Ground: Plaskynaston Lane
Match: NEWI Cefn Druids 6 Gap Connah’s Quay 0 HT: 0-0 ATT: 150
Comp: Welsh Premier League
Additional: Entrance £6 Programme £1.50
Plaskynaston Lane in pictures
Friday night and another trip to North Wales and its Premier football league, this time to the oldest club in Wales, Cefn Druids. Founded in the early 1860s as Druids FC, they are the oldest club in the world, outside of England, and are thus nicknamed the Ancients. (Oswestry Town, now The New Saints, are older but play in England, despite always having played in the Welsh league system.)
Druids merged with Cefn Albion in 1992 to from Cefn Druids, and have recently been sponsored by Flexsys; and now NEWI, which stands for the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education. This institute is now the Glyndwr University and so you may see a different name again next year.
They play in the Welsh village of Cefn Mawr, south west of Wrexham. This meant a rural drive for Tom and me (him driving), through the back of Newcastle-under-Lyme and the dark country lanes of shropshire. It was a very pleasant drive which took about an hour and a half.
Plaskynaston Lane is just on the edge of Cefn Mawr, with parking at the ground, but Tom parked on the street by the entrance to the walkway that leads up to the ground.
Plaskynaston Lane was very welcoming, the turnstile being next to the ornate building (in the top picture), which was the changing rooms. This leads down to a small bit of terracing occupying just one corner of the ground. Next to this is the clubhouse, with some covered seating.
The Welsh Premier league must surely be the only top league in Europe where you can get a coffee or tea served in a china mug. The mugs were a bizarre mix of iconic late eighties/early nineties themes. Tom says I was one place away in the queue from getting a special edition Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mug. I can’t remember what was on mine, but by coincidence, got the same mug when I went back at half time. A nice personal touch to proceedings.
The club shop next door was excellent, selling a wide range of programmes and badges, mostly from Welsh leagues, but some from England.
The visitors this evening were Connah’s Quay, who I had seen at their Deeside Stadium a few weeks previously. They were sitting in mid-table compared to Cefn’s precarious position just one off the relegation places. However, Connah’s defending against Airbus a few eeks previously, was so bad that anything approaching it this evening would be good news for the Druids.
A fairly uninspiring first half saw a bit of a stalemate and no portent of what was to come in the second period. Tom and I did a circuit of the pitch, including mounting the far end behind the goal to the woods behind to take some pictures of the ground.
Apart from the few dozen seats in front of the clubhouse, the ground had just one other stand, housing approximately 200 seats.
Some good finishing gave Cefn Druids an unexpected six second half goals to massively salve their relegation worries. The pick of the bunch were a fierce free-kick from 25 yards and a volley smashed in for number six, right at the end. It was a superb performance from a team struggling; Connah’s Quay didn’t know what hit them.
Really nice ground, the best of the three I’ve visited in this division. Lots of character, great atmosphere and a very friendly feel. It’d be great to see them survive the drop.