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Sunday, 13 September 2015 12:19

Echoes of Coal and Steel

SATURDAY 12th SEPTEMBER. Vicarage Hill, Sunny and mild.
RHOSTYLLEN FC 1 BRYMBO 0 (JD Welsh Cup, 2nd Qualifying Round)
As ever, an early round in a national cup produces plenty of tempting matches near and far. After visiting one of the south Wales clubs from the bottom of the Welsh pyramid in the previous round, I choose a similar tie in north-east Wales in the 2nd Qualifying Round. The similarities go further: like AFC Perthcelyn, Rhostyllen FC are a reformed club which has prudently adopted a slightly different name from its predecessor. They've joined the North East Wales League, the first step back to the WNL Wrexham Area League.

The village of Rhostyllen is only a couple of miles south of Wrexham, its by-pass well served by buses heading for Oswestry and Llangollen. This was the village that served Bersham Colliery, which once supplied coal to Brymbo steelworks among others. The colliery closed in 1987 but there's little to tell its story a quarter of a century on: a bus stop on the main road is named the Colliery Garage, and some pit head equipment remains - it was intended to form the centrepiece of a mining museum, but lack of interest meant the project never came to fruition. Today, there's nothing in the village centre to tell its back story or point out anything of note, not even an information board.

The revived football club has however put the colliery winding gear and a coal truck on its crest, with a pleasing nod to the village's heritage. This crest adorns the cover of Rhostyllen FC's first match programme, together with that of today's visitors Brymbo (no longer Brymbo Steelworks FC, that also having closed a quarter of a century ago).

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