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Wednesday, 12 April 2017 09:01

Reds & Greens

WEDNESDAY 5th APRIL. Cardiff Arms Park - sunny.
THE WELSH VARSITY GAMES:
Women: Cardiff University 1 Swansea University 1
Men: Cardiff University 0 Swansea University 1

I had seen a reference to the Welsh Varsity football games a couple of weeks ago, and stored the information away at the back of my mind, without any definite plans to attend. I'd also mentioned it to a few people and noted their reactions - best described as 'extreme interest'. Opportunities to watch football on the Arms Park - a bastion of rugby union - don't come along too often, and the fixtures have piqued the interest of groundhoppers.

As it happens I'd seen both of Ton Pentre's InterToto Cup games on the old grass surface here, but that was twenty years ago and the ground has changed, with the building of the Millennium Stadium along the south side, attached to the Arms Park stand, and the more recent laying of a 3G pitch. So I'm easily persuaded to revisit.

I had never really registered how big an event the Welsh Varsity is. I can only assume I've never happened to be in Cardiff city centre on match-day, because you can't really miss the abundance of students. Throughout our approach through Sophia Gardens, the red of Cardiff and green of Swansea are everywhere, the noise from inside the various sporting venues indicating there are huge crowds out of sight too.

Published in Football
Sunday, 20 November 2016 20:59

It's Raining Goals

SATURDAY 19th NOVEMBER. Swansea University International Sports Village - torrential rain.
TEAM SWANSEA 9 GRANGE ALBION 1 (FAW Trophy Round 4)

When the draw was made for the fourth round of the FAW Trophy, I immediately thought this tie held particular interest. Cross-region games always have that extra dimension, the chance to compare standards. Of course, Swansea v Cardiff also adds something, although in my experience the rivalry is less intense at grassroots level than between the two cities' pro clubs. In any case, Team Swansea being a university club, it's not quite the same as if Grange were playing Penlan or Ragged.

It's a wet November weekend, wet enough on Friday to prompt an enquiry about the pitch. Positive reply, but being checked in the morning. Despite more rain, by 10.45 the news is good - game on. I set off, through Cardiff, the fans arriving for the afternoon rugby already causing delays and congestion at the station. The rain continues as I eventually travel west, then abates while I walk the mile or two along the Swansea Bay seafront out to Sketty Lane. Just as I approach the sports centre, the skies darken again and even heavier rain arrives, drenching the squads engaged in their warm-ups.

Published in Football

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