Playing In The Wet Patch

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Sunday 17th April 2016 ko 11.30

Carmarthenshire League Division 2

LLANDOVERY 4 (Archer 11 C Davies 42 R Davies 90 L Bailey 90)

PORTH TYWYN SUBURBS 0

Att 111

Programme £1

Badge £3

Sunday’s first game saw the hop head east once again and aim for the A40. The town of Llandovery is steeped in history, and the drive out from Carmarthen picturesque but as usual in the first hop of a league’s staging I wondered what we’d find. The first host clubs have no point of reference so as organiser you rely on them using their meetings and the host clubs’ guide to make the most of their opportunity. I knew we’d given them the best possible opportunity but you worry, and the day I don’t will be the day I give up. Robyn rested her head on my shoulder, I took in the view and thought positive thoughts. Continue reading

The Unusual J

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Saturday 16th April 2016 ko 17.00

Carmarthenshire League Division 2

JOHNSTOWN 1 (J Evans 49)

DREFACH 3 (J Jones 40og Baker 79 S Jones 82)

Att 137

Entry £3

Programme £1

We headed back to a rather chilly Carmarthen for our final game of the day, and again there was a quirk, the name of the club! Perhaps if there’s an etymologist reading this they can tell me why so few place names begin with a “J?” There’s Jarrow, but offhand I can’t think of any well-known others, and I know there was at least one hopper at this game that this was his first “J” club. But there was far more to like about Johnstown than just a letter. Continue reading

Saint Teilo

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Saturday 16th April 2016 ko 14.00

Carmarthenshire League Division Two

LLANDEILO 5 (Jones 5 90 Dainton 9 Thomas 26 Willams 59)

LLANGENNECH 0 J Williams sent off 29 (violent conduct)

Att 107

Entry £3

Programme £1

From Abergwili we headed further east along the A40 to the town of Llandeilo. We turned left into the town and spotted a well-apppointed ground, with an impressive stand. Sadly for us, that was Cae William, home to Llandeilo RUFC and Llandeilo CC, while the football club plays in the nearby village of Ffair-Fach at the back of Ysgol (School) Bro Dinefwr. The tragedy is that it could have all been so different. Continue reading

Beginnings

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Saturday 16th April 2016 ko 11.00

Carmarthenshire League Division One

ABERGWILI 4 (Callegai 50 Binding 57 78 79)

LLANSTEFFAN 1 (Soames 90p)

Att 140

Entry £3

Programme £1

When the previous Welsh Spring Hop finished its run in Ceredigion we thought it would be relatively simple to find a replacement league. After all there hadn’t been a Ceredigion League club that hadn’t enjoyed hosting, so you would have thought that word of mouth would have ensured a speedy set of negotiations wouldn’t you? Continue reading

Decisions

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Friday 15th April 2016 ko 19.30

Welsh League Division One

GARDEN VILLAGE 2 (Morris 36 Matthews 63)

TON PENTRE 1 (Davis 52)

Att 108

Entry, Programme, and Sausage & Chips- Special GroundhopUK deal £7

Back in 2010 I found myself on a working visit to South Wales, so on the basis that no trip anywhere is complete without a football match I pondered where to head. It boiled down to either Gorseinon-based Garden Village or Mayhill-based West End. I plumped for Garden Village, I’ve no idea why, I haven’t yet got to West End, and so I allowed myself a wry smile when Garden Village became the obvious precursor to the inaugural Carmarthenshire Hop. Continue reading

Rule Breaking

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Thursday 14th April 2016 ko 19.45

Essex Senior League

BOWERS & PITSEA 3 (Hilton 45 Manor 55 Portway 86)

TAKELEY 0

Att 97

Entry £6

Programme £1

I’m not sure why I made a beeline for a floodlit game in Essex, when there was no lack of earlier unlit kick-offs a good deal closer to home. That’s a tactic I picked up from the groundhoppers with thousands of grounds ticked off. The theory is that there are around 1500 floodlit grounds in the UK, so use those midweek making use of those lights. You then visit the unlit grounds during the light evenings and on Saturdays, allowing you to stretch the finite number of floodlit grounds further. Continue reading

Metroland

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Wednesday 13th April 2016 ko 18.30

North Bucks & District League Division One

STEEPLE CLAYDON 4 (Wright 6 Davies 10 Gibbs 12 70)

WING VILLAGE 2 (D Farmer 14 84)

Att 19

There are no end of Claydons in this corner of Buckinghamshire. There’s Botolph, East, Middle and Steeple, and the great irony of watching a football match in Steeple Claydon is that you can’t actually see the steeple! But this part of the world has a more obscure claim to fame, that the London Underground used to run here. Continue reading

Wild Wild West

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Tuesday 12th April 2016 ko 18.15

Bristol Premier Combination Premier Division

MENDIP BROADWALK 2 (Hickery 23 Talbot 43)

HIGHRIDGE UNITED 1 (Hocking 51)

Att c150

Entry FREE

No Programme

Its fair to say that the Knowle district, in southern Bristol is reassuringly working class. I say reassuringly working-class, as despite the Premier League trying (and largely successfully) to price the game out of the reach of normal people, if you look to the working-class areas odds on you’ll find grass-roots football thriving. Continue reading

Worthiness

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Saturday 9th April 2016 ko 14.30

North Berkshire League Division Two

TURNPIKE SPORTS 1 (Brookes 90)

STANFORD-IN-THE-VALE 1 (McCarthy 8)

Att 24 at Pitch 5, Henwick Worthy Recreation Ground, Thatcham

Entry FREE

No Programme

I remember when Thatcham-based Turnpike Sports applied succcessfully to join the North Berkshire League. It was 2012 and I’m sure one or two others at the AGM like me raised an eyebrow and wondered where on earth they were from! They were formed in 2007, formerly Thatcham Town’s reserves, but splitting away to form their own club. They transferred out from the Reading, now the Thames Valley Premier League to the NBFL and were placed in Division 4 but won two championships in the last two seasons to get where they are now. Continue reading

Mystery Trip

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Thursday 7th April 2016 ko 18.45

Northants Combination Division Two

KETTERING PARK ROVERS 0

WELDON UNITED RESERVES 4 (B Smith 5 34 Brown 24 Thompson 74)

Att 9

Entry FREE

No Programme

I’d organised to collect fellow hopper Chris from near Milton Keynes, but save for the game being in the Northants Combination, I had no idea where I was going. That didn’t change when Chris gave me the club’s name, Rovers don’t actually play in Kettering! Continue reading

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