Saturday 24th February 2018 ko 17.30
Welsh Premier League
BALA TOWN 1 (Davies 15)
CARDIFF METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY 0
We headed south-west through the foothills over Snowdonia, and although the journey was only 40 or so miles it took us over a hour, such is the realities of travel in rural North Wales. We arrived at Maes Tegid and it became clear that the late kick off had attracted hoppers that we hadn’t seen for the rest of the day. It was a pleasure to grab a tea and catch up, well apart from the one hopper that went through the turnstiles with his hood pulled up then scuttled off to the far end without such as an acknowledgment to anyone else. Different strokes for different folks I suppose…
If there was one place we simply had to watch the sun set in, it had to be Bala. On a typical Saturday 2.30 kick off the surroundings are spectacular, but with the cold painting the sky in pinks and blues, the backdrop was jaw-dropping.
I found myself thinking about Cardiff Met before kick off. We’d paid them a visit as a precursor game to the Ceredigion Hop 4 years ago. Then our visit to the Cyncoed Campus saw Met playing 2 divisions lower than this, in the Welsh League Division 2 and while then their ambitions were clear, I’d have never guessed they’d make it to the peak of Welsh domestic football. That was my error, you only need to look at UCD in the League of Ireland to see the blueprint.
Despite the low score, this was unquestionably the game of the hop and it was surprising that Les Davies’ early thumping drive was the only goal of the game. Mind you any hop of the Welsh Premier League really ought to feature Les. The former Caenarfon, Porthmadog, Bangor City and Connah’s Quay forward has scored a bucketload of goals wherever he’s been and has kept up the habit at Maes Tegid.
Both sides passed and moved well on the excellent 3G surface and the cafe did a roaring trade in teas and hot food as the temperature dipped. I don’t think we’d have lost the game had the the pitch been grass but it was no bad thing we had the insurance, and I’ve no doubt the surface helped good players express themselves.
As was the case for the Linfield friendly in June I greatly enjoyed Bala’s company and combining it with my favourite ground in the Welsh Premier made it an evening to savour. It was with some regret that we headed back to Wrexham.