Tuesday 23rd February 2016 ko 19.30
Gwent County League Division 2
FC TREDEGAR 1 (Monk 35)
CLYDACH WASPS 1 (Williams 45)
Att 35 at Eugene Cross Park, Ebbw Vale
In Ebbw Vale there are 2 kings, one is steel, fired by the South Wales coal industry, and the other is Rugby Union. Oddly, both are represented in the town’s stadium, Eugene Cross Park, but this ground’s connection with Association Rules is a little more tenuous.
The Bridgend Field was originally bought in 1919 by the Ebbw Vale Steel, Iron and Coal Company to provide healthy recreation for their employees. The ground was named Beaufort Welfare Ground and was laid out for rugby, with cricket at one end, which is still the case today. The name was changed in 1973 to Eugene Cross Park, to honour Sir Eugene Cross (1896 -1983) who’d been chairman of the park’s trustees, a Justice of the Peace, won the Military Medal in World War One, and vice chairman of the Welsh Hospital Board.
The 8,000 capacity stadium is best known for being the home of Welsh Premiership Rugby Union side Ebbw Vale, but in footballing terms Ebbw Vale FC played their League of Wales and Intertoto Cup fixtures between 1992 and 1998 when the club withdrew from the league and folded. The phoenix club RTB (Richard, Thomas & Baldwin Steelworks) Ebbw Vale play in the Gwent County League Division Two playing some games here, and some games at the Hilltop Stadium, also in Ebbw Vale.
These days Eugene Cross Park is owned by the Blaenau Gwent Council so with a fixture backlog FC Tredegar opted to rent the pitch and lights to make a start on the backlog. Or to put it in groundhopping terms, a highly unusual floodlit tick! In fact the only real issue was that the fixture needed the say-so of the groundsman, due to a rugby match the night before. The decision came late, and the scarred, sanded pitch spoke volumes.
Also late was referee Paul Lewis, the game was scheduled to kick off at 7pm but on arrival the veteran official had a superb game, marshalling two fiesty sides in an entertaining game.
I suspect Clydach will be happier with the point than their hosts. Tredegar who used to be known at Tredegar Athletic and share at Welsh League outfit Tredegar Town, took the lead through man of the match Chas Monk’s deflected drive, only for Jace Williams’ delicious curling free kick to even the scores on the stroke of half-time. After the break somehow there was no addition to the score, despite no little skill or endeavour.