Written by Scott W (Twitter: @ScottMHC14) with afterword by Essex Senior League Chairman Rob Errington
Well, you may have seen some of the match reports from the Essex Senior League ‘Ground-Hop’ Day event, though what did the occasion feel like?
So, as part of a good ‘crew’ that included ESL Chair Rob Errington and respected fellow Non-League colleague Peter Dudley, we set off through the maze of traffic to reach Oakside, home of Redbridge FC, for their match against Burnham Ramblers, which kicked off proceedings at midday.
I will say that the Motormen always give you a decent welcome, led by Programme/Website chap Adam Silver though being honest, the hot food helps as well! Anyway it did seem like a few ground-hoppers and perhaps curious punters had joined the crowd to watch proceedings. To be fair, the match itself was a good one as the hosts showed why there are one of the in-form teams in the division right now. Though as I’ve said previously, Burnham are a different proposition this season compared to last term. They are spirited, more determined and decent going forward too.
I’m not usually in a rush to head off post-match though today it was rather a necessity, what with the next match kicking-off about a half-hour afterwards. Joined by ESL Secretary (& organiser of this event) Michelle Dorling in the ‘Batmobile’ (Well, it was jokingly called that so I thought I’d leave it in), the four of us just about made the start of the second designated match at 2.30pm – Waltham Forest v Woodford Town at Kitchener Road,Walthamstow. It’s been documented in the last week or so that Forest are in some financial strife as they look to keep the club going on to & past its 150th anniversary next season, and while the match itself was alright, the result didn’t go the way of the hosts. Being at the ground was a bit of a change for me as I don’t get round there that often, chiefly due to its location. I sincerely wish Forest all at Forest well in their efforts to preserve the club going forward.
With regards to Woodford Town, I could see why they’ve been scoring a few goals this term though they are probably seeking what quite a few other sides are – that ‘holy grail’ of consistency.
Right, well with the darkening sky well on its way, we made our way to our third and final match of the day at the Old Spotted Dog for the 5.30pm KO between Hackney Wick and Wadham Lodge. The chill in the air had also set in by this point though once settled, my attention turned to this encounter which was an important one at the bottom of the table.
Along with Woodford, I hadn’t seen Wadham this term before today though I’m well aware they won’t want to recall the tough start to the season that they had to endure. The visitors looked decent at times as they got the result with their superior finishing being the difference in my opinion.
As far as the ‘occasion’ goes, I don’t think anyone can complain about a lack of goals (12 in three matches). And that adds to my (and others) thoughts that this season is ‘on its way’ nicely at both ends of the table. Perhaps future occasions of this ilk could have one or two matches on a Sunday or Bank Holiday afternoon though for a debut, it was really rather good. Days like this may help most clubs, though particularly those whose attendances aren’t that strong.
In the main though, ‘more of the same’ please. The ESL is ‘on the rise’ and long may that continue.
As hinted earlier, below are the thoughts of ESL Chairman Rob Errington on the day:
The day dawned with the excitement of the first-ever Hop by conveying Scott and Peter and the resultant chats added to the whole experience of the three matches, all ending 3-1 or 1-3, being very memorable. A day to remember indeed and hopefully to be repeated.