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Sunday, 04 October 2015 08:46

Aberdare avoid a cup shock

SATURDAY 3rd OCTOBER. Cwmbach Rec. - dry, sun & cloud.
The problem with the First Round of the Welsh Cup is that there are so many games you want to see - several closely matched ones, a few potential giant-killings, some local derbies, the prospect of a few rare programmes. But one tie that has three of those elements gets my vote today: Cwmbach Royal Stars v Aberdare Town. Four divisions separate the South Wales Alliance Division One side from the Welsh League Division One visitors, whereas less than two miles separate their grounds; plus, Cwmbach have confirmed there's a programme.

Cwmbach lies just outside Aberdare at the top end of the Cynon Valley, and has a station conveniently served by the Aberdare line service from Cardiff. From the station, it's a stiff walk up through the village to the Recreation Ground, right at the top of the village with spectacular views across the valley to Aberaman, although today a hazy mist is lingering. A concealed drive leads up from the road to the changing rooms, which themselves sit well below pitch level at the foot of a steep slope. In such uneven terrain, the pitch is relatively level, though the grassy surrounds have plenty of rises and drops reflecting the natural slope.

Published in Football
Friday, 05 September 2014 18:58

Tale of two halves

SATURDAY 30th AUGUST, Bettws Lane and Rhiw Ddar. Warm and dry.
MALPAS UNITED 3 LLANWERN 2 (FAW Welsh Cup 1st Qualifying Round)
TAFF'S WELL 1 ABERDARE TOWN 2 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Div 1)

Welsh Cup day, and plenty of games to choose from. I've dithered between several ties, rejecting my original choice as no proper programme will be issued. Instead I opt for Malpas United, of the Gwent County League, who have a tough home tie against strong Welsh League Division 2 side Llanwern. They're doing a programme, but the downside s that I have to travel via Newport, where pre-NATO summit protests threaten to cause disruption.

Anticipating the worst, I head early to Newport, avoid the back of the station where I believe the protest march will be gathering, and exit from the front. There are lots of police on duty, wearing unusual special pale blue jackets and caps. There's a much smaller number of protesters, dressed as you'd expect (like a Glastonbury crowd without the tents and backpacks), some carrying colourful flags. They're about as unthreatening as any group of people could be, and none of this delays me in the slightest.

Published in Football
Saturday, 01 March 2014 20:32


SATURDAY 1ST MARCH: Aberaman Park - dry and clear
ABERDARE TOWN 1 BALA TOWN 2 (Welsh Cup, Quarter-final)
St. David's Day: the first day of spring (officially) but not always the first spring day. However, this year, there's no mistake, St. David's Day really is a spring day. The fixture list (or at least the FAW's bag of balls) has decreed that I will head up the Cynon Valley today to see if Aberdare Town, south Wales's last hope in this year's Welsh Cup competition, can overcome Welsh Premier visitors Bala Town, and this means taking my familiar walk across north Cardiff to catch the train at Llandaf; through Caedelyn Park - early daffoldils opening (and maybe even more significant, a junior football match in progress, for Cardiff Council has allowed parks pitches to be used for the first time this year); along Church Road - cherry trees in blossom. And the sun shining all the way. What's not to like about today ?

Published in Football
Saturday, 01 February 2014 20:20


SATURDAY 1ST FEBRUARY - Aberaman Park, wet and windy

Another week of rain: postponements loom for yet another Saturday. It's Welsh Cup weekend but all the games are on grass pitches so no easy options this week. And with the disruption that Six Nations rugby brings, travel via Cardiff is best avoided too. By Friday night, I've almost convinced myself that a revisit to one of the 3G pitches is about all I can expect. So when Aberdare Town announce early on Saturday that their pitch has passed an inspection, it's a pleasant surprise.

Published in Football

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