Saturday 9th March 2013 ko 10.30
Ceredigion League Division One
CRANNOG 6 (May 26 S Jones 35 Colvin 44 90 Forbes 59 Glover 85)
Entry & Programme by Hop Ticket
Leaving Carmarthen the Groundhop coach headed north-east to Cardigan Bay. I felt as if I was heading out of English Wales into the heart Of Welsh Wales. A clue can be found as to where you are on the road signs, in English Wales the English version is first, in Welsh Wales the Cymraeg version comes first.
The coach reached Llangrannog around 5 minutes before kick-off, rather later than we’d wanted due to the driver using his own directions. It’s a small fishing village of around 900 inhabitants in Ceredigion, 9 miles south of New Quay, and you are definitely in Welsh Wales, just try to access the English version of the town’s website!
Crannog play just outside of the village, at Gwersyll Yr Urdd or to roughly translate The Youth Camp. It doesn’t lack facilities, with trampolines, and an artificial ski slope, as well as the coastal walks that inspired the likes of Edward Elgar and Dylan Thomas. It’s there to promote Welsh identity and healthy living, and as such the young person visiting would expect to speak Welsh throughout their stay. I was fortunate that with my total lack of Cymraeg everyone I spoke to was happy to speak English, although when I was setting up to distribute the 5 game programme packs I asked two young children to move slightly and they didn’t understand what I was saying! You live and learn!
For all of that I’ll remember Llangrannog and its friendly little football club most for the wonderful view behind one goal, of Cardigan Bay. Yes, there are similarities with my recent trip to Clovelly AFC, but this had the added sense of a club introducing itself to a group of people who previously hadn’t heard of Llangrannog, let alone a football team formed in 1984 and accepted into the Ceredigion League a mere 8 hours later! The club worked hard at its day with the bacon baps selling well and a young lady walking round the pitch making sure those who wanted a pin badge could buy one! Initially I was a little disappointed with the attendance but then I asked one of the ladies serving food how many spectators they normally got.
“About 10 on a good day,” she said, before adding, ” But often its just the three of us,” pointing at the other two ladies serving.
It proved to be a good steer on attendances throughout the weekend. Few groundhoppers saw anything other than all five games, so the differences in crowd numbers were down to clubs’ success in getting their own people to come and watch.
All present saw a one-sided encounter with the final score accurately reflecting Crannog’s dominance, although the visitors could point to two goals originating from unlucky ricochets. Overall I sensed that those who were watching Ceredigion League football for the first time were relieved on two levels. Firstly that the standard was better than they’d expected, and that the expected rain hadn’t materialised. In fact, I walked back to the coach trying not to admit to myself that the sun was shining; as organiser you mustn’t tempt fate.