Saturday, April 23, 2011

Club focus Walsham-le-Willows


It's perhaps not the most inspiring of fixtures today when Ely City take on Walsham at the Unwin. Both clubs are in mid-table just above the relegation zone with little chance of being relegated (thankfully) and the brilliant weather will probably not inspire a big crowd to turn out as most people will head for the coast, beer gardens, barbecue stores.

I don't know why I missed the fixture last season, I was probably working, but the season before the game was played in dreadful weather and the game ended in an uninspiring 1-1 draw with Lee Dixon, who followed ex-manager Dennis Lightning to Sawston, scoring Ely's goal.

Anyway, this is supposed to be about Walsham, but as you have probably guessed there isn't a great deal to say about to them.

Walsham-le-Willows is situated to the East of Bury St.Edmunds in a part of Suffolk where it seems every town and village has a poncey name. The village is most famouf for being quite a pretty place and starred in a book on the plague by historian John Hatcher (which is worth reading if you ever have the chance).

The club were formed in 1890 and play at Summer Road Sports Ground, which was famous for having a pavilion with a thatched roof. The ground had been used since 1800 for various sports, but was more famous for cricket up to that point. The club vacated the ground during World War II as the pitch was needed in the 'dig for victory' campaign and was used to grow vegetables. They didn't return to the ground until 1951.

Most of their early years were spent in the junior leagues around Ipswich and they were founder members of the St.Edmundsbury Football League in 1907. They didn't manage to gain entry to the Suffolk & Ipswich league until 1989, but once they were there they didn't hang around for relatively that long. They won the league in 2002 and 2003 and were promoted to the first division of the Eastern Counties League. In their first season in the league they managed a very credible 4th place and narrowly lost to Needham Market in the final of the Suffolk Senior Cup. The following year, 2005, they went one better by beating Capel Plough in the final. In 2007 they won promotion to the Premier Division, where they have settled for mid-table obscurity since.

Ely, after their mini revival will hope to again get back to winning ways after a couple of hiccups away after the fine win against Brantham.

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