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Monday, 14 August 2017 07:47

Exemplary

SATURDAY 12th AUGUST. Underhill Park, sunny.
MUMBLES RANGERS 1 PENCOED ATHLETIC 6 (FAW TROPHY, Round 1)
Seven matches into my season, and finally one within 100 miles of home in Cardiff. Just the 80-odd mile round-trip to Swansea Bay for this one. True, today there were plenty of competitive games much closer to home, but the first round of the FAW Trophy is one of those special days of the season - a long list of interesting matches, many at grounds I haven't visited, so the difficulty is always in the choosing. But the decision is made - Mumbles Rangers is a famous Swansea club I've read plenty about over the years, and a visit to Underhill Park is overdue.

From Swansea station to Mumbles is five miles - a nice walk if time allows, but it doesn't today, so I take the crowded number 2 bus, crawling its way round the bay in heavy traffic - on a sunny August afternoon, there are plenty of other people heading out to Mumbles, Langland Bay and Gower.

Underhill Park lies at the far end of Oystermouth's attractive, up-market High Street. The football pitch - or at least the one in use today - is in the corner of the park nearest the town, although Mumbles Rangers usual pitch is at the furthest end, in front of their clubhouse. Today, cricket has use of that area. Despite this enforced change, the home club have done an exemplary job of staging the game, complying with Trophy rules by issuing a programme and roping off the pitch. Not just any old token bit of rope either, the neat yellow posts and cord running all round the four sides are the swishest temporary barrier I've come across. Added to this, over in the clubhouse there's a refreshment window open for business. And there's even another bonus: This pitch can be added to my list "Football Grounds with a view of a Welsh Castle".

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