A cup competition held in memory of a North Wales football stalwart takes over a league fixture list from this weekend under a new format.
The Mike Beech Memorial Cup is being converted from a straight knockout to a 32-team, eight groups of four, Champions League style tournament.
From this Saturday, the new-look competition will take centre stage in the North East Wales Football League schedule over the coming weeks.
The top two in each group will make up the last 16, from where the traditional one-on-one draws take over all the way to the final.
First launched in the 2018/19 season, Halkyn & Flint Mountain were the inaugural winners of the Mike Beech Memorial Cup after a convincing 6-1 victory over Penyffordd Lions. The Mountain are still the current holders after the competition was cut short the following season.
The cup is named in honour of Mike Beech, former secretary of the North East Wales League who passed away on December 30, 2017, aged just 62.
Father-of-four and grandfather-of-15, Mike first began working in football when he joined Chester City as commercial manager in 2000 and was later club secretary before leaving the Blues in 2002.
He went on to serve a number of North Wales clubs including Conwy United, Cefn Druids, Flint Town United, Holywell Town and Queen’s Park in Wrexham.
After his passing, daughter Nicki took over his secretarial duties and remains fixture organiser for the successor North East Wales Football League.
The Mike Beech Memorial Cup involves teams from the North East Wales Football League’s Premier, Championship and Reserves divisions.
Two teams from the same club cannot be drawn together in the group stages.
This Saturday’s first set of fixtures are (1.30 pm kick-offs)
MIKE BEECH MEMORIAL CUP GROUP A
Coedpoeth United v Halkyn & Flint Mountain
Ruabon Rovers v Caerwys Reserves
Overton Recreation v Greenfield
Penyffordd Lions v Mynydd Isa Spartans Reserves
Chirk Town v FC United of Wrexham
Ruthin Town Development v Connah’s Quay Town
Caerwys v Lex Reserves
Cefn Mawr Rangers v Castell Alun Colts
Hawarden Rangers v Mynydd Isa Spartans
Railway Rovers v Llay Welfare Colts
CPD Sychdyn v Castell Alun Colts Reserves
Llangollen Town v New Brighton Villa
FC Queen’s Park v Brymbo Lodge
Bellevue v Coedpoeth United Reserves
Lex XI v Llangollen Town Reserves
Borras Park Albion v FC Queen’s Park Reserves