Cae Y Castell, Caenarfon Town, Flint Town United, Football, groundhop, groundhopping, League, Non League, Wales
Tuesday 21st December 2021 ko 19:45
FLINT TOWN UNITED 3 (Roberts 27 Cadwallader 75p 76)
Weaver sent off 87 (2nd Booking)
CAERNARFON TOWN 4 (Hayes 21 Hughes 22 Edwards 41 Donohue 45p)
Simpson sent off 62 (Serious Foul Play)
Programme £1 (re-issue from postponed game- cover price £2)
There are always those grounds that somehow evade your attention, and perhaps top of my list was Flint Town United’s Cae-Y-Castell. A lot of that was due to the pandemic and before that it slipped through the net despite a mixture of the Welsh Alliance Hops and a concerted effort around 15 years ago to visit as much as I could along the North Wales coast. So with both Robyn and I having finished work for Christmas and Robyn never having visited North Wales before, we took advantage of the Cymru Football App’s accuracy, and a twice postponed fixture.
Flint was an odd one for me to have missed out on. For one thing well-known hopper and Everton fan Chris Powell hails from Flint, and he did comment that when fellow resident Jade Jones won Olympic Gold at Taekwondo at London 2012 that,
“There are no lack of girls in Flint who’ll kick you in the head on a Saturday- but she’s the only one who got a medal for it!”
The slightly ungainly Flint Town United name is the result of Flint Town and Flint Athletic merging in 1949, and if you can’t find the ground easily just aim for Flint Castle, the ground is adjacent and let’s face it the name Cae-Y-Castell does give you a clue!
Now amongst groundhoppers there are no end of things that cause gripes, like lack of printed programmes, late postponements, but one highly unpopular item is the rather squat, metal prefabricated stands that are used as an “off the lorry” solution to ground grading rules. Now those horrible little stands tend to be referred to Atcost stands, when in fact they’re made by and branded “Arena” and Flint Town United’s Castle Field, to use its translated name is the perfect example of both Arena and Atcost.
Here the little metal “Arena” stands have been used to add extra seating to the main stand which is the same design of Atcost you’ll see at the likes of Wycombe Wanderers and Dagenham & Redbridge. I don’t think there’s a single person that would have any complaint at Cae-Y-Castell’s main stand!
And there was a lot to like here. I’m not one to make too many comments on prices, I’m not party to the economics of running a side in the Welsh top flight, save to say that I was pleasantly surprised at the £8 to get in, and discounting by 50% a programme that was only 11 days out of date and all content still relevant was a touch that both sought and found goodwill.
The sadness was that everyone knew that this would be Flint’s last game for while. With the Welsh Government opting to put all professional sport in effect beyond closed doors after Christmas Sunday there was a sense of foreboding with the sense that they ought to go out with a bang. And the two sides certainly managed to do that!
It was a game whose skill levels lurched alarmingly if you were coaching either side, a fact of life of the game at this level but was wonderful to watch as a neutral. Neither side could defend a through ball, or learn not to dive in when defending inside the box, and the referee reached for the book 11 times including one straight red and two for diving- the second seeing Ross Weaver dismissed. Come to think of it, what is it with me and Caernarfon Town?
The problem Caenarfon had was that at 4-1 up at half time, they clearly thought they’d had the game won, but when Mark Cadwallader scored two goals in a minute we were set up for a grandstand finish. Flint’s fans certainly believed, and the draw could have so easily happened, if only Weaver hadn’t dived…
It was a wonderful way to say “Au revoir” to Welsh football as spectator sport for the time being. It is only 7 or so miles north before you reach England, at that most arbitrary of borders on the A494. It served only to amplify the odd situation where Chester City can play in front of fans but Flint Town United can’t.
>> …fellow resident Jade Jones won Olympic Gold at Taekwondo at London 2012…
Whilst another famous son of Flint was Ian Rush :-