Sunday 30th November 2014 ko 13.30
Welsh Cup 3rd Round
UNDY AFC 2 (Cullimore 10 Hooper 45)
CARMARTHEN TOWN 4 (Harling 37 Belle 62p Hartland 76 White 90)
When Carmarthen Town’s historian and press man Chris Harte emailed to alert me to the unusual day for this fixture I knew I had background in this part of the world. If you travel into Wales on the M4 using the second Severn Bridge the first village you see is Magor and its service station. Adjacent to Magor is Undy, and for years I travelled here to see Bethan, a friend of my ex-wife’s.
She proved to be a very good teacher of those little bits of Welsh culture you don’t get in the guide books. I was introduced to the likes of the “Duvet Naan” “Half Rice, Half Chips,” and I’m still not sure about “Cheeky Vimto!” So many memories, and I passed the house we used to visit as I left after the game.
What I didn’t realise was just how close I was then to Undy’s ground, less than a quarter-mile at a guess. They played in the Gwent County League then, and yes I did have a hankering to pay them a visit when they played Pant FC!
Time’s gone by, I’m back in Oxford, Bethan’s no longer in Magor, and let’s not talk about the wife! The good news was that in that time Undy got promoted twice and now find themselves in the third tier of Welsh football, the Welsh League Division Two. Carmarthen were the patricians of the piece, long-term members of the Welsh Premier league, and regular representatives of the principality in European competitions.
Let’s not under-estimate those two promotions between the clubs’ divisions. In England two promotions may not add up to much, but in Wales its huge! This was a genuinely a David and Goliath game, amateurs on a railed-off pitch playing the biggest game of their existence against semi-pro’s. What surprised me was just how good a fist Undy made of their big day both on an off the field of play.
The buzz was obvious as soon as you saw the cones on the Causeway, and I’m sure prices were hiked for this game, and you know what? I really couldn’t care less, why shouldn’t a club profit from its big day, and I for one certainly got my money’s worth. The best compliment I can give is that, if they’d posted the line-ups on a whiteboard, it would have been up there with any of the hop games I’ve helped organise, and I certainly saw plenty of the faces I see at my events too!
Everyone loved the curry and chips for £2, (no half chips, half rice though), even me and I was half-way through 3 curries in 3 days! It all put Undy AFC on the map, and their team’s performance was one everyone should be proud of.
Undy fought with every sinew, led twice, and it was with less than 15 minutes left that Carmarthen actually led, and Jeff White’s late goal gave the score a rather flattering slant to the team from West Wales.
I strolled back to the car, and there was Chris Harte wanting his usual chat. Quickly a gaggle of people gathered, some know to Chris, some to me, some to the FAW, and others I have no idea! On chap commented on how lucky Carmarthen were, which was rather one-sided, after all they did win by 2 clear goals! Chris had the good grace to smile, and say nothing.
It had been a wonderful afternoon for the two clubs, all those watching, but most of all Welsh football.