Saturday 27th August 2016 ko 13.15
South Wales Alliance Division Two
ABERFAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC CLUB 4 (Caffell 21 62 80 Madgwick 49)
FOCHRIW 1 (Brannan 25)
If ever there was a village touched by tragedy it’s Aberfan. So ingrained in the collective consciousness is the village it’s hard to believe it’s 50 years since a spoil heap collapsed on Pantglas Junior School killing 116 children and 28 adults. The village will be forever remembered for what happened on 21st October 1966 and while the graveyard in clearly visible from Grove Field, this was a day for at least some of us to see Aberfan in terms other than the tragedy. That said, I was pleased that many managed to visit the memorial garden either before or after the match.
The game was something of a step into the unknown for the league. The South Wales Amateur League had 2 divisions, but this was a game in the 3rd division. Now GroundhopUk has had no little success organising at levels below this, who could forget Cilgerran or Carmarthen Stars, but I did wonder how it would all work out.
In fact it worked out far better than we could have imagined. While we lost a few hoppers to Treharris Athletic Western we gained more in the form of the “Big numbers” hoppers who’d opted to miss the earlier game at Llantwit Fardre presumably because they’d ticked it off during their Welsh League days.
More than anything else though I was pleased to see a well presented hop game, and an entertaining fixture. Aberfan’s corned beef pies sold well, and Fochriw got an excellent steer on how to host, and host well should they reverse their decision not to host this time.
But when the stresses and strains of being one half of GroundhopUK were over and I could take in where I was it was the sheer beauty of the place that took my breath away. It was one of those grounds where you forget that where you are consists of little more than a railed-off pitch and two goals and let the beauty of where you are seep into your soul.
All too soon it was all over, and the travelling circus made tracks for Merthyr Tydfil. But whenever I think of the village of Aberfan I’ll frame my thoughts in terms that are more than just about what happened in 1966.