Saturday 29th July 2017 ko 10.45
United Counties League Premier Division
HOLBEACH UNITED 6 (Bird 14 53 Leckie 18 Jackson 56 Sanders 83 Davies 85)
SLEAFORD TOWN 0
From our base in Peterborough coach driver Dwayne set sail north-east heading into East Anglia in general and more specifically the Fenlands. The topography flattened out considerably, Holbeach has a coastal suffix with good reason, it used to be only 2 miles from the sea, and it’s area South Holland, a good hint as to who drained the land!
The weekend saw us visit the North-Eastern outposts of the UCL and as such it was a real shame that Boston Town turned down the opportunity to host, it’ll be a nightmare putting together a day now that includes them if they ever were to change their mind. It also meant we visited 3 clubs, Holbeach included that have seen membership of the Eastern Counties League. It is odd how in this part of the world how the boundary has moved west over the years.
The coach bounced along straight but undulating roads, but I was happy Dwayne got us to the ground early. For one it allowed the pub enthusiasts to find a hostelry or two before kick-off, and for Chris Berezai and I it allowed us plenty of time to set up by the pre-paid gate to distribute the multiplicity of pre-booked programme packs.
It also gave time on a busy day to consider where I was. On a personal level this was one of very few UCL grounds I hadn’t visited, mainly due to distance. This is the town on the Prime Meridian who boasts a World’s Strongest Man- Geoff Capes as it’s most famous son. Thankfully I didn’t spot a stray budgerigar during our stay here.
The ground is a small section of the public Carter’s Park, named after it’s bequestor. In that sense it’s similar to St Albans’ Clarence Park, except in Holbeach’s case the perimeter fence looks capable of being removed, presumably in the close season. Hopefully it won’t be an impediment to further progress for the Fen Tigers, as I tend towards the opinion that if you want to win the UCL beating Holbeach will be one of your toughest tests.
Thankfully the club hosted well and the rain stayed away and for once Chris and I got to watch most of the game! I do have history with Sleaford Town, back in 2013 I’d been asked to drive a friend to watch a game at Eslaforde Park on the day after the UCL and PDFL’s clubs had voted on whether they wanted to proceed with GroundhopUK’s hop proposal. It would, on reflection, have been rather embarrassing if I’d turned up the day after a rejection.
On that basis it was a shame that Sleaford are clearly struggling, and one of their fans commented that this was a scratch side with only one player from last season present. It was no surprise that Holbeach won at a canter. I do though regret telling Lewis Leckie’s wife and daughter that they shouldn’t worry about missing his goal, he was bound to get another. Me and my big mouth!
We departed as the multitude of ducks vacating the dyke protecting the town did so in favour of bread. A few headed east for more Step 5 and 6 action, but we headed towards a large windmill for something different. A few questioned why, but I’d seen the manifests and ticket purchases, we were about to attract a whole new tranche of hoppers.