The win against Penrhyncoch over the weekend marked TNS’ debut in the JD Welsh Cup this season. It’s the final competition that we have entered in 2017/2018, and as far as I’m concerned, definitely a case of keeping the best till last.
Ever since I’ve been a child, the Cwpan Cymru had been my favourite competition. Back in the days before the internet, the sources that fed my football hunger were quite limited.
In with the Rothmans Football Yearbook, Shoot magazine and various daily newspapers was our local Express & Star. It was there, back in the sixties, that I first became aware of the Welsh Cup.
As well as the likes of Cardiff City and Wrexham, who of course no longer play in the competition, there were local teams such as Kidderminster Harriers and Stourbridge FC featuring.
Again, like their Welsh counterparts who play in the English system, you won’t find their names in the draw any longer. It was their inclusion, however, that captured my imagination.
As a football-mad child there was definitely a sense of magic attached to the fact that these teams were playing in the national cup competition of another country.
Plus, I was fascinated by the place names that their opponents represented. When you’re familiar with the likes of Dudley and Wolverhampton, there is almost a sense of romanticism when you encounter numerous unpronounceable towns and villages that begin with the uniquely Welsh Ll.
The aforementioned midlands teams also made finals, with Stourbridge making their sole appearance in 1974, losing by the narrowest of margins in both legs against Cardiff City.
The Harriers featured in two finals, and like their neighbours seven miles away and linked by the A451, they also failed to lift the trophy. Their most recent appearance was in 1989.
Interestingly, back in the 1991/92 season Kidderminster beat a certain Llansantffraid 4-1 in the third round, before then exiting the competition at the next hurdle against Swansea City.
Fast-forward to the present and although I love all competitions that TNS plays in from domestic to cross-border, I have never lost the childhood appreciation of the Welsh Cup.
For that I have the Express & Star, Kidderminster Harriers and Stourbridge FC to thank.
The lead photograph is with Ryan Brobbel, following TNS’ Welsh Cup victory in 2015/16.
Stewart Bloor – Media & Communications Officer at TNS FC
Rev’s Ramblings is a weekly blog insight into my adventures with the champions of Wales.