TT No.91: Mike Latham - Sat 26 January 2013: Anglesey Football League: Llandegfan Antelope 4-0 Cemaes Bay; Attendance: 10 (h/c); No admission or programme; FGIF Match Rating: 3*



Matchday images (16)


Frost and snow-free Anglesey again came to the rescue after a heavy snowfall in Lancashire overnight. The hardest part of the journey was the first mile before I got onto the major roads; from there the weather improved gradually as I headed along the familiar route of the A55 which hugs the North Wales Coast. After the turn-off for Prestatyn the last traces of snow disappeared and in what seemed no time at all I was heading over the Menai Bridge into Anglesey.


The Anglesey League dates back to the mid 1890s and these days has 13 member clubs. Llandegfan were long-standing members, back to the earliest days and won the league on two occasions, in 1938 and 1974. However, after suffering from a number of problems they recently went into abeyance. Antelope were a Sunday team founded in 2010 who played for a couple of seasons at Pentraeth. Their club was based at the Antelope Inn, Holyhead Road, Bangor. They then found themselves without a ground and were on the verge of closing. Happily, a solution was found and after a series of meetings Antelope merged with Llandegfan to form CPD Llandegfan Antelope and a successful application was made to join the Anglesey League in the summer of 2012.


League official Dave McCann has done a great job by developing the league website recently, as information on the Anglesey League was previously hard to find. Dave posts a regular fixtures update and was on the ball early Saturday morning with news of postponements and games that were taking place.


Llandegfan is a small village of less than one thousand inhabitants on Anglesey, situated on high ground just off the road from Menai Bridge to Beaumaris. The village has expanded over the past fifty years or so but still appears a quiet community with some good quality houses, a general stores and amazing views across the Menai Straits over to the mountains of Snowdonia.


A small village it may be, but the football field, known as Cae Llandegfan is devilishly hard to find. It is located off a small and steep single-track road with few passing places to the north-west of the village. Entry to the ground is through a five bar gate and there is parking for around 20 cars by the entrance. Here, the dressing room accommodation is to be found in a series of portable buildings. The playing pitch is reasonably flat and certainly well kept. Bordered by fields on three sides, there are no spectator facilities. The home team took advantage of the one dug-out as intermittent showers punctuated the afternoon, the visitors’ contingent had to stand shivering on the touchline.


Both sides had a full compliment of players and substitutes and an interesting, well contested game took place under the expert eye of an experienced referee who I had seen several times before. Only a few spectators braved the winter chill. The home side, I was informed, were lacking seven or eight regular players and they struggled to break down an obdurate visiting team.


Cemaes Bay enjoyed three seasons in the League of Wales in the mid 1990s, but these days occupy a lowly place in the Welsh pyramid, bottom of the Anglesey League without a single point all season. Despite that what was a predominantly young side played with a lot of heart and spirit and the game was locked at 0-0 after the opening half-hour. Then the floodgates opened as Antelope found a breakthrough, then added two more goals in quick succession.


To their credit Cemaes Bay re-grouped and competed well for the rest of the game, conceding just one more goal despite losing a player to a red card for an isolated incident of violent conduct in a generally clean and sporting encounter. They even missed a penalty, the home goalkeeper making a fine save.


Antelope were pleased to record another victory and moved up to third in the league in their debut season. The weather varied from bright sunshine to glowering skies and intermittent rain pushed along by the strong wind. The snow-capped mountains of Snowdonia disappeared from view for a time under low cloud.


For me it was another afternoon of stress-free, grass-roots football in a rural location with spectacular views. Within twenty minutes of the finish I was taking my dogs for a walk on the beautiful expanse of Red Wharf Bay and was back in the car to listen to the first reading of the football results. There’s a well-worn cliché about the magic of the FA Cup; for me Welsh football is magical. You can enjoy football in stunning locations, without any hassle or aggravation and visit many historic towns and villages that might otherwise pass you by. You can even take your dogs along and keep an eye on them during the game. Football-watching, to me at any rate, doesn’t get much better than that.


contributed on 26/01/13