NEWI Cefn Druids
Ground: Plaskynaston Lane
Capacity: 2000 (300 seated)
Pitch Size: 110 x 72 yards
Nickname: Druids or Ancients
Admission: £5 adult, £3 students/OAP, £1 accompanied children
Cefn Mawr is a village in the community of Cefn within the county borough of Wrexham, north-east Wales. The community of Cefn comprises the villages of Cefn Mawr, Acrefair, Penybryn, Newbridge and Rhosymedre and is situated on the northern slopes of the Dee valley.
Cefn Mawr was part of the ancient parish of Ruabon and the area was known as Cristionydd Cynrig (or Cristionydd Kenrick in English). In 1844, most of Cristionydd Cynrig, together with the neighbouring township of Coed Cristionydd became part of the new parish of Rhosymedre. Cefn Mawr is also the origin of the slang word Chead.
Cefn Mawr was formerly heavily industrialised, with large deposits of iron and coal, and heavy industry dominated the area in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In 1867 Robert Ferdinand Graesser, an industrial chemist from Obermosel in Saxony, established a chemical works at Plas Kynaston to extract paraffin oil and wax from the local shale. The company later expanded into the production of coal tar, carbolic acid and phenol. The site soon became the world’s leading phenol producer. In 1919 the US chemical company Monsanto entered into a partnership with Graesser’s chemical works to produce vanillin, salicylic acid, aspirin and later rubber. The works is now operated by Flexsys, a subsidiary of Monsanto.
Tŷ Mawr Country Park is located in the area, and features the Cefn Viaduct, built by Thomas Brassey in 1848 to carry the Shrewsbury and Chester railway across the valley of the River Dee. The village itself includes a primary school and public library.
How to Get There
From all parts; Leave A483 at Ruabon with junction of A539 and follow signs for Llangollen. At next roundabout turn left onto B5605 signed Cefn Mawr. After 1 mile turn right at the Plough Inn (Rhosymedre) into Cefn Mawr. Cross railway bridge and after passing Somerfield supermarket on left, almost immediately fork left down very narrow lane (AA signposted). Ground is 400 yards further on.
Map to Plaskynaston Lane
Parking: Car park inside the ground and opposite the entrance.
Nearest railway station: Ruabon (1.5 miles)
Disabled Facilities: Accomodation for wheelchairs in Main Stand and disabled toilets in Social Club.
Social Club: Druids Social Club is open before and after every matchday. With a range of fine ales coupled with a friendly atmosphere why not join the locals for a pre and post-match drink.
Rivals: Connah’s Quay, Lex XI
Following many years of argument and discussion, the inevitable amalgamation of Druids United and Cefn Albion took place in 1992.
It had been apparent for a long time that the town of Cefn Mawr, to the south of Ruabon, simply wasn’t big enough to support two football clubs, both of whom were floundering in the lower reaches of the Welsh National League.
With local rivalry at an end, an application was made to join the Cymru Alliance football league which had just lost eight of its teams to the newly-formed League of Wales.
The origins of soccer in the area can be traced as far back as 1869 when Plasmadoc Football Club was founded by the Thomson brothers. Three years later, Plasmadoc became Druids when the various colliery and quarry teams in the hills around Ruabon and Cefn Mawr were brought together under one banner.
Six Druids players were in the first Welsh international side which played Scotland (in Glasgow) on 25th March 1876: the most from a single club ever to play for Wales. In addition to being the first Welsh club to play in the English F.A.Cup, Druids also played in the very first Welsh Cup game, when they opposed Newtown in 1877.
The death of founder David Thomson at the age of just 29, followed by the loss of their Plasmadoc Park ground in 1878 forced Druids to kick their heels for twelve months, until a new ground became available at Wynnstay Park, thanks to the powerful Williams-Wynn family. Seven times, between 1880 and 1904, Druids were Welsh Cup winners and runners-up on five other occasions. During this time, thirty Druids players were capped for Wales and a total of 44 internationals played for the club. The club joined the first Welsh League in 1890, recovered from the economic slump and the loss of the Williams-Wynn patronage, and rose again towards the end of the nineteenth century with more silverware.
Welsh Cup Winners 1879/80
Welsh Cup Winners 1897/98
Nevertheless, the game was changing and leaving Wales behind. Wynnstay Park was becoming increasingly unsuitable, being located in open countryside behind the grim chimneys of Wynnstay Colliery. It had no cover and the estate refused permission to improve the site. Financial troubles engulfed the club and the descent was halted only by the outbreak of war.
In 1920, the club left Wynnstay Park and combined with Rhosymedre to become Rhosymedre Druids at the Church Field ground. This club merged with Acrefair United in 1923, becoming Druids United. Thereafter, United were perennial strugglers in the Welsh National League (North) until stepping down to the Wrexham & District League in 1930, moving to yet another new ground, this time in Acrefair. The fall from grace, it appeared, was complete.
During the 1950s, however, Druids built links with Monsanto, the chemicals conglomerate whose belching towers loomed over the town. A pitch was provided in the shadow of the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and, for a while, The Ancients were rejuvenated. League placings improved and, in 1957, Druids United reached the Welsh Amateur Cup final, losing to Porthmadog in a replay at Bangor. Profit from the cup run, however, enabled the club to fund the layout of a new ground in the heart of Cefn Mawr. Nevertheless, it took three years (until 1961) to prepare the pitch on the site of the former Plas Kynaston Colliery railway sidings, but enthusiasm had waned by the 1980s when Druids were being outstripped by arch rivals Cefn Albion.
Formed in 1967, Albion played initially at The Bont, then at Rhostyllen, Ty Mawr and Church Field before settling back at Ty Mawr. A merger between the two clubs was resisted for years until former Chester manager Ken Roberts intervened to convince the rival factions that an amalgamation was in the best interests of everyone. Thus, in 1992, Cefn Druids F.C. was born, playing at Plaskynaston Lane and carrying the white and black colours of the original Plasmadoc club. In the meantime, the formation of the League of Wales meant that Wales, at last, had a structure which encouraged clubs to grow and, for the first time in more than sixty years, the club was able to compete at something above local level. Druids were on the march again.
Under manager Ian Williams, the club steadily consolidated in the Cymru Alliance, helped by a renewed youth policy. Increasingly assisted by Flexsys, the rubber company which occupied the Ruabon works after Monsanto left, Druids laid ambitious plans to reach the League of Wales. Former Lex XI manager, Gareth Powell joined the club as team manager in 1997 and, with Williams as general manager, steered the club to third place in the Alliance. In 1998, further investment, resulted in a five-year sponsorship agreement with Flexsys, which involved putting the company name in the team’s title in return for major ground improvements. Powell guided Cefn Druids to the 1998/99 Cymru Alliance championship, won in a canter with more than a century of goals, and the club’s ambitions had been realised.
The club’s first season in the League of Wales was, quite naturally, one of consolidation although they marked their entrance with a 1-0 win at Inter Cardiff, the previous year’s runners-up, in the very first game. Thereafter, Druids managed to inter-mingle wins and losses and had accrued thirty points before drawing their 26th match – one of only two drawn games in which the club featured that season.
The 2000/1 season followed a similar pattern and, at one stage, Flexsys were near the top of the league, but results fell away and the team eventually finished thirteenth in the league, exactly the same place as in 1999/2000.
Although the 2001/2 League of Wales campaign began badly for Druids, the team progressed into the quarter-finals of the League Cup competition, pipping both Connah’s Quay Nomads and Oswestry Town at the group stage, and reached the semi-finals of the Welsh Cup before going out to Bangor City.
But the next two seasons were not as successful, with league finishes of 12th and 13th resulting in the dismissal of manager Steve O’Shaughnessy in April 2004.
Season 2004/5 saw Alan Morgan move from Porthmadog to take the helm as player/manager, but after a string of poor results, a 7-0 mauling at Caersws led to his resignation. Former Wrexham favourite Dixie McNeil moved in with the club’s commercial director ‘Ossie’ Jones and they were able to spark some improvement, but it failed to prevent the Ancients from finishing in the second relegation spot.
Druids’ Welsh Premier status was again in danger in 2005/6, but the club staged a mini-revival in the final weeks of the season to breathe easy once again.
Welsh Cup winners: 1879-80, 1880-81, 1881-82, 1884-85, 1885-86, 1897- 98, 1898-99, 1903-04
Welsh Cup runners up: 1877-78, 1882-83, 1883-84, 1899-1900, 1900-01
Welsh Amateur Cup winners: 1902-03
Welsh Amateur Cup winners: 1903-04, 1956-57
Cymru Alliance champions: 1998-99
NEWFA Challenge Cup winners: 1992-1993, 1997-98
Welsh Youth Cup winners: 1957-58, 1958-59
Plaskynaston Lane, Cefn Mawr, Wrexham LL14 3AT
Tel: 01978 824332 / 824279