Saturday 16th April 2016 ko 17.00
Carmarthenshire League Division 2
JOHNSTOWN 1 (J Evans 49)
DREFACH 3 (J Jones 40og Baker 79 S Jones 82)
We headed back to a rather chilly Carmarthen for our final game of the day, and again there was a quirk, the name of the club! Perhaps if there’s an etymologist reading this they can tell me why so few place names begin with a “J?” There’s Jarrow, but offhand I can’t think of any well-known others, and I know there was at least one hopper at this game that this was his first “J” club. But there was far more to like about Johnstown than just a letter.
The Maridunum Playing Fields started life as the sports field for the defunct and demolished Queen Elizabeth Maridunum Comprehensive, but even with that background it took extensive and expensive drainage works to provide a suitable home in 1996, when Porthyrhyd AFC moving in and changing their name in the process.
I liked the club and its people. There was nothing flashy or pretentious about their offering, just committed local people welcoming their visitors; you couldn’t help but warm to them. I sorted out the team line-ups, discovering that since league rules state that the teamsheet is handed to the referee only just before kick-off you’re unlikely to get the information any earlier.
When the other hoppers moved to pitchside I found a little time to buy a Cornish pasty and a cup of tea, and even after the amount of football I’ve clocked up this season (this was game 181) it was still a pleasure to exchange pleasantries and a joke with the ladies in the tea bar. Incidentally other than dealing with me it was interesting to hear them speaking Welsh. The biggest difference I found between Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire was that we were the English-speaking side of the Landsker Line here, and as such I barely heard Welsh spoken.
Eventually I shuffled, yes shuffled this season is catching up with me, over to pitchside and watched one of those games where 99 times out of 100 Johnstown wins, but we managed to be at the 100th! The adage says you get punished for not taking your chances and that certainly held true here.
Whilst I try and remain neutral in hop games, it did seem a little rough on our gallant hosts. But that’s sport I suppose, and I trust that the financial rewards of hosting softened the blow a little.