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Monday 26th August 2019 ko 11.00

Gwent Premier League Premier Division


VILLA DINO CHRISTCHURCH 0 Lewis penalty saved 65

Att 236

Entry £3

Programme £1

The more senior hoppers have a little saying for those occasions when you realise on arrival that unexpectly they’ve visited the ground before. When you’ve done 300 or so grounds it seems barely creditable that you could have forgotten one. But when you’ve clocked up 4 figures worth of grounds, accidental revist syndrome can creep in. Except here at the Jim Owen Field I managed the exact opposite- I thought I was heading for a revisit and ended up ticking off a new ground!

I will always have difficulty in framing Abertillery as anything other than where Robyn and I ended up auditioning our wedding band one evening during last years’ Welsh Hop. I am more than aware of Abertillery’s history as a centre of the coal mining industry but how on earth am I meant to forget “Grab a Granny” night at the Glasgow Phoenix nightclub? I’m scarred for life!

Of course Jim Owen field is isn’t actually in Abertillery, it’s in the adjacent Cwmtillery and maybe that’s part of my error, I’d seen Excelsior during their Welsh League days, but at their “other” ground at Woodland Field. Since its only round the corner from the Jim Owen, I’ll use that as my excuse!


The history of football in Abertillery is storied through. Excelsiors are a year 2000 merger of Cwmtillery FC and Abertillery Town, with the combined club playing as Tillery FC for 5 years before adopting their current name in 2005. But the original Abertillery Town played in both the Southern and Western Leagues in the 1920’s whilst keeping sides in Wales-based leagues too. That club applied to the Football in 1920-1 and I do wonder what sort of club we’d have visited if they’d had been successful. As it was the club folded in the 50’s only being revived in 1982.

With the hop being in its final day, and the weather scorching it was day to relax and find a comfortable vantage point to watch what if the form guide were to be believed would be a straightforward home win. And what a vantage point that hill gives, rather reminiscent of Penrhiwfer but a lot easier to climb up to!

I plonked myself down and finally relaxed, 8 games into the weekend. There were a few of us that had climbed up that little hill, and yes the game did go by the form book- I suspect Excelsiors will be in the promotion mix come the season’s end. But as I joined the others and trudged back to the car park I’m sure everyone felt as I did, it was a lovely way to spend a morning.