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Saturday 10th March 2012 ko 10.30

Mid Wales League Division One

UNIVERSITY OF WALES ABERYSTWYTH 0 G Thomas sent off 44 (dangerous play)

BOW STREET 1 (D Evans 86)

Att 236

Entry & Programme-Hop Ticket

Badge £3

It was a early start for everyone to get this one done. Those in the hop hotel, were treated to a gargantuan buffet breakfast, which the hotel could not have made money on, but I suspect with an exclusively male clientele I reckon that breakfast will be remembered more for the two Slovakian waitresses!

It was a short trip across to Vicarage Fields, home of the local University side UWA. The reason this ground couldn’t be visited on the August hop is because being a University, they aren’t there in August. In fact the League has to schedule their fixtures so that they start and finish their campaign in a smaller than usual window of opportunity! One or two hoppers got lost as the League website has the wrong postcode for the ground, and we were endebted to hopper Chris Powell for supplying the correct code a few days before the event.

The coastal town of Aberystwyth, is a link between North and South Wales. Its isolated, in comparative terms, with the nearest large settlement being Swansea, 70 miles away and in driving time 2 hours. Other than the university, the other academic institution is the National Library of Wales, one of only 5 deposit libraries in the UK. The impressive building can be seen high above Vicarage Field.

There’s plenty of interest at the ground, and some of the older hoppers noticed that the pitch has been rotated through 90 degrees, with the steps of an old stand, long since demolished, now isolated a remnant of the past. The stand’s replacement is a movable metal terrace, a rather poor relation of its predecessor, but ideal for the crowds UWA normally get. The students were there en masse, working against the quip that students cannot get up in the morning. Everything worked efficiently, although they brought in a burger van for the catering. That will have cost them revenue, although with no catering facilties at the ground, doing food and drink themselves would have been difficult. Not impossible though, a some clubs have done very well on that front in less than ideal circumstances. The opposition, Bow Street were a case in point.

The best complement I can pay the club is that all I had to do is count the crowd. Unfortunately the game was not worthy of the efforts made to stage it. The first half was notable for the horrendous challenge by Gareth Thomas for which he was correctly sent off. The second half continued in the same turgid vein, and just when everyone had written the game off as a ni nil bore draw up popped Dean Evans to win the game for Bow Street! Sighs of relief emanated from the bumper crowd, and we soon moved on to our next game.

My thanks for Chris Bedford and Craig Dabbs for the use of their photos

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