MID WALES GROUNDHOP 2011 (part three)

Llansantffraid Village, Meifod & Waterloo Rovers

Bank Holiday Monday's action began at Treflan in Llansantffraid. Treflan, for people who don't know, was the former home of Welsh Premier League side TNS before they decamped over the border to Oswestry. Having visited this ground on many occasions, usually when TNS did battle with old foes Rhyl, I decided to give this game a miss.

By all accounts I missed a very one sided 1-1 draw (crowd 245). Llansantffraid were playing Welshpool, a former Premier League side, and champions as recently as 2002, who have had a dramatic fall from grace in recent seasons, and it was only the heroics of the Welshpool goalkeeper that earned his side a point.

Despite visiting this ground before I never took any photographs, so I arrived to see the last 15 minutes of the game (where I did witness the Welshpool goalkeeper pull off some of his saves!) and used the opportunity to take some snaps. Apart from needing a lick of paint, the ground hadn't changed much since my first visit back in 2003.

2.15pm Monday 29th August 2011
Mid Wales League Division Two
Meifod 3-8 Four Crosses
Attendance: 212

It was a short journey 7 miles down the road to Meifod and the football ground is located at the rear of the Kings Head public house. It is just a field with railing down one side and, arguably, the best stand of the weekend. It was and old converted trailer. Some hoppers wondered if it had been towed up the road from Kerry, who had a similar stand when visited in 2010.

The standard of football was not the greatest, one wag describing it as "farmer football" but whatever the merits of the players' technical proficiency, it was a game packed with goals and incident and certainly made up for the drab 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture last season.
Four Crosses carved open the Meifod defence at will and found themselves 6-1 up at the break and 8-1 after 49 minutes. Goals from Chris Bishop (15, 20, 33 & 39) Andrew Webb (37) Paul Hughes (44 & 48) and Gary Jones (49).This was after Meifod took the lead through Haydn Langford after 13 minutes.

At this point Four Crosses decided to take their foot off the gas and let Meifod back into the game. They hit the bar, the post, missed two open goals, had one headed off the line and a goal disallowed. They did score through Sam Jones (76 & 86) to reduce the deficit but Four Crosses could've added another to their tally but Hughes missed a chance of hat-trick, from the penalty spot, in stoppage time.

My favourite stand of the weekend

Meifod just about foil another Four Crosses attack

Phillip Hughes in the Meifod goal holds his head in his hands as
Chris Bishop's shot goes through his legs to make it 5-1

Andrew Webb blasts a free kick high and wide

Chris Bishop, four goals for Four Crosses

Paul Hughes misses from the penalty spot and is denied his hat-trick

5.30pm Monday 29th August 2011
Mid Wales League Division One
Waterloo Rovers 2-4 Montgomery
Attendance: 333

The final part of the hop took us to Welshpool and Maes-y-Dre, the home of Waterloo Rovers. This ground is part of an area adjacent to the A483 which is home to Rovers, Welshpool FC nee Town and the cricket club.

This was a re-visit for me but the ground was looking better than did having been given a lick of paint and now boasting hard-standing all around the pitch.

The first half was not the best but Montgomery found themselves 2-0 up at the break with goals from Tom Evans (32) and Ross Harris (37). The game came to life in the second period and by the hour mark Waterloo were level after Steve Jones (53) and Scott Holley (59) scored. The game was now wide open and it could've gone either way.  Gary Bromley restored Montogomery's lead after 67 minutes but Rovers continued to press for an equaliser.

The game was finally sealed in favour of the visitors when Evans bagged his second in the 87th minute. This result meant Montgomery finished the weekend sitting top of the Division One table.

The stand at Welshpool, a hefty goal kick away from Waterloo Rovers' ground

I wouldn't normally, but the faggots and peas were superb!

So that wrapped up another fantastic weekend of hopping and I must give thanks to the organisers and clubs for making it such a success. Roll on 2012!!

MID WALES GROUNDHOP 2011 (part two)

Rhayader Town, Builth Wells & Talgarth Town

11.30am Sunday 28th August 2011
Mid Wales League Division One
Rhayader Town 2-3 Carno
Attendance: 287

Sunday began at The Weirglodd in the delighful Powys town of Rhayader. This was a re-visit for me, but it was the first time i'd actually seen Rhayader play. My first visit was for an FAW Trophy final in April 2005 (between Rhydymywyn and West End, the South Walians winnning 3-1) but I thought is there anything better to do on a Sunday morning? Exactly!

The ground hadn't changed much since then and it is still a decent set up for this level of football. Rhayader were League of Wales members from 1997 to 2002 and the ground reflects this. After folding in 2006, the reborn club found itself back in the second tier of Welsh Football for 2010/11 but finished second bottom of the Cymru Alliance and are now back in the Mid Wales League.

Todays opponents were Carno who ran out 3-2 winners. The game was not the best and there were lots of niggly fouls. The scores were level at the break, Davies giving the visitors the lead on 23 minutes before Mike Collister equalised for Rhayader right on half time. Gregg Brown added a brace for Carno in the 76th and 82nd minutes before Collister doubled his tally in stoppage time.

Mike Collister equalises for Rhayader with a free-kick, right on half time

3.00pm Sunday 28th August 2011
Mid Wales League Division One
Builth Wells 1-0 Dyffryn Banw
Attendance: 271

A solitary Tom Rowlands strike in the 73rd minute settled an absolutely turgid affair in favour of Builth Wells. In fairness the home side did try to attempt to play football, whilst their opponents seemed more corncerned with kicking anything that moved.

The Llant Fields ground was set in a park and had a very nice stand. Once again the club pulled out the stops and the selection of cakes had to been seen and sampled (I can never resist a Welsh Cake!).  There was also a cracking pub in the town itself, the Barley Mow, which had a selection of 3 ales on the go, which probably helped a little when watching this particular game!!

6.30pm Sunday 28th August 2011
Mid Wales League Division Two
Talgarth Town 2-2 Rhosgoch Rangers
Attendance: 314

The final stop of the day took us just inside the Brecon Beacons National Park and the town of Talgarth. The King George V Ground
was nothing more than a railed off pitch adjacent to the Town's rugby club.

This fixture was the reverse of the one on last years hop when Rhosgoch ran out 10-0 victors over a hapless Talgarth. This year they manged to secure a draw with a battling performance. It also helped their cause that they had a decent goalkeeper between the sticks this time!
It was a good game in which Talgarth came from behind twice to earn a share of the spoils. Geraint Lloyd gace Rangers the lead after 19 minutes before Jamie Smith levelled on 37 minutes. Lee Davies restored Rhosgoch's lead before Rob McNamara bagged a deserved equaliser for the homesters after 74 minutes.

The Talgarth number 5 (blue) "challenges" the 'keeper
in the incident which led Jamie Smith's equaliser

The sun sets on another great day of groundhopping!