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Monday 26th August 2019 ko 14.00

Gwent Premier League- Premier Division

PENTWYNMAWR ATHLETIC 3 (Slater 7 James 31 37)

LUCAS CWMBRAN 2 (Arnold 14p Silcox 41p)

Att 237

Entry £3

Programme £1

The second game of the day took us to Newbridge and its environs. The area is probably best known as both the birthplace and training base of the Welsh Rocky, boxer Joe Calzaghe. Once again the coach pulled up in the main thoroughfare through the village in similar vein to Wattsville but this time a fair percentage of the hoppers made a beeline to the Three Horseshoes pub opposite the ground. I didn’t follow them because I had a flyer in my hand….

As organiser of these events you spend half your life marveling how you give a group of host clubs the same opportunity and then you watch them come up with completely different ways of hosting. On this hop the differences weren’t so marked, all the clubs hosted well, but the flyer in my hand told me Pentwynmawr were planning something special.

My flyer wasn’t a rarity, one had been put through the door of every single house locally and you could see the thought that had gone in as soon as you set foot in the clubhouse. Community involvement- check, interesting food- check (how have we avoided Welsh Rarebit until now?) Real ale in bottles- immediately evacuate the hoppers from that pub. There was something more interesting for them to drink.

It set the tone for the club’s staging. The hoppers streamed in, accompanied by no end of locals and for a time just before kick-off I wondered whether they’d be swamped? That fact that they weren’t spoke volumes and just after kick-off I strolled back in to the clubhouse and bought one of the last rarebits. No organiser could possibly have asked for more.

My fiancee Robyn has added another factor in what to look for in a good football ground. She loves to see a grass back where she can put down the car blanket, to sit and watch the game. Here the village side of the pitch sports a wonderful example of it, I spent most of the second half sat there. So where did Robyn set herself up? Behind the goal in front of the clubhouse, but she did get a wonderful shot of the first Lucas penalty.

The first half was the reason I love Valleys football, played at a million miles an hour with no quarter asked or given. The second half couldn’t possibly live up to its predecessor and didn’t although god knows the two sides tried. In the end Pentwynmawr prevailed, and their hosting had been good enough for me find it hard to begrudge them that. I half strolled, half trudged my way back to the coach, just the one game left.