RUABON DRUIDS

01/08/2014 12:08

Although clearly not a Midlands team, I have always been fascinated by this legendary club and its history. Here we have a small village side from Cefn Maw near Ruabon, who won the Welsh Cup 8 times, and the Welsh national League, all during 1880-1902 period. Druids often played Shropshire teams in both the English and the Welsh cups, and competed in the Birmingham & District League, so had much contact with Midlands teams over the years.

Originally formed by the amalgamation of two local sides, circa 1869, they played at Plas Madoc parc during 1872-1877. Every website and article says 'this is now a council estate' suggesting that no part of the park existes, but this is wrong. Comparing Victorian maps with Google earth, its clear that the Ruabon Leisure Centre and its sports field now occupy the spot, the council estate is slightly lower down. There is a good chance that the existing sports field is where they played, as the old park was quite big, however, this was before their 'glory' years of the 1880s. In 1878 Druids needed to find a new home, and the Wynn estate offered them a remote field right next to the Wynn colliery. Old Druids players recalled that it was next to the colliery chimney stack; that colliery, by about 1970 was closed down and is now a caravan sales site just on the B6505 on the opposite side to the civic ammenity site (tip). I eventually traced this Wynn Hall ground, and amazingly the field is still there. Not only was it the Druids' home for 40 years, one Welsh Cup final was even played there ! This news would be a shock to the inhabitants of the nearby Green Cottages! Plas Madoc and Wynnstay Hall grounds were only 700 yards apart. Their colours were white shirt, black trousers and hooped socks of black and amber. The Druids amalgamated after the Great War, and furthur amalgamations occured until we arrive at the present day Cefn Mawr Druids who play at The Rock ground, off Rock Road at Rhosymedre. This used to be an old mining pit, the rock said to have been used to build the famous Pontcysyllte aqueduct near Trevor.

Other Druids grounds include an existing football field underneath the Pontcysyllte bridge by the river (you can see this if youre brave enough to cross the aqueduct) and Church Field at Rhosymedre. They are both still there. Cefn Mawr Druids play in black and white stripes, but there have been so many amalgamations over the years, that you cant really say that the present day club is a descendant of the original Druids, who to all intents and purposes had ceased to exist by the late 1920s.

A nearby team with the intriguing name of 'Westminster Rovers' also played against some Salop teams. I have discovered that they came from the Westminster colliery at Brymbo, famous for its huge steelworks.