Caersws 6 Rhydymwyn 1 HT: 2-0
from the Recreation Ground
Most football connoisseurs will have heard of Caersws (pron. care-soos), from James Alexander Gordon’s reading of the football results at 5 o’clock on a saturday afternoon, from when they were a top flight Welsh club. It’s unlikely you’ll have come across it in any other context as it is very much a one horse town. In fact, I doubt it has even the one horse. Like quite a few successful Welsh clubs, they are based in a village, that only reveals itself as a tiny dot, after much zooming in, on Google maps. The entire population could fit into the Recreation Ground almost three times over.
Caersws sits between Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth, a right turn a few miles after exiting Newtown. Caer means fort and its thought that the Sws is named after an old Roman Queen called Swswen. A pretty road bridge over a river brings you into the village, but don’t look down to change the radio station as you’ll risk missing it altogether, especially if the lights are green. Two pubs (one defunct) and a Spar headline in the village. The Red Lion pub is a friendly real ale house, selling Monty’s ale, from the local brewery at nearby Montgomery. The IPA was a delicious amuse-bouche to the afternoon’s entertainment against newcomers Rhydymwyn (pron. Riddy-moo-in).
The ground is signposted just before the bridge into the village. A track leads up to a bridge, so small it is less than head height, going under the rail line to Aberystwyth. Under the bridge brings you out onto the Recreation ground, with a training pitch fronting onto the main ground.
The Welsh tradition of coffee and tea in proper mugs continued; the mug today was ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ (how did they know?)
Caersws FC were founded in 1887 as Caersws Amateurs, dropping the amateurs bit in 1974. They have played a lot of top flight football and even played in the Inter-toto cup in 2001-02, losing 3-1 on aggregate to PFC Marek Dupnitsa of Bulgaria. Their biggest win is 20-1 against Aberystwyth in 1962.
The ground reminds me a bit of another mid Wales club, Berriew, albeit a higher spec model. It has one main stand of 250 seats, a very small covered terrace adjoining, with the refreshment kiosk next door. Other than that just hard standing, other than a nicely banked corner and a TV Gantry opposite, although a lack of ladders suggests it is now out of use.
Caersws came into this game having won a remarkable 11 league games on the trot. They had won 12 out of 15 so far, but even so were still 4 points behind runaway leaders Rhyl. Their recent run had included some massive victories; in their last home game they beat Penycae 10-0 and their last game was away at today’s opponents, weirdly. They’d won at Rhydymwyn’s Vicarage Road 6-1, and were hoping to repeat that feat at home today.
I’d seen Rhydymwyn beat Penrhyncoch 5-1 at home earlier in the season, with Rhydymwyn having a purple patch in the second half, scoring all five goals in about 25 minutes. Today’s game reminded me of the gulf in standards in this 16 club division. Caersws were all over the visitors from the off and should have put two away in quick succession, as balls were whizzed across the box to be missed by everybody. It wasn’t long before they took the lead, as a looping free kick was parried by the keeper straight up in the air to be headed in from one yard. Two minutes later it was 2-0.
Missed chances and good goalkeeping kept the score down to 2-0 and in the second half an improved Rhydymwyn even dallied with the idea of a comeback, after converting a penalty for 2-1. Such insolent aspirations were put in their place with Caersws’s own penalty, making it 3-1.
Shortly after, a corner kick just about evaded everyone, save maybe a brush of hair, to hit the far post and in for 4-1. Two more goals followed to repeat the score at Rhydymwyn’s ground last week. With Rhyl winning at Premier club Aberystwyth 5-2 in the Welsh Cup, they close the gap on them to one point, but Rhyl still have their game in hand.
The official crowd claims there were 112 present. I did a head count and only got to 43, so where the other 69 were hiding I’m not sure. Great friendly club and interesting ground, and a very fat programme for just £1.