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)
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….
Now on one hand that can be worked around, we set this day up on the basis that Saturday was going to be an unlit 4 game day, mainly to protect the middle games from hopper drift. There were no lack of alternative games at 2.30pm including the wonderful Treharris Athletic Western, and as much I get on with the folks at Commercial Terrace, my job as organiser is to maximise attendances at the hop clubs.
So 4 games it had to be, and then we got the wonderful news from Pontlottyn that the council were prepared to fix their lights. They asked that it be done before their hop game, and we prepared to rejig the day to allow for a slightly later kick-off. We waited, and waited….. and the council’s workmen turned up on the morning of the hop game and dug a trench! Cue a club visualising 200 people and a large trip hazard but fortunately the fault was quickly identified, and the trench filled in. The workers arranged to come back and fix the lights once and for all, so as I type this hopefully the Welfare Ground’s lights now work!
It really wasn’t a good day for the authorities. The club had advised the Police that a large crowd was expected, including 2 coaches, and with the access up a track off Hill Road being awkward a police presence would have been handy. Well I suppose I should give thanks for small mercies, 4 PCSO’s did show up at the ground… 10 minutes before the final whistle, they were I’m afraid the very epitomy of impotant!
With all that going on the club did a fantastic job as hosts and judging by the steady stream of people heading to the gazebos it was a profitable evening for them. Sadly that success didn’t extend to matters on the pitch where Merthyr Saints were deserved winners.
The coaches wended their way back along the Heads of Valleys Road, and for most of us the decision was which beer to try first in Treforest’s Otley Arms. It had been a highly satisfying, yet varied days’ football, and the best part of it all it that we weren’t even half way through the hop!