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Saturday 22nd May 2010 ko 12.00

Welsh League Division Three

ABERTILLERY BLUEBIRDS 4 (L Lewis 17 Davies 32og Goodenough 64 80)

GARW SBGC 0

Att 126

Entry & Programme £2

So another of my “Greatest hits,” and sadly this is one Valleys ground you can’t see a game at anymore. Bluebirds have just vacated Cwm-nant-y-groes in favour of a 3G pitch at the local leisure centre. The club finished bottom of Division 3 this season, so I would imagine they’ll return to the Gwent County League. The ground isn’t actually in the town, rather than small village outside of Six Bells, and perhaps that’s why the move is so popular with both club and council. The club get a more practical ground, suitable for their needs, and the council save on the costs of maintaining Cwm-nant-y-groes. But of course, sometimes there’s more to it than mere practicalities.

When two hills collide, you get Cwm-nant-y-groes, and like so many grounds in South Wales the bit of flat land in the middle is used for sport. The ground isn’t easy to find either, I remember parking in Pretoria Road, and finding the track up to the ground and feeling mighty relieved at making it at all!

The game was interesting is only for the two sides heading in opposite directions, of a fashion. Bluebirds were finishing their first season in the Welsh League, whilst beleaguered Garw (pronounced Ga-Roo) were playing their last game, before relegation to the South Wales Senior League. They were to suffer one further relegation too, and now ply their trade in the SSFL Division Two. There’s however, is another story….

A fair percentage of the attendance were groundhoppers in search of an end-of season double, and here was a worrying moment when it dawned on everyone that there was no sign of Garw. The fact that they’d already been relegated out of sight, made many wonder if they’d turn up at all. Happily the referee phoned them up, and it turned out they’d got lost, and sure enough, 10 minutes later 12 players and no officials arrived. We kicked off around 10 minutes late, but perhaps sensing the crowd wanted a quick getaway, the referee played no stoppage time and turned the players round quickly at half time. The game was more one-sided than the 4-0 scoreline would suggest. The Garw keeper had a blinder, a stonewall penalty was turned down, his teammates sadly showed just why they’d finished bottom.

But this game was never going to be remembered for the quality of the play, apart from anything else the heat made watching difficult, let alone playing, but looking back I’m pleased I managed pay Cwm-nant-y-groes a visit. However the new ground doesn’t strike me as a place to rush to; a 3G pitch is a fine insurance policy for poor weather though.