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Saturday, 27 January 2018 20:59

A "Fairytale" of Dragons and Miners

SATURDAY 27th JANUARY: USW Sports Campus, wet and mild.
The last sixteen of the Welsh Cup, always a day to savour, and ever since the draw was made back in December I have had just one destination today. Two south Wales valleys clubs, one from tier 3, one from tier 5, and one of them will qualify for the quarter-finals of the Welsh Cup.

Whilst I've been anticipating today, the weather has been a bit of a worry. Heavy rain this morning on top of already saturated ground brings a rash of postponements through the morning. I set off for Treforest early - half-expecting to arrive to news that the match referee has deemed the pitch unplayable and so leaving enough time to high-tail it down to Cyncoed for a later kick off. But on arrival, those fears are unfounded: the pitch is looking heavy but OK, although spectator areas are holding vast amounts of water. The game, it seems, is very much on.

Penydarren BGC's extraordinary winning run has drawn an increasing amount of attention and coverage. The FAW website ran a video feature on the Merthyr club this week and social media has been awash with messages of encouragement.

The most commonly-used description for Penydarren's exploits is "fairy-tale". A cliché, although we all understand the meaning. But today is no day for fairies: their little gossamer wings would soon get waterlogged in the persistent rain and the abundant mud at the USW Sport Park is not the best surface for tiny bare feet. No, today is a day for good old-fashioned cup football, football in the raw, and over 400 spectators have assembled expecting a real battle in the mud. Today's teams are the distinctly un-fairylike Dragons of Pontypridd and Miners of Penydarren.

Published in Football
Saturday, 27 January 2018 17:12

Results 26-27 January

Caernarfon Town - The New Saints 1-3
Airbus UK - Carmarthen Town 1-4
Cardiff Met - Aberystwyth Town 0-1
Connah's Quay Nomads - Porthmadog 3-1
Flint Town Utd - Newtown 1-1, 2-2 aet, 3-4 pens
Llandudno - Ruthin Town 2-2, 4-3 aet
Llanrhaeadr - Bangor City 2-3
Pontypridd Town - Penydarren BGC 1-2


FC Queen's Park - Denbigh Town P-P
Gresford Ath - Holywell Town 0-3
Penrhyncoch - Caersws P-P


Llandudno Junction - Rhyl 0-7


Llanelli Town - Afan Lido 1-2
Briton Ferry Llansawel - Ton Pentre P-P
Cambrian - Penybont 0-1
Cwmamman Utd - Port Talbot Town P-P
Goytre FC - Goytre United P-P
Monmouth Town - Caerau Ely P-P
Taffs Well - Haverfordwest County P-P
Undy Athletic - Cwmbran Celtic P-P
Risca Utd - AFC Porth 6-1
AFC Llwydcoed - Aberdare Town P-P
Ammanford - Llantwit Major P-P
Croesyceiliog - Garden Village P-P
Dinas Powys - Pontardawe P-P
STM Sports - Abergavenny Town 2-1
West End - Caldicot Town P-P
Ely Rangers - Treharris 1-2
Caerau - Neuadd Wen P-P
Newport City - Tredegar Town 2-2
Panteg - Bridgend Street P-P
Penrhiwceiber R - Trethomas Bluebirds P-P
Pontyclun - Chepstow Town P-P
Swansea Uni - Trefelin BGC P-P
Treowen Stars - Ynysygerwn P-P


Barmouth & Dyffryn Utd - Mynydd Llandegai P-P
Conwy Borough - Penrhyndeudraeth 2-1
Llandyrnog Utd - Llandudno Albion P-P
Pwllheli - Nantlle Vale P-P
Gaerwen - Prestatyn Sports P-P
Glan Conwy - Llannefydd P-P
Mochdre Sports - Llannerchymedd 4-0

Amlwch Town - Llanrug Utd P-P
Blaenau Ffestiniog - Llanrwst Utd P-P
Llanberis - Trearddur Bay P-P
Meliden - Llangefni Town P-P
Penmaenmawr Phoenix - Greenfield 0-4
Pentraeth - Bodedern Ath P-P
St Asaph City - Aberffraw 6-2
Y Felinheli - Llanfairpwll P-P


Berriew - Carno 2-1
Welshpool - Machynlleth 11-0
Llansantffraid - Montgomery Town 4-1
Newbridge-on-Wye - Presteigne St Andrews P-P
Penybont Utd - Dolgellau P-P
Talgarth Town - Brecon Northcote 0-4
Abermule - Aberystwyth Uni 4-4, 5-4 aet


Buckley Town - Brickfield Rangers P-P
Cefn Albion - Llay Welfare 2-1
Coedpoeth Utd - Penycae P-P
Hawarden Rangers - FC Nomads 1-0
Llanuwchllyn - Chirk AAA P-P
Mold Alex - Rhostyllen 3-2
Saltney Town - Lex Glyndwr P-P
Maesgwyn - New Brighton Villa P-P
Overton - Brymbo P-P
Rhos Aelwyd - Johnstown Youth 4-1
Rhydymwyn - Llangollen Town
Mynydd Isa Spartans - Cefn Mawr Rangers


Caerphilly Athletic - Pontlottyn P-P
Canton Liberal - Merthyr Saints
Cardiff Corinthians - Ynyshir Albions P-P
Cwm Welfare - Llangynwyd Rangers BGC P-P
Pencoed Athletic - Grange Albion P-P
Sully Sports - Baglan Dragons P-P
Ton & Gelli BC - Brecon Corries P-P
AFC Butetown - Treforest 4-6
Clwb Cymric - Penrhiwceiber Con Athletic P-P
Cogan Coronation - Porthcawl Town Athletic P-P
Cornelly United - Cefn Cribwr BC 1-0
FC Cwmaman - Llantwit Fardre P-P
Garw SBGC - Aber Valley P-P
Tonyrefail BGC - Cadoxton Barry P-P
Trebanog - AFC Whitchurch P-P
Aberfan Social - Cwmbach Royal Stars SC 2-3
Blaenrhondda - Tynte Rovers
Cardiff Airport - St Josephs P-P
Cardiff Hibernian - Graig P-P
Llanrumney United - Carnetown 5-3
Penrhiwfer - AFC Bargoed P-P
St Albans - Llanharry 6-0
Vale United - Cardiff Cosmopolitan P-P


Acton - Halkyn Utd P-P
Bradley Park - Airbus Broughton UK Youth 0-3
Brymbo Victoria - Rhosllanerchrugog 2-4
Caerwys - Mold Town Utd P-P
Connahs Quay Nomads U18 - Aston Park Rangers 6-0
Flint Mountain - Bellevue FC 10-0
Mostyn Dragons - Plas Madoc P-P
Offa Athletic - Penyffordd Lions 1-2

Published in Results
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 14:43

Avoiding the banana skin

SATURDAY 4th NOVEMBER: Felindre Road, dry and sunny but chilly.
With three South Wales Alliance teams at home in today's Welsh Cup Second Round, all underdogs hoping for an upset, it's a question of which one to choose: Caerphilly is closest, but I've been there this season; Penydarren v STM is tempting and with any rain forecast would have been best, but there was a shock when these sides met in the Trophy, so surely it won't happen again? It's so long since I've been to Pencoed that eventually I decide on their game with Pontypridd.

Pencoed is close to Bridgend and on the main railway line - but still manages to be rather poorly served by public transport. One train an hour stops here (several more flashing past), while there's also an hourly bus between Bridgend and Pontypridd. All of which means that I have to travel early and spend almost an hour pottering around. I can now confirm, there's not a lot to see in Pencoed.

Published in Football
Saturday, 09 September 2017 19:15

The Upset

SATURDAY 9th SEPTEMBER. Machen Recreation Ground, sunshine & showers
MACHEN AFC 4 ELY RANGERS 0 (JD Welsh Cup, 2nd Qualifying Round)
This early in the cup competitions, we're always spoiled for choice: there are matches in every region of Wales that I'd like to watch today, but I can only be in one place and I've had a feeling ever since the draw was made that it would be Machen. Their home tie with Ely Rangers of the Welsh League was just one of those that immediately stood out - all the usual reasons: biggest game the home club has staged, potential shock, ground I've not been to before...

Published in Football
Sunday, 20 August 2017 12:14


SATURDAY 19th AUGUST Ysgol Penyffordd, sunny intervals
PENYFFORDD LIONS 3 CEFN ALBION 2 (JD Welsh Cup First Qualifying Round)

Back to north-east Wales again for the fourth time already this season, but some of the most interesting Welsh Cup ties were in this area. Several new entrants to the cup to choose from, plus some more established clubs on my 'must visit' list, and in the end the decision came down to who was issuing a programme.

Now I'm not obsessive about programmes. I happily go to plenty of games where they aren't available, but the Welsh Cup is different: it's a competition rule that a programme or team-sheet be available for spectators, and while it may not be aggressively enforced by the FAW, failing to issue does rather disrespect our oldest and most prestigious cup competition and its sponsors. So It was good news when Penyffordd Lions confirmed they'd produce something for their game with Cefn Albion. Especially as the visit of Cefn Albion is exactly the type of cup match I look for - useful lower league side entertaining a club from higher up the pyramid.

Published in Football
Monday, 01 May 2017 11:10

Bala end TNS monopoly

SUNDAY 30th APRIL. Bangor University Stadium, Nantporth, dry and mild.
BALA TOWN 2 THE NEW SAINTS 1 (JD Welsh Cup final)
After the hors-d'oevre of the Huws Gray Cup yesterday, I move on to the main course: the Welsh Cup final. Enough has been said already about the hugely inconvenient venue for the final - although everyone I speak to pre-match has more to say about it.

For me, it's meant an overnight stay and a journey west on the first train available. Many other neutrals won't have been able to go to such lengths. And, based on the expected storyline, you could ask why they should - for who can really envisage anything other than TNS swatting the Lakesiders' challenge to record their third consecutive Welsh treble? Even the Bala faithful are not oozing confidence - "if it was anyone else..." Indeed, having failed to beat the Saints in 29 previous encounters, the omens aren't good. They can only hope that today the jinx will be broken. They aren't short of support, the travelling contingent swelled by locals and neutrals keen to see someone (anyone) other than TNS lift some silverware.

The preliminaries are quite a show for the live TV audience (as well as those of us here in person). Flags, the cup on its plinth, child mascots, ceremonial arch, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (sung live), VIP presentations (Chris Coleman among them), handshakes, team photos... but this show is soon over and the players are probably relieved to get on with the real business.

Published in Football
Sunday, 06 November 2016 14:06

The Fifty-four Steps

SATURDAY 5th NOVEMBER. Bush Park, sunny but cold.
TREOWEN STARS 1 TON PENTRE 2 (JD Welsh Cup, Round 2)

Spoiled for choice again with Welsh Cup Round 2 option today, and I'll admit my decision was based partly on travel options. Today is the first of the autumn rugby internationals in Cardiff, and regular readers of this site will know how much I dislike getting caught up in the city centre on these afternoons - the crowds, the road closures, the delays, the stewarding, not to mention the boorish drunks and all the silly pantomime Welshness of daffodil hats and the like.

So I'll do a lot to avoid travelling through the city, including the slightly convoluted bus trip required to reach Newbridge for this afternoon's game (I can go east, or north into the valleys, avoiding Cardiff, but I can't go west, which was a pity as that ruled out my other main option today. Still, it's many years since I've been to Bush Park, Treowen (more than five, certainly, maybe nearer ten?) and there's a chance of a cup upset here. Two divisions separate the Stars from the Bulldogs, but recent form and home advantage give them a chance. Last night, at Taff's Well, I saw a Welsh League Division 2 side knock out one from Division 1. What chance another Division 1 casualty today?

Published in Football
Sunday, 02 October 2016 19:29

The Other Lakesiders

SATURDAY 1st OCTOBER - Damp and chilly

The First Round of the Welsh Cup always provides plenty of attractive games - potential upsets, big matches for small clubs, rare programmes etc. We're always spoiled for choice. I had several games in mind but top of the list was the trip to Llanuwchllyn - a visit I'd probably only attempt before the winter sets in. There will never be a better opportunity, with Huws Gray Alliance Ruthin as the visitors, and the added bonus of a match programme. So train and bus times have been researched and a journey down to the 'other' end of Bala Lake is mapped out - to see the 'other' Lakesiders.

Published in Football
Wednesday, 21 September 2016 08:53

It's a Long Way to.... Rhydymwyn

SATURDAY 10th SEPTEMBER - Vicarage Road. Warm and sunny.
RHYDYMWYN 1 HAWARDEN RANGERS 3 (JD Welsh Cup 2nd Qualifying Round)

We've all got a list like it - grounds we have prioritised for a visit. A bucket list, if you will. Rhydymwyn's Vicarage Road has certainly been on mine for a several years - I waited for delaying when they struggled in 2014-15, only to find that the club folded at the end of that season.

So it was good to see Rhydymwyn revived and accepted into the WNL (Wrexham Area) during the summer, and I wasn't going to make the same mistake again. This week, a JD Welsh Cup tie, an Arriva Trains fare offer, and a decent weather forecast - when the stars align, you have to act.

Published in Football
Sunday, 21 August 2016 08:44

The Road to Europe

SATURDAY 20th AUGUST. Canal Park, blustery showers.
TIGER BAY 2 BLAENAVON BLUES 1 (JD Welsh Cup 1st Qualifying Round)
There seems to be some sort of jinx on the opening round of the Welsh Cup: scheduled for August, it would be reasonable to expect the long list of ties to unfold in pleasant summer conditions, but it rarely turns out that way. Although I'm well used to watching football in all types of weather without (much) complaint, a couple of Welsh Cup qualifying round games played in awful conditions have lodged themselves in my memory - Risca a few years back (cold and wet) and then Penygraig (very, very wet).

And continuing the theme, the weathermen have promised us "an early taste of autumn" today, with high winds and heavy rain. Enough to make me briefly reconsider my chosen tie, at Canal Park, Butetown. Only briefly, though - I decide to don waterproofs and stick with the plan. And, as I walk down towards Butetown from the centre of Cardiff, the weather is every bit as bad as promised.

Published in Football
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