Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Sunday's Coming - North Wales

Iechyd da, folks. For the second time in three weeks Hornets hit the road for Wales - and another new ground.

The Crusaders have had to move two games to nearby Cefn Druids’ FC as the contractors who did last year’s pitch repairs at the Unvrsty f n Vwls Racecourse Stadium have had to come back and try and put right repairs that didn’t go “… 100-per-cent according to plan…”. And it looks like an interesting ground to tick-off.

Welsh Alliance football club Cefn Druids play in Cefn Mawr, a mere quawter of a hawr further down the A483.

The club was founded in 1992 from a merger between Cefn Albion F.C. and Druids United. The original Druids FC from which the current club has evolved was founded in the 1860s - making it the oldest football club in Wales, and the oldest soccer club in the world outside England.

The Druids’ tidy 3,500 capacity stadium ‘The Rock’ was opened in 2010 and is a great blueprint for a small community stadium. It also has a bit of an unusual feature: built on the site of a disused quarry, one touchline sits at the foot of a rock face. Bring your crampons.

The Rock at Cefn Mawr.
For what is effectively a village football team, Cefn Druids have recently flirted with European football. In 2012–13 they played Finnish side Myllykosken-Pallo in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League. Taking a nil-nil home draw across to Myllykoski, they were whupped 5-nil. Now, that IS a long way home when you’ve been flogged.

Back with the oval ball, Crusaders’ win at Oldham last week was their sixth in succession - and continues their hoodoo over the Biffs, following on from their win there in the iPro Sport Cup semi-final stage in April - which was Oldham’s first home defeat in 18 months (or, co-incidentally, since we previously played in the same division!).

Cru Coach Anthony Murray wasn’t impressed with Whitebank. Speaking on WalesOnline, he said: "It's the second time that we've come to Whitebank and it's the second time that we've beaten them in their own back garden.” That’s not their back garden, Anthony - that’s their pitch…

Despite being 10-6 down early-doors, Crusaders blasted back to win 38-28 - a result that helped keep Hornets in second place in League 1.

Murray recognised his side’s slow-start: "We seem to be in the habit of not starting well", he said. "We were slow out of the blocks and fair play to Oldham - they got a couple of tries.”

"But you've got to give a lot of credit to our guys; once we found our go forward, our rhythm for the game and got into the areas that we needed to, we exploited them quite easily at times and we scored some lovely tries.”

And how did the Crusaders rectify their early wobble? "We were moving the ball right to left, left to right, everybody was running the right lines and targeting the right people.” Ah, right. Or left. Clearly. But mostly right, it seems.

Games against NW Crusaders seem to have had a bit of a derby frisson about them of late. Having had a solid-gold stinker at York-erstone last week, it’s imperative that Hornets come away with a win of any colour as League one’s top eight tightens up, with four points separating one to eight. And with the division’s highest scoring attack taking on the league’s stingiest defence, it promises to be an intriguing contest. The grandstand at The Rock seats 500 people - let’s get there early and fill as much of it as we can. And, don’t forget it’s a 2.30pm kick-off!

The Rock is on Rock Road, Cefn-mawr LL14 3YF.

Directions from the North:
From Wrexham take the A483 towards Oswestry. After around four miles, the road is filtered with the right hand lane continuing on the A483 towards Oswestry, whilst the left hand filter is signposted for the A539 Whitchurch/Llangollen. Keep in the left hand A539 filter lane and at the bottom of this road you will reach a roundabout where you take the 3rd exit towards Llangollen. Go straight across at the next roundabout and then at the next take the first exit onto the B5605 towards Rhosymedre/Cefn Mawr. After a mile turn right onto the B5096 towards Cefn Mawr and then take the second right into Rock Road. After passing the Jolly Masons Arms pub on the right, you will reach the entrance to the ground further up on the left.