Saturday 23rd August 2014 ko 11.00
Welsh Alliance Division One
PWLLHELI 5 (C Jones 7 82 Scott 45 49 68)
LLANRUG UNITED 4 (Lloyd 8 Owen 24p DN Williams 56 Sadler 80)
When you’re organising a groundhop time is everything. You sit for hours with lists of clubs grouped by geography then use Google maps to calculate distance and from that, time. It’s a precious commodity and a simple error on the part of the coach company, a lost set of keys to one of our coaches, threatened to derail us.
We left Chester 30 minutes later than we’d planned, meaning that our breakfast stop at a well-known chain pub in Pwllheli was curtailed with some not eating and the ones that did rushed. No-one was happy with the situation, and we needed a really well presented game for me to feel that we’d regained the situation.
It’s always good when you near the ground and sat in the courier seat you spot a volunteer in a day-glo jacket to guide you in, and so my stress levels began to ease. All I had to do at the ground was find the secretary to alter the squad lists posted up around the ground to reflect the numbers on the players’ backs.
Chris Berezai distributed programme packs (quite a few couldn’t make the Halkyn game) and as the players warmed up I was finally able to contemplate my surroundings.
All too often, the phrase “Its at the back of the leisure centre,” inspires little else but dread in the mind of the groundhopper. The thought tends to be of the smell of chlorine, and sustenance only available via a bank of vending machines. Thankfully Pwllheli was the honourable exception to it, with the covered stand offering an excellent view, which meant a steady stream of hoppers came to collect their programmes, then stayed put!
The club did a roaring trade, aided no doubt by the missing breakfasts, but succeeded where some have failed, in keeping the people moving and the queue short. And let’s get to the nub of it, you wanted to be in the queue for as little time as possible, as the game was superb, without doubt the fixture of the weekend.
Both sides led, both sides will feel they should have won the game. The free kicks from Pwllheli’s Rhodri Scott, and Llanrug’s Jonathan Sadler were worthy of the professional game, and Scott’s 23 minute hat trick made me wonder why he was a mere substitute!
In my heart of hearts I wanted nothing but success for Pwllheli, as last year they really helped the hop out. The game at Llanfairpwll had been scheduled with Llangefni as opponents, but when they opted at the last minute to drop into the Anglesey League, Pwllheli volunteered even though they were to visit Llandynog United just two days later on the Monday. To make things worse, their manager had left at short notice, and over the two games whilst the team only managed to pick up one point, they’d made friends of both Chris and I.
So Pwllheli, thanks once again, yes you were the first club on this hop’s schedule, and I hope we made it all worth your while, you deserve nothing less. After all that’s the second year you’ve helped us out!