Saturday 25th August 2015 ko 19.45
Welsh Alliance Division One
LLANGEFNI TOWN 4 (Evans 57 A Hughes 63 I Jones 74 S Jones 78)
Att 409 (Welsh Hop Record)
It felt like we were reaching the 285 yards bit of a marathon as we reached Cae Bob Parry, in the market town of Anglesey, Llangefni. We were grateful the ground has floodlights, a relic of the club’s solitary season in the Welsh Premier, back in the 2007/8 season, but here’s the thing, we were due to visit here on Saturday of the first Welsh Alliance Hop back in 2013.
The club was due to be the last game, the slot was taken by Glantreath when it was found that those floodlights didn’t work due to a broken generator. We swapped them to be the away team at Llanfairpwll, but the club dropped into the Anglesey League citing a mass player exodus. Another re-shuffle saw Pwllheli take their place. Since then, the club has risen rapidly through the ranks, and it was clear on this evening why.
The problem that Chris Berezai and I would always have in scheduling this game was the club’s one season in the top flight, meaning many hoppers would have visited during that one season. I did and this was to be my only re-visit of the hop, but with it being the last game of the day too, there was always the likelihood of some hoppers eschwing the game in favour of pub time.
What we’d entirely forgotten was that Town come with a more than healthy following and get anything up to 200 for home games, complete with a youthful “Ultras” section. Chris and I decided to join them for the second half, and raised their average age quite considerably! What we lost amongst the hoppers we more than gained in locals and that’s how we came to beat Penrhyndeudraeth’s Welsh Hop attendance record. I was pleased to see the record go, but also pleased to see it set at a level that other clubs can still aspire too.
The ground was easily the most developed of the 11 on this hop with cover on all 4 sides and seats from Maine Road (clubhouse side stand) and Gay Meadow elsewhere. It’s a ground that could easily host National League football. The club understood the clientele too. The beer tent and catering had been open since 3.30pm and there was a real atmosphere about the place as the sun set and the new generator spluttered into action.
I spotted an old friend on the near side. Llanfairpwll secretary Alun Mummery has been a real supporter of the us and the hop so it was good to see him with a grin on his face. His club had a dreadful time of it last year, neither first nor reserves managed a single win all season but they’re still in Division One by reprieve, and are rebuilding.
Perhaps them holding a club that must see a return to the Cymru Alliance as an imperative for a half should be seen as a victory of sorts, but Llangefni ran riot after the break and ran out convincing winners. I walked back to the coaches, spotted that Alun was still smiling, and smiled back. All was well with the world.