Football fate of promotion hopefuls Lowestoft Town and Bognor Regis Town will be decided by special seaside showdown

Ryman League Football action from Crown Meadow between Lowestoft Town and Bognor Regis earlier this season. Ryman League Football action from Crown Meadow between Lowestoft Town and Bognor Regis earlier this season.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
8:40 AM

It is the ultimate seaside showdown – the sunrise coast versus the country’s sunniest beach resort.

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Lowestoft Tourism.   Youngsters having some Easter holiday fun on Lowestoft beach. (Left to right) Aveena Boakes,Gregor Belousov, Freya Boakes and Jake Clarke.Lowestoft Tourism. Youngsters having some Easter holiday fun on Lowestoft beach. (Left to right) Aveena Boakes,Gregor Belousov, Freya Boakes and Jake Clarke.

And while it may not have the stature of a coastal clash of the likes of Brighton versus Bournemouth, attentions in one corner of north Suffolk will tonight be focused on footballing fortunes in West Sussex as Lowestoft Town travel to Bognor Regis Town.

For the fourth successive season, the Trawlerboys have made it through to the Ryman League Premier Division play-offs. Victory tonight would mean that after another successful campaign they would be just 90 minutes away from promotion. But after a heartbreaking hat-trick of consecutive defeats in the final, the club is aiming to make it “fourth time lucky” and fulfil its dreams of securing Conference-level football.

Hoping to cast aside previous final-day disappointments, the Blues are aiming to move up the non-league pyramid into the Skrill Conference South division.

Standing in their way will be a Bognor Regis side,who finished in third place – a point ahead of Lowestoft. And this seaside showdown will be crucial in deciding the fate of each other’s season – with the winner of tonight’s play-off semi final set to face the winner of the Kingstonian versus AFC Hornchurch match on Monday.

Undated Butlins handout showing the exterior of the new £20 million hotel at its Bognor Regis resort.Undated Butlins handout showing the exterior of the new £20 million hotel at its Bognor Regis resort.

And it could not be more evenly poised between the two seaside towns, after Lowestoft beat Bognor Regis 2-0 at home last August, while The Rocks triumphed 4-1 on a Tuesday night in January.

With two coaches set to make the four-hour, 190-mile plus journey from Lowestoft to cheer the Blues on at Bognor, fans of the Trawlerboys are also expected to make the longest trip of the season in cars to support them all the way.

And last night, ahead of the crucial encounter, Lowestoft Town chairman Gary Keyzor said: “We’ve been on an incredible run to reach the play-offs and the players have been absolutely superb. We could not fault them or the backing of our fans, and on Saturday the atmosphere with more than 800 supporters cheering us on was brilliant.

“When I came on board it was my goal to get conference football and we have been so close three years on the trot that hopefully it will be fourth time lucky,” Mr Keyzor said.

A tale of two resorts

Bognor Regis - Did you know?

- Bognor Regis has, at more than 1,900 hours on average, the highest annual level of sunshine of any UK mainland weather station – which led to it being named the sunniest town in the UK.

- Sir Billy Butlin opened one of his Butlin’s Holiday Camps in Bognor in 1960. It is now known as Butlin’s Bognor Regis Resort.

- The International Bognor Birdman is an annual competition for human-powered ‘flying’ machines held each summer in Bognor Regis, which sees contestants launch themselves from the end of the grade two listed pier.

- With Bognor being a fishing village until the 18th century, when it was converted into a resort, King George V bestowed the town with the accolade Regis in 1929. The King was moved to Bognor to recover from a serious illness, and the sea air proved advantageous as he recuperated, leading to him adding the suffix Regis to the resort.

- According to the 2001 Census, the parish of Bognor Regis has a population of 22,555.

- Among the famous people who have links to Bognor Regis, include Eric Coates, who lived in the town and was the composer of many memorable marches and rhapsodies, including the Dambusters March. Playwright and scriptwriter, Robert Cedric Sherriff – whose most noted play is Journey’s End – also lived in Bognor Regis.

- Bognor Regis Town FC were founded in 1883. They play their home matches at Nyewood Lane, which has a capacity of 4,500.

Lowestoft - Did you know?

- Lowestoft has a long history, with some of the earliest evidence of settlement in Britain having been found in the town.

- Lowestoft is a port town, which developed due to the fishing industry, and is also a traditional seaside resort – first developing as a bathing site in the 1760s. More recently, the coast has been branded the Sunrise Coast.

- You can be the first to see the sunrise at Lowestoft – on the most easterly point of Britain at Ness Point,

- With a rich maritime heritage, Lowestoft seafront provides a traditional seaside holiday experience with Blue Flag award winning beaches, Victorian seafront gardens, the Royal Plain Fountains, two piers and much more.

- According to the 2011 Census, Lowestoft, as the second largest town in Suffolk, has a population of 58,560 people.

- Among the famous people with strong links to the town include composer Benjamin Britten, who was born in Lowestoft in 1913 and was described as “without a doubt the greatest English classical composer of the last century;” Sir Samuel Morton Peto, who was influential in developing the town’s railway links and its harbour and Sir Christopher Cockerell, the inventor of the hovercraft who lived in Oulton Broad and tested craft in Somerleyton.

- Lowestoft Town FC were founded in 1887. They play their home games at Crown Meadow, which has a capacity of 2,500.

Last season, their first in the Ryman premier division, Bognor Regis Town finished in 14th place – with Lowestoft finishing in second place and eventually losing out in the play-off final.

Fast forward to this campaign, with the seaside town on the south coast of England – who can trace its roots back to when it was a small fishing village – set to collide with a town dubbed the sunrise coast that is steeped in maritime heritage.

Both towns still have fishermen in operation, as they keep the traditional links with the sea alive – and with Bognor famed for its links with Butlins, as Lowestoft boasts Pontins, Warner and Potters holiday and leisure resorts close-by, there is plenty for the two sides to play for.

On average, Bognor Regis has more sunshine than any other town in Britain – making it the country’s sunshine capital.

But come 7.45pm tonight, Lowestoft are aiming to continue the momentum of a fine run of just two defeats in their last 19 games – as they look to illuminate the south coast and ensure they reach yet another play-off final.

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