So the third and final year of the Welsh Alliance League Groundhop proved to be a fitting finale to what has been a fantastic series of weekends in some of the most scenic locations in Britain.
Friday August 28th 2015
6.30pm – Division Two
Mochdre Sports (0) 1 (Owen 63)
Prestatyn Sports (0) 0
Att: 313 (at Swan Road)
The weekend opened with a tight encounter between two of leagues newest incumbents. The football ground shares with a mightily impressive cricket ground and adjacent hills provide an attractive backdrop, which is somewhat unexpected having reached the ground walking through an industrial estate. Mochdre have done very well from nearly having to fold in the summer of 2012 to gaining promotion to the Welsh Alliance for the 2014/15 season and they win this encounter with a fine free kick from the left boot of Niall Owen.
Saturday August 29th 2015
10.45am– Division Two
Amlwch Town (1) 1 (Griffiths 45)
Nantlle Vale (2) 2 (A.Hughes 2, S.Williams 40)
Att: 318 (at Lôn Bach)
A reverse fixture from last season’s groundhop sees the visitors win the points in another close game. Prior to kick off a frankly moving speech sees the unveiling of the new stand at Lon Bach, shoehorned into the only available space at the ground, with the widow of former club stalwart John Thomas cutting the ribbon. The club had played in the second tier Cymru Alliance in 2002/03 but after a disastrous campaign they regrouped in the Anglesey League.
13.30pm– Division Two
Llanerch-y-medd (2) 3 (J.Jones 5, M.Jones 29,47)
Blaenau Ffestiniog Amateurs (2) 2 (Bradley 35,45)
Att: 317 (at Cae Tan Parc)
A steep climb up into the hills and a real surprise to find a super ground at Tan Parc complete with a seated stand on the far side of this exposed venue. A cracking end-to-end match culminated with just about the right result.
16.45pm– Division One
Trearddur Bay United (3) 4 (Murphy 6, Thomas 17,28, C.Williams 46)
St.Asaph City (0) 3 (J.Jones 48,86, Johns 74)
Att: 304 (at Lôn Issalt)
A real seaside location on Holy Island sees Trearddur Bay’s narrow Lon Issalt packed for this encounter. The boundary wall does makeshift service as a grandstand and many take the hike up the adjacent hill to really appreciate the natural beauty of this fine venue. The home side look hugely impressive in the first half before seemingly running out of puff as the visitors almost clawed back a huge deficit.
19.45pm– Division One
Llangefni Town (0) 4 (Evans 58, Hughes 65, I.Jones 74, S.Jones 79)
Llanfairpwll (0) 0
Att: 409 (at Cae Bob Parry)
The best appointed ground of the weekend as you would expect given the club’s former tenure in the Welsh Premier League. Cover on all four sides and plastic seating with no little provenance having been acquired from both Gay Meadow and Maine Road. A close first half is followed by the complete opposite in the first half as the hosts threatened to run riot.
Sunday August 30th 2015
11.30am– Division One
Llanberis (0) 1 (R.Parry 68)
Pwllheli (0) 1 (M.Jones 76)
Att: 333 (at Fforde Padarn)
In the shadow of mighty Snowdon you would expect a scenic ground and Fforde Padern certainly didn’t disappoint. Mountains prevail all around and Llyn Padarn glistens in the early morning sun. A tight encounter is frequently punctuated by the whistles and expelling of steam from the nearby mountain railway. Glorious.
14.30pm– Division One
Llanrug United (0) 2 (Palmer 63, D.Williams 86)
Llanrwst United (0) 1 (Jenkins 79)
Att:324 (at Eithin Duon)
A short drive out of Llanberis finds a lovely little football ground which is dwarfed by a pylon in the adjacent field. The club have played here since 1968 when the village team was re-established after a nine year hiatus caused by numerous problems trying to find a suitable home ground. Prior to that the club had also been in trouble with the North Wales Coast Football Association, for staging several illegal matches outside of the official football season! The two sides really slug this one out and the hosts secure the points with a goal from David Williams.
18.00pm– Division Two
Mynydd Llandegai (1) 3 (Hughes 6, pen 70, Whitmore 74)
Meliden (1) 2 (Szabo 21, Buckley 76)
Att: 305 (at Cae Peldroed)
Wow. Just wow. A steep ascent into the mountains again to some 1,200 feet above sea level. This tiny village’s playing field is nearer the moon than any ground in England including the fabled grounds of Buxton and Tow Law. The scenery is breathtaking, from heather covered mountains to a derelict stone built dwelling, from a stone monument to a planted garden it’s a very attractive place to watch a football match. It’s a very decent encounter too, just shaded by the hosts.
Sunday August 31st 2015
11.30am– Division Two
Pentreath (4) 10 (McGonigle 1,19, 55, 56, R.Roberts 14, Monument 37, 53, C.Jones 57, 89, D.Owen 73)
Gaerwen (2) 2 (McGuiness 21, Leuthwaite 27)
Att: 376 (at Bryniau Field)
Back onto Anglesey for this match at a typical small village playing field. Minor consternation occurs when one of the coaches reverses perilously close to the local war memorial. The ground also features a set of medieval stocks, punishment for a bad performance maybe? A very one sided game saw the hosts score at will in the second half. It will certainly be a long season for poor old Gaerwen.
14.45pm- League Cup 1st Round
Llanllyfni (1) 4 (A.Owen 3,90, C.Parry 49, Daniels 57)
Trearddur Bay United (1) 1 (Moore 42)
Att: 307 (at Cae Brenin Sior V)
The game that nearly wasn’t following the pull outs of both Bethesda Athletic and Halkyn United. Fortunately Trearddur Bay came to the rescue and sent a side to contest this League Cup tie. So late was the re-arranged game you can certainly forgive five of their players turning up late for the game. The home side, new to the league following their triumph in the Gwynedd League, look very impressive and the result was never in any doubt.
18.15pm– Division Two
Penmaenmawr Phoenix (2) 3 (A.Caldecott 21, Davies 44, T.Paddock 90)
Greenfield (1) 4 (Pritchard 39, Shaun Beck 56, G.Henley 59,80)
Att: 431 (at Cae Sling)
A packed Cae Sling provides the perfect coda to this wonderful weekend of football and the two combatants produce a goal feast as well with Greenfield just doing enough to win the points. You almost get blasé about the scenery of these grounds but Cae Sling is a really stunning place to see a game.
Tastes and Smells of the Weekend
Chicken, leek and potato stew – Trearddur Bay United
Fish Finger baps – Llanrug United
Corned Beef hash – Penmaenmawr Phoenix
I for one felt a little sad at the end of this fabulous weekend of football as the league is now completed and the Groundhop circus will roll up elsewhere next August bank holiday.