Saturday 29th November 2014 ko 14.00
CPD HARLECH TOWN 3 (H Williams 10 Parry 13 77)
Y FELINHELI 5 (Pennie 21og AW Jones 44 Martin Hughes 50 G John 55 Daffyd 64)
Nothing for sale
This part of Northern Wales has always held great resonance for me. From childhood holidays in Barmouth, to travelling home from a weekend in Porthmadog in complete silence as my marriage collapsed, the area has signposted stages of my life, although I am bound to comment that my father still hasn’t managed to pronounce Bettws-Y-Coed correctly yet!
But then during this year’s Welsh hop our coaches left Nefyn and travelled via Penrhyndeudraeth to Barmouth and we passed through Harlech on the way, passing more or less under the Edward Longshanks-built castle. Apart from humming “Men of Harlech” for the rest of the journey I wondered whether there was a team in the town. That was answered conclusively when we arrived at Barmouth when the Harlech team made themselves gloriously known by commandeering the stand.
So that was yet another club on to my to-visit list, and Harlech rose further up the list when I saw photos of them playing with the castle in the background! So I checked the fixtures and hit upon a problem, the Gwynedd League’s website has them playing at Llanbedr a few miles south. I checked with the club and they had a novel theory, their manager lives in Llanbedr and they reckon the league used his address in error! So for the avoidance of any doubt, here’s the correct address.
Beach Road, Harlech, Gwynedd, LL46 2UG.
It really is simple to find, just take the main road south through the town, aiming for the railway station and turn right just before the level-crossing, then left. The pitch is at the back of the swimming pool (the teams change there) and no you don’t have to pay the £2 to park there, the team have done a deal with the centre!
One surprise was the languages being used. Having visited the likes of Gaerwen on Anglesey I’m used to hearing Welsh used for all conversations other than swearing, and I expected more the same here. Felinheli certainly used the blueprint, but Harlech spoke exclusively English as did referee Bryan Anderson who remembered me from the hop game at Nantlle Vale! It is a small world!
With the demise of the Caernarfon & District League last summer making the Gwynedd League the lowest level of football in the area I did wonder what I’d be watching. I needn’t have worried, and my regular reader knows that often the lowest levels of the game produces the best entertainment, and let’s face it I’m no purist!
I did feel sorry for Harlech, on another day they’d have taken a point from this, after all it’s not every Saturday a cross hits a divot, hits your wrong-footed keeper and goes in, and another cross was diverted past the unfortunate Tom Pennie by his own centre-half. It was one of those thunderous tit-for-tat games where one side scores, then the other simply picks themselves up, brushes themselves off, and throws themselves into another attack.
I felt genuine regret that it had to finish but the area had one more treat for me. I drove back through Llan Ffestiniog then on the B4407 towards the A5 bound for Corwen. As the sun set as I climbed into the foothills of Snowdonia near Llyn Dubach, I saw a group of campers taking selfies by a small lake. I stopped… and well the last couple of pictures I think stand for themselves. Its North Wales you see….