Norwich's Sky Blues geared up to make their piece of FA Vase history
A little bit of history will be made on Saturday afternoon when one of Norfolk's newest teams make their bow in the FA Vase.
It’s a first for Norwich CBS, who, as Spixworth, were Anglian Combination League champions last season, and a first for the Football Development Centre at Bowthorpe which became their home following their move up the football pyramid.
And to help spice things up a little, the Sky Blues are playing host to Thurlow Nunn Premier Division Ipswich Wanderers in the first East Anglian derby of the season.
Norwich CBS joint boss Mark Collison is a veteran of Vase ties from his playing days with Wroxham, Norwich United and Thetford Town, but it’s a first for him as well.
He said: “We’re looking forward to it, especially at such a great venue – the pitch is like a bowling green. We’re hoping we get a good crowd that will stick with us.”
Attendances are almost inevitably down on last season, but healthy in comparison to some others in the Thurlow Nunn First Division.
“We’ve seen probably 50pc of the locals come over,” said Collison. “We had just over 100 for the first two games and then it dropped a little. Last season at Spixworth it was between 100 and 200, but we were on a terrific run.”
This season has started with two wins, two draws and two defeats although Collison has been hit by selection problems, which are slowly resolving themselves. Luke Tuttle is probably a couple of weeks away after suffering from back problems, while Paul Cook is back after a knee problem. Centre-half Daniel Barraclough returns, as do Charlton Halliday and Scott Woodgate.
Their experience should stand Norwich CBS in good stead as they come to terms with the change of league.
Collison said: “I would describe it as a lot quicker and more technical so you can’t afford to make mistakes – against a lot of teams even at the top end of the Anglian Combination you can afford to make a few mistakes and you won’t get punished, but in this league you do.”
Also in Vase action are Great Yarmouth, who host Broxbourne Borough, Fakenham, at home to Huntingdon, Downham at home to Biggleswade and Swaffham, who travel to Stewarts & Lloyds.