Geologically, Canvey Island was originally part of the mainland, then the coastline broke up into smaller pieces, and the modern island is made up of five of those pieces. There are historical maps held at the Essex Record Office that show where the five separate islands originally lay and it is thought that these are the marshes referred to in earlier records. Sheep farming was a mainstay industry of the island until very recently.
A Saturday afternoon trip to Canvey to watch the Island's 'other team' turned out to be a rewarding jaunt. Reaching Canvey Island by public transport is fairly straight forward. Regular trains from London Fenchurch Street to Benfleet are met by equally regular buses which take no more than 10 minutes (15 if watching the Conference team).
Considering that it was after 2pm and that there was a match taking place down the road, it was surprising that Harry Hotspur and I were the only footie fans on the bus and I was delighted that the driver refused to take a fare for my six year old travelling companion.
Likewise his free admission to the match was also welcomed by Dad! Thames Road is a couple of miles nearer to Benfleet than the other venue and some advance planning enabled me to spot the alighting point by the distinctive white coloured church. The Thames Road ground is lower than sea level and the taller passing ships do provide a distraction as their masts sail past. One side of the ground is bordered by a typical Canvey caravan site although this appears now to cater for long term residents rather than the holiday variety. There is covered terracing behind one goal and a decent 200+ seater stand along the other side.
Welwyn Garden City took the lead in this FA Vase tie as early as the 2nd minute and this was answered after half an hour by Concord. Welwyn snatched a deserved victory during the 2nd period of extra time. I blame Andy Scott for the duration of this match though! He rang me just before kick-off (technology is wonderful) and amongst his part of the dialogue was "extra time?". As is customary for Vase matches I knew this to be possible but Andy formally suggested it and someone must have been listening!! Harry and I enjoyed proceedings though, particularly as he gets to be ball boy some of the time.
11 years ago I experienced extra time at Canvey Island v Witham, my only other jaunt to the region - there must be something in the Thames estuary water!!!
Admission: £5.00 (free for Harry)
Programme: 50p (Obtained for you Andy and Stan)
Train: £4.10 Day Return from Zone 6 with Gold Card discount (£1 for Harry)
Bus Fare: £2.10 Day Return from Benfleet (free for Harry)