Friday 18th March 2016 ko0 19.45
Eastern Counties League-Premier Division
BRANTHAM ATHLETIC 1 (Travis 27)
STANWAY ROVERS 1 (Hunt 64)
So, another entry in the Eastern Counties League’s regular Friday night fixtures, although on this occasion the impact of playing early was a little diluted by nearby Wivenhoe playing simultaneously. You are only just in Suffolk here, in fact so close to Essex are you, that the Manningtree transmitter is clearly visible from the near goal.
The village can trace its history right back to the Domesday Book, and the local St. Michael and All Angels Church owns one of John Constable’s few religious paintings. The Tudor poet Thomas Tussler wrote, “A Hundred Good Points Of Husbandry,” locally, it’s where the epithet “A fool and his money are soon parted” derives from.
When I look up a club’s address and see “Leisure Centre” I tend to head there with fairly low expectations, the mental picture is one of chlorine, and vending machines. Well dear reader Brantham is the exception that proves the rule. The ground is shared with cricket, and just two sides are open for spectators, but the clubhouse is spacious, and the catering excellent.
The wooden stand is an edifice of beauty, and the unusual temporary-looking stand is a graduate of Colchester United’s former home- Layer Road. The club’s volunteers looked a little strained on this occasion, with everyone seemingly slightly the wrong side of too busy. The cause was a function in the upstairs section of the clubhouse that required full catering. It is, therefore to Brantham’s great credit that every single official was welcoming and friendly, and when people are this classy, you can happily wait for your food, or the line-ups to be posted up in the window.
The game was in so many ways a typical local derby. At times the tempers were fractious, but in the final analysis, Stanway will undoubtedly feel they should have won this one. Matthew Travis’ free kick squirmed in to give the hosts the lead but Stanway spurned a host of chances before and after William Hunt’s response.
Brantham I suspect will treat the result as a point gained rather than two lost, whilst I took my leave and headed west happy to see a hard-working club, so obviously content in who they are and what they’re trying to achieve.