Welsh Alliance, Welsh hop, Chris Berezai, Wales, Pwllheli, Llanberis, Carl Jones, Ffordd Padarn, Snowdonia
Sunday 30th August 2015 ko 11.30
Welsh Alliance Division One
LLANBERIS 1 (Parry 68)
PWLLHELI 1 (M Jones 76) C Jones sent off 83 (violent conduct)
I remember the moment when Chris Berezai made the decision he needed a deputy. We were on a Hellenic Hop at Abingdon Town when his back seized up. He struggled through the rest of the event, and a few days later I got a phone call, and the rest as they say is history. From then on we’ve acted more as a joint effort rather than me simply order-taking. I wasn’t born to follow, but Llanberis proved to be rather different for a while.
The coaches found their way to Lake Padarn’s car park. I grabbed the box of programme packs from my boot and made my way over to Ffordd Padarn, when I spotted Chris brandishing his phone like a weapon and a face of thunder.
“… Halkyn have pulled out of the Llanlyfni game, ” he said, so the team split while he sorted out a plan of action with the league, I covered for the both us. That thankfully was restricted to handing out programme packs and stonewalling hoppers’ questions while Chris became thankful for unusually good mobile phone reception in the area.
I say thankfully, as I’m not sure how we’d have coped if Llanberis’ hosting hadn’t been first class. I enjoyed some seriously hot chilli, got rid of the last of the packs, counted all the crowd, and finally looked up at the scenery. Wow, just wow.
I suspect if there were a hopping heaven it would look something like CPD Llanberis. The mountains of Snowdonia, pubs, the lake, and the narrow gauge railway in between. The place even makes the ugliness of an “Arena” stand look reasonable. Chris sorted out the Llanllyfni game out once and for all with Ron Bridges the Welsh Alliance’s General Secretary, and finally we were able to admire both the ground, and the game on offer.
Also in attendance were representatives of our next host club Llanrug, who I suspect were part supporting the event, and part getting a sense of what was heading their way! What pleased me most about my visit our visit to Fforde Padarn was how well the club did with limited space and facilities. There’s a kitchen area as part of the changing room block behind the goal, but other than the little modular stand there was no facilities and little space for sales. But the little ground positively buzzed and the club dealt beautifully with the bumper crowd.
We got a game that was worthy of the huge crowd too. Two good sides slugging it out with no quarter asked or given. The draw was probably fair, but there was a subplot, Pwllheli’s Carl Jones. Rumour has it that he played in the same Wales age-based teams as Gareth Bale, but as so often happen with young players, something happens and their development stops. Here his temperament was questioned, and his response was a scything kick-out with the inevitable red card seconds later.
It was a real shame in so many ways, but it didn’t detract from what was a quite wonderful couple of hours, once the opponents for Llanllyfni had been sorted out of course!
You were right, Laurence: this is a really stunning ground. Lucky players, how ever do they stay focused on the game?