Saturday 14th April 2018 ko 14.30
Welsh League Division Two
PONTARDAWE TOWN 1 (Roberts 90)
ABERDARE TOWN 2 (Haggett 48p 50)
Entry & Programme £4
If watching Swansea City’s youth team was an exercise in largesse and the complete absence of thought outside of the box this was the exact opposite. Once the Carmarthenshire League left our thoughts in the planning of this hop, once we realised Pontardawe were at home we were always likely to head here. For one Chris Berezai used to be programme editor here, and significantly the club only moved to Parc Ynysderw in the last couple of years. .
We crossed over the River Tawe, which seemed rather appropriate, the town’s name means Bridge over the Tawe after all and aimed for the pitch behind the leisure centre. We weren’t alone, a game of rugby was taking place on an outside pitch and on others two games in the Neath League were kicking off too. I wonder whether we lost any hoppers to those two games?
Pontardawe’s former home at the Recreation Ground was notorious for being basic in the extreme and with ground grading regulations in the Welsh League becoming more stringent the club opted to move. What you see at Parc Ynysderw is a work in progress, the ground is enclosed, and there’s a stand but there’s no power or water supply to the ground which for now is stymieing their progress.
After what we’d witnessed at Landore you couldn’t help but have sympathy for Pontardawe. We’d seen a club using branded drinking water, and moved just a few miles east to a club with no water at all. What you see here is what the club has provided for itself, there’s no TV money and no sugar daddy here. The club have provided changing rooms but until they can get power and water to the ground, the teams change in the leisure centre and walk the 100 metres across.
It all seems so unfair doesn’t it? What would Pontardawe give for just a little helping hand? Because as it stands as from next season this, the third tier of Welsh football will be the limit of their ambitions. They’ve played in Division One, but will need floodlights and fully functioning changing rooms within the ground if they want to return there.
That said, Parc Ynysderw should be seen as a great achievement for Pontardawe, the fact is that everything is now there for the club to build for the future, that simply wasn’t possible until they moved.
The day was sweltering, but the two sides were well-matched. The difference ended up being the predatory instincts of Seb Haggett. He scored twice in quick succession and despite a late goal it was enough to see off the hosts.
But this was an afternoon that’ll be remembered more for the club that what happened on the pitch. When you think about it Pontardawe’s problems can be summed up as being about 3 pipes. One for electricity, one for water, and one for sewage. And given how their committee have got themselves this far, you wouldn’t bet against them succeeding in getting the power, the water and the floodlights. All the very best to them.