No sooner has the dust settled on last season’s groundhopping and I’m getting 2018/2019 underway. As I ended with a Welsh ground (Porthmadog’s Y Traeth), it’s as you were to kick off the new season, as I made my first visit to the Llandyrnog And District Village Football Summer League.
I was alerted to the league by Bala Town’s press officer, Hannah Jones, who like me enjoys visiting new grounds. Searching the internet and finding an informative website, I planned my first excursion, working around my working day at The New Saints.
Earlier I had photographed the JD Welsh Premier League trophy for a club promotional social media post. Whether it’s the top flight – or indeed representation in the UEFA Champions League – or competitive encounters between village sides, I do love Welsh football.
Departing Park Hall, the timing was just right to avoid heavy traffic as I made my way into Flintshire, which is also the county of much of my own Welsh roots. The only slow patch was on the A483 between Wrexham and Chester, when waiting in traffic I heard a horn in the next lane.
Looking across it was TNS’ left-back, Chris Marriott. Our brief conversation through open windows went: “I’m going groundhopping”… “Where to?”… “Ysceifiog”…”Where’s that?”…
To be precise though my destination was Brynford and the playing field in the village, the home ground of Ysceifiog Football Club. The visitors, Llandyrnog Football Club went into the game in fifth place, in the eleven team league, while the home side were below them in eighth.
The match itself was played in a competitive spirit and at times, both on and off the pitch, was feisty. The home side took the lead with a well-worked goal just past the half-way stage of the first half.
The visitors though, with good support on the sidelines, hit back to establish a 3-1 lead. Down, but definitely not out, Ysceifiog hauled themselves back into the game. The equaliser came from a far post header direct from a free kick.
At 3-3 the outcome could have gone either way, and while it could be argued that a draw may have been a fair result, nevertheless it was the home side’s heart that was broken come the final whistle.
A late winner saw Llandyrnog take the points, as they edged a seven-goal thriller. I enjoyed it and I’ll be back for more games in the league over the next few weeks, so as they say, watch this space.
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2018/2019: 1 game. 1 new ground.
Total: 153 grounds.