Written by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14)
This coming weekend (Fri 10th & Sat 11th Nov), the Essex Senior League has something of a unique event coming. Among a reduced Saturday fixture list due to the ESL sides in FA Vase action, there are three matches with staggered kick-off times, starting with the 12midday KO: Redbridge v Burnham Ramblers at Oakside, continuing with a 2.30pm KO: Waltham Forest v Woodford Town (2017) at Kitchener Road and finishing with a 5.30pm match at the Old Spotted Dog where Hackney Wick take on Wadham Lodge.
All this is proceeded by a local derby the previous evening at Cricklefield: Barkingside v Clapton. In a league where we do have Friday night matches as well as midweek action, it is rare though to have altered kick-off times on a Saturday. As such, it does rather feel like a special occasion.
For those folks who will do two or three matches on the day, a long day it may be though it is shaping up to be a cracker and I hope it is a beacon or a start of something that could continue as initiatives like this (as well as refreshments/food & admission etc) to encourage fans to ‘join the party’. It is heartening to see that Non-League crowds are on the rise at higher steps (Step 3’s Isthmian Premier for example) so why not at Step 5?
Also, it has to be said that the clubs involved deserve a mention for taking part in this ‘experiment’ & those that have organised it. Thank you.
Check back on Friday for Peter & my usual Preview piece looking at the ties (in ESL & FA Vase involving ESL sides) in more detail but in the mean time, here are the ESL fixtures themselves (3pm unless stated):
Friday 10th November 2017
Barkingside v Clapton | Venue: Cricklefield (7.45pm KO)
Saturday 11th November
Redbridge v Burnham Ramblers |Venue: Oakside (12pm KO)
Waltham Forest v Woodford Town (2017) | Venue: Kitchener Road (2.30pm KO)
Basildon Utd v Southend Manor | Venue: The Hive
Stansted v Sawbridgeworth Town | Venue: Hargrave Park
West Essex v Ilford | Venue: Mayesbrook Park
Hackney Wick v Wadham Lodge | Venue: Old Spotted Dog (5.30pm KO)