AC Pontymister, Coronation Park, groundhopping, Gwent County League, Gwent Premier League, Newport, Newport Corinthians, newport transporter bridge, Non League, Wales
Saturday 24th August 2019 ko 17.00
Gwent Premier League- Premier Division
NEWPORT CORINTHIANS 2 (Morgan 32 Brooks 78)
A.C. PONTYMISTER 3 (Clarke 11og Cooper 34 Baston 47)
Whoever at the Gwent League that came up with the Welsh Hop’s itinerary clearly didn’t have me in mind! 3 revisits in 4 games on this event is unusual for me, and I’d seen Newport Corries 5 years ago mainly on the advice of Welsh Football publisher Dave Collins. A lot of the reason for going was the backdrop of the transporter bridge. It had been closed back then, so the coach pulled up at Coronation Park this time round with the bridge open, so what did I do?
That’s right, I headed straight for the clubhouse, its become a habit for me to make my first move to see how the host club are doing, and to offer help if needed. Now I really should have trusted Corries more, club secretary Nikki Hughes was there to greet us what is always a good yardstick for great hosting, and the more I got to see what Nikki and her team were about I realised their motivation wasn’t quite what I’ve grown to expect.
Normally the compromise that is an organised hop if done well sees the hopper get multiple games over the weekend, the league gets publicity and the club turns a healthy profit. Now that’s a simplification I know, but Corries seemed to be doing it all for Jasper.
Jeff “Jasper” Hughes was associated with Newport Corinthians from 1974 as player, secretary and treasurer until his untimely death in 2017. On a personal level it was he that I spoke to before my previous visit here, mainly to reserve a programme. His loss is still felt, and his daughter Nikki is carrying on the family association with the club.
It was one of those lovely evenings where all you needed to do as organiser was buy a huge slice of cake and count the crowd. That I suppose and watch the club sell can after can of drink- both soft and alcoholic, the scorching weather rather dictated that!
Now I’ll always have a soft spot for Pontymister, they volunteered to be the first host club for a hop featuring the Gwent League which takes a certain leap of faith and on that basis it was good to see them return the favour to Corries here. Others it has to be said should learn from their example.
Not that Pontymister will have walked away from these 2 hop games with anything other than good memories. Two games and two hard-fought wins put them in pole position as the team most likely to do well in a hop game. You get them, who could forget Maesglas in the Ceredigion League? They managed to go 5 years unbeaten with us watching including the year when we watched them pick up their only point of the season!
But despite the result the evening belonged to friendly, decent Newport Corries. I and many others greatly enjoyed their company and if this is any kind of complement I now don’t view them as just being the club near the bridge.