Soham Town Rangers 0 AFC Newbury 1
The trickiest journey of the season but worth the effort. It’s a train to Ely followed by a bus to Soham. I asked for directions on Soham’s website and was amused when I was told to jump in a taxi and ask for the best club in Cambridgeshire. The problem with getting a bus, is you’re never sure where to get off. This slight worry was the only thing to spoil a delightful bus ride across the fens, very picturesque. I used what directions I had to make an educated guess of where to get off the bus and was pleased to get it right. This gave me an hour to have a nose about the town and find something to eat. Everywhere you go in Soham, you come across signs for the ‘Millennium walk’. I’m sure if you did this actual walk, it would take at least 2 days. Soham is quite a small town and was not particularly busy. I crossed a road called White Hart Lane. So my Vase journey this season has taken me from White Hart Lane to White Hart Lane via White Hart Lane. I was interested when passing a phone box to see a poster advertising the match, nice to see such a game promoted in the town. I was very tempted to have my lunch in ‘Saucy Megs’ restaurant, but I didn’t have time for a sit down Liver & bacon meal and also, in view of others entering the restaurant, I felt decidedly under dressed. So I made do with a chippy. On entering the shop, a guy looked up and yelled customer in a loud voice. When nothing happened, he repeated his cry. On the 4th shout I was beginning to wonder whether anyone else was actually in the shop. Eventually, someone appeared and seemed vaguely surprised to have a customer. This unnerved me slightly, but the food was very good. I looked for somewhere to sit and eat my meal, the only bench I could find was on the edge of a graveyard. Again, slightly unnerving, but nobody gave me a second look so I clearly wasn’t doing anything unusual. I reached the ground in good time and found a typical Eastern league club. Excellent facilities with a big bar and function room and a nice ground with cover at both ends and along one of the sides. The £4 entrance was terrific value. The most notable part of the day was the extraordinary strength of wind, it was always going to cause havoc with the ball and th most amusing part of the day was a bird shooting over our heads at about 90mph, clearly caught in a gust and completely out of control. The clubhouse has a balcony, but anyone sitting up there would have been taking their life in their hands. The game itself was quite entertaining, taking into account the conditions. Newbury scored on 23 mins when Cundy beat 2 players on the right, cut inside and hit a wind assisted shot into the top corner sending the noisy Newbury fans ecstatic. Soham were well on top in the second half but couldn’t find a finish despite several golden chances. It’s not easy to reach Soham by public transport but is certainly possible as was proved by the fellow groundhopper that I met from Nottingham whilst standing at the bus stop after the game. The journey home was uneventful apart from the 10 minute wait at a level crossing in Ely for the slowest freight train ever to travel the British railways.
A thoroughly enjoyable Vase trip in every way.