Something

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Sunday 15th April 2018 ko 14.00

South Wales Alliance Division One

AFC BUTETOWN 1 (Farah 80p) Farah missed penalty 51

TONYREFAIL B.G.C. 1 (Cicigoi 49)

Att 120

Entry/Programme £2

The Welsh Spring hop ended as it has started, at a ground that we’d actually planned on visiting for quite some time! AFC Butetown’s Canal Park home is used for a carnival each August Bank Holiday making a visit on the normal Welsh Hop impossible. But this was a visit that was more than just a question of helping to complete a league, as Butetown’s colloquial name is far more evocative. Continue reading

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A New Hope

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Sunday 15th April 2018 ko 11.00

Bridgend & District League Division One

WICKED 4 (Picton 11p Griffiths 50 86 Davies 56)

GARTH VADER 3 (Evans 26 Vincent 47 Richard Boydell 77)

Att 47 at Coychurch Recreation Ground, Bridgend

Entry & Programme £2

Chris Berezai and I get it, we really do- some hoppers don’t do Sunday football. But last year’s Welsh Spring Hop saw something special. We’d been let down by Gorseinon FC who’d refused to play on a Sunday at Pontlliw so needed a replacement game. Chris approached Richard Boydell at Garth Vader and something magical happened. Continue reading

For Pricey

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Saturday 14th April 2018 ko 18.00

South Wales Alliance Division Two

CARDIFF HIBERNIAN 2 (James 30 C Reffell 90)

AFC BARGOED 2 (A Williams 12 J Thomas 27)

Att 197

Entry & Programme £3

Let’s start this piece with the situation we found ourselves in a couple of weeks before the hop. We had the first two games sorted out, but they’d been scheduled anyway, and we really needed a third game for the Saturday. Obviously the original plan would have been that game being in the Carmarthenshire League, but with that avenue closed to us, Chris Berezai turned to an old friend. Continue reading

3 Pipes

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Saturday 14th April 2018 ko 14.30

Welsh League Division Two

PONTARDAWE TOWN 1 (Roberts 90)

ABERDARE TOWN 2 (Haggett 48p 50)

Att 109

Entry & Programme £4

If watching Swansea City’s youth team was an exercise in largesse and the complete absence of thought outside of the box this was the exact opposite. Once the Carmarthenshire League left our thoughts in the planning of this hop, once we realised Pontardawe were at home we were always likely to head here. For one Chris Berezai used to be programme editor here, and significantly the club only moved to Parc Ynysderw in the last couple of years.                                                          . Continue reading

Patterns

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Saturday 14th April 2018 ko 11.00

FA Premier U18 League

SWANSEA CITY 0

LEICESTER CITY 0

Att 113 @ Landore Training Centre

Entry FREE

Teamsheet FREE

With the Welsh Spring Hop almost completely rejigged we left our hotel at Carmarthen a little earlier than usual. With the loss of the Carmarthenshire League’s fixtures I found myself feeling a pang of regret as the coach turned left out of the hotel and headed towards Pont Abraham and the M4. I remembered our 4 year stint in the Ceredigion League where we turned right and headed north; I don’t remember a club on those hops who didn’t host beautifully. It’s a shame we’ve completed the league and there’s no new grounds to visit. But that’s in the past sadly, and there was a trip to Swansea City’s training ground to ponder. Continue reading

Everything Changes, Everything The Same

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Friday 13th April 2018 ko 19.30

Welsh League Division One

GOYTRE 1 (Leek 17)

LLANELLI TOWN 4 (Loveridge 15 45 90 C Jones 39) Vickers sent off 50 (dangerous play)

Att 151

Entry & Programme £5

For the last few years the Welsh Spring Hop has been based in West Wales, firstly in Ceredigion then for the last 2 events in Carmarthenshire. We’d had a few issues organising last year’s hop and this proved to even worse! In the end only the first and last games of the hop remained the same, visits to Goytre and Butetown and significantly neither of those clubs are in the Carmarthenshire League! The problems Chris Berezai faced were many and varied but can be neatly summed up as follows. Continue reading

Milestone

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Wednesday 11th April 2018 ko 18.00

Oxford City FA League

HEADINGTON BUTCHERS 1 (Rowbotham 80)

DORCHESTER 3 (Kay 18 Brown 46 J Lyne 58)

Att 5 at Sandy Lane Sports Ground, Oxford

Free Entry

By far the most common question about groundhopping I get asked is how many grounds I’ve done. It’s an obvious one, but it’s also one with little meaning, after all it’s a figure that is only really relevant to myself. There is no award, thank God, to the groundhopper with the most grounds visited.  I used to celebrate each hundredth  ground I visited, 900 was the Cardiff City Stadium, and the thousandth was Newbridge (on Wye) Town.

Since then those milestones have felt less and less important, but there was an unintended consequence of Honiton Town’s game on the Easter Hop being moved to Exwick Villa, a ground I’d visited before. Continue reading

The Organiser Entertains

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Saturday 31st March 2018 ko 19.00

South West Peninsula League Division One West

PLYMOUTH MARJON 2 (Johnson 59 Parsonage 61) McIlvaney sent off (2nd booking) 54

MILLBROOK 3 (Shepherd 29 Chapman 67 Payne 68)

Att 293

All games hop ticket £25 (programmes not included)

Entry £3

Programme £1.50

Once again the scene changed as the cavalcade left Brixham and picked its way cross-country for the hop’s final destination of the University of St’s Mark and John in Plymouth. It hadn’t been the easiest of hops for organiser Phil Hiscox, mainly due to the weather so I felt his pain when the attendant at the primary school in Brixham where the coaches had parked up during the previous game had decided to go home leaving the gate locked.. Fortunately the lock was of the combination variety, and the attendant easily phoned, but I think just about everyone has had one of those days…. Continue reading

Dilemma

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Saturday 31st March ko 15.00

South West Peninsula League Divison One East

BRIXHAM AFC 1 (Parkin 59)

GALMPTON & ROSELANDS 0

Att 369

Hop Ticket (no programmes included) £25

Entry £3

Programme £1

The trip from Exminster to Brixham was the longest of this year’s Easter hop, just over an hour, and with no end of alternatives for the hoppers to go and visit, and still make it back to Plymouth for the Marjon game to close the hop. The fact that Robyn and I had already visited Brixham‘s Wall Park Road ground, and fairly recently too, gave us something of a dilemma. Continue reading

The Hammer of Tours

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Saturday 31st March 2018 ko 11.00

South West Peninsula League Division One East

ST MARTINS 4 (Watson 5 90 Davies 62 Richards 81)

ALPHINGTON 0

Att 383

Entry £4

Programme £1

Finally, an organised hop in the UK in 2018 saw a day with pleasant weather. It seemed an almost entirely different journey from Paignton to Exeter than it had been during the rain-soaked preceding two days. Robyn and I headed to Exeter’s southernmost suburbs, to the almost subsumed village of Exminster, with the austere-looking form of the former Devon Mental Hospital overlooking proceedings. The building was designed by Charles Fowler who also designed the main Covent Garden market building, and is converted to housing, but the feeling of unease still persists about the place.  Continue reading