Undy Playing Fields
Ground Number: 1097
Friday 12th August 2022
Undy Athletic 2-0 Newport City
Ardal South East
Friday 12th August 2022
Undy Athletic 2-0 Newport City
Ardal South East
UNDY AFC - A BRIEF HISTORY
Undy AFC. was formed in 1947 by Joe Champion, Lambert Bird, Harry Hodges and others. The changing facilities were in Undy Church Hall, using a tin bath for washing. Back then, the club colours were black and white. They would last until 1962, playing in local leagues, before finances forced them to close. They would reform in 1970, still playing local football, most notably the East Gwent League which they won on several occasions. The 80s and 90s saw them change their colours to red and white and gradually improve05 their facilities. Their clubhouse opened during this time, pouring its first pint in 1992. Undy joined the Gwent County League at the turn of the millennium, starting in Division 2. In 2003, a runners-up spot behind Garnlyndan Athletic was good enough for promotion to Division 1. By 2011, they were league champions and this allowed them to make the step up to the Welsh League. Starting in Division 3, they were an immediate hit at the new level, champions in their debut season. They then spent four seasons amongst the top teams in Division 2. In 2016, a third-place finish behind Caldicot Town and Cwmbran Celtic was good enough for promotion to Division 1. Their debut season saw a credible placing of 7th (their best ever in the second tier) but in 2019, they became founder members of the Cymru South. They were 12th when the season was abandoned due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Welsh football took a near 18-month sabbatical, starting again in 2021. Last season saw them relegated, only pointless Port Talbot Town kept them of the bottom of the table. As a result, they started this season in the Ardal South East at tier 3 of the Welsh Pyramid.
During the first incarnation of the club, they won the Argus Cup three times. The 'new' club won it again and also the Gwent Motors County Cup in 2004, shortly after which they moved to their current and much-improved pitch. The village of Undy is located in southeast Wales, near the border with England. The area was first settled in Roman times. In 1996 a stone coffin dating from the 3rd or 4th century was found during building work, containing the skeleton of a young woman. The population of the area, twinned with the adjoining village of Magor is just over 6,000.
Magor is a thriving village with plenty of facilities and shops although Undy has the leading football team in the area. It is most well-known to people for it's motorway service station. Surprisingly, the services only opened in 1996 along with the Second Severn Crossing and was first operated by the Granada group. Subsequently managed by First, the services became dilapidated and lacking in facilities and in April 2007 were voted the worst in Britain by members of Vans United. In August 2011, it was announced that Magor services had been sold to Roadchef. It was fully refurbished in 2015 and now has modern facilities.
I always like a bit of Friday night football as it's far healthier than sitting in and having a few drinks to relax after a working week. Ideally, I'd have done a game involving me taking another hopper, but nothing was available. Usually, I'd have taken Colin to something like this, but he was working. When I put out my intentions for the week, stating that I might look for something nearer on Twitter, the Undy account gave me a great welcome. Much like Newport City had when I went there and we have had some good exchanges on Twitter. I know it's only a small thing, but it means a lot when clubs put the effort in. I'd lost count of the number of clubs that hadn't even bothered to respond when I sent tweets enquiring about games or wanted to give them money for something else. I know that they are volunteers but manners cost nothing. My initial research on Tuesday afternoon revealed that the club were based near Magor. I only remember that place for the pretty tired and miserable-looking station that the Wycombe fans coach always used to stop at on the way to Cardiff and Swansea. It might be different now, as that was 20 years ago. Either way, I was looking forward to taking a stroll into town and seeing the place in a more positive light.
There was of course football in midweek, a couple of revisits. First up was Penn & Tylers Green, walkable from my house (three miles away) who were playing Brook House. Even better, they put out an offer saying that they were offering free entry to Wycombe Wanderers season ticket holders - a real bonus when I was trying to get my cost per game down. It was a pleasant evening, but it was cut short after an hour by an overly fussy referee. One of the unique floodlight pylons at Penn would not rise but even so, the pitch was illuminated well enough to play on. Not according to the referee though who called the game off after the third attempt to reset the lights proved fruitless. At least he gave them a chance I guess, but the game was abandoned much to the charging of the Penn players who were comfortably leading 2-0. At least the walk home gave me the chance to listen to the Wycombe game on local radio. A team that featured ten changes from the Saturday game at Bolton Wanderers won 2-1 at Northampton Town. From what I heard and saw of the goals, it was positive all round.
There was then another local revisit, up Holmer Green for their friendly against Leverstock Green on Thursday. I'd originally been intending to head to Windsor v Balham in the FA Youth Cup. As generally happens with teams that are more about participants than spectators, there was minimal Twitter activity. Wary of any late changes due to the heat, I double-checked an hour before the game on FA Full Time. I was glad I did as the game had been put back a week. They were playing it safe, understandably but it was a mild and pleasant evening up at my local football club. The first team are struggling at the moment, but the youngsters showed them the way with an impressive 5-1 win. I really want to visit my two local clubs a lot more and am planning on doing all of the Allied Counties Youth League fixtures with them being played on Mondays and Thursdays.
The day of the game came and it was tough at work. The worst aspects of the general public tend to come in waves and after a calm Wednesday, things ramped up towards the weekend to the ultimate doomsday of Sunday. It was like a creche with the number of feral kids running amok and I had to be careful not to trip over them with them laying on the floor everywhere. I at least had something to look forward to, although I didn't leave until nearly 3.30 due to using the toilet on work time and getting changed. With what I thought was plenty of time, I took it easy on the way down, trying to get better fuel economy. However, there were a fair few delays - an abnormal load near Swindon, traffic around Bristol where it splits off to the M5 and then slow for a few miles before I was due to get off. All in all, there was around half an hour delay, with me getting to the ground at 5.50. I parked up and ordered my takeaway from the Blue Cumin Indian takeaway. I had Eesa Mishti Tokh (prawns in a sweet and sour sauce), spicy chips and Murgi (spicy chicken) Naan. It was all pretty decent and good value for just over £11. The local Co-Op[ was pretty rubbish though - barely any chilled drinks, long queues and barely any local products - something that Co-Op pride themselves on and do very well in my local store.
From there it was back to the ground, with me getting there at 6.40. I'd have preferred more time but rather than give my money to a shop, I decided to go into the bar. I had myself a pint of Strongbow Cloudy Apple to cool down and also a can of Rio. It cost more than I'd have paid elsewhere, but it was all going to a good cause. I paid £5 to get in, plus £2 for a well-presented programme that was a bit thin on content. I said hello to fellow hoppers George and BCFC Dave from the NonLeagueMatters Forum. The two teams were in contrasting form. Undy had made a great recovery from relegation - winning 2-0 against Brecon Corries on the opening day before a 4-0 win at fellow relegated side Risca United on Wednesday. Newport City by contrast were struggling - they had lost 3-1 against Risca United before crashing 6-0 at Trethomas Bluebirds on Tuesday. As expected, the hosts were well on top, the Newport keeper produced a couple of great saves to keep things level. They weren't to be denied forever though and on 32 minutes, Undy took the lead. A good through ball by James Gidney found Dan Jarman who finished with a low shot. On 38 minutes, Gidney got on the scoresheet himself, another low shot. The game died down in the second half but Newport had a good spell, forcing a series of corners. Undy had spells too, hitting the post on 72 minutes following a prolonged attack. Newport had another good spell towards the end, but it wasn't to be for them and Undy deserved the win.
With the light quickly fading, the game didn't finish until nearly 9. The attendance was announced as 100 and I saw a few there from the visitors. Their Twitter account had been super friendly but had said little over the past week, maybe not surprisingly given results. I was gutted for their recent form and hope they can turn things around soon. Undy meanwhile look like they could put things right this season and had been a good club to visit. I left at 9 and headed to Aldi, though I saw a Co-Op on the way and stopped. It was another poor store but at least I got a drink for the journey home. It was a fairly uneventful trip with me getting back at 11.15. I typed my blog, sorted my pictures and had a few drinks ahead of Wycombe Wanderers v Shrewsbury Town tomorrow.
THE CAUSEWAY is a smart setup, though a very modern one. There are two areas of cover - a seated stand (the standard metal arena unit) holding around 150 and another smaller standing area holding around 50. The rest of the ground is open. There's a basic tea bar as well as more food in the bar and a clubhouse with a decent range of drinks, though sadly little from the local area. The car park is large and is more than large enough to avoid you having to use street parking.