Additional: Entrance £3.00 Programme £1
Race Course Ground in pictures
Ground Statistics (marks out of ten, maximum 40)
Character 9, Structures/Terracing 6, Hospitality 7, Backdrop/Scenery or aesthetics for larger stadiums 8
I’d spent the previous night in the Severn Arms in Penybont. I hadn’t realised when I’d arrived in the dark the night before that Penybont’s football ground was right behind the pub. It’d been a late night, sat up drinking until the early hours with five fellow hoppers. I was in the company of professionals. They were Premier League compared to my Mid Wales South League. My assiduously collected 250 odd grounds were but a trifle to them, a couple of season’s worth at most. One had done 3,300 and another 2,500.
They could drink as well as they could collect grounds, to my detriment, but after a huge breakfast and pot of coffee I was ready to walk down to the trotting track that was the Penybont ground. A trotting track was a new one on me. I’d now done Athletics – Brighton’s Withdean and Tipton Athletic, Velodrome – Newcastle Town and Greyhound Stadium – Winsford. Is there a ground within any other sort of sporting venue?
Access to the ground was over a wooden bridge over a brook and from 9.00 am onwards over 200 hoppers went trip trapping over the bridge to the scenic ground. Trotting tracks are larger than athletics tracks so the stand was a long way from the pitch. It is a bit dwarfed inside the oval.
A couple of cowsheds were selling merchandise and hot food and drink as the sun shined down on a very soggy pitch. This was the mid wales south league, a league I was hitherto unaware of. I hadn’t even looked lower than step four of Wales before. This was step five, so having a stand was a real bonus.
To say the game was men vs boys was almost literally true as well as metaphorically, as some of the St Harmon team looked twelve. Penybont rushed into a 6-0 lead within half an hour, prompting me to believe I would see double figures for the first time ever – with ease. I imagined a scoreline of 15 or 16 nil. Will I never learn? How many games have I seen an early four or five goal lead finish four or five nil? It’s one of those quirks of football.
The biggest cheer by far came for St Harmon’s goal on the half hour. And for the last hour, much to my intense frustration, they kept Penybont down to just two more goals. 8-1, not even 9 to break my record, let alone 10.