Date: Friday Sep 30 2011
Ground: Berriew Recreation Ground
Comp: Spar Mid Wales League Division One (Welsh step three)
Match: Berriew 4 Rhayader 4 HT: 1-3
Sequence: 0-1, 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 3-3, 4-3, 4-4
ATT: 50 (headcount)
Additional: Entrance £3.00, Programme NONE Coffee 80p
Berriew Recreation Ground in pictures
Ground Statistics (marks out of ten, maximum 40)
Character 7, Structures/Terracing 6, Hospitality 7, Backdrop/Scenery or aesthetics for larger stadiums 7
Another Welsh ground pinched from what would have been an unmemorable Friday evening. Grounds gained outside Saturday afternoons seem somehow bonus ticks, knocked off in between games, so to speak. I’d arranged to meet my friend Nick from Newport (Shropshire), a real fan of mid-wales football, at Berriew.
The game tonight was between two teams who recently played second tier Welsh football in the Cymru Alliance. Two teams with grounds equipped with floodlights, which is not the norm at this level. Rhayader (pronounced raider) were relegated last season, Berriew the season before. Rhayader have played in Wales’s top flight, but folded in 2006, reforming again immediately and progressing through the leagues.
Tonight’s game was between two sides expecting to do well this season. Rhayader, especially, had made an excellent start to the season. After the long drive skirting Shrewsbury, and through Welshpool, Berriew lies nestled between the legs of the B4390 and B4385, that extend out from Berriew standing on the main Welshpool to Newtown road.
The league they play in is the Spar Mid Wales league, one of three northern third tier leagues, the others being the Welsh Alliance (covering the north coast area) and the Welsh National League (Wrexham area). In the south there is just the one step three league (the McWhirter second division).
The ground is in a rural setting, surrounded by farmland and country roads. The pub under the bridge was a good place to visit pre-match, serving real ales with outside seating. The ground was accessible to the public and the three pounds entrance was collected by a man coming round with a tupperware box (£3). No programme unfortunately.
Nick pulled up alongside the pitch a few minutes before kick off as the night drew in. The game was entertaining, with Berriew displaying some spectactularly bad defending, some of which led to Rhayader’s opening goal. Perhaps even worse defending led to Berriew’s tame equaliser, capitalising on a poor back pass. Rhayader scored another two goals in a fairly even first half, which was unfortunately dominated by woeful back lines.
After sampling some great half time hospitality, high in their main stand, Berriew pulled themselves together in the second half, getting back in to the game at 3-3 thanks in part to a penalty (see above). They then took the lead thanks to a wonderful goal that may well have been a cross, but maybe not. Their right winger smashed a half volley from the edge of the area that curved toward the near side; the Rhayader number one could only parry it into the top corner for a superb Berriew comeback.
Not to be outdone, and probably deservedly so, Rhayader scored with seconds remaining, a straight-as-a-die thunderbolt from 20 yards, maintaining a height of about two feet throughout, into the far corner – their own best goal of the evening. A fitting finalé to a cracking game of football. 4-4 ,a fair result.