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Welcome back to the North Wales Coast Senior Challenge Cup

Colwyn Bay’s 1999/2000 NWCFA Challenge Cup winning side. Top (left to right): Mark Woods, Lee Congerton, Russell Jones, Martin Roberts, Mark Price, Jamie Fairhurst, Dave Norman. Front row (left to right): Marc Limbert, Danny McGoona, James McIlvogue, Colin Caton, Peter Donnelly, Craig Lawton. Picture: Colwyn Bay FC website

Whatever perceived positives or negatives have emerged from the proposed changes to North Wales football next season, the return of the NWCFA Senior Challenge Cup is surely a major plus.

While the famous cup had lost much of its prestige before its demise in 2014, it still bore the proud name which defined it as the premier knockout competition for the North Wales coast.

The cup was born in 1923-24 and the first winners were Mold, who defeated Bangor 2-1 after extra time in the final at Flint.

In its 1950s heyday the Coast Challenge Cup was so popular it regularly attracted four-figure crowds to its finals, all staged at Farrar Road, Bangor.

A massive 9,200 witnessed the 1952 final between Bangor City and Pwllheli.

Hosts Bangor trailed at the break, but a Cecil Wyles hat-trick in the second half secured a 3-1 victory for the Citizens.

The 1956 final between Holyhead Town and Caernarfon Town was expected to be a close affair.

However, in front of more than 6,000 spectators, Holyhead triumphed 6-1, the legendary Tommy Welsh notching a hat-trick.

Throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the cup remained a must-win competition for the coast’s premier teams.

The legendary Borough United, who starred in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in the same era, won the Coast Challenge in 1963 and 1964, Porthmadog lifted the trophy four times in the 1970s and Colwyn Bay claimed it three years in a row in the 80s.

The cup appeared to start losing some of its appeal in the 1990s, when the League of Wales and Cymru Alliance came into being.

More knockout competitions emerged, and the opportunities for ‘lower ranked’ clubs to qualify for Europe increased when the Wales-based Football League clubs were excluded from the Welsh Cup from 1995-96.

As newer, more lucrative competitions became increasingly prominent, so the bigger Welsh Premier clubs viewed the NWCFA Challenge Cup as less important.

Hence some clubs fielded weaker teams in the cup, whose profile plummeted.

Nonetheless, the competition continued to produce an impressive winners’ rostrum right to the end, Caernarfon Town being the last to lift the trophy in 2013-14 after beating Bangor City in the final on penalties.

Since it began being competed for 97 years ago, Rhyl have won the cup the most times (16), with Bangor City second (13) and Colwyn Bay third (10).

Next season will see the return of this great competition with clubs from tier 3 upwards invited to enter. Let’s hope it gets the respect it deserves.

NORTH WALES COAST FA SENIOR CHALLENGE CUP LIST OF WINNERS

2014 – Competition suspended
2013-14 Caernarfon Town
2012-13 Prestatyn Town
2011-12 Bangor City
2010-11 Colwyn Bay
2009-10 Porthmadog
2008-09 Llandudno
2007-08 Llandudno
2006-07 Flint Town United
2005-06 Rhyl
2004-05 Bangor City
2003-04 Rhyl
2002-03 Porthmadog
2001-02 Caernarfon Town
2000-01 Caernarfon Town
1999-00 Colwyn Bay
1998-99 Bangor City
1997-98 Colwyn Bay
1996-97 Porthmadog
1995-96 Colwyn Bay
1994-95 Llandudno
1993-94 Connah’s Quay Nomads
1992-93 Bangor City
1991-92 Colwyn Bay
1990-91 Flint Town
1989-90 Mold Alex
1988-89 Mostyn
1987-88 Felinheli
1986-87 Holywell Town
1985-86 Mold Alexandra
1984-85 Ffynnongroew
1983-84 Colwyn Bay
1982-83 Colwyn Bay
1981-82 Colwyn Bay
1980-81 Caernarfon Town
1979-80 Caernarfon Town
1978-79 Pwllheli
1977-78 Porthmadog
1976-77 Porthmadog
1975-76 Bethesda Athletic
1974-75 Porthmadog
1973-74 Porthmadog
1972-73 Denbigh Town
1971-72 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1970-71 Barmouth & Dyffryn
1969-70 Rhyl
1968-69 Barmouth & Dyffryn
1967-68 Bangor City
1966-67 Holyhead Town
1965-66 Caernarfon Town
1964-65 Bangor City
1963-64 Borough United
1962-63 Borough United
1961-62 Pwllheli & District
1960-61 Colwyn Bay & Bethesda
1959-60 Pwllheli & District
1959-60 Pwllheli & District
1958-59 Blaenau Ffestiniog
1957-58 Bangor City
1956-57 Caernarfon Town
1955-56 Holyhead Town
1954-55 Rhyl
1953-54 Rhyl
1952-53 Rhyl
1951-52 Bangor
1950-51 Rhyl
1949-50 Rhyl
1948-49 Rhyl
1947-48 Rhyl
1946-47 Bangor City
1945-46 Caernarfon Town
1940-45 Competition Suspended
1939-40 Caernarfon Town
1938-39 Rhyl
1937-38 Bangor City
1936-37 Bangor City
1935-36 Bangor City
1934-35 Rhyl
1933-34 Rhyl
1932-33 Rhyl
1931-32 Bethesda Victoria
1930-31 Colwyn Bay
1929-30 Rhyl
1928-29 Connah’s Quay
1927-28 Rhyl
1926-27 Bangor
1925-26 Llandudno
1924-25 Mold
1923-24 Mold

Most wins

16 – Rhyl
13 – Bangor City
10 – Colwyn Bay
9 – Caernarfon Town
7 – Porthmadog
4 – Llandudno, Mold Alex, Pwllheli
2 – Flint Town United, Connah’s Quay Nomads, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Barmouth and Dyffryn, Holyhead Town, Borough United, Bethesda Athletic, Bethesda
1 – Prestatyn Town, Mostyn, Felinheli, Holywell Town, Ffynnongroew, Denbigh Town, Bethesda Victoria

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