Ipswich Wanderers v Kirkley & Pakefield
After four consecutive matches at Portman Road it comes as something of a relief this Saturday to be able to go elsewhere to see a game. I am nevertheless completing what has become an habitual journey to Ipswich, but today it is to see one of the town’s other two senior football teams. Ipswich Wanderers are in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties Premier League, but if they carry on their form of the season so far, they won’t be for much longer; they currently sit second from bottom in the league table.
I am following Ipswich Wanderers’ Twitter account just in case of last minute cancellations and this proves a very wise move because I now learn that the game has been postponed because of storm damage to the stadium on Thursday when it was so windy that I was unable to get to work. Today it is lashing it down with rain, but I have come to Ipswich to visit my mum anyway, and seeing as I’m now half way there I decide to head on into deepest darkest Suffolk to watch Framlingham Town v March Town United in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Division One.
Framlingham Town v March Town United
At 2:15 I check that the game is still on and it is and I depart into the drab, wet countryside towards Tuddenham and on to Otley, to Cretingham, Earl Soham and Saxtead. It’s a journey along narrow roads between hedges and ditches, past the thick tilled, sodden soil of broad rolling fields, beneath dripping, black, leafless trees and through small floods. Mine seems to be the only car on the road out here. It’s cold and the rain on the windscreen thickens into sleet. Eventually after a half an hour I reach Framlingham and Badingham Road where Framlingham Town play; as I turn into the track that leads to the sports ground another car is leaving and the first doubts surface in my mind. The car park is mostly empty but I park up anyway and as I do so a group of people walk from the turnstiles towards the cars that are alongside me. I lean across the front seat and open the passenger window: I’m not getting out in this rain. I ask a blond woman “Is it off?” . She confirms that it is, but quickly adds that the game at Woodbridge is still on. I must look a little shocked or disgusted as she quickly adds “If you want to see a game”. I smile and thank her and again shut the weather out of my car.
I decide not to watch Woodbridge Town because they are only playing Leiston reserves, and I don’t approve of reserve teams playing in the Eastern Counties league, and so I head home down the A12. Naturally I’m disappointed, but late postponement is a feature of non-league football, it helps to confirm that it is just a game and it was a helluva drive through the bleakly beautiful and slightly threatening looking, but mostly muddy Suffolk countryside. I’ll be back.