Saturday 7th March 2015 ko 13.15
Ceredigion League Division One
FELINFACH 1 (Taylor 63)
BARGOD RANGERS 1 (Terry 14)
Many years ago we at GroundhopUK organised a hop, and only one person on the committee of the league turned up to support the event. On one hand it didn’t really matter, the main thing the league does with a groundhop is schedule the fixtures, but it rankled with us to the extent that we didn’t organise another hop in that league. If you don’t have the league firmly behind you, in the long term you don’t have a hop.
The aftermath of it all saw us add a few lines to our prospectus to ask the leagues we work with to make sure the committeemen are out in force in their blazers and ties to answer hoppers’ questions and generally support the event. What I didn’t expect was how that piece of advice would come back years later to help us.
David Miles and the whole Felinfach club were a joy to deal with. Via social media we talked for a good year, exchanging ideas and advice, so I knew I’d be parking in the school car park, and I stood back, enjoyed my cawl, bread roll and cheese and let David and his team simply get on with their jobs, I was completely redundant! All that changed when David tapped me on the shoulder, a worried look on his face.
It transpired that referee Rhys Steadman was still in Cilgerran thinking that kick-off was an hour later, at 2.15. We do build in tolerances for delays, but an hour was unacceptable, but a blazer was to rescue us.
That was fixture secretary Aled Davies, a fully-qualified referee, and boy was I relieved when he agreed to referee the game until Mr Steadman arrived at half time. He borrowed a whistle, stopwatch and some Felinfach kit (which is why a few thought he was a home official) and a postpostment was avoided. It wasn’t to be the only time planning and preparation helped avoid a postponement this weekend either.
The game deserved to be played too. For one thing the opposition were every hopper’s friends Bargod Rangers who in agreeing to take a hop fixture last year at short notice following Llanybydder’s demise helped us all out. They helped us again here, bringing it seemed half of Drefach-Felindre to come and watch, and their children played Felinfach’s young people in a series of short-sided games before then main event. I discovered many of the mums in the catering tent when I did the crowd count!
The hoppers enjoyed the full colour glossy programme then stood and gaped when they make their way over to the main pitch. Now the Ceredigion League does have some weird pitches, none more so than St Dogmaels but Felinfach’s is certainly a close second. The best description I heard was “Crown Green Football” as the pitch slopes markedly from centre-spot downwards. It means if you are stood at pitchside you can’t see below the players’ knees on the other touchline!
With so much that was good going on it was a shame that the game failed to spark into life. a goal apiece, and whilst Mr Steadman failed to give a clear penalty to Bargod late on, perhaps a draw was the right result given both the balance of play, and the occasion in general. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the game itself, I was just pleased we were able to find a way to make sure the game took place. We’re rather proud of the fact that in 12 years of GroundhopUK we’ve only had one postponement. Long may that continue!