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A strange little football ground

In Pictures from England, soccer, Sports - football, Sports - football, soccer on September 19, 2016 by cubsur51 Tagged: , ,

While I was UK my former home town team played an FA cup-tie at Ascot United FC. Many of you will know Ascot as the location of one of the UK’s premier horse race courses, Royal Ascot and all that. Well the foootball ground is inside the racecoourse, making it one of the more unlikely places I have ever been to watch a game!

In the background to this photo you can see the seven furlong marker of the New Mile. this is the straight track which HM Queen comes down in procession when she attends the races there. (The goalkeeper is of Ascot United, being sent the wrong way by a Tonbridge penalty.)

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Ascot United FC and the Racecourse

There’s a little gate in the fence so they can retrieve footballs. They cannot play when there is a race meeting on. The previous match had to be on a Friday evening, this game was played on a Sunday afternoon after a two day meeting had concluded.

Don’t go to Ascot after a two day meeting. The pubs in the town had been drunk dry by racegoers! Luckily the football club did have some to offer, although not of the preferred real ale variety.

The crowd was 430, comfortably the biggest attendance they’ve had. The result was a 2-2 draw, with the home side almost winning in the dying moments but a penalty was superbly saved by the Tonbridge goalkeeper.

The English FA Cup still has replays. That followed on the Tuesday after, which Tonbridge won comfortably 7-0.

The most recent cup tie was a 3-0 away win at Wingate and Finchley FC and the reward a third qualifying round match at home to Hereford.  Hereford FC was formed in 2014 after the demise of the established Hereford United FC and currently plays in the semi-professional Southern League South and West Division.

I am sure a large number of travelling fans will be heading to Tonbridge for a day out on 1st October. Their last home league game was watched by a crowd of 3102! They play in the eighth tier of English Football. They have more fans than several Superliga teams here in Portugal where I live. Only a couple of other teams in that league have crowds of even near 1,000. Most are much less well supported.

A couple of other pictures from Ascot.

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Pre-match ambience at the ‘picnic area’ by the clubhouse and bar.

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Tonbridge, in blue, score their first – you can just see the ball inside the goal behind the defenders.

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A visit to Sudbury, Suffolk

In Pictures from England, Sports - football, Sports - football, soccer on September 15, 2016 by cubsur51 Tagged: ,

A football match was my reason to visit a part of the Country I have rarely been to. The match was AFC Sudbury v Tonbridge in the semi-professional Ryman Isthmian League, the seventh tier of English football. Both teams had started the season well and a good game was expected. It was a rainy day but the synthetic grass pitch was in good condition. Tonbridge won the game 1-0 to remain 2nd in the League.

I had time before the game to take a look around town. Sudbury is an historic market town, with a market charter dating back to the 11th Century. In the Middle Ages it was a prosperous centre of wool and other textiles. Later it was home and inspiration to two of the best known British landscape artists, Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable.

As might be expected, there are plenty of older buildings to be seen among the modernity. Here are a few pictures of the town )it was a rainy day!) and a few of the game. Click to see.

If you don’t have a car and want to visit, Sudbury is easily reached by train from London’s Liverpool Street station in about 1hr 20 minutes. The main line train takes you to Mark’s Tey, where the branch line to Sudbury veers off into the countryside. Trains run once each hour. It’s also easy to travel from the Norwich and Colchester areas along the same main line.

The minimalist railway station replaced a much larger edifice that was closed and demolished when the railways further into the countryside were closed in 1966 and 1967.

A modern Leisure centre now occupies most of the site of the old passenger station and various commercial undertakings cover the former goods yard area. The embankment that once carried the line across the meadows towards Long Melford and Haverhill is still in situ and now used a footpath.

There is a railway museum half way along the line at Chappell & Wakes Colne station – http://www.earm.co.uk/

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Sunny weather in South East England

In Albufeira on September 8, 2016 by cubsur51

No internet for a couple of days which has coincided with a change in the weather. Bright and sunny, a bit windy down here at the coast at Eastbourne today. I am having to tether the washing down rather firmly!

The scene at Beckenham cricket ground yesterday during the lunch interval, a bit of a contrast to Hove last week!

The view from the balcony of the apartment in Eastbourne where I am presently staying, taken this morning.

On a different note, if you are ever in Brighton take a look at the impressive interior of the railway station. The curved roof was built in 1882 /1883, the original station dates from 1839. Small parts are still visible.

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Original 1840 building Brighton Station

The station roof, picture taken September 2016. The wide road is the former cab road, dating from the times when horse drawn cabs would line up inside the station to whisk the rich and famous to their destinations. It’s now used for service access only, taxis now pick up and set down at the front of the station.

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Brighton Station roof

Brighton is a very busy station with nineteen departures each weekday off peak hour along three different routes. Almost 20 million passengers use the station each year.

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Late summer in England

In sports cricket on September 2, 2016 by cubsur51 Tagged: , ,

Ah, the joys of watching cricket in the English summertime!

I have two weeks back in England to watch the Kent  cricket team play twice, throw in a least two football matches and a lot of beer and that will be the last spell back until Easter 2017. So far the weather hasn’t been too bad, sunny but rather windy. Today was different.

The picture below is the scene at the County Ground, Hove, where Kent were striving for an essential win against hosts Sussex. The picture was taken today, 2nd September, at 1235pm, a cold wind blowing, floodlights on, grey skies getting greyer by the minute.

Kent wrapped the win 35 minutes later, the rain began shortly after that and turned into a 3 hour downpour! Kent must have had someone watching the weather radar, you rarely see fielders moving so quickly between overs! Perhaps also praying to the rain god, as the prospect of further play that day would have been slim.

For those who know about such things Kent beat Sussex by an innings and 127 runs.

Now weather and railway strikes permitting, it’s off to Beckenham next week for the penultimate game of the season, which Kent also absolutely have to win to have any chance of the divisional championship and promotion.

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Summer days in Albufeira

In Albufeira, Algarve on August 26, 2016 by cubsur51 Tagged: , , ,

The last couple of weeks of the main summer holiday season are under way. Temperatures in the dayime are in the low 30’s C, the water is fairly warm and the sun is usually shining. Although I had no sooner opened my camera case yesterday afternoon when a large cloud blocked the sun for several minutes!

Albufeira is very busy still.

I took a walk along the two main beach areas and also into the old town (Centro Antigo) area. Here are some pictures of sun, sea and sand, also a few of the local cats who, on a hot afternoon, moved hardly so much as a whisker. I didn’t see most of the usual tribe up near the viewing platform, just two of them somewhere in the jungle having a squabble.

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The circus came to town.

In France, Médoc on August 10, 2016 by cubsur51 Tagged:

The circus was in town last weekend. A traditional travelling circus, with big top, clowns, acrobats, jugglers and a small menagerie of performing animals. I have to say that the animals weren’t much to look at!

On the morning of the first day, the creatures were let out for some air and for the passers-by to examine. Well, not the lions! There were a couple of manky looking camels, a llama , a goat and some of those ponies that cannot see where they are going. I am not entirely certain what excitement a goat brings to a circus performance!

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Pony

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Three rather indolent lions were let out into an open air cage, where they managed a couple of big yawns and a few scratches, then settled down as all cats do to flick their tails from time to time while feigning disinterest in everything around them.

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A big notice on the side of the cage said that these lionesses were born and raised in captivity and know nothing of the wild. Still have big teeth and claws though!

There was also a rather impressive Scania tractor unit among the many vehicles.

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Coming to the end of my stay in the Médoc

In France, Médoc on August 8, 2016 by cubsur51 Tagged:

8th August, a grey and overcast day  here in Soulac, very humid and a threat of some rain perhaps. A  big contrast to yesterday, when it was sunny and 29C, although rather windy.

There was plenty going on, it being the annual blessing of the sea, music events, a parachute display and more.

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Crowds gather at the top of the beach

Various religious figures and civic leaders intone solemn speeches above the beach. They send a wreath to be rowed out to the waiting boats. Meanwhile, the skydivers come down onto the beach. No I do  not know what this has to do with the sea!

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Skydiver landing Sollac sur mer beach

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A small flotilla of boats receives a wreath rowed out to them.

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The beach was very busy on a bright and sunny day.

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There was even a fly-past of sorts

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Soulac sur mer town hall – Mairie.

The town hall looking suitably elegant in the afternoon sunshine.