Saturday 24th August 2019 ko 14.00
Gwent Premier League Division One
NEW INN FC 2 (Buncroft 30 James 56og)
RHYMNEY 2 (James 2 Elias 45)
If there was one club I really wanted to do well out of the Welsh Hop it was New Inn. Robyn, her nephew Kai and I had visited Woodfield Road 3 years’ ago, we remembered what a lovely hospitable club they were, they thought that they hadn’t looked after us at all well, and I spent the intervening time really wanting them on a hop. So when they popped up on the itinerary the league sent us 3 weeks before the event I was pleased, and then immediately worried.
With so little time to organise things, we simply couldn’t alter the kick-off times we’d been given and with Coed Eva kicking off at 11 in a 3 game day there was no lack of alternative games up against this one. Normally we make the Saturday either a 4 game day or make the schedule such that to go elsewhere a hopper has to miss 2 games. Here it was all too easy to miss out New Inn, go elsewhere, and still make the last game of the day at Newport Corries.
And so it came to pass, we lost 50 or so from the first game to places various and gained most of them back at Newport. It was depressingly predictable, and one that won’t be repeated if we have any say whatsoever in the matter in the future. And New Inn will be foremost in my mind when I say it.
Because this friendly club staged as good as a hop game as I’ve seen in a long time, and I’ve seen a few! Those of us who were on the last Carmarthenshire Hop, that didn’t visit a single Carmarthenshire club will remember the Mad Dog Brewery from near to Goytre‘s ground. Both Goytre and New Inn are in Pontypool’s environs and the mixture of their beer and some frankly delicious chilli made for a convivial and for the club profitable afternoon. How could you fail to love a club serving Stouty McStoutface beer?
It was a quite lovely afternoon at the ground of a thousand backdrops- it is difficult to take a boring photo here. The cyclists stopped, and the bus driver wondered how on earth New Inn had managed to attract this big crowd. In contrast Steve our coach driver tucked into his chilli, a picture of contentment.
We were well entertained too, with New Inn having to dig deep to rescue a point from a tie where visitors Rhymney must have thought they’d done enough to win. I’ll admit I was totally biased, New Inn promised my great hospitality and if anything they under-promised and over-delivered. In my opinion New Inn were the best hosts in the 2019 hop and given the high standard of hosting throughout the weekend, that was high praise.
I just wish even more were there to see it, and for those who weren’t well they don’t know what they missed….
Except now you do!