Thursday, 17 February 2011

CUP Upset in Essex

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Wednesday 16 February 2011 at Catons Lane
Saffron Walden Town 3 Cambridge University Press 0
Eastern Counties Division One (Step 6)
Venue 373 on the lifetime list
This match in one sentence
A needless last-minute red card was the only blemish on an excellent evening for the hosts, who were 2-0 up and fairly comfortable after 50 minutes.
So what?
CUP still sit at the top of the table by four points but will be looking nervously now at teams with games in hand below them.  Even Saffron Walden, up to fifth, now have five games in hand to close a gap of eleven points.
The drama unfolds
The clips capture the atmosphere and some of the early sparring.

After a fairly even first quarter, a direct free-kick found its way through the defensive wall and into the corner of the net.  1-0.  In a pretty even contest at this point, the main talking points were disciplinary.  Tackles were flying in from both sides and a CUP midfielder was booked for loud dissent (rather than the foul that preceded it).  Another CUP defender was, in my view, lucky to get away with just a yellow – his transgression looked like a cynical trip from where I was standing, admittedly further away than the referee.  As a neutral, I did not think that he favoured one side or the other, but I did wonder whether he was being too lenient.  1-0 at half-time.

Saffron Walden got their second goal after 50 minutes and this was excellent timing.  2-0.  The rest of the game was end-to-end stuff, and either side could have scored.  As it was, the home side got a third with a few minutes to go.  There was time for one more needless slide tackle on the touchline near the benches.  Unfortunately, I was not close enough to give a reliable account of what happened.  After a melee, the ref consulted his assistant and waved the yellow card for a CUP player and the red one for a SWT defender.  I reckon the seeds of that incident had been planted earlier.  Final score 3-0.
Alternative activity of equal excitement for tourists in Saffron Walden
Get stuck in the town’s turf maze by convincing yourself you will be struck by lightning if you step off the path.  It is quite a distinctive feature of the town and a thing of beauty when seen from above – you could also try a right-hand-follow technique (as used by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus in smoke-filled environments) to see if it works in finding a way out.  Imagine the maze has a real wall and you follow it, never letting your right hand leave the surface.  In that way, you can always be sure to retrace your steps if you get lost or disoriented.  Some maze-solving robots (and perhaps superintelligent lab rats) use the same technique.
A snippet from the programme
This is an excellent programme for a step 6 club, but the programme editor is not happy …
“There was an excellent result against Team Bury on Saturday when we ran out 4-1 winners.  However, it is very frustrating to see that, a year on from our meeting with the Ridgeons Football League about Bury Town/Team Bury, our opponents on Saturday fielded nine players who are registered on the Bury Town website as their first team players.  Who is kidding who here?  Team Bury are blatantly flouting the rules as they are so obviously a nursery side for Bury Town … it beggars belief really!  One day maybe the League will be strong enough to do something about it.”
What I learned today
The town gets its name from the growth of the saffron crocus, used at the time in real and quack healthcare, and for making dye.
What Next?
Not sure – watch this space!

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