JD Welsh Cup: Bala stand in the way of TNS’ triple treble
The New Saints and Bala Town will set out to make respective club history on Sunday afternoon as they meet in the 130th JD Welsh Cup final.
The final is billed as one of the biggest in recent years, as two of Welsh football’s strongest sides teams will battle it out for the historic Welsh Cup at Bangor City’s Bangor University Stadium.
TNS come into the game as the dominant force in Welsh football, seeking their third consecutive treble before moving to play in the Champions League qualifying rounds after six back to back title wins.
Bala Town are meanwhile highly regarded as one of the best semi-professional outfits in the Welsh Premier, having just secured their third venture into the Europa League with a third place finish.
But for all of their strength, Bala are huge underdogs ahead of the game. They have never beaten TNS in a competitive fixture, and must try and change this in their first ever Welsh Cup final.
Despite this, manager Colin Caton told FAW.TV they go to Bangor with a Welsh Cup win on the mind.
“The final’s going to be a tough test and they’re a real good team, but we’ll go about it a bit different and hopefully surprise them.
“It’s important that we try and win it for everybody involved and don’t let the occasion pass us by.”
Bala and TNS have met five times already this season and played out a cup final rehearsal on the final day of the Welsh Premier season last week.
The game saw TNS come out victors with a 6-4 scoreline, and while it showed flashes of brilliance from both sides, Saints manager Craig Harrison says the result will do little to affect the cup final.
“I don’t think either us or Bala will play those same teams. “When you look at it there were changes made on both sides and at the time it was just important for us to get the three points.
While some players were rested for that match, both sides are set to field their absolute strongest on Sunday, with their next games not until late June in European competition.
Bala’s Venables, Hunt and Hayes will all be expected to test TNS, who will look to the likes of Routledge, Quigley and Brobbel to continue their outstanding season-long form.
The game will be played on Bangor’s grass surface, but unlike previous Welsh Cup finals the surface will do little to separate the teams who both play on 3G at home.
On paper the Welsh Cup final is The New Saints’ to lose, but in its 130 years the competition has a reputation for not always following the script.
The JD Welsh Cup final commences at 2pm and will be broadcast live on S4C.
Featured Image: Brian Jones