Saturday 7th March 2015 ko 16.00
Mid Wales League Division One
ABERAERON TOWN 1 (James 43)
PENRHYNCOCH 1 (Nyhus 7 James 17)
Of course the roots of the Ceredigion Hop lie with the August Hop’s 3-year stint in the Mid-Wales League. After it was all over we had 2 sides that couldn’t play on August Bank Holiday so to visit U.W.A. and Aberaeron a “Hop-up” was organised to visit them. We wanted a Friday evening fixture so we approached Lampeter, and then the late Dai Davies at the league offered us New Quay too! We enjoyed the two Ceredigion League games so much we returned for the next 3 years!
Aberaeron’s old ground Cae Sgwar caused all kinds of issues for the club both generally, and in the specifics of hosting a hop game. The ground being on the town square in a town with strict planning controls meant that they couldn’t build any kind of stand, mandatory for continued league membership, and for their hop game they were unable to charge even the entry by programme we would look for, and they opted to contract out their catering to a burger van.
The humble burger van is seen by some host clubs as a neat means of solving the conundrum of feeding a larger than average crowd. It takes away one source of worry, but since the van normally takes around 90% of the takings, it ends up being a case of the club paying to have a large slice of their revenue taken away.
The upshot of all of this was they made very little money (if any all) out of their game and when they moved to Cae’r Lli a few hundred yards away when we tried to get in contact we got no response. We could well see why!
In all honesty that would easily have been that, we’d got a schedule to complete the Ceredigion League, but then Saron folded, leaving a hole in the schedule, and we just knew the hoppers would want to visit Cae’r Lli. The Ceredigion Leaque were happy for us to include them, Aberaeron’s reserves play at Cae Sgwar in their league, and there’d been a change of committee at the club too.
To get the new ground up the scratch the club has carried out a frankly gargantuan amount of work. The pitch has being massively improved, hard standing erected along the sides, and a stand erected. That hosted the club’s shop and the line-ups board, and the two ladies held court with the hoppers who popped in out of the wind. Those who’d seen a weather forecast bought an Aberaeron brolly for a bargain fiver, and I expect to see those in evidence in the next few hops! Ladies, your charm has quite literally taken Aberaeron’s name far and wide!
On the pitch Penrhyncoch looked like what they were- a side relegated from the Cymru Alliance with ambitions to return there as soon as possible. They were that little bit sharper than their hosts and I felt the away win was just about the correct result on the balance of play.
I watched the second half sheltered by my own car on the sea defence bank behind the goal. The game was good, the view behind even better, and as the final whistle went I reflected on a satisfying visit, the circle completed. I hope the club think the same way. Now all we’ve got to do is plan the hop’s visit to Penrhyncoch!