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Saturday 25th August 2018 ko 16.15

Gwent County League Division One


NEWPORT CIVIL SERVICE 3 (Eidoori 8 9 Ridler 80) Berry sent off 84 (2nd booking)

Att 201

Entry £3

Programme £1

Let’s start with by answering the obvious. The village is Christchurch near Newport, the chairman’s name is Dino Gulotta, and he owns an Italian restaurant called Villa Dino. So that ought to explain the name oughtn’t it? Well not quite….

The odd bit is the club badge, you can see it on a couple of the photos. It consists of the letters V, D,C and…..E? The E stands for Eveswell, who merged into the club 10 years ago.

The coaches pulled into the Whiteheads Sports and Social Club and there was the reassurance of someone being there to guide us. Having somewhere suitable to park is essential and this being just the third club visited by GroundhopUK, Chris Berezai and I were still looking for reassurance that all the planning and preparation was paying off. You can hold as many club meetings and fill out spreadsheets but sometimes you’re dealing with devils, not angels.

This was a time of angels though. With Chris dealing with an online TV station I sat back for a minute on two and watched the Villa Dino in action. Much of the catering was being dealt with by the adjacent rugby club, but if you were to ask me to describe our hosts in a single word, that word would be vibrant.

Everywhere you looked there was a smiling face, perhaps that’s why I’ve got a matchworn rebadged Inter Milan shirt, and a sheaf of unsuccessful raffle tickets. I know I’ve discussed the concept of charm before but Villa Dino Christchurch had it in spades, and that brings people in towards you. It helps you in financial terms, I have to say I do fancy a meal in Villa Dino’s, but it’s helped put a little club in South Wales on the map.

As ever, I succeeded in jinxing a club I liked, and this time it was in a brutal fashion. Aysa Eidoori scored twice in a minute early on the visitors, and it took time for shell shocked Villa Dino to recover their poise. Eventually they pulled a goal back through Dan Butler, but try as they might they couldn’t force their will on the game. That was despite Civil Service losing substitute Ewen Berry to two bookings in sixty seconds- one for a foul, then another for failing to retreat at the resulting free kick. All rather annoying for the visitors but in the end it didn’t make any difference to the result, despite some hefty home pressure.

But as we clambered back aboard the coaches, with many of us with those shirts, the conclusion was a collective one. I don’t think many of us will remember Villa Dino Christchurch for what happened on the pitch, but we will for the volunteers that made our visit memorable. Now, where’s the phone number for the restaurant, it’s time I made a reservation for a meal for two.

“A bottle of red, a bottle of white, whatever kind of mood you’re in tonight.”