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Saturday, 16 November 2013 20:15

LESSONS IN PSYCHOLOGY AND FOOTBALL

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SATURDAY 16TH NOVEMBER: Cyncoed Campus - dry and grey.
CARDIFF MET 6 HAVERFORDWEST COUNTY 1 (FAW Welsh Cup Round 2)
The autumn rains have relented: I could go anywhere without risk of postponement - except that travelling today wouldn't be much fun. An afternoon rugby game in Cardiff, followed by a football international kicking off at 6pm means it's best to avoid travelling through the capital. I did toy with the idea of an early start and late return, giving me a long day in Carmarthen, but Arriva Trains Wales' performance has been so abysmal this week (nine delayed journeys out of ten commutes) that I can't face them again. So the obvious choice is the rescheduled Welsh Cup tie at the Cardiff Metropolitan University campus in Cyncoed.

Sunday, 10 November 2013 10:06

GENERATION GAME

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SATURDAY 9TH NOVEMBER : King George's New Field - dry and chilly
CAMBRIAN & CLYDACH BGC 2 PONTARDAWE TOWN 0 (FAW Welsh Cup Round 2)
A typical November Saturday: choice of matches heavily influenced by postponements and travel through Cardiff restricted by rugby crowds. But this week at least, I have a solution - I can travel north away from Cardiff to watch Cambrian's cup tie which is guaranteed to be on, thanks to their new third - or is it fourth - generation synthetic pitch. I've heard the latest generation of these pitches is a further advance on those at, say, TNS.

After days of heavy rain, which has disrupted the Welsh Cup Second Round games today, a dryer interlude is forecast, and sure enough at lunchtime the skies lighten shortly before I set off, via Llandaf station, for Tonypandy. Even though haven't had to worry about possible postponement, there's still been a little uncertainty this morning over kick off time, a perennial problem it seems with FAW cup competitions. According to all websites, including the FAW's and Cambrian's, it's a 2pm kick off; but actually it transpires it's 2.30 (because floodlights are available - but why not stick to 2pm anyway ?). It really would be easier if we could have a mandated kick off time, but then when have the views of spectators been a consideration ?

Tuesday, 05 November 2013 21:35

ROCK ON

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SATURDAY NOVEMBER 2nd, 2013: The Rock Stadium - stormy
CEFN DRUIDS 1 CONWY BOROUGH 1 (Huws Gray Cymru Alliance)
Throughout a week of storms and weather systems, the burning question (for me, at least) has been whether it would be foolhardy to head to north Wales this Saturday for the top-of-the-table Huws Gray Alliance match. In all respects other than the risk of postponement, it's an easy choice of match, especially as this is one of the few Saturdays when Arriva haven't suspended their cheap tickets because of rugby in Cardiff.

Sunday, 13 October 2013 16:03

DEE-LIGHTFUL

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SATURDAY 12TH OCTOBER: Towerfields – grey, chilly wind.
LLANGOLLEN TOWN 0 BUCKLEY TOWN 2 (WELSH CUP First Round)
With most of the real 'minnows' from the qualifying rounds drawn away in Round 1, a long study of the alternatives has brought me to the conclusion that it's time for a north Wales trip: Arriva's discounted fares are back and this is a rare Saturday when I can use them from Cardiff, the weather forecast is benign, and there are several attractive ties. Best of these for me is Llangollen v Buckley – a simple day-trip with good train and bus timings, a level 3 v level 2 fixture, and whilst not a new ground for me, it's a long time since I went to Towerfields. And Llangollen on the River Dee is always a pleasure to visit.

Sunday, 06 October 2013 18:47

ABSENT FRIENDS

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SATURDAY 5TH OCTOBER: The GenQuip Stadium – warm and dry.
PORT TALBOT TOWN 1 RHYL 0 (Corbett Sports Welsh Premier League)
My autumn plans always had today down as one to take in a WPL game: either Port Talbot or Carmarthen. In the end, the need to be back in Cardiff by six p.m., and the small matter of an account receivable, swung it in favour of Port Talbot and the familiar, easy journey to the GenQuip. Well, easy in theory, and although a non-running train on my branch line means a bad start, I still get to Victoria Road over half an hour before kick off. Sparse crowd at this time, and still sparse as 2.30 approaches. Now Port Talbot Town can't be accused of taking a 'build it and they will come' approach to WPL crowds: they've tried various initiatives, and this season have even reduced entry to a paltry £5, the lowest in our national league and way below non-league football prices elsewhere in Britain. It doesn't seem to be making a difference, and I fear it's lack of interest rather than affordability that stops the citizens of Aberavon and Port Talbot from turning up.

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