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Supporter’s Blog – Andrew Griffith Humphries

I am a born and raised ‘gog’ who spent the four years before lockdown going home to look after my Mam while travelling back to Northern Ireland once a month where I live. Yes it does sound like the start of a cliched joke – a gog who lives in Northern Ireland writing a blog for a rugby team in South Wales. But this is lockdown no3 and to be honest what is normal anymore?

Lockdown 1 was certainly the biggest shock to the system. I remember going into Rhyl three days into it and being stunned by the absolute emptiness of the place. In reality for the first few weeks of lockdown nothing changed much for me and Mam, except that the cafe we always went to was closed. Sadly my Mam fell in the house in April and fractured her hip, the hip replacement got infected and she passed away in July. I want to thank everyone who gave me support, asked how my Mam was since I came back to look after her, and all those who contacted me after she passed.

Andrew with his friend, the late Tami Kester

I was asked once why am I a Ponty fan? The initial answer was Gareth Wyatt, an absolute legend, and for my Mam, who claimed she was a Ponty fan before me even though she had no idea where Ponty was, she was a huge fan of Neil Jenkins. But honestly as a club not only do we have the loudest most passionate fanbase in the country but the sense of community is second to none, and that means a lot to me.

Obviously life after Mam’s passing has been strange. I look at my Facebook memories occasionally and two things stick out, the utter frustration I felt at my Mam’s ongoing struggles, and many posts of me heading to see Ponty play where I look back and remember the joy, excitement and nervousness I always felt before we played.

In October, nearly fourteen years after my first MS episode and five years since I last spoke to my neurologist I got the absolute confirmation that I have MS. I knew I had it, was told by a visiting neurologist in 2007 I had it but the confirmation is a weight off my shoulders. Thankfully my type of MS is the good type if there is a good type to get, relapsing and remittent, as opposed to our former player Paul Knight who I recently read is in a wheelchair, and of course our much missed ex director and GTFM Ponty Rugby Show host Alun Jones who was an inspiration to us all.

So with the vaccine now being given out our thoughts are turning to the light at the end of this dark period in our lives. Obviously for us as fans of Ponty RFC the hope of a return to Sardis Road and proper old fashioned club rugby with banter and humour is very appealing. So what do I hope for our club in the post covid world? A return to the glory days of 2010-2015 would be magnificent, although just being out on the field again will be a major victory after the past year.

One thing I know is I won’t have the experience of nine years ago. I was at a stag do in Budapest when we won the play-off final and overjoyed as I was after the previous season’s disappointment, I returned home to Derry to find a few messages on my answer phone. One was from my Mam’s next door neighbour telling me he had heard shouts of pain and could I get hold of her and let him know she was alright otherwise he would have to call the police, and one from the police trying to get hold of her. The police turned up at my Mam’s just as she was getting a taxi to go to church on the Saturday evening. They said her neighbour heard her cry out in pain to which she replied that no it wasn’t pain, it was joy as Ponty beat the Scarlets to win the league.

Just to see the boys back out on the field of play will be cause for celebration. It’s been a tough year for us all but hopefully I’ll be able to catch up with old friends and some new friends soon enough, and yes a Ponty victory would be the icing on a very special day. Keep the faith, keep safe – Ole!

Andrew Griffith Humphries

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