Friday 9 November 2018

Knighton Town - Bryn-Y-Castell Showground

Knighton Town FC
The Showground
Ludlow Road

01547 528999
Official Website (Archive)

Ground Number: 815
Friday 9th November 2018
Knighton Town 4-2 Felindre
Mid Wales League South


The club was established in 1887 and joined the Mid Wales League upon formation. They were successful here, winning it three years on the trot between 1902 and 1904. They were also a few runners-up spots but the outbreak of the First World War halted proceedings. When football returned, Knighton Town joined the Shropshire League, given their proximity to the English border.  They were runners-up in their first season but left to rejoin the Mid Wales League in 1924. A move to the North Herefordshire League came about in 1931 with the club finishing as champions in their debut season. War again intervened, with the Mid Wales League being rejoined once hostilities had ended. They'd remain here until 1992 when they were crowned champions for the 4th time. This led to the club joining the Cymru Alliance, which sits at step 2 of the Welsh football league system. Their best finish came in 1998 when they finished 4th but midway through the next season they left the league mid-season and their record was expunged. Since then they have alternated between the Mid Wales League (levels 3 & 4) and the Mid Wales South (level 5). In recent years, Knighton Town were Mid Wales Division 2 champions in 2015 and runners-up to Penryncoch the following year, missing out on the title by a single point. Recent times have been tougher and this season, things came to a head. The first day of September saw the first team lose 9-0 at home to Berriew whilst the reserves went down 21-0 at Penybont United, This led to them withdrawing the first team from the Mid Wales Division 1 and concentrating on their Mid Wales South team. Results have been a mixed bag this season with them losing 6-0 to league leaders Talgarth Town last Saturday but this was on the back of three straight wins against  Hay St Mary's Reserves (4-3), Llandrindod Reserves (5-4) and Brecon Northcote (8-1). They'd be hoping for a win against bottom of the table Felindre though who got their first point of the season at the 9th attempt on Saturday with a 1-1 draw against Presteigne St Andrews Reserves.

Knighton Town twice entered the FA Trophy in the early 80's, taking Clevedon Town to a replay in 1980 but ultimately exiting in the Preliminary Round on both occasions. They have also reached two Welsh Cup semi-finals during the early part of their history.  Local cup wins include the Radnorshire Cup (six times), Mid Wales League Cup (four times), Central Wales Challenge Cup (twice) and the North Herefordshire League Cup (twice). The record win of 16-0 came against Bucknell United in 2004 whilst they lost by the same scoreline to Cardiff City in the 1961 Welsh Cup. The record attendance of 2,211 came against Hereford United in a 1981 Welsh Cup 4th Round game. The town of Knighton has a population of 3,172 according to the latest census. The notable landmark Offah's Dyke has a well-preserved section in the town whilst it is one of the few towns to cover two countries, being on the English-Welsh border.


As ever, I was on the hunt for a game to go to on a Friday night, as fellow hopper Chris had agreed to keep me company. It would be quite a drive, but eventually we plumped for Knighton Town v Felindre. There were nearby backups at Ludlow and Presteigne St Andrews which was just as well as rain was forecast. Apart from these, the choice was very sparse in the rest of the country which was a shame, as I'd have preferred a shorter drive. It was good that the home side had a fair bit of info on them available on the web, despite the club website being down, leading me to use the Internet Wayback Machine. The league table was a different matter. The league's website was down and there was no archive. There was nothing either in the Non-League Paper or Non-League Matters either. After trawling through various club websites hoping it would be on there. Eventually, I found the 'All Wales Sport' website and this had the table on it. The team listed on their website was Knighton Town Reserves, but it was actually their first team with them having resigned from their own division earlier this season.

Despite it being the usual busy Friday at work, we had plenty of people in and so I was out by 12. After getting some shopping, I went home, had lunch and freshened up as well as catching up on things. I didn't have long, what with me being out by 2. I got to Chris just before 3 and after waiting 10 minutes for him to finish work, we were on our way. We hit delays on the M1, but these were minimal. The next part of the journey went swimmingly, nice and fast. The last 40 or so miles were not so good, crappy little roads that were little better than dirt tracks with twists and turns and slow lorries. We eventually got to the ground at 6.10 to be greeted by torrential rain but thankfully the game was not in doubt. It was a smashing ground, but we had the town to visit first. First stop was the chippy where I ordered faggots, mushy peas, gravy and chips which they bought next door for us. For the real jewel in the crown was Watson’s Ale House, a veritable emporium of great drinks. We had halves of Watson’s Cider, Skyborry Cider and Ralph’s Perry, sharing some of them so we could sample as many as possible. All three along with the meal were excellent and put me in a good relaxed mood after a long drive. We got back to the ground arriving on The prescribed kick off, paying £2 to get in.

We found out from the gateman that visitors Felindre were 1-0 up and that the game was 15 minutes old. It was a real scrappy affair, what with the difficult conditions. The first bit of quality saw Knighton equalise, a good setup found the number 11 who finished with precision past the Felindre keeper. A penalty was awarded after a fairly innocuous looking coming together and Knighton converted to put themselves 2-1 up, the half ending at 8:09, denoting that we had missed 6 or 7 minutes of action. The number 11 (or 17 possibly as the numbers had a narrow font) had a fairly simple finish following a cross from the right as he made it 3-1 and the same player added another from a couple of yards out following another cross. The home win was deserved but Felindre played well in parts and they pulled a goal back from a free-kick to reduce the arrears and make it 4-2. From there I stopped at the Watson's Ale House again, this time to get a couple of pints to take away as I'd not had the time or capacity to sample Skyborry Perry. I set the Sat Nav for Chris's, deliberately choosing the long way round as I wanted to stick to the big roads. Low and behold, there were diversions and we went back via local roads, albeit better than the ones that had taken us there. As ever on a Friday night, the Two Mikes kept us company on TalkSPORT with me dropping Chris off at 12.20 and getting back myself at 1.15. I'd had a few energy drinks to keep my alertness up, so I was still wide awake. I watched Corrie, typed my blog and enjoyed my takeaway cider before going to bed in the wee small hours.


BRYN-Y-CASTELL SHOWGROUND is a charming venue. The only covered area is an attractive 96 seater stand which was well used on my visit. The near goal is out of bounds to spectators but the other three sides provided hard standing so far as I could tell. There was a bar and tea bar at the ground, though I didn't really check what was on offer. They also sell a few souvenirs such as mugs. The town is a 10-minute walk (or in our case paddle) away and this has a good range of places. The Watson's Ale House is superb and the adjacent chip shop is also good, with both places being super helpful and friendly.

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