Wednesday 24th July 2013
Pre Season Friendly
Llanerch-y-medd 0 Amlwch Town 0 att: c65
from Tan Parc
Tan Parc in pictures
This was the second game of a family holiday in Anglesey, to a village and club that I’d never heard of until checking friendlies on the Welsh Alliance website. Llanerchymedd FC, sometimes spelled Llanerch-y-medd, play in the Gwynedd League, which feeds into the Welsh Alliance, the second division of which Amlwch Town play. So this game was step five v step four.
When going on holiday I always like to suss out the local teams. With Anglesey being an island my boundaries were pre-set; so I did a quick reccy on teams on the island. The population is only 65k so I didn’t think they’d be many teams of note. Once again, football suprises me with how far reaching its roots reach out, and the quality of grounds on offer at such levels. Llanerch-y-medd, for instance, playing at level five, where normally you’d get just a pitch and maybe even jumpers for goalposts, had a reasonable, named stand and full railed pitch.
On Anglesey, at the top of the pecking order is Holyhead Hotspur, playing at level two in the Cymru Alliance, and on their own Island – Holy Isle. At level three we have the club with the longest name in the world – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwillantysiliogogogoch FC (known as Llanfairpwll for short), Bodedern Athletic, Gwalchmai and Glantraeth. They play in the Welsh Alliance. At level four and div two of the Welsh Alliance is Gaerwen, Amlwch Town and last year’s winners of the Gwynedd League, Trearddur Bay Athletic.
It doesn’t end there though – then comes the Gwynedd league, which feeds into the Welsh Alliance where we have today’s hosts, Beaumaris Town, Holyhead Hotspur reserves and Pentraeth. The latter won the Anglesey League last year, which feeds into the Gwynedd League. The Anglesey League is a twelve team league that features teams from all the remaining dots on the map of the island, such as Cemaes Bay, Newborough and Valley. Even at this level, Cemaes Bay, for instance, have a stand and a nice looking ground.
If Anglesey is the back of beyond, then Llanerchymedd is the back of beyond of Anglesey. It is bang in the middle of the island next to its biggest Lake, Llyn Alaw, and is probably as far from the coast as anywhere on the island.
My son and I went to The Twrcyhelun Arms, in what looked like the centre of the village and were greeted with shock and surprise. We entered an empty pub and after a few minutes the landlord came from the back and did a double take. He then went to fetch his wife, who joined him in staring at us. We have visitors he stated sombrely, as if it was the first time in 20 years. After some pleasantries and explanations of what we were doing here, I enjoyed an unexpectedly nice pint of real ale in the beer yard with Dylan, where their dog presumptuously joined us and demanded belly strokes.
The ground is a little way out of the village in proper farming territory. An agricultural gate leads into the ground with a fair amount of parking. A large modern clubhouse sits on the left with a snack bar and this leads out onto a very smart looking ground that could easily grace the Cymru Alliance. An unexpected find in such a rural backwater setting.
I didn’t know who was in which colour for a while, but assumed the higher division Amlwch Town were the ones in yellow, totally dominating the game. I was wrong; as it turned out the Gwynedd League team were by far the better outfit, in terms of fitness, energy and skill. Amlwch Town, however, had a steely defence, and while showing nothing in attack and looking altogether unfit and sluggish, were fortress-like at the back. Reminded me of a certain Premier league club last season (come to think of it, where is Pulis now? Maybe he’s gone back to his homeland and grass roots football?). Despite Amlwch’s irritating stubbornness, Llanerchymedd really should have put some chances away. On points they murdered the visitors – it’s a mystery it finished goalless. Great find of a ground this and a big turnout for a friendly. I wish them the best of luck for next season.