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Sunday, 01 October 2017 20:18

BRICKING IT

SATURDAY 30th SEPTEMBER. Clwyedog Park, showery.
BRICKFIELD RANGERS 6 LEX GLYNDWR 2 (WNL Wrexham Area Premier Division Cup)


I'm motivated to get in a longer trip this week, thinking that it will soon become harder when bad weather and postponements start to kick in. After researching a few really long and tricky options, I opt out of a 6am start and settle for 'just' the eight hour round trip to Wrexham, ticking off a rather overdue visit to Brickfield Rangers.

It's a familiar and relatively straightforward journey up through the marches, and it could be a pleasant one too, if only Arriva Trains Wales would provide enough capacity on their busiest services. This one, bound to be busy with Chester racegoers added to the usual Saturday mid-morning peak, is served by a two carriage unit. Predictably, after Hereford, it becomes overcrowded and noisy. It's a relief to step off onto the platform at Wrexham (after battling my way off the train).

After pottering around Wrexham, dodging showers and choirs (there's a street singing festival on) I head a mile or so out of town in search of today's venue. A couple of years ago Brickfield moved from their old base at Court Road playing fields to a new home at Clwyedog Park. The move was barely a mile, but a huge step in terms of the potential. My one and only visit to Court Road left me shocked that such a venue hosted football at step 3 of the pyramid, but Clwyedog Park is already way superior, even though the club regard it as still a work in progress. Cover at both ends will be supplemented with a further seated stand along one side, enabling the ground to meet FAW criteria for the Huws Gray Alliance, the next level up.

Published in Football
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 15:45

Admirable

TUESDAY 15th AUGUST Bellevue Park, a warm and sunny evening
BELLEVUE 0 BRADLEY PARK 5 (North East Wales League)

Armed with a rail rover ticket for the week, I can't resist another long distance midweek trip. Wrexham has always been the general destination tonight, and tonight's home team have caught my interest enough to persuade me to watch them instead of Brickfield, playing on their temporary ground at New Broughton. The added bonus is the ease of getting to Bellevue Park, a little over five minutes walk from Wrexham General station. As I leave the station around 5pm, there are a few early arrivals for the Wrexham v Gateshead game at the Racecourse, no doubt heading off for a pre-match drink or two.

An hour later, over in Bellevue Park, the scene is a summer evening idyll, residents enjoying their attractive green space in the centre of town. Over in the eastern corner of the park, the teams are already warming up on the single roped off football pitch. It's a nice setting with a huge grass bank on one side, and large trees all around, with distant views of town landmarks.

What attracted me to this game most was the story behind the home club, who are newly founded this year. Aside from being a football club, affiliated to the North East Wales League and the NEWFA, you could call them a 'project'; or an 'initiative; they also refer to themselves as a family. They've grown out of informal kickabouts on this park between locals and the town's large migrant population - workers, students and refugees from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Published in Football
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 10:08

The Double Treble

MONDAY 2nd MAY. The Glyndwr Racecourse Stadium - hail, rain & sunny intervals.
AIRBUS UK BROUGHTON 0 THE NEW SAINTS 2 (JD Welsh Cup Final)
Back on the northbound train, for the second time in three days, and heading for Wrexham, the chosen venue for this year's Welsh Cup final. I'm ambivalent about the choice, as neither finalist has a huge supporter base, and the locals in Wrexham are indifferent to Welsh football - this means only one side of the Racecourse will be open (the antiquated main stand). The FAW have done everything possible to promote the game via social media, but once again huge sections of mainstream media ignore the occasion - and the potentially historic achievement if the Saints can secure the domestic treble for the second year running.

Before the game, there's plenty of activity in what's left of the Racecourse car park, with a merchandise stall doing reasonably brisk business in a range including friendship scarves, until increasingly heavy showers start to send everyone dashing for cover. We hope the showers will pass...

Inside, as kick off approaches, the atmosphere on the stand side is good, with the lower tiers full - the green TNS supporters to the town end, the blue Airbus fans towards the scoreboard end, and neutrals scattered around. The pre-match formalities (anthem, presentations etc) take place in drier conditions, and the game starts with TNS kicking towards the empty stand at the scoreboard end, although in fact most of the early action takes place in front of the decaying terrace at the other end. Airbus are taking the game to the holders, and are creating - but not taking - chances. [article continues, if not visible click on Read More below]

Published in Football

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