Saturday 28th August 2015 ko 10.45
Welsh Alliance Division Two
AMLWCH TOWN 1 (Grffiths 44) Byast sent off 90 (2nd booking)
NANTLLE VALE 2 (A Hughes 2 S Williams 40) E Jones sent off 81 (2nd booking)
When you organise a groundhop, after you’ve agreed the event with the league your next move is to pick a base, where you’ll run the coaches from and site your accommodation. There are some hard and fast rules with hotels and the like, parking must be free, there has to be room for the coach, and the breakfasts need to be of the cooked variety! Universities tend to be good for us, having single ensuite rooms is perfect for us, and the University of Chester’s accommodation is first-class, but it has meant we’ve needed to plan a little more.
It does seem slightly counter-intuitive to have a Welsh Hop based in England, but with nowhere within the Welsh Alliance’s footprint being suitable for us, or in fact anywhere near as good as what we’ve got, we just had to work at the job a little more.
The difficulty with this day was that for a 4-game day on Anglesey we’d had to leave the Uni before the refectory opened for breakfast. Transferring the breakfast to somewhere else worked beautifully in 2013 at Llanfairpwll, and less so last year at Pwllheli, so Chris and I were a little nervous about having to do it once again. We needed to get away at 7.30 sharp, so one hopper being late really didn’t help our cause.
Fortunately the A55 behaved itself, and the Split Willow at Llanfairfechan was the model of efficiency and 80 or so ate a cooked breakfast and we were on our way before the coaches’ engines had cooled.
Amlwch, meaning “Around the loch” is the most northerly town in Wales. Its a harbour town built on tobacco and copper mining, and latterly oil. The legendary rocker Lemmy from Motörhead was educated locally at Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones.
The town’s Catholic church is worthy of note, the “Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Winifrede” being built of reinforced concrete! It was designed in 1937 by the Italian architect Giuseppe Rinvolucri a World War 1 POW who’d married locally, and was designed to resemble an upturned boat. You can see the church from the football ground.
In footballing terms the club is best known for its short stint in the second tier Cymru Alliance in 2002/3 but the club have had serious problems since then, even dropping down to the 6th tier Anglesey League at one stage.
The Lon Bach ground has a tiny footprint, the stand they opened named after club legend John Thomas was in just about the only place it could be, but the place was a hive of activity.
It was the kind of hosting where as organiser you just grin and enjoy your redundancy! There was a quite astounding array of cakes, and the real ales seemed to be selling well, and the club were clearly enjoying having a big crowd pay them a visit.
On the field, the two dismissals would point to a feisty encounter, which it certainly was, and Amlwch’s Chris Byast can count himself fortunate that he stayed on the pitch as long as he did. Nantlle Vale shaded this contest, but there was enough to suggest that neither side will struggle this season.
But for the disappointment for the defeat, I suspect that Amlwch will view the morning’s work as being far more than just about a football match. I know most of the hoppers did!