Tuesday 27th July 2021 19.00
Mid Wales East League
Waterloo Rovers 6 Newtown Wanderers 0 HT: 4-0 Att: 35(hc) Free Entry No Prog
Marston 32, Ellis 34,43,47 Evans 37,46 : keeper subbed (injured) 45
from Maes-y-Dre Extension
It was Tuesday and another midweek trip south-west to Wales, for some more very early league action, this time in the step four Mid Wales East League. Waterloo Rovers were the hosts, playing at the same site as Welshpool Town, but a proper ground nonetheless, despite having the unsatifisfactory name of Maes-y-Dre Extension (Maes-y-Dre being the name of Welshpool’s Ground). To access it is not easy, as you need to drive past Welshpool Town, to an unmarked road that says Private – Access Only with no indication of a football ground at the end of it.
The road is heavily potholed and requires some serious weaving at first, before it levels off a bit; it goes on for quite a way between hedges, before a car park emerges on the left for the Rugby Club. It’s not the biggest car park, so some cars were parked on the country lane, where it widened.
Welshpool lies just off the main A483 road between Oswestry and Newtown and is a pleasant drive on the A458 from Shrewsbury, with the last few miles into the town weaving between high hills. The Maes-y-Dre complex is just a stone’s throw from Welshpool’s pleasant town centre, where I sat outside The Royal Oak for a pint of Monty’s MPA, brewed locally in Montgomery.
The club were founded by two brothers in the 1940s and played on what was previously a tip. They were named after an area of Welshpool, being a pub team from The Grapes Inn within that area. The place name doesn’t seem to appear on maps now, but there is a Waterloo Place near the pub, in the north east of town. The original club didn’t last long, before merging with nearby Guilsfield, just a few miles north, in the 1950s. It wasn’t until 1978 that Waterloo Rovers re-emerged as a club in its own right, and have flitted between the Montgomeryshire League and the Mid Wales League since, with their highest finish being sixth in the step three Mid Wales First division.
The facilities have been improved recently with two new changing blocks built either side of their stand, with hard standing around the pitch and a refreshment kiosk. It is a nice set up for step four, which is where their new league, the Mid Wales East league sits; with promotion being to the Ardal North East League. Newtown Wanderers are new to this level, having moved up from step five, in the big restructure last season.
In 2011/12 the two Maes-y-Dre clubs met in the league for the first time following Welshpool Town’s relegation from the Cymru Alliance. Rovers recorded a league double over their rivals from across the site, including a 10-1 thumping on Boxing Day. This was both team’s second game of the campaign, both having played Llanfyllin Town at home with Newtown losing 1-2 and Waterloo winning 5-2.
Judging by their opening games I guessed Waterloo would be favourites. The game was one of the most bizarre from a goals point of view that I can remember seeing. The first half an hour was quite dull, with both teams about even, but neither creating many clear cut chances. It looked like a 0-0 was a very real possibility. Then on 33 minutes a piece of individual brilliance sparked the game into life.
Following a corner, Marston had the ball at knee height on the corner of the 18 yard box and left footed a high ball into the box. The moment it left his foot you could see it was going in, even though it had to curl quite a bit over the keeper. It came from nowhere, but then straight from the restart a fierce cross into the box could only be parried by the Newtown keeper, straight to the feet of Ellis, who side footed it in off the bar.
Three minutes later Evans put his head to another great cross, to direct his header down and into the corner of the net.
Then just before half time, Evans again ran down the right and fired past Paul Jones, whose full stretch dive gave him an injury, for which he had to be taken off and replaced by outfield player, Nelly Lloyd Jones.
Usually a half time break puts an end to a good spell, breaking the momentum, but not so for Waterloo. They scored from their first attack; another run down the right, crossed in and side footed home from Evans, for his second. A minute later Ellis got his hat-trick, holding the ball up for ages before blasting it at the Lloyd, the outfield keeper, from 18 yards, where he spilled it into the corner. That was six goals in 15 minutes, one hell of a purple patch.
The last 40 minutes were then similar to the first 30, in that not a lot happened and chances were infrequent. After 47 minutes and 6-0 it looked like it could be a double figures thrashing. However, everything was confined to that superb quarter of an hour, straddling half time, for another great win for Rovers, having scored 11 goals in their opening couple of games in the new league. Great entertainment from the Welsh leagues once again at a cracking venue.