It’s not unusual for some of our nearest neighbours to almost be total footballing strangers; one example being Biggleswade Town. From door to door, we can drop by the Waders in just 20 minutes on a good run. But our various fixture lists over the years haven’t asked us to for one reason or another. Unless you wanna count pre-season friendlies? If so, the amount of times we’ve met is likely to be greater.
By the time World War One came around, they had won the league three times – and also added a Bedford League title too. After, however, the Waders joined the Northamptonshire League in 1920; the original name for the United Counties League. Here they remained up until the end of the Second World War. At this point, they added ‘Town’ to their name – and joined the Spartan League. That lasted just six years, however, before they returned to the UCL in 1951. Not that their time in the competition was particularly impressive at the start.
Why do we know them?
So, we know the Waders because they played in the UCL – right? No. Wrong. In just four years, the club were on the move again; this time into the Eastern Counties League. That seemed like an inspired move when they set a new record for the biggest away win (12-0 away to Newmarket Town). But the travel costs started to get out of hand. So, back to the UCL they went. Now is that the reason we know them? Er, no. But it was a close call…
In summer 1980, the Waders left the United Counties League again. This was despite an impressive enough season in which they scored 103 goals. But it only secured them third position. We don’t know if it was the despair of missing out on promotion or the desire for change, but the Waders moved on to the South Midlands League Premier Division. Doing that meant passing up the chance to meet Boro’ during our first-ever senior season.
In the end, it was a further 12 years before we met the Waders in a competitive match for the first time. We did our time in the UCL, before moving up through the Isthmian League. They, meanwhile, stuck with the South Midlands League with mixed fortunes. So, it came down to the 1991-2 Southern Combinations Cup Round Two draw to pair us together.
How to get to Biggleswade Town – Travel Information – Distance: 16 miles
This is a nice, straightforward trip. Go north on the A1(M) and A1 until you come to the edge of Biggleswade. Take the second exit when you get to the roundabout by Matalan and other branded stores (we forget what other ones are there. Boots?). Next, head for the town by following London Road.
Continue round onto the High Street, crossing the railway. Turn left into Hitchin Street (B659). Go straight down here and under the A1. The ground will be on the right.
Parking at the ground is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Once it’s full, you’ll find the gates closed. Do not park on the access road or on the road directly outside the ground.
Other options include Albone Way (where there are no local restrictions in place) or a car park at Jordan’s Mill. This is 10-15 minutes’ walk from the ground. You can find a map on the Waders’ site that shows you the details.
Services to: STEVENAGE
Exit the station onto Station Road and head more or less straight over onto Saffron Road. This will bend left, then right – before coming to the junction with Hitchin Street. Turn left and follow this down as per the driving instructions.
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