By Darrell Allen (4/1/22)
Above: Mulbarton Wanderers’s Rebekah Lake in action in recent fixture vs Bungay Town, she will be hoping to add to her goal tally this weekend. Photo: Hardy Scott Photos.
The Norfolk Women & Girls League gets underway again this coming Sunday following its festive break, with nine games scheduled across the league’s two divisions.
In Division One (Step Seven) there are five fixtures scheduled with a bottom vs top battle as North Walsham Town host Mulbarton Wanderers. Martin Francis’s Mulbarton team are flying so far this season with seven wins out of seven and will be strong favourites to continue their 100% record. North Walsham are one of the hardest-working teams in the division however and will certainly be doing all they can to try and cause a big upset.
Sprowston are set to welcome Long Stratton to Sprowston Sports & Social Club on Blue Boar Lane in what looks set to be a very competitive fixture. Long Stratton will arrive in fifth place with Sprowston in ninth position, but only three points in front of their hosts. On a day of fixtures that are tough to predict, this one is anyone’s guess with Long Stratton on their day being capable of beating anyone, but inconsistency means they have the most number of defeats in the top half of the table. Sprowston has the same inconsistent traits as they are the only team to take points off unbeaten Thetford Town but struggled to beat 11th placed Thorpe St Andrew in a tight contest earlier in the season. This game could well be one for the neutrals and one that could easily go either way, a mistake or moment of quality could well decide it.
The division’s other game of the day looks set to be over at Mundford Road where Thetford Town welcome Dussindale & Hellesdon Rovers. This game looks set to be the biggest test of Thetford’s unbeaten start to the season so far with Dussindale & Hellesdon only having played five games so far and sitting in sixth, they are a team that I and many others expect to climb the table in the second half of the season. Thetford management duo David Skipp and Stuart Terry will be well aware of the threat Dussindale & Hellesdon pose and an unbeaten Thetford will go into the game full of confidence and belief their good start to the season can continue. Like with the game at Sprowston, this is sure to be one that is closely fought, hard to predict, and a flip of the coin game with very little between two quality teams. It might well come down to whoever returns from the Christmas break sharper and whoever wants it more on the day will prevail. It is sure to be one for the neutrals to so if you live in South Norfolk Mundford Road is certainly the place for you on Sunday.
In the day’s other games, an in-form and on fire Fakenham Town are on their travels as they make the trip to Stalham Town. In the tightest of tables, Fakenham Town sit fourth just three points ahead of seventh placed Stalham. Fakenham Town will be the favourites but home advantage will give Stalham belief and confidence they can achieve some points.
In the final fixture, Tony Allen’s Thorpe St Andrew team host Bungay Town at Sir George Morse Park. Thorpe St Andrew are my closest team geographically to where I live with their home games played just a 10-minute walk from my front door. Tony Allen’s team are one of the most hard-working around and the philosophy Tony installs means that whether you are Mulbarton flying high or Sprowston or North Walsham, when you play Thorpe St Andrew you know that you have been in a game. Third place Bungay Town head into the encounter as clear and obvious favourites for the win, but they know the challenges Thorpe provide and any slip-ups from Bungay could make it a very interesting contest.
Due to this league having 11 teams, it means that each round of fixtures sees one side without a game, and this coming weekend Beccles Town do not have a fixture.
The game of the day was set to be League Leaders Caister travelling to the University of East Anglia at Colney Lane but due to it being the first week of the new year and the university not having started the new semester, this contest has been postponed until later in the season.
That creates a big chance for second-placed Kings Lynn Soccer Club to reach the summit. Sitting just two points behind Caister at the start of play, any win at home to sixth place Horsford will see KLSC hit top spot. A great incentive for the players and staff as they look to continue their fantastic start to the season.
This Sunday’s planned game between third-placed Gorleston and Loddon United has been postponed.
The day’s most competitive game in Step Eight looks to be between eighth placed Red Rose and seventh placed Freethorpe as both sides sit on six points, with two wins and three losses each from their first five games. This is anyone’s for the taking and if you are looking for a game to watch in Step Eight, this would be your one of choice this weekend.
In the final game of the day, an unbeaten Shrublands who are showcasing themselves brilliantly this season on and off the pitch, welcome Ben Binder’s FC Viking Valkyries to Southtown Common. Shrublands will be big favourites to claim the win and continue their brilliant start to the season but Ben Binder’s teams are always one to watch and will give their hosts a decent game.
Like with Division One, with 11 teams in the league one side gets a weekend off and this weekend it’s Thetford Bulldogs without a scheduled fixture.
A full report of the Division One clash between Thetford Town and Dussindale & Hellesdon will follow next Tuesday and I will round up all the scores and tables from both divisions at the end of that report.
Happy New Year and thanks for all your continued support.