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Monday, 03 September 2018 09:37

Cradle to Grave

SATURDAY 1st SEPTEMBER. Pant Brickworks, sunny and warm.
RHOSLLANERCHRUGOG 0 RHOS AELWYD 4 (JD Welsh Cup, 1st Qualifying Round)

There are so many ties in the opening rounds of our national cup competitions that a short-list of interesting ties forms in my mind. This year it's different, one Welsh Cup Qualifying tie always stood out - the 'Rhos derby'. And that's why, early on this late summer morning, I'm setting out on the train up through the borders towards Ruabon in north-east Wales.

The villages of Ruabon, Rhosllanerchrugog (or Rhos) and Cefn Mawr always evoke thoughts of the earliest days of football in Wales. This is the home of FAW founding father Llewellyn Kenrick, and also of the first great Welsh club, Druids of Ruabon, and it's pleasing to be visiting the area for the opening round in the oldest Welsh competition, the Welsh Cup. As a nod to history, I take lunch and a pint in the Wynnstay Arms, Ruabon - the venue where the FAW's second meeting took place in August 1876, to create its constitution, and where the first ever Welsh Cup draw was made a year later.

Published in Football
Sunday, 14 January 2018 20:24

Long Distance

SATURDAY 13th JANUARY: Abertillery Leisure Centre, cold and gloomy.
ABERTILLERY BLUEBIRDS 1 RHOS AELWYD 3 (FAW Trophy, Round 5)


When I saw the draw for the Fifth Round of the FAW Trophy (my favourite domestic competition), I was delighted to see that it was national, rather than regionalised. In recent years, the competition had been regional until the last possible point, but that deprived clubs of one-off away-days in other parts of Wales, and deprived spectators of the inter-region ties that capture the imagination.

The only disappointing feature of the last sixteen draw was the shortage of games in south Wales. Most of our local clubs were drawn away, with just Abertillery in reasonable, January-travel range. Hence a journey up the Ebbw valley - not the easiest, as I'm wary of Gwent buses. Quite often it seems only locals actually know where they stop - and I remember waiting in the wrong place, in what looked like a bus station, on my last trip to Abertillery. Signage and visitor information is non-existent in these parts - I suppose they don't expect tourists.

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