Sunday 25th August 2019 ko 15.00
Gwent Premier League Division 2
CEFN FFOREST 4 (J Price 33 Bowen 77 90 N Williams 84)
GILWERN & DISTRICT 1 (McCarthy 86)
As fun as the dip into the Bridgend Sunday League was, it was good to return to Gwent. We headed to the environs of Caerphilly to the tiny village of Cefn Fforest, and for the record that extra “F” is important, you wouldn’t want to pronounce the place as “Vorest” now would you?
Now if you based a club’s ability to host purely on league position then we’d never have come to the Brittannia Fields. Fforest finished last season rock bottom of the Gwent League and only escaped district league football as other clubs above them pulled out of the league.
It took me a little time to adjust to being back at a “proper” hop game, I and one or two others found a spare changing room and sheltered with a drink away from the hot sun. And perhaps the best complement I can pay is that while Chris Berezai, I and a few others took that little bit of time to ourselves, the club carried on hosting beautifully. I wandered out wondering where they’d put the line-ups board and there was the young lady writing it all out!
But with all due respect to the good people of Cefn Fforest what just about everyone will remember the Brittannia Playing Field for is that wonderful view over the valleys from the grass bank behind the goal. Whilst the hop’s schedule wasn’t particularly arduous it was a pleasure to stretch out on the bank and just relax. In fact it all reminded me of Cwmbach Royal Stars from a couple of years ago except here the “Ginger Tree” was a whole row of them to the right hand side!
I didn’t meet a single person beforehand who predicted anything other than an away win. Gilwern won the Gwent Central League last season so were expected to make easy work of the litmus test of their first game at the higher level. It didn’t happen and that was because Fforest made them fight for it, perhaps that was no surprise when you note that boxer Nathan Cleverley hails from here!
In the end 4-1 was both a fair result and a massive filip to club who made it crystal clear that they never again want to rely on the results of others to preserve their status. I hope that the hop’s visit helped, both financially and in terms of giving their confidence a boost. They were fantastic hosts.