Breaking: NWCFA Intermediate Challenge Cup Final now postponed until July

Penmaenmawr, Wales - 2nd April - Penmaenmawr Phoenix vs CPD Rhyl 1879 at Cae Sling in the semi-final of the NWCFA Intermediate Challenge Cup

CPD Rhyl 1879 in action at Penmaenmawr Phoenix in the semi-final of the NWCFA Intermediate Challenge Cup. Picture: Sam Eaden

The NWCFA Intermediate Challenge Cup Final has been cancelled until July at a venue to be confirmed.

The match was set to be played next Tuesday, May 31, at Nantlle Vale, with CPD Y Rhyl 1879 due to meet the winners of Saturday’s semi between Bangor 1876 and Bodedern Athletic.

However, after a NWCFA risk assessment carried out at Nantlle’s home, Maes Dulyn, Penygroes, it was decided the ground might struggle to meet the security needs demanded for a final which could attract between an estimated 800 and 1,000 supporters.

Both 1876 and 1879 have large fan bases and if Bodedern made the final, they too would be likely to draw a large contingent from the village and other areas of Anglesey.

The fact all three teams still involved in the competition have had such extraordinarily successful seasons is another reason a huge turnout would be expected at the final.

North Wales Coast FA president Bryan Roberts said the plan now is to stage the final on either Saturday, July 16 or 23, with Colwyn Bay or Conwy Borough main contenders as the venue.

The match will double up as a fundraiser, with proceeds to go to charities of the clubs’ choice, or possibly split between St David’s Hospice, Llandudno and St Kentigern, St Asaph.

Mr Roberts said: “We are very disappointed it has come to this scenario, but we’d rather avoid the risks having the final at Nantlle Vale would have involved and instead make the final a fundraiser to kick off the new season.”

With Nantlle Vale off the agenda, other alternatives were looked at, added Mr Roberts.

Bangor 1876 secretary Dafydd Hughes, who attended a virtual meeting with the NWCFA today, further reported: “Attention turned to alternative venues and it was reported that the grounds of Colwyn Bay, Conwy, Penmaenmawr and Llangefni were unavailable for a variety of reasons.

“It was suggested that Llandudno was a candidate and that Nantporth might also be considered. Nantporth was immediately ruled out on technical grounds. Consultation with the police was also discussed, and it emerged that none had taken place so far but that would need to be done.

“It would be impossible to complete this in time so the decision was taken that the match be not played on 31 May 2022 as originally planned.”

The Intermediate Challenge Cup returned to the North Wales football calendar this season after a five-year absence.

The 2021-22 competition has already been subject to lengthy delays following the abandonment of a first round match between Meliden and Llanberis last December due to an alleged racist comment being made.

The NWCFA eventually decided to put Meliden into the next round, Llanberis appealed to the FAW, but later withdrew their protest. Meliden lost on penalties to Pwllheli last Saturday.

Bangor 1876 then travelled to Pwllheli for a quarter-final on Tuesday and won 6-4 in extra time.

While Rhyl 1879’s passage to the final was confirmed almost eight weeks ago, the other half of the draw was left with a backlog, but Saturday’s semi between 1876 and Bodedern would have meant the showpiece game going ahead before the end of May deadline.

However, following the decision over Nantlle Vale’s venue suitability, the final will now be carried over until July.

The Intermediate Challenge Cup has this season catered for Tier 4 clubs covering the North Wales Coast East and West Premier Divisions.

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