Friday 27th November 2015 ko 19.30
Welsh League Division One
ABERBARGOED BUDS 4 (Haggett 21 Shaw 37 Meacham 48 K Thomas 82) K Thomas missed penalty 37
RISCA UNITED 3 (Williams 16 32 Thomas 68)
Att 113 at Centre for Sporting Excellence, Caerphilly Road, Ystrad Mynach
It’s all change in the footballing world of Caerphilly for this season, with the opening of the Centre for Sporting Excellence in nearby Ystrad Mynach. The facility was built in 2014 by the local county council on the site of the former hospital and close to Penallta RUFC’s Ystrad Fawr ground. It’s an unusual, but highly impressive facility with two international-grade artificial pitches each with a 500-seat stand. One is for rugby, and one for football. It’s hardly surprising with a facility this good, that two sides have moved in, and since those two sides, Aberbargoed and Risca were playing each other, it was the obvious time to visit.
In groundhopping terms the groundshare causes no end of issues for those of the OCD persuasion. Normally the rule is to visit only for the club who owns the ground, then if that isn’t relevant, such as here, the rule is visit for the primary tenant. This was a Buds (it’s an acronym of ‘Bedwellty Urban District Sides’ by the way) home game but in the programme, the Risca history comments that “it is the Cuckoos who have priority use.” so I can imagine the pedants are now fretting!
Buds’ spiritual home at the Recreation Ground is still used, only the first eleven have moved, and its a similar situation with Risca and Ty-Isaf Park, and I do wonder how close the clubs’ new home is to being able to stage Welsh Premier fixtures, should either side gain and accept promotion. It has been far too long since a Valleys team graced Wales’ top flight.
I did wonder how a high quality 3G pitch would affect the Welsh League’s fabled ultra-committed style of play. Thankfully it enhanced it, with the normal commitment and physicality complemented by excellent passing football, and you would be pushed to find a better game of football anywhere this season.
Both sides led, both sides could have won it, and both sides will think they deserved to. And every single person there couldn’t have possibly failed to enjoy it. It was an evening that was a credit to the facility, both clubs, and Welsh football in general.