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Saturday 25th August 2012 ko 11am

Mid Wales South League

PENYBONT 8 (Ruell 5 J Bufton 12 Stephens 21 29 Farmer 21 25 K Bufton 76 79)

ST HARMON 1 (Martin 45)

Att 257

Entry/ Programme by Hop Ticket

Badge £3

When my alarm sounded at the Dolforwyn Hotel , I made a beeline for the window, I really didn’t want rain! Avoiding Martin Bamforth’s gaze, he was out having an early cigarette, I was pleased and relieved to see a glorious sunny day. That changed at Penybont, but fortunately there was enough cover for everyone to shelter.

The first two games today saw the hop dip down into one of the Mid-Wales feeders for the first time. This was due to the club we were due to visit, Knighton deciding 2 months earlier that the town’s annual carnival taking place on their pitch over August Bank Holiday would mean that football couldn’t be played on it! In the end it all worked out in the hop’s favour, as we got two grounds in place of one, and still have Knighton to visit on a “Hop-up” at a later date.

The Powys village is the source of the A488, but it was the A44 which also runs though the village which was the key to the day’s hopping, all the grounds were on the road, allowing a straightforward 4 games in a day. The village used to be a centre for sheep and cattle sales, but it now best known for its trotting, or if you’d prefer, harnessed horse racing. With the pitch being in the centre of the track, and racing scheduled for Monday, this was the only day we could have scheduled the game on the hop. It worked out beautifully, even if getting the larger coach into the entrance was a bit of a tight squeeze!

The Racecourse ground is unlike any ground I’ve ever visited. From the bridge over the stream to access the pitch, to the cover complete with bar area, to the offset stand, perfect for the trotting finish line, but more than adequate for watching the football, the quirks kept coming. Have you ever seen a horse-box used as a tea bar?

St Harmon have long been the whipping boys of the Mid Wales South, but played with real spirit, despite being quickly 6-0 down. They gradually fought their way back into the game, and there was genuine appreciation for their endeavour when Adam Martin’s glancing header from a free kick gave them at least a mention on the score sheet just before half time.

The second half was an altogether closer affair and it was only the introduction of “Daddy of the team” Kevin Bufton that allowed Penybont to extend their league further. That pleased me, as I didn’t want to see St Harmon humiliated, but it did disappoint the collectors of unusual scorelines. Either way this is a ground no-one will ever forget.