Welsh Football returns home as Ruabon Rovers make JD Welsh Cup Debut
Domestic
12 July 2021

Welsh Football returns home as Ruabon Rovers make JD Welsh Cup Debut

The birthplace of Welsh football as we know it, Ruabon holds a very special place in our nation’s footballing history, and that history came flooding to the fore this weekend as competitive football returned to the village once again.

Cymru Football App

Check out all of the JD Welsh Cup Qualifying Round 1 results on the Cymru Football app. 

Visit your app store to download it now: 

It was in the Wynnstay Arms back in 1876 that the Football Association of Wales was officially formed, and a year later the JD Welsh Cup’s first-ever game was contested in the village as well by the team then known as Ruabon Druids.

This past weekend, Welsh football – and the JD Welsh Cup – came home, as the newly-formed Ruabon Rovers competed in the first round of the 2021/22 competition against Saltney Town at the Recreation Ground, just a stone’s throw away from where the FAW was formed 145 years ago.

It has been 15 years since there was last a men’s team competing in the name of the village, and in only their second competitive outing since forming over a year ago, Chairperson Callum Edwards discussed the club’s journey.

“The village has been without a senior men’s team for about 15 years, but we feel it absolutely deserves one because of the village’s history so we set the team up in January 2020. 

“The world then came to a stop because of the pandemic, but we’ve used that time wisely, developing the club, finding sponsorship, and we feel really positive about the future. Our return has been received really positively, we’ve had lots of fantastic coverage from the media and things like that. 

“There certainly has been a buzz locally which we hope reignites that passion for supporting local football – we’ve had a lot of support here in the two games so far and we’re hoping that continues.”

The JD Welsh Cup itself was in attendance at the Recreation Ground for this historic occasion, and it certainly attracted many admirers whilst on display on the day, which Edwards admits only added to the aura of the club’s special day.

“It is fantastic to have the JD Welsh Cup itself here too, there have been a lot of people saying ‘bring it home’ on social media, so we’re very thankful to the FAW for making sure this beautiful trophy is here for the game. 

“This is a big day for the village and a big day for the club – only our second competitive game, but such a big one. We got three points last week in the league, which was important, but occasions like this don’t come around very often so it is very nice to have this here.”

Ruabon were unable to progress in the JD Welsh Cup as Saltney Town ran out 7-2 winners.
Ruabon were unable to progress in the JD Welsh Cup as Saltney Town ran out 7-2 winners.

Chris Bennion, captaining the newly-formed side, helped them secure their first victory prior to this JD Welsh Cup showdown as he scored the winner in the club’s first competitive game against Brymbo Lodge, and he discussed the pride he and his teammates feel for representing their village.

“I’m a local lad, a lot of us are and played for Ruabon as juniors when we started some 15 years ago, but since then we all went our separate ways and have now come back together to set up a team in the village again. We’re just a bunch of local lads who want to make our village proud. 

“I’ve played for a number of clubs in my career, but there’s nothing like playing in front of your local crowd, people you know and your family, and representing your village. 

“This is such a proud area for football, the FAW was established around the corner from this ground at the Wynnstay, there’s a load of local teams playing at different levels, and we want to set the foundations for Ruabon to be back amongst those teams for many years in the future.”

The JD Welsh Cup outside the Wynnstay Arms, a venue of historical importance to the FAW.
The JD Welsh Cup outside the Wynnstay Arms, a venue of historical importance to the FAW.

Another of that group of players who have returned to make this village dream a reality is Michael Jones, who describes himself as one of the older heads of the side. He detailed the desire that has been there for some time to re-establish a team in Ruabon, as well as the important of inspiring the future generations to play for the village afterwards.

“It’s great to have an occasion like this back in Ruabon and for there to be a team here again. It’s been a long time since we were all last here together, we’re all a bit older now and finding it a bit harder, but we’re definitely going to give it our best for the village in this game and going forward.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for such a long time, and it is great to finally be back. We had our first competitive game in the league recently – and we won! – with a big crowd here supporting, too, so to have that kind of occasion back in Ruabon, and to have the Welsh Cup here today is great.

“We’ve got a lot of local derbies to look forward to, which is great, and we’re hoping we can inspire younger players to want to represent their village going forward. Us older ones have come together to start it up again, but we can’t play forever so we need to inspire those young people for the club’s future.”

Check out all of the JD Welsh Cup Qualifying Round 1 results on the Cymru Football app. 

Visit your app store to download it now: 

The draw for Qualifying Round 2 will be published to the FAW website on Monday (12 July) afternoon.