Penultimate

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Monday 29th August 2016 ko 14.55

South Wales Alliance Premier Division

GRANGE ALBION 3 (Beattie 26 Cotterill 28 Daly 43)

CARDIFF CORINTHIANS 0

Att 225

Entry £3

Programme £1

I remember my first encounter with Coronation Park. I’d parked up to visit Cardiff City’s Ninian Park, spotted the little ground with the name picked out in the brickwork and wondered what league Grange Albion played in. By the time I parked in roughly the same place in Sloper Road a few years’ later, beyond the Bus Garage to tick off Cardiff City Stadium I knew they played in the South Wales Senior League. As I alighted Coach 2 it felt like the aligning of the groundhopping planets! As if to accentuate the feeling, the tips of the Millenium Stadium’s cantilevering are visible too. Continue reading

The Sign And The Goat

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Monday 29th August 2016 ko 11.00

South Wales Alliance Division 2

CARDIFF HIBERNIAN 2 (Harris-Reffel 5 Inyang 53)

CARDIFF AIRPORT 4 (Davies 1 Martyn 25 67 Hall 79)

Att 261

Entry £3

Programme £1

Badge £3

The final day of the hop saw a change of environ as we headed for Cardiff, and for our first game the suburb of Ely. The area has something of a troubled reputation, the area around the North Ely Rec’ saw bread riots here in 1993, but the groundhop has visited no end of supposedly problem areas and found nothing more than a warm welcome, and so it was to be here.  Continue reading

Gareth

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Sunday 28th August 2016 ko 18.00

South Wales Alliance Division One

CORNELLY UNITED 2 (Richards 19 Roche 81)

PORTHCAWL TOWN ATHLETIC 1 (Fisher 12)

Att 351

Entry £3

Programme £1

Badge £3

The final game of the day was just what I fancied, a thoroughly working class local derby with the 150-or-so hoppers augmented by as many locals as possible. Cornelly managed all that and more, but the fact that they even took a hop game, let alone made a success of it was all the more remarkable. Continue reading

Bugsy

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Sunday 28th August 2016 ko 14.30

South Wales Alliance Division Two

CEFN CRIBWR BOYS CLUB 1 (Harris 70)

PENRHIWFER AFC 2 (Trembath 42 Tann 85)

Att 293

Entry £3

Programme £1

Badge £3

We headed south, heading towards Bridgend to exactly the kind of village I like to visit. Now I’m sure the mining village of Cefn Cribwr isn’t on any tourist routes, it owes it’s existence to industry, mainly due to the blast furnace built by Birmingham industrialist John Bedford. But without this hop 150-or-so people would never have visited this place, and extract a lot of enjoyment from doing so. And much of the credit for that enjoyment should go to Bugsy. Continue reading

Meet On The Ledge

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Sunday 29th August 2016 ko 11.30

South Wales Alliance Division Two

GARW SENIORS BOYS & GIRLS CLUB 7 (James 8 15 38 49 Jeffries 47 Hughes 60 Davies 90)

TREBANOG 2 (Cory 20 Gowan 30)

Att 257

Entry £4

Programme £1

Badge £3

When the decision was made for the Welsh Hop to return to the South Wales there was much to consider. Where to stay? What format of games? Which coach company? You can I’m sure imagine the conversations. The shortest conversation though was the first club we wanted to visit- that simply had to be Garw’s Blandy Park! Continue reading

Having a Blast!

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Saturday 27th August 2016 ko 18.45

South Wales Alliance – Premier Division

PONTLOTTYN AFC 1 (Rowlands 76) Alias missed penalty 76

MERTHYR SAINTS 5 (L Jones 18p Hassett 28 James 39 Gardner 70 Clears 80)

Att 246

Entry £3

Programme £1

Badge £3

If there’s one club I’d have loved to have visited during their previous incarnation it was Pontlottyn. I mean, who wouldn’t want to watch a team called Pontlottyn Blast Furnace? Sadly their stint in the Welsh League ended in 2003 when they folded citing a lack of players. A new Pontlottyn rose from the ashes of the old club, and had the excellent facilties at the Welfare Ground to use. The problem for us was devilishly simple, the floodlights no longer work…. Continue reading

Trevithick

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Saturday 27th August 2016 ko 16.00

South Wales Alliance Premier Division

PENYDARREN BOYS & GIRLS CLUB 3 (Asa Lloyd 4 Brogden 41p Alex Lloyd 75)

TON & GELLI BOYS CLUB 4 (Markus 60og Hodges 62 88 Evans 79)

Att 285

Entry £3

Programme £1

Badge £3

The third game of the day saw the hop head to the urban environs of Merthyr Tydfil and the town of Penydarren. The area is famous as being where in 1802 Richard Trevithick converted one of his high pressure steam engines used to power a hammer at the steel works. He placed it on wheels, and the “Pen-y-darren” became to many historians the world’s first powered locomotive. The Pen-y-darren is the football club’s badge. Continue reading

Beauty & Tragedy

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Saturday 27th August 2016 ko 13.15

South Wales Alliance Division Two

ABERFAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC CLUB 4 (Caffell 21 62 80 Madgwick 49)

FOCHRIW 1 (Brannan 25)

Att 220 

Entry £3

Programme £1

Badge £3

If ever there was a village touched by tragedy it’s Aberfan. So ingrained in the collective consciousness is the village it’s hard to believe it’s 50 years since a spoil heap collapsed on Pantglas Junior School killing 116 children and 28 adults. The village will be forever remembered for what happened on 21st October 1966 and while the graveyard in clearly visible from Grove Field, this was a day for at least some of us to see Aberfan in terms other than the tragedy. That said, I was pleased that many managed to visit the memorial garden either before or after the match. Continue reading

St Illtud

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Saturday 27th August 2016 ko 10.30

South Wales Alliance – Premier Division

LLANTWIT FARDRE 6 (L Jawad 7 Miller 16 48 80 Griffiths 21 K Jawad 60)

BETTWS 0 Williams sent off (dangerous play 45)

Att 190

Entry £3

Programme £1

Badge £3

I’m not sure why I still felt tired, one piece of useful information from 6 years previously I had remembered. If you’ve enjoyed yourself at the Otley Arms and there are four of you that are sufficiently lazy, it is only £1 each to take a taxi up the hill back to your digs at the university in Treforest! That and we’d changed the way we do breakfast too…. Continue reading

Homecoming

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Friday 26th August 2016 ko 18.30

South Wales Alliance Premier Division

SULLY SPORTS 2 (Briscombe 22 73p)

CANTON LIBERAL 4 (Kooper 10 Phillips 27 61 Quick 40)

Att 281

Entry £3

Programme £1

When the 2015 Welsh Groundhop finished its stint in the Welsh Alliance at Penmaenmawr Phoenix Chris Berezai and I had a few decisions to make. On one hand we loved the accommodation at Chester University, and had an excellent relationship with our coach company up there, but we were torn over which league or leagues to visit. Ideally we like multi-division leagues with no reserve teams as that allows for the hop to stay in a league for 3 or more years, but there was a clarion call from our past…. Continue reading