Monday 27th August 2012 ko 3.00pm
Mid-Wales League Division One
DOLGELLAU AAFC 2 (Williams 62 70p)
CARNO 1 (Thomas 82)
Entry/Programme Hop Ticket
From Welshpool we headed out due west, giving the folks at Dyffryn Banw, our third game a wave as we passed by. From there is was into the wilds of Snowdonia, and across the border from Powys to Gwynedd, and the county town of the long since abolished county of Merionethshire. There is very much the feeling of being off the beaten track here, as even the main A458 snakes its way around the mountains before dropping into Dolgellau like an asphalt waterfall.
The name of the town is pronounced “Doll geth Lee” but the spelling has only been definitively decided on recently, in 1958. In fact, the local railway station until its closure under the Beeching axe, used signs saying variously Dolgelly, Dolgelley and Dolgellau! The town has been in the past a centre for Quakerism, and in the 19th century was the centre of a minor gold rush, and to this day the Clogau St Davids mine in Bontddu, and the Gwynfynydd mine in Ganllwyd have supplied gold for many royal weddings. Rally driver Gwyndaf Evans who won the 1996 British Rally Championship hails from here which seems somehow appropriate!
Other than the appalling weather, consistent and heavy rain, I was struck by how keen the club were to make people welcome. The club have no clubhouse of their own, so the rugby club’s facilities were co-opted, and despite the local council declaring the site “open land” the area was secured with temporary fencing so as to allow a gate to be taken. When the coaches arrived, a queue quickly formed, not good in the rain, but the club quickly took the initiative and shepherded ticket holders though another entrance. An excellent bit of quick thinking, and much appreciated by all concerned.
As organiser you love it when a club reads its briefing notes, and acts on them. Here they had no board for the line-ups so copied the line-ups out and left them in the bar for people to write down. During that time Chris, the two coach drivers and I were being given packed lunches by the club as ” I bet you haven’t had time to eat.” Space was also found for Derek Coupe to sit quietly, as although his health issues seem to have been resolved, he hasn’t got all of his strength back. Small things that cost nothing, but made a fantastic impression on us all.
We were glad of the stand at the half way line, although it’s a shame it incorporates the dugouts. Without it there would have been few places to avoid a soaking, a fact that may well have affected food sales as you had to queue outside for service. That would have been fantastic on a dry day, as you could watch the game while you waited, but on a day like this queueing was a trial. As organiser there are of course two things you can’t influence, the weather and the quality of the game.
And to be honest, the entertainment wasn’t quite of the quality we’d be used to. Perhaps we’d been thoroughly spoiled previously, but for a high percentage of the game this one looked like it had “Nil-Nil written all over it. It wasn’t that either side didn’t create chances, it’s just that they found a variety of ways to spurn them. Carno will no doubt have driven back to Powys wondering how they lost this, they had far more possession, but once Sion Williams fired home to collective a sigh of relief, that lead was quickly doubled, via the penalty spot. It speaks volumes for the game that on a hop where goals positively flowed, when Carno reduced the arrears with 8 minutes left, no one expected a come-back.
For all of that, I won’t remember Dolgellau AAFC (Amateur Athletic Football Club) for the game, the ground, or even the first completely bi-lingual programme I’ve seen on a hop. No, I’ll remember Dolgellau for its wonderful hard-working band of volunteers. And for a small club there is no better advert.