Football, groundhopping, GroundhopUK, Merthyr Tydfil, Penydarren, South Wales Alliance, The Bont, Ton and Gelli
Saturday 27th August 2016 ko 16.00
South Wales Alliance Premier Division
PENYDARREN BOYS & GIRLS CLUB 3 (Asa Lloyd 4 Brogden 41p Alex Lloyd 75)
TON & GELLI BOYS CLUB 4 (Markus 60og Hodges 62 88 Evans 79)
The third game of the day saw the hop head to the urban environs of Merthyr Tydfil and the town of Penydarren. The area is famous as being where in 1802 Richard Trevithick converted one of his high pressure steam engines used to power a hammer at the steel works. He placed it on wheels, and the “Pen-y-darren” became to many historians the world’s first powered locomotive. The Pen-y-darren is the football club’s badge.
If we treat the South Wales Alliance as a league new to the organised groundhop then as organiser you look for a club that in subsequent years you can use as an example of excellence. In those terms I’ll point to the excellence of the catering, and the bottles of specially brewed beer, and the fact that we saw a large influx of locals, the club had made the event a community day and reaped the rewards.
But there was more to it than that. In South Wales there are a few clubs that use the Boys and Girls club suffix, but I’ve never seen a club live those values as completely as here. From the poster in the clubhouse, to the players’ escorts, to the small-sided games going on behind the goal this was football used as a force for good to the maximum extent possible.
It was hard to imagine that the ground and club has never staged Welsh League football either. Those present at the Bont were present at the best appointed ground on the hop, and arguably saw the two most talented teams too.
And what a game they served up for the throng! I’m sure Penydarren will wonder how they threw away a lead twice, but for any neutral it was an amazing game to watch, utterly belying the level we were watching. In the end Ton & Gelli prevailed and at the end the players collapsed, utterly exhausted. It was one of those games…..
Considering a lot of my family come from here I’m amazed sadly I still haven’t been. Have to say that when I was a boy no one I knew there liked football unless you were talking about the egg shaped variety. Easily the roughest place I have ever been to but I love it all the same 🙂
Nice informative piece Laurence but you would have to write a book to even scrape beneath the surface upon a rich and fascinating history.
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