The Saturday started like usual, training of the U13 girls at Trinity and back home to sort out the camera gear. I checked the weather to see what I would be expecting to sit through and it actually looked to be quite clear, with rain heading to Buckhurst Hill around 5pm. That should do me a real treat, with the Buckhurst Hill v Wroxham game kicking off at 3pm, I should be done and dusted before the rain sets in.
The cold, the freezing cold, I can handle. Jumper, gloves, hat, shaking hands, it’s fine. Now the rain, as much as I have the gear to cope with it, it’s still a real pain in the backside but does as some good action to photo’s.
Needless to say I hit the road from Rayleigh and headed out to Buckhurst Hill, my first FA Vase 3rd Round photoshoot to match the first appearance of Buckhurst Hill in the same round in their history. I was actually quietly excited.
I rounded the roundabout going past my golf course at South Essex Country Club, and the drizzle started to fall. I remember swearing to myself, then praying for the rain to hold off. Pulling into the car park at Buckhurst Hill FC, I knew I didn’t have the almighty on my side that day, as it started to fall harder.
I didn’t realise just how much work had gone into the development of ground since my last visit with Catholic Utd before Buckhurst’s promotion. A new perimeter fence for the car park, a nice turnstiled entrance and of course the floodlights. I made my way over to where the players were warming up and caught up with manager Mark Williams as he oversaw his coaching staff and had a nice catch up.
The rain fell constantly as I waited for kick off. The cameras and lenses I use are weather sealed but I like to give them a bit more protection. I took my seat and the game started. With Wroxham playing a league above in the Eastern Counties Premier Division, I was expecting them to start the strongest and take control of the game, but it was actually The Stags who started like a rocket. They took an early lead and were well worth the money.
Wroxham struggled with the conditions just as much as they struggled with The Stags well versed possession play, which infuriated their opposition with some frustrating tackles going in. I moved to the by-line to get some better shots of the players running toward me.
Buckhurst Hill struggled in the second half and the Yachtsmen’s experience started to shine through as they equalised then took the lead and closed out the game to move into the next round of the Vase. It was an experience for The Stags which I am sure they will take into the rest of the season and I’m certain they will go further in next season’s competition.
I was planning to stick around a little longer after the final whistle, but the cold, the rain, the mud, I was looking forward to getting home for a bath and a stiff drink. I enjoy getting over to The Stags when I can, as I like their football and a few times I’ve been caught watching the game rather than taking some photo’s!!