A BLIND groundhopper who planned to make Ammanford his 1,700th football ground finally experienced a match at The Rec, after his first attempt at a visit had been dashed by the weather, on Friday.

John Stancombe, 48, made a 700 mile round trip from Lowestoft earlier in the season to watch Ammanford take on Taff’s Well under the floodlights.

The visit would have seen the Rec become the 1,700th ground he’s visited across the UK and Ireland.

However, just hours before kick off, John’s hopes were dashed when adverse weather conditions forced the game to be called off.

Not to be deterred, John made the trek again on Friday to see Ammanford take on Briton Ferry Llansawel.

A spokesman for the club said: “Before a ball was kicked at the Recreation Ground, the Committee, Players and Supporters of Ammanford AFC extended a very warm welcome to “Football Ground Hopper” Mr John Stancombe who was visiting his 1707th Ground. John had travelled from his home in Lowestoft in East Anglia to be at the game.

“He had hoped to make The Rec is 1700th ground in a visit earlier in the year, but his hopes were dashed by weather which forced the game to be called off.”

Groundhopping, he says, was a habit he got into when he was young as a Wimbledon FC fan.

It is a hobby that has become vital for John, who lost his sight in 2006.

He explained: “This is my 10th football season being totally blind.

“I haven’t been able to see since 2006. So when that happened, I sat indoors for a year and really didn’t do anything. I could no longer go anywhere and had to rely on someone else to help me.

“I got a bit depressed or low, whatever the word is. Basically you’re stuck on your own with four walls.

“I could no longer see to type my match reports. I can no longer do that so I had to speak into a tape recorder.

“You do lose confidence in life being blind. Until you can comprehend it, you will never appreciate what I’m talking about.

“You do get the odd journalist or radio presenter to come and assist you by commentating but it puts pressure on them if they’re not used to doing it.”