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Wednesday, 17 August 2016 07:49

Here We Go Again!

TUESDAY 16th AUGUST. Maes-y-Coed Playing Fields, sunny and warm
ST. JOSEPH'S 2 CARDIFF AIRPORT 2 (South Wales Alliance Division 2)
And they're off! After a couple of false-starts (UEFA qualifying rounds, friendlies), the 2016-17 season starts here for real. And, it has to be said, it's a gentle start to my next 9 months of travelling to and watching football around Wales - a 20 minute stroll from home through the north Cardiff suburbs, followed by a couple of hours in shirtsleeves on a balmy Cardiff evening. I'll remember this fondly when slogging to north Wales in freezing mid-winter.

This fixture has ended up as the only one in the capital tonight, so it selected itself. But within half an hour of arriving at the Joes' St. Cenydd Road ground on the Heath/Llanishen borders, I'm reminded why I so enjoy grassroots football (this is level 7 in Wales): I've met a couple of fellow neutrals who, like me, appear with regularity at any game within reach; I've chatted to someone I worked with over 20 years ago but haven't seen since; and then to a South Wales FA councillor. One dominant theme in all these conversations is the August Bank Holiday groundhop - 11 games in 4 days in south Wales, all in the South Wales Alliance. More of that here in due course - first let's deal with tonight's opener:  

Published in Football
Sunday, 22 May 2016 08:33

Finals & Play-offs

THE (BUSY) WEEK OF SUNDAY 15th MAY to SATURDAY 21st MAY  - SAM CORNISH CUP, SOUTH WALES PROMOTION PLAYOFFS & GWENT SENIOR CUP....

I've reached the stage of the season where I'll only be tempted out by cup finals, play-offs and title deciders - no meaningless end of season fixtures for me. I've already got a short-list of probable and possible games for the next fortnight - but it was still with interest - and no little surprise - that I read an announcement by the Cardiff Combination League that their Sam Cornish Cup final would be staged on this Sunday afternoon, at Cardiff City stadium. Duly added to the list. [Article continues - click READ MORE below if not visible] 

Published in Football
Friday, 06 May 2016 08:02

"3-0 to the Rhondda Boys"

WEDNESDAY 4th MAY - The White Tips Stadium, mild dry evening
CARDIFF AIRPORT 0 TREBANOG 3 (South Wales FA Intermediate Cup final)
The weather has been unusually kind for one of the SWFA's showpiece finals, for it's a dry and pleasant evening half-way up a Taff Vale mountainside at Treforest's compact White tips Stadium. And a large crowd has turned out too, steadily filing through the clubhouse to the ground, handing over £2 for a card programme on their way (it's good that the SWFA produce a programme for the final, so many leagues and associations don't).

The final pits two local league champions against each other, Rhondda double winners Trebanog meeting Vale of Glamorgan double winners Cardiff Airport. The Rhondda contingent seems to be the larger, and certainly the noisier, with chants of "Tre-, Tre-, Trebanog" ringing out from the start of the game. And the fans' enthusiasm is clearly matched by the Trebanog players, in their navy kit with distinctive hooped socks, as they hurl themselves with 100% commitment into early challenges. It's an effective tactic, as the early action is mostly dominated by Trebanog, the Airport players having no time to settle on the ball and consequently conceding possession and territory.  [article continues, click Read More below if not visible]

Published in Football
Sunday, 03 April 2016 13:31

Going to the Dogs

SATURDAY 2nd APRIL: Fairfield Lane, sunny and mild
CARDIFF AIRPORT 4 HIRWAUN SPORTS 0 (South Wales FA Intermediate Cup semi-final)
Another Saturday morning of anxiously peering out at the rain and monitoring Twitter feeds for news of postponements. Mid-morning brings bad news from numerous south Wales grounds, twelve hours of steady rain rendering them unplayable again, though the afternoon forecast remains positive. During this flurry of postponements I've been pessimistic about my chosen game, but the reliable South Wales FA don't announce any problems with their two semi-finals, so it seems I'm in luck. Even so, I set off early, with plans B and C ready in case things go wrong.

I've chosen the Cardiff Airport v Hirwaun Sports semi-final for the principal reason that it's taking place on a ground I haven't visited before. I only found out a month or two ago that Rhydyfelin AFC had moved away from their Upper Boat venue to a re-furbished ground half a mile along the road. The project might have been mentioned in the local press in RCT, but no wider than that, and the change doesn't seem to have registered with other sources (e.g. new season directories and the groundhopper grapevine). In fact it was only passing the ground by chance in February that brought it to my notice. A visit to a Rhydyfelin home game might have been an option - but I've noticed there are none of those scheduled in the Alliance League.  [article continues - click Read More if necessary]

Published in Football

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