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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, 02 September 2018 07:48

Results 31 August - 1st September

RESULTS 31 Aug - 1 September
JD WELSH PREMIER LEAGUE:
Aberystwyth Town - Llanelli Town 3-1
Caernarfon Town - The New Saints 0-3
Barry Town Utd - Connahs Quay Nomads 2-0
Carmarthen Town - Cardiff Met 2-0
Newtown - Bala Town 2-0
Cefn Druids - Llandudno 2-1

 

HUWS GRAY ALLIANCE
Bangor City - Holyhead Hotspur 1-1
Conwy Borough - Denbigh Town 4-1
Airbus Broughton - Gresford Athletic 5-0
Holywell Town - Llanrhaeadr YM 2-1
Penrhyncoch - Flint Town United 1-0
Porthmadog - Rhyl 1-3
Prestatyn Town - Buckley Town 0-4
Ruthin Town - Guilsfield 2-0

 

NATHANIEL CARS WELSH LEAGUE - DIV 1
Goytre Utd - Taffs Well 2-1
Cambrian & C. - Afan Lido 1-2
Cwmbran Celtic - Ammanford 5-3
Goytre - Ton Pentre 0-1
Haverfordwest Co. - Briton Ferry Llansawel 3-0
Llantwit Major - Undy Ath. 1-1
Penybont - Pontypridd Town 3-1
DIV 2
Aberbargoed Buds - Garden Village 3-3
Abergavenny Town - Pontardawe Town 2-3
Bridgend Street - Aberdare Town 8-1
Caerau (Ely) - Monmouth Town 2-1
Caldicot Town - STM Sports 0-1
Dinas Powys - Swansea University 1-6
Risca United - Croesyceiliog 1-1
West End - AFC Llwydcoed 1-0

 

JD Welsh Cup 1st Qualifying Round:
Aber Valley - Canton Liberal 3-2
Brecon Corries - Clwb Cymric 2-0
Cardiff Corinthians - Wattsville 1-6 (at Wattsville)
Chepstow Town - Fairwater 6-0
Merthyr Saints - Treowen Stars 2-2 aet, 5-4 pens
Newport City - Brecon Northcote 5-0
Newport Civil Service - Pontlottyn 9-1
Newport Corinthians - Cardiff Draconians 1-4
Penydarren BGC - Blaenavon Blues 7-4
Pill YMCA - Ely Rangers 4-3
Rogerstone - Sully Sports 1-5
Tredegar Town - Cwmbran Town 3-3 (6-7 pens)
Treforest - Panteg 0-3
Treharris Athletic W. - Aberystwyth Exiles 8-1
Trethomas Bluebirds - St Albans 3-1
Ynysddu Welfare - Machen 2-1
Baglan Dragons - Penrhiwceiber Cons 1-2
Blaenrhondda - Penrhiwceiber Rangers 1-1, 2-2 aet (7-6 pens)
Caerau FC - Pontyclun 1-1 (9-10 pens)
Cornelly United - Trebanog 3-2
Newcastle Emlyn - Glynneath Town 1-4
Pencoed Athletic Amateur - AFC Porth 3-0
Penlan Club - Ferndale BGC 8-2
Porthcawl Town - Trefelin BGC 0-4
Ynysygerwn - Cefn Cribwr 2-3
Abermule FC - Rhayader Town 3-2
Borth United - Presteigne St Andrews 2-0
Dolgellau Athletic - Churchstoke 5-2
Four Crosses - Waterloo Rovers 5-0
Llansantffraid Village - Builth Wells 1-3
Montgomery Town - Machynlleth 2-3
Amlwch Town - Llandudno Amateurs 0-6
Bodedern Athletic - Aberffraw 1-2
Glantraeth - Penmaenmawr Phoenix 4-6
Holyhead Town - Menai Bridge Tigers 3-2
Nantlle Vale - Gaerwen 2-0
Prestatyn Sports - Pentraeth 2-0
Pwllheli - Llannefydd 3-3 (4-1 pens)
Castell Alun Colts - Llay Welfare 0-5
Cefn Mawr Rangers - Coedpoeth United 1-5
Mynydd Isa Spartans - Brymbo 1-4
Penycae - Offa Athletic - match abandoned
Plas Madoc - New Brighton Villa 1-2 (at New Brighton)
Rhydymwyn - Llangollen Town 4-3 aet
Rhosllanerchrugog - Rhos Aelwyd 0-4

 

WNL WREXHAM - Prem:
Brickfield R - Llanuwchllyn 2-0
FC Nomads - Chirk 1-2
Hawarden - Queens Park 0-3
Mold Alex - Cefn Albion 5-0
Rhostyllen - Corwen 0-5

 

LOCK STOCK WELSH ALLIANCE - DIV 1
Barmouth - Llanrwst 1-4
Greenfield - Llanberis 1-0
Llandudno Alb - Penrhyndeudraeth 2-4
Llangefni Town - Llandyrnog Utd 3-0
Llanrug Utd - Llandudno Junction 6-0
St Asaph City - Mynydd Llandegai 2-2
Div 2
Blaenau Amt - Meliden 5-0
Glan Conwy - Y Felinheli 1-1
Llanerchymedd - Kinmel Bay 2-0

 

SOUTH WALES ALLIANCE - Prem
Caerphilly Athletic - Garw SBGC 2-2
Grange Albion - Ynyshir Albions 0-3
Division 1
AFC Butetown - Tonyrefail BGC 4-2
AFC Whitchurch P - P Llangynwyd Rangers BGC
FC Cwmaman - Cardiff Airport 2-2
Div 2
AFC Wattstown - Cwmbach Royal Stars SC 4-0
Cardiff Cosmopolitan - Cogan Coronation 3-3
Carnetown - Aberfan Social 0-5
Graig FC - Vale United 1-3
Llanrumney United - Tynte Rovers 4-0
Llantwit Fardre - St Josephs 1-0
STM Sports Old Boys - AFC Bargoed 2-0

Published in Results
Tuesday, 08 May 2018 14:37

Sweltering

SUNDAY 6th MAY: Latham Park, heatwave. 

ABERYSTWYTH TOWN 1 CONNAH'S QUAY NOMADS 4 (JD Welsh Cup final)

 

Although many - okay, probably most - football fans in Wales regard Cardiff City's lunchtime promotion decider as the big game today, for those of us who prefer our football Welsh, the place to be is Latham Park rather than Ninian Park. The JD Welsh Cup final is one of the biggest days in our domestic football calendar and if this year's can deliver half the drama of the 2017 final, it will be well worth the journey.

 

Yes, the journey: getting to and from mid Wales on a Sunday is a challenge - as difficult in its own way as Bangor was last year, given the limited transport options. I'm fortunate to have successfully begged a lift up to Newtown with one of the broadcasters, and I'm sure I'll get home somehow. That's something to sort out later. The journey by road isn't plain sailing - an accident sends us on a 30-minute diversion east of Brecon - and it's just as well we left Cardiff early. On arrival at Latham Park, the car parks are filling up and there's a festival vibe in the bank holiday heat. Inside the ground, children's football is being staged on the 3G, but as the spectators for the main event begin to arrive this gives way to a music stage over in the far corner. If this passes unnoticed and unappreciated by most people in the 1,455 crowd, the same certainly can't be said of the RAF Falcons' parachute display which delivers half a dozen paras and the match-ball onto the pitch.

 

After all this, it's time for some football, although it's hardly the weather for it. Blazing sunshine, heat in the mid-twenties, glorious, for sure, but a timely reminder why I abhor the idea of summer football (a conviction that had been wavering during the endless winter and spring months of postponements). But I can't help pondering the contrast from my visit here just a month ago- something in between these extremes would be more comfortable.  Aberystwyth Town and Connah's Quay Nomads enter the stage, with a place in the First Round of the Europa League for the winners.

 

Logic says Nomads are hot favourites, but Aber manager Nev Powell's Welsh Cup record (with Bangor) is enough to allow a scintilla of doubt. There are conspiracy theorists too, believing it will be in Nomads best interests to lose today and get an easier Preliminary Round opportunity in Europe, but the idea of Andy Morrison not wanting to get a trophy win is preposterous. In pre-match discussions with fellow neutrals, the idea of an early Aber goal is popular. We fear that if Nomads go 1-0 up they'll shut up shop and leave us - and the live TV audience - with less of a spectacle.

Published in Football
Saturday, 27 January 2018 20:59

A "Fairytale" of Dragons and Miners

SATURDAY 27th JANUARY: USW Sports Campus, wet and mild.
PONTYPRIDD TOWN 1 PENYDARREN BGC 2 (JD Welsh Cup Round 4)
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
Tuesday, 07 November 2017 14:43

Avoiding the banana skin

SATURDAY 4th NOVEMBER: Felindre Road, dry and sunny but chilly.
PENCOED ATHLETIC 1 PONTYPRIDD TOWN 3 (JD Welsh Cup Round 2)
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

Leonine

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
CPD LLANUWCHLLYN 0 RUTHIN TOWN 3 (JD Welsh Cup, 1st Round)

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
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