Chirk AAA vs Borras Park Albion, Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Premier Division, 28/11/15, Holyhead Road
Anyone that read last week’s blog will know that I had suffered car problems over the weekend. I had thought that I had fixed the problem with a bit of Radweld, but as my journey to and from work on Monday showed, there was still a problem with the car. So on Wednesday it went down to the garage to be repaired. With that I began to look at alternative fixtures to my original plan of Llandudno vs Carmarthen, and I soon stumbled across Chirk AAA (Amateur Athletic Association) vs Borras Park Albion.
Chirk is situated a 10.6 mile drive south from Wrexham, but I had found that it would take just 13 minutes on the train, and that sounded like the better option. I had picked my car back up on Saturday morning, after being told that the water pump and fan belt had had to be replaced, but still fancied letting the train take the strain.
I left my house slightly later than I wanted, and thought I had missed the 12.34 train to Cardiff Central, but as luck would have it, the train itself had been delayed by 4 minutes, and as I stepped onto the platform, the train pulled into the station and I happily boarded. The weather in Wrexham wasn’t fantastic as it had been raining for most of the morning, which put a doubt in my mind that the game would be on, however there was nothing on the Chirk AAA twitter to suggest that the game had been postponed, and I crossed my fingers.
The train pulled into Chirk station at 12.53pm, and I walked down to the Chirk AAA social club. This was to be my first trip to Chirk AAA, but however I had driven past the ground a number of times, so I had a rough idea of where it was. After a quick walk through the rain I arrived at the social club, and after taking a quick look at the pitch, which looked playable to me, I headed inside, and ordered a pint of Carlsberg which cost me £2.90. Whilst I waited for news on whether the game was on or off, I sat and watched the rest of the first half of the Charlton vs Ipswich game.
News was soon relayed that the game was to go ahead, but the referee had decided to bring kick off forward by 15 minutes, meaning that the game would kick off at 13.45, instead of 2pm. This was to be a sensible decision as near the end of the second half the light began to fade, and with no floodlights at the ground, there would have been no way of playing the remainder of the match.
Chirk AAA FC were formed in 1876, which makes them one of the oldest clubs in Welsh Football. They are also founder members of the Welsh Football Association, and have won the Welsh Cup on five occasions. Chirk’s early teams were formed mainly from employees from both Chirk Castle and Black Park Colliery. Chirk played friendly fixtures against other local teams and it was not until October 1877 that Chirk competed in a competitive fixture, although archive information from the Football Association suggests that the club entered the 1885-86 FA Cup, losing in the first round to Burslem Port Vale 3-0. Chirk AAA FC won the Welsh National League Premier Division in 2013, and have a rich history in North Welsh Football.
Their opponents for today’s match, Borras Park Albion, were formed in 1982, and compared to their hosts, are a much younger side. Borras started out as a youth team, and in 1998/1999 they decided to form a senior team, and in their first season they won the Welsh National Division 2 Championship, the League Cup and the Horrace Wynne Cup. Borras Park Albion are one of the largest clubs, in numbers of players, in Wales, as every weekend around 250 players turn out for them, as they run teams from Under 6 year olds, up to the senior team. Borras currently ground share at Stansty Park with Lex Glyndwr.
Chirk AAA play their home games at Holyhead Road, a facility which houses a football pitch, a cricket pitch and a bowls ground. The football ground is at the bottom of the facility, nearest to the Mondolez factory, formerly known as the Cadbury’s factory, and if the wind is just right, you can smell the chocolate coming from the factory. Chirk AAA’s ground is rather basic in facilities, but for what it lacks in facilities it makes up for in its picturesque location. The only stand in the ground is by the corner flag closest to the social club, this stand is a small affair, with its red seats, and it provides the only shelter in the ground, this stand was opened in August 2011 by the late Gary Speed. The refreshment hut and changing rooms sit next to this stand, and around the rest of the ground is either hard standing, along the touchline with the dugouts, or grass, which in this weather wasn’t a good standing option.
The two sides emerged at 13.45 with Chirk in all red, and Borras Park Albion in a pale yellow kit. Neither side were to remain clean through the match, as the pitch was showing the potential to be a mud-bath. All credit must go to the Chirk grounds staff who managed to get this game on, as it can’t have been easy.
The referee was to be on his own for this match. Both sides had provided linesmen, but the referee did have to make the majority of calls by himself. In the 7th minute he correctly ruled out what would have been the Chirk opening goal for offside.
Both sides were struggling with the pitch, as both sets of players spent a lot of the opening minutes on their backsides, as they slipped and slid around the pitch, with Chirk managing to cope slightly better than Borras.
The opening goal came in the 16th minute, as the Chirk number 11 turned beautifully around the Borras defense, and fired home a shot from the edge of the area, which beat the keeper and nestled in the net.
It was to be the Chirk number 11 who would double the scoring in the 26th minute, as he danced through the Borras defense, and rounded the keeper before tapping the ball into the open net. There was a hint of offside about the goal, but the ref didn’t see any problem with the goal, and Chirk found themselves 2-0 up.
After the Chirk number 11 scored his second, I remembered that in the last blog post I had stated that I would donate £5 to charity if a player scored a hat trick, and I began to wonder if today would be the day. I had my hand in my pocket in the 34th minute, as the Chirk number 11 broke free of the Borras defense, but after beating the keeper he unselfishly squared the ball for the Chirk number 9 who slotted the ball home to make it 3-0.
Borras were struggling with the wet ground, and had resorted to hoofing the ball forward, which just wasn’t working, they weren’t using the wings despite the large amount of space they would have found themselves in.
In the 44th minute the Chirk number 8 went down injured and he was to be replaced by the Chirk number 14, as it was clear that the number 8 couldn’t continue to play.
The half time whistle blew before the Chirk number 14 could get dirty, and the two sides walked off of the pitch.
Half Time: Chirk AAA 3-0 Borras Park Albion (C11 16, 26, C9 34)
I decided to head round to the refreshment hut, where I parted with £2.90 for a cheeseburger and a can of diet coke. I settled in the stand to eat my cheeseburger, and bloody hell was it a good burger! No word of a lie, this cheeseburger was fantastic, and I began to wonder whether I wanted to go and get a second. The emergence of the players back onto the pitch ended that idea, and I wandered around the ground to head back to where I stood in the first half.
At half time Borras had made a sub with their number 12 coming on to replace the Borras number 8.
The Chirk number 11 completed his hat-trick in the 46th minute, as he beat the Borras defense and slotted the ball past the Borras keeper. His goal meant that I would now owe £5 to charity, I’m not sure which charity, so I’ll leave that open to you, the first person to comment a (sensible) charity in the comments, leaving a link to the charity’s website (a charity that takes online donations would be best) will get £5 donated to that charity (if no-one comments, I will give the £5 to a charity of my choosing.)
In the 57th minute Chirk made a second change as they bought their number 12 on to replace their number 9.
The Chirk number 10 made it 5-0 in the 62nd minute, as the Chirk number 12 crossed the ball into the box, the Chirk number 11 flicked it on at the near post, and the Chirk number 10 netted the ball.
The next goal probably should have been ruled offside, as it did appear that there were a couple of the Chirk attackers in offside positions when the ball was played, but the ref allowed play to continue, and the Borras defense should probably have reacted quicker to the danger. The Chirk number 12 latched on to the loose ball, and slotted it past the keeper to make it 6-0 in the 69th minute.
It was 7-0 in the 77th minute as the ball was pumped towards the Borras box from deep, and the Chirk number 10 managed to get his head to the ball on the edge of the area, his header looped over the Borras keeper and dropped into the net.
By the end of the game the wind had changed direction, and I spent the last couple of minutes with the smell of chocolate in my nostrils, which is probably the nicest thing I have smelt at a football ground.
Final Score: Chirk AAA 7-0 Borras Park Albion (C11 16m, 26m, 46m, C9 34m, C10 62m, 77m, C12 69m)
Chirk AAA had played well and deserved their win, as they took the chances presented to them. I did feel sorry for the Borras Park Albion side, as it must have been disappointing to lose to such a heavy score line. Borras could probably feel aggrieved by some of the referee’s decisions as he did miss a couple of possible offsides, but as the ref was on his own, I don’t feel he did that badly. Chirk look like they’ll be strong contenders for promotion from this league, and I hope they make it. Borras will hopefully improve on their current league position, and I hope they do.
As soon as the final whistle blew, I headed out of the ground and made my way to a bus stop. After checking the National Rail app on my phone, I noticed that the bus would be here first, and I decided to hop on the bus that came.
Just a reminder to comment with a charity, and a link to their website, and I’ll donate £5 to the first (sensible) one.
Attendance: Unknown, approximately 30.
Hat-tricks seen so far: 3
Next week’s plan: Flint Town vs Conwy Borough (Although depending on the weather this may change)
Money spent: £13.90 (£4.50 for a train ticket, £3.60 for the bus)