Additional: Entrance £5.00, Programme £1.50, Coffee/Tea £1.00
The Rock in pictures
This is Cefn Druids’ first season at their new home – The Rock. When you go there you can see why it is thus called. The ground sits in the shadow of an imposing cliff face, a sight that I’m sure would be best seen in daylight, rather than floodlight. It’s grandeur was not lost on me despite the lack of light, but my pictures did not capture it well or do it justice – save this one for a Saturday afternoon.
This is also the first season in a while that the Druids are not under some sponsor, giving their name a slightly ludicrous and temporary feel – no longer Flexsys Cefn Druids, nor NEWI nor Elements, but simply Cefn Druids – much better. A better epithet to bestow on the oldest club on Wales.
Their history, as well as being very long, is very eventful with many a merger along the way. Football in this part of the world, south of Wrexham, has been smouldering away nicely. The origins of the club go right back to 1869 as Plasmadoc Football Club. In 1872 they became Druids when various colliery and quarry teams in the hills around Ruabon and Cefn Mawr were brought together under one name. They were the first Welsh club to play in the FA Cup (1876) and played in the first Welsh Cup tie in 1877 at Newtown. They got to the quarter finals of the English FA Cup in 1882/3, beating Bolton Wanderers along the way, but losing to eventual winners Blackburn Olympic.
They were the first club to win the Welsh Cup three times in a row 1880-82. They even joined the Birmingham & District League at one point alongside the midland giants of Wolves, WBA and Birmingham.
In 1920 they left their ground at Wynnstay Park to merge with Rhosymedre and became Rhosymedre Druids, playing at Church Field. In 1923 they merged with Acrefair United and became Druids United, moving grounds again in 1930 to Acrefair. In the late 50s they built a new ground in Cefn Mawr, Plaskynaston Lane, their charming home that served them until last season. I was fortunate enough to visit there a couple of years back when they thrashed Connah’s Quay 6-0. Druids’ fortunes waned in the 1980s when they were acting as poor relations to Cefn Albion (est 1967), the other team in the area, who were enjoying great success. The two teams merged in 1992, to become the team they are today – the Welsh equivalent of Dagenham & Redbridge.
They lost their Premier status last season in the big cull of clubs, reducing the top division down to 12. However, they are looking good for a return to the top flight this season in a very tidy stadium.
The ground is in Rhosymedre, nearby to Cefn Mawr. It is a tiny village and the ground is off the main High Street, up Church Road to Rock Road. It is a very impressive entrance, to go with the great and alluring name of ‘The Rock’. How can one resist a ground name like that?
Inside is a 500 seater stand with hard standing round the edge. It has that prisitine new ground feel to it and is a fine venue for the Cymru Alliance and indeed the Welsh Premier.
They had thrashed previous top-of-the-table team Connah’s Quay 5-1 at The Rock, two weeks back, before losing to Flint Town United 1-0, which I saw last week. Visitors Ruthin Town fought hard in the first half and were on level terms deservedly, but two goals in two minutes gave Cefn the points in a deserved victory. I think only Rhyl and Connah’s Quay will provide a challenger for top spot this season. I was pleased to see that they preserved something from Plaskynaston Lane – the proper mugs that they served coffee in – a bizarre array of differing mugs, including eighties nostalgia (at the Lane I got ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’.) I forget what I got tonight but it was still in a mug. Great venue with the best backdrop I’ve seen to date. Hopefully they’ll be in the top flight next year.