MID WALES GROUNDHOP 2012 (Penybont & Radnor Valley)

New Radnor's monument erected in
memory George Cornewall Lewis
It was that time of year once again when the great and the good of the groundhopping fraternity descended on Mid Wales for a bonanza of 11 games in four days (of which I attended the 6).

This was the last time for this particular league as next year the 'hop' moves into North Wales.

As an added bonus there were a couple of Mid Wales (South) League games thrown in for good measure and this is where the hop, for me, began....

11.00am Saturday 25th August 2012
Mid Wales League (South)
Penybont 8-1 St Harmon
Attendance: 257

When you travel to rural grounds in Wales it is hit and miss as to what is actually at the ground, some have stands, some are roped off pitches.

Penybont, a small village to the north east of Llandrindrod Wells, was a completely unexpected gem in a great location.

They play their home games at the Racecourse Ground, so the ground doubles up as that when racing, or trotting, takes place.

To enter the ground you have to cross a footbridge over the river.  There was a fantastic wooden stand in place and the ground was surrounded by rolling Welsh hills. No wonder the programme dubbed this ground "the Wembley of Wales" !!

The hopping hordes at Penybont

Today though was all about the football and a bumper crowd  watched a rather one sided game as the homesters cruised to  victory. Penybont found themselves 6-0 up after just 29 minutes and the majority of the crowd were expecting a cricket score. The goals were scored by Phil Ruell (5) Jake Buffton (12) Adam Stephens (21 & 29) and Dan Farmer (21 & 25).

In fairness St Harmon, the leagues whipping boys, kept plugging away, never let their heads drop, never argued amongst themselves and recieved the biggest cheer of the morning when they made it 6-1 right on half time, Adam Martin scoring with a great header.

As the heavens opened, Penybont added two further goals in the second half both scored by Kevin Buffton (76 & 79) but St Harmon managed to keep the scoreline down to single figures.

1.45pm Saturday 25th August 2012
Mid Wales League (South)
Radnor Valley 2-3 Newcastle
Attendance: 212

The second game of the day was just along the A44 in the small village of New Rador, as Radnor Valley entertained last season's champions Newcastle (on Clun, that is).

It was a hard fought encounter as the homesters lost out to the odd goal in five. They went in at the break all square after coming back from two goals down.

A Scott Oxford brace gave Newcastle the lead, the goals coming in the 22nd and 26th minutes, before goals from Jamie Layton-Morris (33) and Callum Matthews (41) levelled things up.

The winner came just two minutes in the second half when Carl Price (47) scored the decisive goal. Radnor put Newcastle under plenty of pressure, but could not come up with an equaliser.

The School Lane ground is just a roped off pitch with some cover, but today that was being used for food, drink and merchandise. There were two ales, from the recently established Asson and Hamer (Radnorshire) brewery, on offer and they proved very popular with the hoppers and a few, myself included, took advantage of the take-out bottles in a box!!!

The day proves all too much for one hopper!!

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