What started as a one off on the Island of Anglesey 10 years ago has now become a much anticipated summer afternoon out. Bragging slightly I think I am the only person to go all The Jolly Boys outings so without further ado I bring you my potted history.
2008 - Holyhead Hotspur - 2-3 - A narrow defeat for Dave Conlon's men. Thoroughly enjoyable end to end 'International' with the result an irrelevance. First time us Athertonian's had seen South African Savanna Dry Cider. We took to it like ducks take to water.
2009 - Sunderland RCA - 0-10 - Seven down at the interval so the result could have been worse. A total mismatch unfortunately. We gained the respect of our hosts though as we nearly drank the bar dry.
2011 - Llay Welfare - 10-0 - A mismatch in our favour this time. Played on a carpet of a pitch which was part of a plush hotel complex. Funniest moment of the day was seeing one of Llay's players petulantly throw his boots into the adjourning farmers field and then have to hurriedly retrieve them before a combine harvester ripped them up.
2013 - Glantraeth - 0-0 - A lowkey goalless draw. Coach driver provided the entertainment when he lost his cool because of the narrowness of the roads approaching the ground. He angrily vowed never to take us to Glantraeth again.
2014 - Whitley Bay - 0-2 - A trip to the most honoured team in the history of the FA Vase. We played without a recognised front man in sapping conditions but we gave the Geordies one hell of a scare. Our performance made us realise that maybe we could be a force to be reckoned with in the NWCFL Division 1.
2015 - Eccleshall - 4-3 - My favourite NWCFL ground and people. Only time we have played out a 'Jolly Boy's against a team we had met previously. Glut of late goals saw us win. Highlight was the rendition of the Elton John classic 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' by Messrs Cooke and Clegg in a downtown Eccleshall hostlry. The Crazy Gang were lapping it up while the total lack of reaction by a couple of locals is one of my favourite Colls moments ever.
2016 - Carlisle City - 5-1 - A wonderful crawl of the pubs before a taxi to the game. Like the Jocks in Argentina in '78 I think some of our fans are still there. A solid display against the NWCFL newcomers. Polish player Lucacz Malkowski was really becoming a cult figure. Wonder whatever happened to him?
2017 - Conwy Borough - 5-0 - Nice walk through the seaside town to the ground dodging noisy seagulls and their droppings. Picturesque setting and the Colls display did it justice. Jolly Boys drinkypoos in the clubhouse afterwards. Just what the doctor ordered.
2018 - Ponterfact Collieries...
Words: Emil Anderson
Photo: Rob Clarke