Saturday 16 May 2015

Coggeshall Town - The Crops

Coggeshall Town FC
The Crops
West Street

01376 562843
Official Website

Ground Number: 494
Saturday 16th May 2015
Coggeshall Town 0-2 University of Essex
Essex & Suffolk Border League


Coggeshall Town FC was formed in 1888, making them one of the oldest clubs in Essex. Their best period came in the 1970s and 80's when they were in the Essex Senior League. Their best ever finish came in 1973 and 1974 when they finished an excellent 3rd in the Essex Senior League, plying their trade amongst such teams as Billericay Town & Witham Town who have now gone on to establish themselves in the Isthmian League. 1975 also saw the best ever FA Vase run, with them getting to the 3rd Round. They beat Bungay Town and Brightlingsea United before a home defeat to Clacton Town. Due to financial issues and the lack of floodlights, they have had to drop down to more local leagues. They were enjoying a decent season this year, sitting in 5th place. The opponents, University of Essex were sitting a place below, and could go above the hosts if they won.


As it was coming to the end of the season, the games were severely drying up, even for a Saturday. With all of the steps 1-6 complete, it would have to be something from step 7 of non-league or below. A basic grass pitch in Middlesex or Hertfordshire seemed my destiny, but then looking further afield I saw the Essex & Suffolk Border League. I remembered that Harwich & Parkeston who once played in that league had a cracking ground. Although they were not at home, a few others were and Coggeshall Town was one of them. They had spent a short amount of time at a higher level and had a stand, and it looked well worth a visit. Added to the fact that a couple of people I knew from Facebook might attend and I was sold. On the day of the game, I woke at around 9am, having had a good 6 hours sleep having not got to bed until 3am the previous night. I still felt pretty decent and had a browse on the internet before having a bath. I then had the rather unusual breakfast choice of Chilli Con Carne with some Irn Bru. I wasn’t really in a rush to go, so I edited some of the videos I had captured from the game I went to last night, as well as typing my blog. By the time I had done that and got a few other things sorted it was 12.15 when I left home.

After going down the local shop to use the Cash Machine, it was 12.25 by the time I left for the game. I had a decent journey over there, arriving at the ground at 1.50. As I was taking pictures of the signs outside the ground, I met Dan North, a fellow groundhopper and a Braintree fan. We had a great chat as we walked to the bar, where I had a pint of Somersby for £3.50. Dan told me there was a good chippy down the road, and so after checking that it was still open, I walked down there. Coggeshall was a pretty little town with bags of character and I wished I'd had more time to explore it. There was a DIY shop there called 'Four Candles' which was a nod to the famous 'Two Ronnies' sketch of the same name. I easily found the chippy and it was well worth it. The chips were freshly cut, not one was identical to another and they were delicious. It was a shame some of the other stuff was above average cost, but the chips were great value at £1.60. 
I eat them while walking back to the ground, meeting another Dan who had bought me along a couple of nice things. Firstly a scarf to add to my collection, and also a new mate in Maurice who as well as supporting Braintree, also followed Ipswich who had sadly lost 3-1 to Norwich earlier in the 'Farmergeddon' playoff semi-final in the Championship earlier that afternoon. There was more football chat, along with discussion of our plans and hopes for next season.

The first half was goalless but it wasn't too bad of a game. The second half saw the University of Essex take the lead on 53 minutes with an angled low shot into the bottom left-hand corner. The Uni keeper seemed very keen on charging out of his area. He had already got a yellow card earlier on in the game when he was involved in a collision with an opposing striker. This time he came out and was clattered himself. It took a lengthy time to treat him and once his head wound was patched up he had to change his shirt. This was slightly annoying for me as one of the iconic football pictures is of Terry Butcher in a bloodied England shirt and I'd encourage it, not make a fuss. The game was sealed deep into injury time as the University of Essex number 14 rounded the keeper and sealed the game by putting a ball into the empty net. 
After the game, I said goodbye to the lads. It had been a really good day and hopefully, we can make plans to meet soon, with the case of the second Dan, it will be at Wembley tomorrow for the Conference playoff final. It was a good drive home and I was back home by 6.30, even with stopping at Tesco. I spent the evening typing my blog, chatting online and watching TV.


THE CROPS is a great ground for step 7. With the addition of floodlights, it would easily be a step 5 ground. The stand has round 100 seats, plus the same for standing and there is a rail around 2 sides of the pitch. The bar is nice enough, with a basic selection of drinks, as well as a BBQ for food outside. The town is around a 15-minute walk away - it's very nice and has a fair choice of places to eat and drink. 

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