Saturday 25th August 2018 ko 13.00
Gwent County League Division One
ROGERSTONE 1 (McIntosh 90)
NEWPORT CORINTHIANS 2 (Morgan 30p Lewis 80)
You’d find it hard to imagine the village of Rogerstone as anything other than a sleepy suburb of Newport, a place of trees and a well-planted flower boxes at the Welfare Park. However the Park’s name hints at the area’s past.
This is a village begat of mining, and activism. There are tin, iron, and aluminium deposits here, and with the South Wales coal mines surrounding here, it was hardly surprising that Rogerstone once had the longest aluminium rolling mill in Western Europe and a huge coal-fired power station.
The area was a meeting point for the Newport Chartist Rising in 1839 en route to their final defeat at the Westgate Hotel. Leader John Frost was transported to Australia in the aftermath. During the 1972 Miners Strike the power station was extensively picketed, and presumably similar would have happened during the 1984 strike had the facility not closed a few month’s earlier.
So the peaceful stroll down to the Welfare Park was a pleasant surprise. It’s a place of gardens, hedges, community groups and, of course sport. A cricket match was taking place, a child’s birthday party wondered where all these interlopers had come from, and the park cafe suddenly saw a rush on ice creams.
In the midst of it all was Rogerstone FC. Normally this would be an encounter watched by a dozen or so, but the chilli was selling well, and the merchandise was proving popular too. Some of the beer enthusiasts quickly spotted that the club was sponsored by the Tiny Rebel brewery and hoped…. but there’s no drinking at the Welfare, so they had to wait, and most ended up visiting the nearby brewery straight after the game.
I enjoyed Rogerstone’s staging greatly. They took a pitch that was just about as open as it could be, and made their day work for them. As organiser you love to find yourself asking inwardly “Have they done…?” and glance round and there it is. In fact my only disappointment was that I knew more or less everyone there.
The people of Rogerstone have a fine football club in their midst, so the fact that so few locals were there, is a shame. Hopefully the publicity the hop generated will put a few people their way in the weeks to come. However I’ve no doubt that what the club will be disappointed in was what happened on the pitch.
Now I’m sure Newport Corinthians will have celebrated their win with gusto, and I’m sure when we visit Coronation Park, they’ll play better than this, and jinx that I am they’ll probably lose! But how the footballing Gods contrived to make this an away win I really don’t know. Well, perhaps I do, Rogerstone missed chance after chance, and Corinthians didn’t!
It was one of those visits best suited to a hop, I suspect on any given Saturday you’d notice the lack of pitchside facilities. What the hop did on this occasion was give a vibrant club the chance to express itself, and that they did rather well.