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Saturday 25th July 2015 ko 12.30

Pre-Season Friendly



Att 19

Entry FREE

No Programme

As far as I’m concerned Blaenavon in Torfaen is the home of the “Big Pit” the national coal mining museum of Wales, and if you haven’t paid the place a visit, have a read of this and do what I didn’t do, and combine it with a visit to Blaenavon Blues’ Memorial Ground. You can, after all, see the Big Pit from the pitch!

The whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage site, even just before the Blues moved from the Co-op Field to here, the area was excavated by Channel 4’s “Time Team” in 2001 and they discovered the top of an arch of a viaduct! Now that is quite something when you look at these photos and consider how high above the floor of the valley you are. The viaduct was built in 1790 making it potentially the world’s first railway viaduct to connect the ironworks to the colliery but was obsolete less than 25 years later. Rather than demolish it, the whole structure was gradually covered in spoil, so underneath the ground is a quite wonderful piece of industrial archaeology!

The Memorial Ground is dedicated to the memory of local men who lost their lives fighting for their country, and originally was the home to the now defunct Blaenavon Harlequins rugby club, but when they, and later their successors Blaenavon FC both disbanded, the football club took on the lease, and have created a facility that will allow the club to progress up the Welsh football pyramid. One tip though, before you come here, use Google Street View to work out your turn-offs in the town, the ground is not straightforward to find.

The club play in the top flight, division one, of the Gwent County League, and with the ground, being railed, enclosed, and having cover for 100 would easily pass muster for the next promotion, to the third division of the Welsh League. That is where opponents Treharris Athletic Western ply their trade, and if you haven’t payed their Athletic Ground a visit, feast your eyes on this, their glorious ground and make it the very top of your list of your priorities. They won’t be there forever, so a visit to one of the great grounds of South Wales is not one to miss out on.

But with Treharris having struggled in the last few years, they finished second bottom last season (third bottom is you include the folded Cardiff Grange Quins)and only a reprieve saved them from starting this season in the South Wales Alliance. So on paper at least, this looked an interesting game. I tend to take the view that the biggest difference between amateur and professional players is that the amateur finds it almost impossible to play at anything other than maximum effort.

It took a few minutes, but in time the two teams rather proved my point. Treharris moved the ball better, but Blaenavon made the two visiting centre-halves play the ball more frequently than either looked comfortable doing. The tackles flew in, the expletives were discovered after the summer break, and as you expect from games in this part of the world the commitment was total. Every game matters here.