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Monday 27th August 2018 ko 14.00

South Wales Alliance- Premier Division

CAERPHILLY ATHLETIC 7 (Tedstone 31 49 55 76 Leadbeater 44 74 Edwards 50)


Att 252

Entry £3

Programme £1

I refuse to believe there isn’t a groundhopper out there that doesn’t have more than a healthy dose of O.C.D., it goes hand-in-hand with the hobby! My version of it is an odd variant, if I see a town’s name on a road sign, I want to go and see that town’s club. So after 15 or so years heading up and down the A470 passing Caerphilly each time, you can imagine how pleased I was to be finally seeing a game here!

The town has a rich footballing history, Caerphilly FC had two stints in the Southern League in the 1910’s and 20’s and AFC Caerphilly played in the South Wales Senior League from 2006 to 2013 before rather abruptly folding.

This regeneration, I need to use that word, some Dr Who episodes were filmed here, are the former Dynamo Aber team, rebranded, but still based in Morgan Jones Park in the middle of the town. And it’s that home that is rapidly becoming a barrier to their progress.

Normally on any organised hop, of you gain the trust of the organiser before the event, they’ll tell you who the “Problem Child” host club will be. You do your planning and preparation, and you build in fail safes to make sure that if something does go wrong you have, if possible, the time to solve the problem before it becomes critical.

On that basis if you’d have asked Chris Berezai or I that question on Wednesday we’d have probably said that Vale United and Rhydyfelin would be superb, and that Llangeinor might struggle. What neither of us saw coming was Caerphilly set a new record for lateness in delivering their programmes for the advance ticket holders, they were well over a day late! I’m not sure why it happened, and Chris ended up adding their programme to the packs he made up on Thursday afternoon, so the fail safe worked, but as we parked up at the ground I did wonder what I’d find.

Morgan Jones Park, is named after the Caerphilly’s MP from 1921 to his death in 1939. He has the distinction of being the first Conscientious Objector to be elected as an MP, having been imprisoned for his beliefs during the First World War.

The park is as open a public park as you could expect. It’s a place to buy an ice cream, visit the pond, or to walk your dog. In terms of hosting a hop game it was as difficult a place to charge a gate at since Steventon on the very first North Berks Hop in 2011. In these circumstances it was next to impossible to charge a gate, entry by programme becomes the order of the day. I hope, and I suspect forlornly that those hoppers who hadn’t bought tickets understood the bigger picture here.

Whatever the whys and wherefores were with the programmes, everything Caerphilly did on the day was excellent. No one can expect a club playing in a public park with no clubhouse and the changing room 150 yards from the pitch to put on the kind of hosting that say Selby did; that simply isn’t possible. What happened was that they roped off a corner of the park, and placed everything they were doing there. That attracted people to them, and I’d like to think they spent plenty of money there.

The difficulty of Caerphilly’s existence is compounded by the excellence of their team. They are not going to get a crowd of 250 every week, so if the SWAL was the limit of their ambitions then they could make the best of what’s available here. But this is a club clearly going places.

This was as complete a demolition job as you’ll see, although I’m bound to comment that the Cwm Welfare we saw here were a far cry from the vibrant bunch we visited in Beddau last year. Should I be worried for them?

But this was Caerphilly’s afternoon, but sooner or later they’ll have to square the circle of Morgan Jones Park and their talented team. The talent is obviously there for a tilt at the Welsh League, and unless they’re able to build a new ground the temptation must be there to upsticks to Trefforest FC’s White Tips Stadium, or to Yynsangharad Park now with only Graig as tenant with Pontypridd Town temporarily at Leckwith Stadium, Cardiff with improvements being made to their home University of South Wales Sports Park.

Either would mean leaving Caerphilly, which would be a massive wrench. There is more than a touch of “Crossing the Rubicon” about this, and it’s clear that there’s no easy answers to this. All the best to them, whatever route they choose.