With plenty of time off between jobs, Jen and I were taking the opportunity to get to a few gigs. We‘d spotted that Boo Hewerdine was playing in a castle and so we thought we’d have to add that one to the list. This particular castle was Castle Hedingham, a Norman motte and bailey castle down in Essex but as we were homeless at the time it was no big deal to head south for a couple of nights. You’ve got to be somewhere.
The closest place to the venue that we could find somewhere to stay was in Sudbury. It’s exactly how I‘d imagined a countryside village in the south of England to be, complete with an old church and a village green. So, a bit like Norton then but without the duck pond.
They have their own Saint though, which Norton doesn’t. Even better, a Saint with a hiking trail and so we walked the section of St. Edmund’s Way that connects Sudbury with Laverham. It’s a picturesque route, as you might imagine, but not the best marked trail that we’ve hiked and we ended up lost a couple of times, culminating in us walking slightly further than we’d thought we would have been.
We’d previously seen Boo Hewerdine a couple of months earlier at Matlock Bath where I’d given him some post-gig advice which consisted mainly of how much better life would be if he played the songs that I like best. He was far more gracious about it than he needed to be, even signing a CD with the dedication ‘Sorry about everything’.
The Castle Hedingham gig was, as expected, very good and as I wasn’t drinking Boo escaped my wrath afterwards for not playing Geography for the third consecutive gig of his that we’d been to.
This is a sporting blog though and so that’s enough of the music talk and on to the game. I don’t usually write about English games, partly because I don’t get to many these days, but mainly because when I do it’s a Boro game and I’m too bothered about the score to get caught up in all this blogging nonsense.
This one wasn’t the Boro though, so I took a few photos and notes. You don’t think I remember all the detail do you? Particularly when it takes me five months to get around to posting it. Anyway, AFC Sudbury of the Isthmian League Division One North were taking on Fakenham Town of the Eastern Counties League Division One at Sudbury’s King’s Marsh Stadium.
I was a little surprised that we were being charged anything at all to get in to a pre-season friendly between a team at the eighth level of English football and one at level ten. I was even more surprised to find out that the tickets were six quid each. I dunno, maybe I’m turning into one of those old blokes who thinks a pint of milk still costs one and six.
Mind you, nobody else seemed to be paying. Perhaps they were all club officials or player’s wives. We coughed up for raffle tickets too, despite the bloke selling them warning us that we wouldn’t win as the prizes were already destined for people on the committee.
The high admission charges and raffle sales must have been working out ok though, as there was a fairly impressive newish looking main stand, complete with a bar inside complementing the adjoining tea hut.
There was also a bus shelter type stand behind each goal and another stand, named The Shed on the opposite side of the pitch. It did all seem a bit excessive for a crowd that probably didn’t quite total a hundred people, but I suppose a pre-season friendly against Fakenham Town isn’t likely to bring out all the part-timers.
It wasn’t much of a game, although I suppose I should know by now not to expect much from pre-season friendlies. Everyone seemed exhausted after the first ten minutes running around and the game continued at a much slower tempo.
Fakenham had a grizzled old bloke in the centre of their defence. He did pretty well to get his head to most of the balls played in towards him. I got the impression that he’d probably open doors with his forehead too if given the opportunity. Sudbury’s notable player was a young kid on the left wing who looked about twelve years old. The highlight of the first half was seeing him stamp his feet in frustration after one of the bigger boys didn’t pass to him.
Sudbury managed to score three first half goals, all from or after headers where nobody saw fit to mark or challenge the scorer. Fakenham replied with a consolation from a fella who chased a long ball and just beat the advancing keeper to it.
We stuck around until half-time and upon learning that, as expected, we hadn’t won the raffle, we cleared off back into town for something to eat. Apparently Sudbury scored a fourth goal after the break.