White Ensign FC
c/o Great Wakering Rovers FC
Little Wakering Hall Lane
Southend On Sea
Ground Number: 889
Sunday 13th October 2019
White Ensign 4-1 Buckingham Athletic
FA Vase 1st Round
WHITE ENSIGN FC - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was established in 1951 and name comes from Naval connections. They spent their first 51 years in the Southend Borough Combination prior to joining the Essex Intermediate League in 2002. Starting in Division 2 (step 8 of the non-league pyramid) they were champions in their first season and this brought about a period of great success. White Ensign would be Essex Intermediate League (renamed Essex Olympian League in 2005) in four of the next five seasons. After the 4th of these wins in 2008, results tailed off somewhat but the club would remain in the Essex Olympian Premier until 2014 when they were relegated to Division 1. They'd bounce back as runners-up to Harold Hill in their first season to return to the Premier Division at the first attempt. Finishes had been mixed since their return, but 4th last season was their best in ten years. Due to the expansion of step 6, more specifically creating a league for Essex, they were invited to join the Eastern Senior League Division 1 South at the start of last season. They finished a very credible 4th in their first season, but have found the going tougher this season, sitting 13th before the weekends games.
This season saw White Ensign entered the FA Cup for the first time, beating Woodford Town in a replay but going out narrowly to higher division Takeley in the Preliminary Round. This season has also seen a record run the FA Vase - 3-0 wins over White Ensign & Blue Forest had set up my latest visit. Local cup wins include the Essex Olympian Senior Challenge Cup three times, the Capital Counties Feeder League Trophy on three occasions, The Essex Olympian Senior Cup twice and the Essex Premier Cup in 2008. White Ensign's most famous former player is Paul Benson who was snapped up by Dagenham & Redbridge after scoring an incredible 107 goals in 65 games for them.
Usually, Sunday is a pretty miserable day for me, what with having to work, but on this occasion, it was the last day of my week off. There's not usually that many games on a Sunday, but as it happened, there was an FA Vase game that I fancied in White Ensign v Buckingham Athletic. Even better, fellow hopper Anwar agreed to come and keep me company, and that helped with petrol costs too. The day of the game came and it was, yet again, raining. White Ensign tweeted that the game was on and so I was good to go. I spent the morning editing photos and videos and typing by blog from yesterday's visit to Epping, getting the bulk of work done before leaving at 12.10, getting to Anwar just after 12.30. I needed petrol, so we stopped at Tesco in Aylesbury en-route. The journey could have gone better, there was a hold up on the motorway due to a broken down car, so we sat at a standstill for ten minutes watching the speed cameras do brisk business on the other side of the carriageway. Talking of cameras, the A127 had loads of them, I reckon you could potentially lose your licence in five minutes. There were more delays on this road, another 20 minutes as half of the road was closed off, of course, with not a single worker in sight. Eventually, we got to the ground at 2.40, paying a reasonable £6 to get in. I'd been hoping for a portion of chips, but the tea bar was operating on a limited menu. The hot dog that I had was not great, £3 and the bun was not the freshest, obviously leftover from yesterday's Great Wakering Rovers game. It also had butter in for some reason. I scraped as much out as possible and added sauce, but regretted not stopping somewhere on the way.
White Ensign were on good form - in the last six games they'd recorded five victories (including an 8-2 victory over Newbury Forest in their last game) and drawn once. Buckingham Athletic were also doing pretty well, winning four (including a 6-0 win over Hillingdon Borough) and losing two of their last six.
The game started brightly with chances falling to both sides, but none were taken. The hosts took the lead on 27 minutes, Luke Skinner crashing a shot in off the bar from 10 yards out. Six minutes later, they doubled their lead with Andy George slotting home from close range. After 47 minutes, the game was as good as over, this time Brett Munyard tapped a cross home at the back post. Buckingham Athletic would reduce the arrears a couple of minutes later, Jeremiah Adams poking home after a goalmouth scramble. However, the three-goal lead was restored on 58 minutes, Robert Tapp scoring an own goal after he deflected a cross into his own net. The chances dried up after that, White Ensign content to sit on their three-goal lead and see the game out. We made better time on the journey home, with me dropping Anwar off at 6.35 and getting home myself at 7. I had dinner and watched Who Wants To Be A Millionaire before going to bed at 9 as I was up at 4 am for work.
BURROUGHS PARK is a smart and well-kept venue. The game is named after Roger Burroughs, the local farmer who played a big part in laying the foundations for the current ground and helping get it set up. The seated stand holds 250 and has seats from Bolton Wanderers old ground, Burnden Park in it. There are further covered standing areas too. Opposite is an elevated stand behind the dugouts, this holds around 200. There's another covered area behind the goal, including an overhang in front of the dressing rooms, this holds around 200. The ground has a total capacity of 3,000. The bar looked spacious and smart, but the tea bar, despite promising much, was disappointing on my visit, so it may be worth stopping en-route as there wasn't much in the immediate area. Great Wakering had a club shop, but it wasn't open on my visit.