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Saturday 24th August 2019 ko 11.00

Gwent Premier League- Division 1

COED EVA ATHLETIC 4 (Davies 8 62 63 Bream 37)

NEWPORT SAINTS 3 (Roberts 3 50 Bourne 11)

Att 227

Entry £3

Programme £1

After the trials and tribulations in getting this edition of the Welsh Hop up and running it felt good to do the simple things again. That included strolling down the hill at the university in Trefforest to meet Steve and the coach, then travelling for the breakfast that was billed as “Eat as much as you like” but plenty read as “Treat this as a challenge!” It is always a convivial start to the day, a chance to catch up with people and for those who’d spent the previous evening in the Otley Arms- a chance to compare hangovers!

From there was a relatively short trip to the suburbs of Cwmbran. Coed Eva moved to the Birches in nearby Pontnewydd a few years ago when the site became vacant. The unusual bit is how they chose to do it. They moved the junior sections first and they took what would normally be seen as the main pitch, the one nearest the changing rooms. The seniors moved later, and a new pitch was created just for them beyond the far end of the main one. That would potentially require a swap-around if the first XI ever made it to the Welsh League.

The warm weather helped the entire hop. In an event where the only two bits of covered accommodation were at the final ground having no rain was appreciated by everyone involved. It also attracted plenty of locals, and those hoppers who were likely to make a late decision.

Now while its lovely to see everyone, that did include a well-known groundhopper with a reputation for trying to not pay to get in. Now I’ll spare you a treatise on someone who’ll put £50 of petrol in their car to travel to a game then begrudge a small club 3 quid, but one or two of these types are known to me and spotted him approaching the entrance. He made his move to bypass the pay-table and was immediately found by a gateman- well down Coed Eva, and my card is now marked.

After that I relaxed, when a club are this well-organised the best course of action is just let them get on with it, and they did really well! It helped that we were treated to a superb topsy-turvy game where both sides lead twice and somehow Newport contrived to lose a game where a point each would surely have been the fairest result.

I sat above the action on a grass bank in the corner. Sometimes its good to divorce yourself briefly from what’s going on, and just take in the fact that two hundred people are watching a county league, and enjoying themselves doing so.

Newport Saints made it crystal clear they’d love to host us, and when you get a club this keen, you hope they see a host club that gives them a good steer on best practices. Coed Eva certainly gave them that here. All the very best to them.