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Saturday 26th August 2017 ko 15.45

South Wales Alliance Division Two

PENRHIWFER 0 Weston missed penalty 47

BLAENRHONDDA 2 (Jones 40 73)

Att 225

Entry £3

Programme £1

Over the years the Welsh Hop has spent in South Wales we’ve seen the lot. You’ve got basic grounds like Cefn Cribwr and you’ve got the plain jaw-dropping like Garw. We visited the equally wonderful Blaenrhondda back in the day and Chris Berezai and I are contemplating a revisit there next time round. But the QE2 Field in Penrhiwfer is one I feel that really ought to be thought of in the same terms. The catch is you’ll get sore legs seeing it from the best possible perspective. 

In South Wales there’s almost an inevitability that there’ll be an element of tragedy. You’re in the environs of Tonypandy, who could forget George Thomas, later Viscount Tonypandy as Speaker of the House of Commons? That wonderful Welsh accent shouting “Order Order!” Musical speech mask the fact that the area is one of the most deprived in the UK now coal mining has ceased.

It gives you a clue why both sides have played higher up in the Welsh pyramid, Penrhiwfer in the Welsh League 3rd division, Blaenrhondda in Division 1. As so often is the case, the decline is a mirror-image of the area’s fortunes. Penrhiwfer’s Welsh League stint wasn’t spent here at the QE2 field, they moved here in 2012 as part of a regeneration project as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The old ground lies under the Williamstown Primary School behind the far goal; it’s where the changing rooms are now- perhaps they haven’t moved that far!

And as entertaining what I’ll remember the game for was the fact that at the end of it I was exhausted. Not because it was the 3rd game of the day and all without seats, it was all due to Magret from Germany. The popular groundhopper from Hannover excitedly found me near to half time and said,

“You simply have to go up there!”

There, it transpired was the B4278 that runs above the ground, and getting there was a real up-hill trek! But Magret was gloriously totally tight, and who couldn’t love the view of two horses watching a game with Porth and the Rhondda Valley as a backdrop? And as a bonus, someone gave me a lift back down to the ground! He’d seen the view and wanted to see what was going on.

The hosts huffed and puffed and contrived to miss a penalty, while Luke Jones’ predatory instincts proved to be the difference between the two sides on the day. I half shuffled, half staggered back to the coach, my mind thanking Magret, my legs cursing her!