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The Nomads' early Cup exploits


The Nomads' inaugural season in the Welsh League (North) was featured in our last home programme so now it is time to turn our attention to the club's performances in no fewer than six cup competitions during that 1952/53 campaign.

If the team held its own in the league, occupying a comfortable 13th placing, then it surpassed all expectations in knockout competitions. Nomads won the prestigious Welsh Amateur Cup along with the North Wales Coast Amateur Cup and reached the semi-final stage of both the Welsh Senior Cup and the Alves Cup. In so doing they played 26 matches overall, winning 20 and drawing two and scoring 105 goals against 42.

North Wales Coast Challenge Cup
Having been given a first round bye, the team entertained Kinmel Park Camp in the second round winning 5-2 but then suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Portmadoc at the next stage.

Cookson Cup
Once again a first round bye allowed Nomads the chance to oppose Bangor City in the second round at the Halfway Ground. Another cup run came to a sudden conclusion with the visitors running out winners by the odd goal in seven.

Alves Cup
Yet again a bye to the second round eased the Nomads into this competition and a home tie against a strong Portmadoc team. The match was played on a Wednesday afternoon towards the end of March 1953 with a 4.30pm kick-off and Nomads were keen to avenge that 1-0 loss in the NWCCC. This they did by defeating a strong Portmadoc side 4-3 to earn a crack at local rivals Flint Town United at the next stage. The Silkmen, having won 6-0 at the Halfway in the league encounter, proved less of an obstacle as Nomads won 4-1. Not that the run became any easier for Holywell Town, league champions elect, were our semi-final opponents at Flint. Geoff Thelwell wrote in his memoirs "Holywell Town beat us 1-0 in the semi-final with a penalty in the first ten minutes. We played them off the park but could not seal our fine display with goals".

North Wales Coast Amateur Cup
Victories over Bagillt United (10-nil) and Greenfield United (7-nil) swept The Nomads into the third round and a trip 'down the road' to play (and defeat by three goals to one) Connah's Quay Albion. Machno United proved to be stiff opposition in a 1-1 draw but the replay at the Halfway saw Nomads romp through by 7-0. Once again Flint's Holywell Road ground was the stage for our semi-final against Denbigh Town and what a game that proved to be with Nomads clinching a place in the final thanks to a nail-biting 7-6 victory. Nantlle Vale were to be our opponents. We ha scraped past them (3-2) in the Welsh Amateur Cup but this proved much easier and Connah's Quay lifted the cup on the back of a 4-0 success.

Welsh Amateur Cup
Exempt until the third round of the competition Nomads' were drawn away to Rhostyllen where a 5-0 win saw them progress to take on Welshpool who were something of an unknown quantity in those days. In the event a 10-2 away win was achieved with ease before Nantlle Vale kept Nomads on their toes before a 3-2 victory earned an away tie in the sixth round against Atlas Sports (Swansea). Living up to their nomadic existence Connah's Quay travelled south in January 1953 and came away on the right end of a 2-1 scoreline, despite playing with 10 men for most of the game after Willie Davies was injured, and a semi-final match with Cardiff Corinthians at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground. The Cardiff team fielded five Welsh amateur internationals but to no avail as they were swamped by five goals to nil in what Thelwell described as "the best team display I ever played in." Thus, just two years after the disappointment of losing in the final to Treharris Athletic, Nomads were back and ready to take on Caersws at Wrexham. A crowd of more than 5,000 turned out to see Connah's Quay win 3-2 with goals from 17 years-old Peter Williams, Billy Davies and an Eric Evans penalty.

Welsh Senior Cup
A little over two weeks prior to that Amateur Cup final, the Nomads had lost to Chester (once again at the Racecourse Ground) in the semi-final of the Welsh Senior Cup. It was a disappointing end to a tremendous run in the most senior cup competition within the Principality. Yet it could so easily have ended at the first hurdle when Nomads failed to overcome Llandudno Junction at home (2-2) but shaded the replay down the coast by two goals to one. Blaenau Ffestiniog finished third in the Welsh League (North) that year but came unstuck at the Halfway as Nomads trounced them 6-2 before handing out a 7-4 thumping to Merseyside visitors South Liverpool (of the Lancashire Combination) in the fourth round. The challenge was gaining momentum and continued with a 4-1 away win against Buckley Wanderers. As the latter stages of the competition approached Nomads were drawn to play away to Flint Town United. Once more league form went out of the window as Nomads won courtesy of a solitary goal against a strong Flint side that were to be runners-up in the league that season. Another large crowd flocked by road and rail to Wrexham for the semi-final on April Fools' Day 1953 but Chester's Football League side ran out 5-0 victors to end the Nomads valiant efforts. It was to be another 40 years before Connah's Quay reached such a late stage of the Welsh Cup once again.

Let us reflect on the achievements of those amateur footballers who brought the club such success in its very first year in senior football. In league and cup the team played a grand total of 60 football matches and scored 186 goals against 153. If that wasn't entertainment enough they won two cup competitions and reached the semi-final stage of two others including the most senior Welsh competition of them all. After winning the Welsh Amateur Cup against Caersws the team coach was met by cheering crowds on its return to Deeside followed by a civic reception at the council offices. As the next chapter of the Club's history unfolds we shall see that things went rapidly downhill!


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