I very rarely watch Match of the Day any more but was pleased I tuned into the December 28 episode as it featured an after-match interview with Crystal Palace assistant-manager and Anglesey all-time icon Osian Roberts.
When asked about his communication with manager Patrick Vieira, who is on Covid absence, Osian replied: “I speak to Patrick more than I do to my wife these days”.
His quip reminded me of a similar one former Rhyl manager Greg Strong made during the 2013-14 season.
After the Lilywhites had met Bangor City for a SEVENTH time that campaign, Strong said: “I see Nev Powell (Bangor manager) more than I do my wife nowadays”.
Ever since those days, I’ve always thought two teams meeting seven times in the same season is an awful lot.
In Wales, it became more of a possibility when the Welsh Premier reduced to 12 clubs in 2010-11.
Teams in the top six or bottom six at the “split” are guaranteed they will meet their second phase opponents four times in the league over the season.
Then there are always possibilities of cup clashes too, including the end-of-season play-offs, but are SEVEN games against the same team within nine months a common occurrence for WPL clubs since 2010-11 ?
It could get up to NINE if teams were paired together in the League /Nathaniel MG Cup too, depending on if they were one or two leg ties.
I’d say seven meetings was quite unusual, but unfortunately I do not have the time to search through every team’s results over the past 10 or 11 years to check.
However, seven matches in 2013-14 between Rhyl and Bangor did seem like quite a number.
They locked horns four times in the Welsh Premier, once in the Welsh Cup, took one another on in the North Wales Challenge Cup semi-final and rounded off the sequence with a coastal battle in the Europa League play-off final.
Bangor won four games, Rhyl just the one and there were two draws. I reported on all seven installments.
Here’s a look back at the 2013-14 ‘series’
Aug 26, 2013: Bangor City 2 Rhyl 3 (Welsh Premier) Attendance: 918
Rhyl recorded their only win of 2013-14 over Bangor on the second weekend of the season.
City had more of the play, but the Lilywhites did what mattered most – find the net.
Paul McManus (2) and Dave Forbes struck for the visitors, Sion Edwards and Rob Jones for the hosts.
Nov 30, 2013: Rhyl 0 Bangor City 0 (Welsh Premier) Att: 869
Only a tremendous display by Rhyl keeper Alex Ramsay denied the Citizens all three points.
Dec 7, 2013: Rhyl 1 Bangor City 2 (Welsh Cup) Att: 550
A winner deep into added time from Sion Edwards sent the travelling City supporters wild.
Rhyl’s Steve Lewis converted a 33rd minute penalty, awarded for a challenge by Damien Allen on Danny Laverty, but Anthony Miley headed home an Edwards free kick to make it all-square at half time.
Mar 15, 2014: Rhyl 1 Bangor City 1 (Welsh Premier) Att: 979
Steve Lewis headed Rhyl in front in the second minute from a brilliant Dave Forbes cross.
City levelled when Les Davies set up Jamie Petrie to slot home in the 36th minute.
Forbes went close to a second-half winner when he struck the post.
Apr 26, 2014: Bangor City 2 Rhyl 0 (Welsh Premier) Att: 559
Chris Jones and Les Davies grabbed the goals which secured City a first league win of the campaign over the Lilywhites.
Michael Johnston’s exquisite through ball released Jones to steer past keeper Alex Ramsay in the first half.
In the second period, Chris Roberts’ fierce cross from the left hit the shin of Davies and ended up in the net.
Apr 30, 2014: Bangor City 3 Rhyl 0 (North Wales Coast FA Challenge Cup semi-final) Att: 150
Just 150 turned up to see this one, indicating the fans had possibly had enough of this fixture by now.
City won comfortably to reach the Challenge Cup final, Sion Edwards netting twice and Jay Colbeck a single.
May 17, 2014: Bangor City 2 Rhyl 0 (Europa League play-off final) Att: 1,452
The final meeting of the season between these rivals and undoubtedly the most important with a Europa League place at stake.
Damien Allen produced his greatest display in a Bangor shirt, while Les Davies and Chris Jones provided the crucial goals.
After a goalless first half, the hosts broke the deadlock when Allen played the ball into Davies, whose left-foot screamer from the edge of the box gave keeper Alex Ramsay no chance.
When Allen’s cross into the box was handled by Matty Woodward a penalty was awarded and Jones’ central kick went right through Ramsay to find the net.
Rhyl had two sent off – Peter Dogan for two yellows, both for horrendous late tackles and Tom Donegan for a vile two-footed lunge at Davies which was nothing short of a disgrace. Luckily, Les escaped serious injury.
It was wonderful to see such a large crowd at Nantporth.
Seven-and-a-half years on, Rhyl FC have folded after 141 years of football, while Bangor City are currently suspended from playing for non-payment of wages and in their worst state in living memory.
Never take things too much for granted – you don’t half miss them when they’re gone.