talkSPORT presenter and champion of Non-League football Tony Incenzo is getting to the very heart of the community game with a series of exclusive blogs as he ground hops around grassroots clubs up and down the country.
Get more of Tony's Non-League diary, check out last week's at Creasey Park.
University of Cambridge Women 4-1 University of East Anglia Women
Fitzwilliam College Sports Ground, Oxford Road, Cambridge CB4 3PH
Wednesday 1st February 2017
BUCS Football 2016-2017 - Midlands 2B Division
The achievement by the England women’s national football team in reaching the 2015 World Cup Semi-Finals has boosted the popularity and participation levels of women’s football in this country. I always try to take in a few women’s games each season.
Various publications seem to indicate that Cambridge University AFC was founded in either 1856 or 1857. They can now claim to be “unofficially the oldest football club in the world”. Cambridge run three men’s and two women’s teams, playing in British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) football.
The city of Cambridge itself has played a special part in footballing history. It was here in 1846 that the ‘Cambridge Rules’ of football were drawn up by university footballers from several public schools, creating the fundamentals for football as we know it today.
Cambridge captain Gerda Bachrati was very helpful in confirming the fixture for me by email. After a deluge of overnight rain, I rang the sports ground on the morning of the match and the groundsman proudly told me: “The game is definitely on. The pitch has just been Verti-Drained.”
Most of the colleges in Cambridge have their own sports grounds, which are very well maintained. Entrance to the Fitzwilliam College venue is via a narrow lane between two houses on Oxford Road. A handwritten sign on a whiteboard advises visitors that there is no parking at the sports ground and so cars must be parked outside on the road.
The changing rooms are in an elegant pavilion built in 1927, which also provides some overhang cover for football spectators. A tractor pulling the Verti-Drain equipment was parked next to this. Two commemorative stones on the side of the groundsman’s house state:
“TO THE FORTY THREE FROM FITZWILLIAM HALL WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR THIS PLAYING FIELD IS DEDICATED BY THEIR SUCCESSORS 1923”
“ALSO THIS HOUSE BY THEIR PARENTS, FRIENDS AND SUCCESSORS 1925”
The pitch was in immaculate condition despite some very squelchy surrounds. It staged a top of the table clash (first versus second) in the BUCS Midlands 2B Division. Cambridge had a 100% record by virtue of winning all their league games so far and they immediately looked the better side in this fixture.
Goals from Mendes-Jones, Hickman, Ashcroft and Edwards were decisive for the home team with Turvil scoring the consolation for UEA from Norwich. The Cambridge goals were loudly cheered by an exuberant gentleman who was hanging out of the upstairs window of a house backing on to the sports ground! I watched the game in the company of a young reporter from ‘Varsity’, which is the independent student newspaper for the University of Cambridge.
For more on the University of Cambridge's Uni team, check out their Facebook page.
Tony Incenzo is a reporter for talkSPORT Radio and Sky TV. You can follow Tony on Twitter at @TonyIncenzo.