Saturday 11th March 2017 ko 13.30
Carmarthenshire League Premier Division
EVANS & WILLIAMS SPORTS 0
TROSTRE SPORTS 1 (Waters 22)
Att 134 at Pitch 3 Penygaer Playing Fields
I remember when Chris Berezai and I first discussed how we were going to organise GroundhopUK’s entire run in the Carmarthenshire League. It was never going to be difficult to sell somewhere like Abergwili to the hoppers, but the Penygaer Playing Fields in deepest darkest Llanelli was another matter entirely! It is the typical unlovely council facility with 5 pitches and a tired looking changing room block resplendent in anti-climb paint and barbed wire. Perhaps it was no bad thing that we only headed there at the very last minute!
We’d planned visiting Trostre who were slated to play Loughor, but the West Wales cup saw the league replace them with Evans & Williams. We’d sent Trostre the blurb on how to host, but a week before our visit they dropped a bombshell. They pulled out of the event citing a waterlogged pitch and their inability/unwillingness to produce a programme. Now we have no interest in leading the either unwilling or the unable, and a hopper who’d booked a B & B opposite Trostre’s ground confirmed just how bad their pitch was.
The league did the simple thing and simple thing and reversed the fixture, so Chris sent Evans & Williams the hop blurb, and they sent him the programme material to be printed at his end, negating the need to arrange collection of prebooked programmes. We suspected it was too late for the club to pull off the miracles Bargod Rangers did 3 years ago, and when the club managed to do no more than stage the game our thoughts proved correct.
Now that’s no reflection on Evans & Williams, Penygaer is what it is, a fairly soulless council set of playing fields, looking at the bigger picture we should be glad these places are still being run and being used. And while it certainly wasn’t anyone’s idea of the perfect venue to watch a game we were well entertained.
Evans & Williams are the former works side of the eponymous Llanelli railway wagon works, and have a long and illustrious history in Carmarthenshire football, with the unusual nickname of the “Albies,” after original patron Albie Evans.
The tie we ended up watching was a top-of-the-table clash, and was clearly the highest quality of the 3 we saw in Carmarthenshire. As expected the commitment was total, but Chris Waters’ goal midway through the first half settled the tie in the visitors’ favour.
At the final whistle I turned away and started to make my way back to the coach. As I did, a hopper spotted Robyn and I and laughed,
“That’s a bit of a comedown from Bayern Munich isn’t it?”
He had a point, but oddly I found enough in the experience to enjoy our visit. The title of this blog gives a hint as to why, but in the end my only regret was that if in the future the hop were to go to Trostre, they’ll have learned nothing about hosting a hop game from this.