Wednesday 5 July 2023

Mundford - The Glebe

Mundford FC
The Glebe
St Leonards Street 
IP26 5DW

Ground Number: 1198
Tuesday 4th July 2022
Mundford 1-4 Lakenheath


The club was established in 1907 as per the club badge, but as with lots of clubs at this level, information on them is scarce. They appear to have been long-time members of the Anglian Combination, the first record I can find of them was winning Division 3 in 1982. By 1997, they were well established in Division 2, winning the title in 2006. However, their stay in Division 1 was short-lived as they finished bottom and went straight back down. The hangover continued and they suffered a second successive relegation, though they did win Division 3 for a second time in 2009. Results improved and by 2013 they had earned another chance in Divison 1 after finishing as runners-up to Foulsham. It was another single season with a rock-bottom finish but by 2016, they'd won promotion again, claiming their second Division 2 title. This time they fared a lot better, spending three seasons in Division 1 before winning promotion to the Premier Division after following as runners-up to UEA. Progress has been steady rather than spectacular - last season they finished 10th.

They certainly have the facilities for a tilt at the Eastern Counties League or at least a good base to build on. Mundford is a village near Thetford in Norfolk. The population is around 1,500. Lynford Quarry in Mundford is a well-preserved in-situ Middle Palaeolithic open-air site dating to 60,000 years ago that is believed to show evidence of Neanderthal activity. On 16 December 1942, British double agent Eddie Chapman was flown on a mission to Britain by the Germans in a Focke-Wulf bomber, converted for parachuting, from Le Bourget airfield. He was equipped with a wireless, pistol, cyanide capsule and £1,000 and, amongst other things, was given the task of sabotaging the de Havilland aircraft factory at Hatfield. After an uncomfortable flight, during which he suffered a nosebleed due to a poorly tightened oxygen mask, Chapman became stuck in the hatch as he tried to leave the aircraft. Finally detaching himself, he landed some distance from the target location of Mundford, near the village of Littleport, Cambridgeshire.


It had been a while since I'd driven to a midweek game, in fact getting on for six weeks. But with all of Colin, Martin & Anwar available, it was a good opportunity to do a game. There was not the greatest amount of choice though, at least not in terms of one that was practical to do whilst picking everyone up. Originally, I thought I'd found a decent game in Downham Town v Parson Drove and it had a preferable kickoff time of 7 PM. However, the day before, the opposition pulled out. It was a disappointment, but I'd not yet started my research, so no time was wasted. The club was even kind enough to message me and say that they would now be playing a training game on an outside pitch which was appreciated. Luckily, I had a ready-made replacement in Mundford Town v Lakenheath. This had been spotted by fellow hopper Dan and was better than his usual implausible suggestions.
I did all of my research on Monday evening. The ground looked very decent, though it was a bit limited on the food and takeaways front. It was also harder to find out about the history of the club, but as usual, the FCHD (Football Club History Database) was a godsend. I always like to give clubs like this coverage on my blog but even for a club that has been off the radar for the vast majority of casual hoppers, it had been pretty well visited. There were plenty of good grounds around this area but for whatever reason, attempts to get an Anglian Combination hop off the ground had not come to fruition. It was good to see Lakenheath confirm game on Tuesday lunchtime.

Elsewhere, it was the standard day off work and walk to town and back, 11 miles in all. I was back at about 1.30 and had bought all the bits to do a Keema Curry for my lunch which was very nice. It also served as a way to cook meals for work where we just have a microwave. Time was quite tight though and I didn't have to wait too long until it came time to leave at 2.45. I made reasonable time but was not too pleased with Martin pulling out at the last minute for an unspecified reason with no apology. It wasn't the greatest journey over to Anwar, all winding country roads but we got there after 4. The rain was also torrential and there were plenty of hold-ups with traffic in the rush hour. Though it rained all the way, it eased off once we got to Thetford. We selected USA Fried Chicken and Pizza for our meal. I had 12-inch pizza with steak, jalapeños, green peppers and tomato. This was good but not exceptional. I'd gone for the 12-inch and struggled to finish it but had I gone for the 9-inch I'd have been hungry.
From there it was 15 minutes to the ground where we parked on the street outside. It was a very pleasant setting but despite rain again on the way it stopped when we got there. It was a good open game too. Mundford opened the scoring on 12 minutes, a free kick curled in from the right and creeping inside the near post by Carlos Rocha. a minute later, Lakenheath equalised, a shot blasted home from the edge of the area by Casey Richards, right in the corner. It was end to end and with plenty of strong challenges going in from both sides. In the second half, Lakenheath had a goal ruled out, after a parried shot was followed up. They did take the lead with a Tommy Thulburn lob after a direct move on 59 minutes. It was 3-1 around ten minutes after that, a low shot from close range by Luke Young. Mundford had given a decent account of themselves but with the visitors playing a couple of steps higher, the difference was starting to show. It was 4-1 on 82 minutes, a shot from wide out on the right, a well-worked move. The Lakenheath keeper made a great save towards the end to preserve the three-goal margin.
There were around 70 in attendance that had come out on a drizzly night. The rain picked up again on the way home and I don't think it stopped raining from the moment we left Amersham to the moment I got home. It was a pretty good journey although some road closures meant that we took some pretty obscure roads, many of which were waterlogged. This had a bad effect on fuel economy, dipping well below 40mpg. Greatest Hits Radio had been our soundtrack there and back and it made the journey pass fairly quickly. I dropped Anwar off at 11.30, and Colin off at 11.55, getting on myself just under 15 minutes later. It had been a nice place to visit, next up for me is likely to be a revisit to Tilbury on Friday.

THE GLEBE is a great venue for the level, set in pleasant greenery and very well kept. The pitch is fully railed and there's a small area of cover holding around 50 standing. This has a small tea bar in it but I didn't see any bar or clubhouse. The changing rooms are a fair way away alongside the main parking at the village hall. 

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