Saturday 29th August 2020 ko 14.30
LUDGVAN AFC 2 (Goodspeed 8 Carew 14)
…. sent off 56 (violent conduct) 56
HAYLE AFC 1 (… 87)
….. sent off 56 (violent conduct) 56
It has to be said that planning pre-season friendlies with all that has been going on in the world has been a bit of nightmare. A mixture of uncertain restrictions, and little publicity with clubs seemingly nervous about being ill-prepared for the new normal, and who could blame them? Local to me, I’d learned to work Twitter among clubs I knew to find games involving clubs I didn’t. If nothing else pre-season ended up being a wonderful excuse to find some local clubs to fall in love with! Cornwall though ended being another matter entirely!
If life were as normal I’d have been running a coach on the Welsh Hop, its been that way for 15 years now. It did seem strange not heading to Trefforest and 11 games, but it was good to have a break from all that, although both Robyn and I did fancy a weekend away.
Being in a Bed & Breakfast near Bodmin meant one thing as far as we were concerned- Mike and Vonnie Sampson. If you’ve ever picked up a copy of the “Sunday Independent” you’ll have seen Mike’s work- he reported on football for them and others for many years. The four of us make a point of meeting up for a meal whenever we’re in the South West, and this was to be no exception- and it made an impact on where we headed to.
They live in Plymouth, and Saltash had a friendly which would have been a straightforward idea. In fact it was rather too easy, we’ll be in Plymouth again seeing the Sampsons so I thought we’d head further south. The problem was that the Peninsula League’s season was due to start the next Tuesday so many of the clubs we’d normally have aimed for had no fixture. Below that I found myself relying on the Cornish Football Forum and Twitter and even then Ludgvan ended up being third on my list of games to go to. But with the benefit of hindsight Ludgvan proved to be a good choice.
Fair Field is just about half-a-mile from the A30 around 3 miles from Penzance and I must have passed by the turning a hundred times without even realising it was there. The village is tiny, and is contiguous with Crowlas which the main road runs straight through. You are in Cornish tin mining country here, although its only the topography of the land that gives the game away.
The ground is impressive, or should that be grounds? We parked at Ludgvan Juniors next door, which in itself looks well worth a visit. There’s a photo in the third row from the bottom. The club impressed off the pitch with a rock-solid Covid plan, and the view from the balcony, and the grass bank was superb. After spending 5 hours sat in a car the chance to find a spot and relax was appreciated.
Both clubs here have had history with the Peninsula League. Many will remember Hayle from the the Peninsula Hops, (we actually got hailed on in Hayle during a bizarre day for weather) but they dropped out in 2013. Hayle regrouped in the Cornwall Combination, but 2019 accepted a place in the new St Piran’s League West, the league that in effect replaced the SWPL Division One West that Hayle had previously vacated.
Ludgvan had a disastrous 2018-19 in the SWPL Division One West losing all 28 league games with a goal difference of -168. They regrouped last season in the Cornwall Combination. So a nominal one division gap between the two clubs but you really wouldn’t have realised as soon as the game started.
You wouldn’t have realised it was a friendly either. It was competitive, sometimes feisty and was refereed accordingly. Ludgvan caught Hayle cold with two early goals, and Hayle spent the rest of the game throwing everything they could at them. It was rough at times; a head butt and the retaliation saw one player from each side see red. In the end Hayle’s late goal was too little, too late. But we all know not to read too much into friendlies.
But with all the delays and uncertainty over Covid, there has been one silver lining for Ludgvan. Since cricket takes precedent at Fair Field the football has been used to playing their first few games each season away from home. But with the football season delayed the cricket is now finished so the Ludgvan’s first 5 games are at home! Funny old game…..