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Sunday 24th August 2014 ko 11.00 am

Welsh Alliance Division Two

BLAENAU AMATEURS 4 (Roberts 24 Williams 51p Copsley 90 Bradley 90p)

PENMAENMAWR PHOENIX 2 (S Williams 32 Prince 38)

Att 320

Entry £3

Programme £1

Badge £3

We’d shaved a few minutes off the start time to Blaenau Ffestiniog from Chester University. After the difficulties of the previous day, a little time less in our beds was a fair price for breakfast! Of course on the action-reaction principle we got to Blaenau ahead of time. That was no bad thing, as the town is the sort of place you’d want to linger in, even if for one or two that added up to a frantic search for a newsagent that had the “Non League Paper” in stock!

Other than a brief visit when travelling up and down the Ffestiniog railway around 10 years ago I’d not visited since childhood. Back then the little railway had only been reinstated as far as Tan-y-Bwlch, so we drove up to pay the town a visit.

I remember the anglicised road signs (why?) , with the locals having corrected the spelling with the extra “F”, and a town suffering from the demise of its raison d’etre, slate. Even now the roofing material is everywhere you look, I’m not sure there’s a single photo in the gallery that doesn’t contain it! Back then you could go down the slate mine, you still can today, but now the whole town looks regenerated, and seems far more comfortable with its industrial heritage.

Breakfast was excellent and well organised if a little cosy so let’s name-check the Gwesty ty Gorsaf and from there it was a short drive up to Cae Clyd. I’d expected to view or two, like many others I’d seen photographs, but the place took my breath away, in fact my only regret was that the cover on the far side, the canopy from the narrow-gauge railway became unsafe and had to be demolished. When there was a sharp shower during the second half it would have been handy!

At GroundhopUK we’ve become well-known for the detail we go in to when organising these events. The idea is to make everything run smoothly, give the supporters the best possible experience, the league the correct publicity, and the clubs maximum revenue. The irony of our position is that the clubs who tend to do the best out of this equation tend to add one more ingredient to the melting pot, charm, and you really can’t teach that!

Have a think about that for a moment, on our watch we’ve had the likes of Cilgerran, and higher up the pecking order, Glan Conwy who took 7 pages of advice, and made their hop games positively levitate through sheer charm. Well dear reader, you can add Blaenau Amateurs to that list. The place couldn’t help but make you smile, and how many clubs to have a former children’s TV presenter, Mici Plwm selling raffle tickets!

Of course fantastic views and charm don’t produce a good game, but Blaenau managed to serve up one of those too! It wasn’t the silkiest of passing games but rather like boxers the teams exchanged goals like punches. In end the hosts had a little too much for Penmaenmawr, but you couldn’t take your eyes off the contest, even if most did have to seek shelter from a sharp shower during the second half!

That though is one advantage of Cae Clyd; if you can’t see the mountains, you know rain is coming!