The Unknown Derby: New Brighton Villa and Rhydymwyn prepare for double header
Connah’s Quay Nomads, Airbus UK, and Flint Town United are just a few of the established names within football in Flintshire.
But deep in the local scene are two young, ambitious sides who are relatively under the radar in the Welsh National League Division One.
They are New Brighton Villa and Rhydymwyn, who go head to head not once, but twice in a fortnight with back to back fixtures in the league and Division One League Cup.
And with just four miles separating the two clubs, bragging rights will be on the line in two fixtures that could have a big say on each of their seasons.
Despite differing starts to the fourth tier Division One campaign, Rhydymwyn sit sixth in the league only two points above New Brighton in seventh.
This is down to both sides having a number of games in hand, with a new-look Rhydymwyn side, boosted by the signings of a host of ex-FC Nomads players including Kyle Amos, Jon Grossman, and Will Leonard, boasting four wins from five games so far.
New Brighton, who alike Rhydymwyn have a squad made of up relatively young players, have meanwhile endured a slower start to the season.
Having won three, lost three, and drawn one, Saturday’s trip to the Mornflake Mighty Oats ground offers them the chance to build some momentum with what would be a big away victory.
They will be tasked with stopping the likes of Scott Nelson and Harry Massey, who have been in rich goal scoring form, but Villa man Sam Wainwright may pose a threat to the hosts with five goals from his last four games.
In the following week, both teams will be up for the cup, having both enjoyed success in other competitions so far.
Rhydymwyn caused an upset to knock Plas Madoc out of the NEWFA Cup, and reached the JD Welsh Cup first round proper with a penalty shootout victory over Llandyrnog.
And New Brighton Villa also progressed in the JD Welsh Cup, beating Penmaenmawr on penalties after a six goal thriller. Their reward was a first round tie to former champions Prestatyn Town, who they gave a good game despite losing out 5-1.
Ahead of the game, Rhydymwyn head coach Anthony Weaver spoke about the derby factor that will give both games an edge.
“Local derbies always have extra incentives, with three points and a place in the next round of the cup up for grabs, both games will be close encounters.”
And Dave Roberts, manager of New Brighton Villa, echoed the importance of the double derby.
He said: “It will be a massive test. They’re a young side who like to get the ball down and play the right way and I’d like to think we do as well so it should be a good contest.
“We’re under no illusions of the quality other teams in this league possess. You’ve got to be at your best week in week out or you’ll be empty-handed come what May when the season ends.
“It’s a difficult place to travel but I’m more than confident in the quality of my squad to go there and put in a positive performance. The quality of our training in the last few weeks has been excellent and that translated on to the pitch last weekend. Hopefully we can take those positives in to tomorrow’s game and come away with the points.”
Although they sit in the fourth tier of Welsh football, Rhydymwyn and New Brighton Villa are well drilled outfits, and their derby clashes look set to be stern tests that could go on to have significant effects on their season.
Rhydymwyn host New Brighton Villa on Saturday 10 November in the league and Saturday 17 November in the Division One League Cup.