Saturday 6th April 2019 ko 14.30
Welsh League Division 3
PENRHIWCEIBER RANGERS 3 (Carter 6 Davies 31 Morgan 39)
TREDEGAR TOWN 2 (Hillman 8 Cullinane 46)
Herring sent off 90 (dangerous play)
The drive up to the Mountain Ash area from just beyond Pontypridd is one of my favourites in the South Wales Valleys. Part of the reason why it is the sense of history about the area, and my own memories of so many games and clubs visited in the area. It’s got to a point where if I see a mining village I wonder why I haven’t seen a game there yet! Then there’s the switch-back narrow roads and the seeming endless rows of terraced cottages, this is a part of the world where you do have to concentrate when driving!
Penrhiwceiber, and for those who haven’t been here it’s pronounced Pen-Ree-Kye-Bur, is a village by and for coal mining. The old colliery stood on the what’s now the Pentwyn Field behind the near goal, was where the Welsh Hop saw Penrhiwceiber Cons on one pitch there a couple of years ago. The nearer pitch, the one you can see on some of the pictures, had Ceiber’s reserves playing on it.
Glasbrook Terrace is oh-so- appropriately named. The first shaft of what would become Penrikyber Colliery was sunk in 1872 by the Glasbrook Brothers of Swansea – a family of already established colliery owners. The land on what’s now Glasbrook Field was founded by the colliery’s workers in the late 1930’s on land donated by the mine’s then owners, the Powell Duffryn Company.
The company gave the football team its original name- Penrhiwceiber Powell Duffryn although the current team dates from the 1960’s you cannot escape King Coal’s influence, try scratching the ground! But this isn’t necessarily the way to look at Glasbrook Terrace. If you’re a photographer this is a place to to dig out the wide-angle lens, select a small aperture and let your camera pick up the parallel streets, the terraced houses and the rolling hills beyond.
It is stunningly beautiful even by the high standards of the Valleys and the welcome to an Englishman who must have stood out like a sore thumb was friendly too. I sat on at that wonderful terrace and quite honestly there was nowhere else I’d have wanted to be. In fact the only worry was how I could do the place justice. I’ll leave it to you to judge my success or otherwise.
The game came with the added bonus of something riding on it, Penrhiwceiber needing a win to keep their promotion charge going. It was a typical blood and thunder Valleys game honest to a fault, no wilting, no diving and certainly no quarter asked or given. For anyone neutral watching it was no bad thing that Tredegar equalised ‘Ceiber’s early strike, as it spurred on the hosts who eventually and deservedly won the game with the late dismissal of Herring rather taking the steam out of Tredegar’s efforts.
I note with some sadness that this wasn’t part of a successful promotion push. They were destined to finish third, two points behind Trefelin, boosted in no small part by former Swansea City forward Lee Trundle. These are strange times for South Wales football at this level. The top division of the Welsh League is being replaced with the Welsh Championship South and in time Welsh League Division 3 will no longer exist with the less successful clubs no doubt returning to the likes of the South Wales Alliance or the Gwent County League.
And much as I enjoy the game at that level and below I also understand the pride and effort that has put clubs like Penrhiwceiber at Welsh League level. This is a part of the world known for never giving up without a fight, and in the footballing world you can be sure it’s no different.
But in the long-term whatever league the ‘Ceiber end up in. When you come here, and like so many before gasp at the beauty of the place do remember why the ground is here and why the ground you’re standing on is black.