Porthmadog (21)Saturday 29th August 2015 14.30
Cymru Alliance
Porthmadog 3 Mold Alexandra 2 HT: 2-1 Att: 193 Ent: £5 Prog £1.50 Coffee £1

from Y Traeth

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DSC02906aSaturday 8th July 2017 14.39
Pre-season friendly
Penley 5 Porthmadoc U18s 2 ht: 2-1 att: 11 (plus 1 horse)

from School Lane

The prologue to my season began on Thursday at Hanley Town, for their narrow defeat to Nantwich. This was my first new ground of the season, though. It was a sweltering July day, but with occasional cloud cover to provide respite from the sun. I headed off to my nearest Welsh venue, Penley. Only 38 miles away, Penley lies in a protuberance of the Welsh border, that sticks out like a thumb under Wrexham, almost as far as Whitchurch. A little bit of Wales encroaching on Shropshire. Continue reading “Penley”

Cymu Alliance Guide 2017-18

This is an unofficial guide to the Cymru Alliance. All photos are my own (of which some are a few years old and may not reflect the ground now). Please let me know of any inaccuracies or missing details.

The Cymru Alliance has been going 27 seasons. It is the northern section of second tier football in Wales. Welsh Second Division North (or Championship North if you’re under 30). The other second division is The Welsh Football League, based mostly on the south coast. The early regionalisation is due to the difficult geography of Wales combined with the size of the country and clubs. It’s not feasible to expect (say) Flint Town United to travel down to the likes of Haverfordwest County on a regular basis. Continue reading “Cymu Alliance Guide 2017-18”

Holyhead Hotspur

Saturday 20th July 2013
Pre Season Friendly
Holyhead Hotspur 2 Eagle Sports 2 ht: 0-1 att: c70
Wednesday 31st July 2013
Pre Season Friendly
Holyhead Hotspur 4 Llandudno Junction 0 ht: 2-0 att: c27
from The New Oval Ground
New Oval in pictures : Old Oval in pictures

Holyhead Hotspur (23)A holiday in Anglesey, staying in Holyhead, gave me several opportunities to get some Welsh grounds in, starting with Holyhead itself. They currently have the most successful club on the island in Holyhead Hotspur, who play in the Cymru Alliance, Welsh 2nd tier (Northern region). They were promoted in 2011-12.

They were only formed in 1990, but have played at this level before, getting promoted in 1996-97. They moved ground for the start of the 2007-08 season, locating right next to their old ground, opposite the leisure centre. Their old ground is still there, large as life, in good condition, albeit with a much smaller stand (holding about 50). It’s still used for training and the reserves. It does look a bit strange having two functioning grounds right next to each other and begs the question of why the move.

The new ground has a much bigger and plush stand rising nine seats up. Two blocks of 28 x 9 seats sit either side of some reserved seating giving a capacity of around 600. A covered stand that looks like a tunnel and proudly sponsored by Stena Line sits next to the main stand.


In the next picture you can see the main stand of their old ground which backs on to the new ground.


The rest of the ground comprises a large clubhouse and separate snack bar, with railed pitch and dug outs. The grounds and the leisure centre sit in a fairly bleak landscape, which makes for some good backdrops.


The Harbourmen, as they’re known, although the logo is a bee, finished seventh out of sixteen in the Cymru Alliance last year. Today’s visitors were Eagle Sports, who finished second in the Cheshire League. I was interested to know how the two teams would measure up against each other. A Welsh 2nd tier team and an English 11th tier team – sounds like even with the adjustment for relative size of the country, surely the 2nd tier Welsh team would be better?

Well it was much closer than anticipated and Hotspur started off sluggish. Eagle Sports took the lead when the keeper’s poor kick out hit an oncoming striker, with the resulting trajectory fortunate for the visitors as it trickled in. Sports were mostly untroubled and scored a second from a twenty yard punt early in the second half.

It wasn’t until the last quarter that The Bees finally burst into life, equalising on about 85, a glancing header from six yards, off a free kick.


Minutes later they were awarded a penalty and put it away for what, ten minutes earlier, looked like a very improbable draw.


We went back to the New Oval again for a Wednesday friendly against Llandudno Junction, who play a step down in the Welsh Alliance Division One.

It was the windiest game I’d ever attended, with 70/80 mph gusts blowing in off the sea. In the second half the Llandudno keeper’s goal kicks were boomeranging back towards him alarmingly. Wind assisted shots from 40 yards could only be parried, they arrived at such speed; it certainly added a new dimension to the game.

This time, Holyhead were a lot sharper and Junction struggled to get much of a hold throughout. Some excellent individual goals gave them a comfortable 4-0 victory.





rhyd prog 2012Saturday 8th September

Cymru Alliance (Welsh Step two North)

Rhydymwyn 5 Penrhyncoch 1 HT: 0-0 Att: 38

Pugh 55, 65 Ralph 66, Drazdauskas 68, 89 : Pen 85, missed pen 87

from Dolfechlas Road (pictures)

Rhydymwyn FC (24)Another jaunt into Wales, with both my lads in tow, stopping off halfway for a picnic at Beeston Castle, which is well worth it, by the way. From the summit of the castle you have a panorama of cheshire, all the way up to Ellesmere Port. Rhydymwyn is another tiny dot on the map that boasts a second division football club. Founded in 1911, they were promoted from the Wrexham based National League last season. This is not their first taste of football at this level though, having actually won the league in 1997/98. Various reasons though prevented the club from being promoted to the League of Wales. Since that time they have made various improvements to the ground. Continue reading “Rhydymwyn”

Rhayader Town

rhayader town progSaturday August 25th
Cymru Alliance
Rhayader Town o Cefn Druids 3 HT: 0-1 Att: 83

from Y Weirglodd

Entrance £5
Programme £1
Y Weirglodd pictures

Rhayader Town (3)Having seen the first two games of the Mid Wales hop (out of 11), I went my own way, choosing quality over quantity in Cymru Alliance new boys Rhayader Town. Meanwhile, the hoard of hoppers were dashing off to some farmer’s field to watch Radnor Valley v Newcastle Emlyn.

Rhayader’s kick off was the standard 2.30, so I had time to kill beforehand. The small town of Rhayader (Welsh: Rhaeadr Gwy), meaning waterfall on the Wye, is very pleasant indeed. It is the oldest town in mid wales with a population of just over two thousand. It is pronounced approximately Raider. Continue reading “Rhayader Town”


caersws progSaturday 8th December 2012

Cymru Alliance

Caersws 6 Rhydymwyn 1 HT: 2-0

Att: 112

from the Recreation Ground

100_5673Most 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). Continue reading “Caersws”

Llandudno Town

Date: Saturday August 18th 2012
Ground: Maesdu Park
Comp: Cymru Alliance
Match: Llandudno Town 2 Porthmadog 2  HT: 1-0

ATT: 158
Additional: Entrance £5.00 Programme £1
Maesdu Park in pictures

Ground Statistics (marks out of ten, maximum 40)
Character 8, Structures/Terracing 7, Hospitality 7, Backdrop/Scenery or aesthetics for larger stadiums 8
Total 30

A family day in Llandudno, not even suggested by me, just happened to coincide with Llandudno playing at home. Honest M’lud. I’d wanted to do Maesdu Park for a while but the nigh on 100 miles distance had put it on the back burner. Now we were going anyway, me and my eldest son disappeared for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Continue reading “Llandudno Town”


Date: Sunday April 01 2012
Ground: Afoneitha Road
Comp: Cymru Alliance (Welsh step two)
Match: Penycae 0 Rhyl 2  HT: 0-1

ATT: circa 150
Additional: Entrance £5.00, Programme run out
Afoneitha Road in pictures

Ground Statistics (marks out of ten, maximum 40)
Character 6, Structures/Terracing 5, Hospitality 7, Backdrop/Scenery or aesthetics for larger stadiums 7
Total 25

Another Cymru Alliance tick at Afoneitha Road, the home of Penycae FC. Penycae have one of the smaller grounds in the league, one of only four in the division without floodlights (three as at the start of 2012-13, with Rhos Aelwyd going down and the three promotees all floodlit.). They were promoted from the Wrexham oriented Welsh National League in 2010-11. They are a relatively recent Welsh club, being founded in 1982.

The ground is very smart and new looking, with just one small stand. The rest is hard standing at ground level. Rhyl were the visitors, swelling their average crowd to in excess of 100. As is typical at the Rhyl games I’d seen, they once again outplayed the opposition but made a complete meal of finishing them off. The second half sprang to life a bit when a dog ran onto the pitch, an entertaining minute which the dog made the most of, ended when his owner carried him off, to cheers. Continue reading “Penycae”

Conwy United

Date: Friday March 23 2012
Ground: Y Morfa
Comp: Cymru Alliance (Welsh step two)
Match: Conwy United 0 Llandudno 4  HT: 0-2

ATT: circa 150
Additional: Entrance £5.00, Programme £1.50
Y Morfa in pictures

Ground Statistics (marks out of ten, maximum 40)
Character 8, Structures/Terracing 7, Hospitality 8, Backdrop/Scenery or aesthetics for larger stadiums 8
Total 31

This was an evening of good and bad but little in between. One of the most picturesque grounds in the Cymru Alliance is wasted on an evening match, as the looming cliffs aren’t so spectacular as looming shadows – definitely one to visit in the daylight. To add to the lack of backdrop, only half the stadium was accessible, the large covered stand behind the goal and down both sides to the half way line was out of bounds, with stewards stationed on both sides to stop entry. Only having access to 50% of this large ground for the Cymru Alliance, was very disappointing. Continue reading “Conwy United”