgeshire County Council barn structure complete with two changing rooms (at opposite ends) and a sports hall the size of a badminton court inside. The players take a short walk from here onto the main (unroped) pitch found to the right hand side of the field where two brick built dug outs (painted in the club colours of green) are positioned along the far side close to the half-way line. At present there is no spectator cover at pitch-side.


Upon arrival some twenty minutes ahead of kick-off, I was heartened to see both sets of players already out warming up on the field. Tonight's invitation cup fixture which sees the visit of fellow Cambs League Division 2A side Cambourne Rovers to the recreation ground has reached the quarter-final stage. As there are only eight sides contesting the Bambridge Cup this is in fact only the second game to be played so far in this knock-out tournament. In the first round of early evening ties played almost two weeks ago Litlington won 5-0 at Guilden Morden and Rovers beat Fowlmere Reserves in an exciting contest winning 8-7 on penalties after the match ended 3-3 at the Sports Field.


For the record it was visitors Cambourne progressed through to the next round but they were made to fight for it all the way. In a pulsating match played in bright sunshine on a well manicured but gently sloping pitch Rovers took an early two goal lead through a young Carlos Griffin brace and looked in complete control, creating further chances. However the hosts weren't going to give up their grip on the cup that easily and drew level when Ben Cooper scored twice with his goals coming either side of half-time. Cambourne regrouped and soon regained the lead scoring the goal of the game when Rob Chandler hit the net with a bullet header following from a corner from the right. This was enough to win the game and set up a home tie against either Sawston Rovers Reserves or Whittlesford United Reserves (who meet on 10th May) in the resulting semi-final.


With no further league or cup games left to play Litlington will have to wait until September to return to action, safe in the knowledge that their incredible 5-3 victory at Saffron Crocus last weekend was enough to survive relegation and maintain their place in Division 2A.


A visit to Litlington Football Club comes highly recommended. You can find out more by logging onto the Full-Time site which covers all league fixture, results and tables within its pages. The joys of visiting beautiful and picturesque village grounds in this league continues...have fun wherever you go!               


FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) Cooper (32, 52 pen) and (A) Griffin (20, 22), Chandler (65)  

Attendance: 10; Admission and Programme: None; Match rating: 4/5; Ground rating: 3/5.



edited on 19/04/16