A history through pictures
Football in Rhostyllen & Bersham
Rhostyllen and Bersham have always been well known for having talented and tough football teams with the players traditionally coming from working class backgrounds.
The Vicarage Field has been used to play football since 1955 (when it was donated by Colonel Fitzhugh) but before that the “Village” football pitch had been sited in various locations including behind Bersham Colliery bank and where Ferndale Avenue, James Street and Amanda Grove are now situated. Also I remember playing on a pitch where Esless Park housing estate is now.
At the time of writing this article Rhostyllen are a reformed village football club who won the Clwyd East League in the 2015/16 season.
The origins of football in Rhostyllen and Bersham
From researching the newspaper archives it became apparent that Rhostyllen had a cricket team in the 1870’s. It is possible that the football team was formed from members of the Rhostyllen cricket team who wanted something to do during the winter months! Did this cricket team then go on to become Bersham Cricket Club which formed in 1902? To further complicate things there was also a Bersham United? (no information about this team)
Back: Dick Owen, Sam Morgan, Fred Roberts, Albert Owen, Herbert Davies, Joe Jones, Robert Davies. Front: Fred Davies, Haydn Jones, Jack Edwards, Albert Williams, Jim Fisher
Circa early 1900’s -
The earliest reference to football being played by a Rhostyllen team is a 0-
Research indicates that the team was called Rhostyllen FC between 1879 –1882. The Club then reformed as ….
Rhostyllen Victoria (in 1883/84)
Allen Pugh was born in Bersham on the 27th of October 1869. His father (William) was a sawyer from Bersham who worked on the Fitzhugh Estate. The family later moved to Station Road, Rhostyllen. Allen’s early football was played at Rhostyllen Victoria before joining Wrexham Olympic for a year in 1885. Described as a “competent goalkeeper”, at the age of 16 he represented Denbighshire twice: in January 1885, against Shropshire and in November, against Lancashire. After losing his place at Wrexham to Sam Gillam, he returned to Rhostyllen, where he continued to play for a further ten years.
“On 15 April 1889, Wales were playing their British Home Championship match against Scotland at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham. The regular goalkeeper Jim Trainer failed to turn up for the match as Preston North End refused to release him. The kick-
This was Allen’s first and last appearance for Wales. After his footballing career ended he was a secretary of a junior soccer club and kept the Union Vaults in Wrexham.
Complete Welsh Cup record 1881 -
The Club was then possibly? reformed as…Esclusham ‘White Stars’
Back: Joe Lloyd, ? , Rees Lloyd, Ted Humphreys, Harry Thompson, ? , Alf Badwick, Dick Cotton, Ned Barton. Middle: Chas Williams, Herb Cave, A Lloyd, Front: ? ,Hugh Jones, ?, Eb Edwards, Tom Williams.
The Club were Welsh Amateur Cup Winners;
The local rumour is that Billy Meredith (Manchester City & Wales) played for this team. My friend, Geraint Lloyd's grandfather, Joe Lloyd was born in Chirk 1875 and went down Black Park pit with Billy and played with him for Chirk before Joe moved to Rhostyllen, where he played for the White Stars.
Joe Lloyd's winning seasons with Esclusham White Stars were 1904 to 1909. During this time, they won the Welsh Amateur Cup twice.
That was when he says Billy Meredith played for Esclusham White Stars.
I'm very grateful to Ian Garland, Welsh Football historian for the following observation on the above rumour (and for helping me so much in my research):-
“I haven't heard that story and I've checked the biography of Billy Meredith and there's no mention of Esclusham. I reckon Esclusham White Stars must have been formed around 1900. They are in the Wrexham Amateur League from 1903/04 onwards. After the First World War I think the team was called Esclusham (no White Stars). That would narrow it down but I think his clubs were Chirk, Northwich Victoria then on to Manchester. If he did play for Esclusham pre-
Esclusham White Stars -
Wrexham District League (formed in 1903):
1903/04 3rd in Division 1
1904/05 3rd in Division 1 (also Reserves top of Division 2)
1905/06 2nd in Division 1 (Reserves 4th in Division 2)
1906/07 8th in Division 1 (no Division 2)
1907/08 1st in Division 1
1908/09 6th in Division 1
1909/10 8th in Division 1
1910/11 6th in Division 1
1911/12 6th in Division 1
I think this league came to an end in 1912?
New league: North Wales Alliance
1913/14 no sign of Esclusham so perhaps they folded or joined a different league?
League disbanded 1921
There is a gap between 1921 and 1926.
The Wrexham & District Amateur League was formed in 1925.
No sign of Esclusham in 1925-
This team won the cup at the Racecourse in 1965 -
Joe Lloyd’s Cup Medal from 1905
From the left: D.Ryder, A.Edwards, D.Roberts, T.Evans, I.Williams, K ?, D.Lloyd, D.Hughes, V.Thomas, J.Howhelt, ?.
Back row: D Powis, T.Lamothe, V.Thomas, D.Edwards, M.Parry, Glyn (Publican), T.Thomas
Middle row: E.Jones, R.Thomas, K.Pritchard, F.Roberts, D.Roberts, S.Adamson, Rob ?, G.Jones, G.Cooper, G.Davies.
Front row: J.Roberts, M.Messham, K.Jones, K.Edwards, P.Rogers, M.Thomas
From the left: K.Edwards, T.Evans, V.Thomas, B.Bloor, D.Lovelle, G.Cooper, B.Rommie, T.Lamothe, R.Thomas, D.Edwards, G.Downing
Rhostyllen 6 Corwen Mountaineers 1
Ruthin 11 Rhostyllen 0
Rhostyllen Victoria 1 Crown (Wrexham) 1 (replay 1-
Wrexham 2 Rhostyllen Victoria 0
Rhostyllen Victoria 0 Crown (Wrexham) 5
Berwyn Rangers 2 Rhostyllen 1 (protest re roping off of ground, replay 2-
Rhostyllen Victoria -
Rhostyllen Victoria 0 Druids 0 (replay 1-
Rhostyllen Victoria 1 Druids 4
Druids 3 Rhostyllen Victoria 0
Rhostyllen Victoria 8 Corwen 1
Rhostyllen Victoria 3 Vale of Llangollen 3 (replay 2-
Wrexham 1 Rhostyllen Victoria 0 (protest, replay 4-
Rhostyllen Victoria 8 Vale of Llangollen 2
Rhostyllen Victoria 3 Overton 0
Chirk 7 Rhostyllen Victoria 1
Ruabon 1 Rhostyllen Victoria 1 (replay 1-
Wrexham Hibernians 3 Rhostyllen Victoria 5
Rhostyllen Victoria 1 Chirk 2
Wrexham 2 Rhostyllen Victoria 1
Denbigh scratched to Rhostyllen Victoria
Rhostyllen Victoria 2 Rhosllanrchrugog 2 (replay 1-
Rhostyllen Victoria 0 Westminster Rovers 3
Wrockwardine Wood 2 Rhostyllen Victoria 0
Rhostyllen Victoria 2 Westminster Rovers 0
Druids 8 Rhostyllen Victoria 0
Circa late 1950’s -
Back row: G.Davies, A.Jones, B.Thomas, ?, D.Griffiths, ?, ?, A.Smith (Manager)
Front row: T.Hooson (Trainer), ?, J.Williams, G.Cooper, R.Baker, B.Hughes
Back row: R.Williams, T.Evans, D.Morton, S.Williams, H.Edwards, E.Davies.
Front row: V.Thomas, D.Powis, D.Thompson, J.Hughes, T.W.Williams
Circa Early 1990’s -
Back row: G.Downing, E.Jones, B.Rommie, D.Lovelle, K.Edwards, B.Blower, E.Jones
Front row: T.Evans, V.Thomas, M.Thomas, G.Cooper, M.Parry, D.Edwards
The Shelley Cup Final 1993
Rhostyllen under 12’s
The next reference I could find to football being played in the “Village” was in the Welsh National League with Rhostyllen Sports Club and Rhostyllen & Bersham Legion joining in 1946/47 and leaving in 1954/55.
Presumably these Clubs reformed as Rhostyllen Villa? This Club was formed in 1955 and joined the Welsh National League in the 1955/56 season were it stayed until the end of the 1984/85 season. Rhostyllen Villa continued in the Wrexham League until 1997, then there's Rhostyllen United that first appear in 1999. Possibly a new club? They continue to 2005. The following newspaper article covers the period 1946 -
1948 Rhostyllen & Bersham British Legion Football Team
Front row, end extreme, right Denis Pritchard (Danno)! My Geography teacher at Bryn Offa.
1955 Rhostyllen Sports Club Football Team
1955 Rhostyllen Football Team
Back row left to right, Den Jones, George Evans, Tony Cooper, Dennis Griffiths, Cliff Sear, Di Fairhurst, Will Thomas (Eli and Whippet’s dad), ?, ?. Front row:-
1975 Rhostyllen Villa
Back: Malcolm Roberts, Billy Blower, Frank Roberts, Alan Hughes, Rees Thomas, Paul Rowlands, Tommy Thomas.
Front: Tony Grey, Brian Morgan, Nigel Williams, Dave Cartwright, John Roberts
Back row, 3rd from right Brian Badwick, front middle Derek Jones (captain) and front, end extreme, right Cliff Sear
1950 Rhostyllen Youth Football Team
1989/90 Middle Pub
Back row: Steve Bailey,?, Phil Jones, Ian Williams, Dave Kenny, Bryan Badwick, Tony Powell, John Roberts.
Front row Kev Roberts, Steve Churchill, Max Wiecko, Mark Pritchard, Nigel Harper.
1990/91 Middle Pub
Back row: Tony Powell, Carlton Barlow, Steve Jones, Mark Ithell, Bryan Badwick, Phil Jones, Steve Bailey,?, Vic Thomas, John Roberts
Front row: Ian Blower,?, Phil Hartley, Max Wiecko, Chris Matthews,?
1993 R&BRBL -
Back row: Robbie Brown, Mark Powis,?, Conde,?, Ian Brown, Nick Jones, Kelvin Morgan, Paul Stevenson
Front row: Ronnie Williams, Kev Lamoth, Graham Williams, ?, Jacko Foulkes, Max Wiecko, Steve Downward, Robbie Brown, ?.
Back row: ?, ? Mike Jones, Richard Sim, Paul Stevenson, John Hignett, Chipsy, Kelvin Morgan, Paul Stevenson, ?, Don Broadhurst
Front row: Steve Downward, Robbie Brown, Max Wiecko, ?, Ronnie Williams, Jacko Foulkes, Phil Conde, Kev Lamoth
1989/90 Middle Pub Shelley Cup Final 06/05/90 at Wrexham F.C.
Back row: Bryan Badwick, Alan Pritchard, Phil Hartley, Colin Jackson, kev Roberts, Gary Crewe, John Roberts.
Front row: Mark Pritchard, Nigel Harper, Steve Churchill, Max Wiecko, Mascot, Steve Bailey, Steve Jones.
1993 R&BRBL -
Back row: ,?, Conde, Nick Jones,?,?, Ian Brown, Paul Stevenson, Ronnie Williams Front row: Ian Blower, Kev Lamoth, Steve Downward, Jacko Foulkes, Max Wiecko.
1989/90 Middle Pub
Back row: Kev Roberts, Chris Jones, Phil Jones, Bryan Badwick, Tony Powell, John Roberts, Sponsor.
Front row: Mark Pritchard, Nigel Harper, Steve Churchill, Max Wiecko, Steve Bailey.
Front row: ?, ?, ?, ?, Den Jones, ?, ?
1981 Middle Pub
Back row: Dave Lloyd, ?, ?, Paul Roberts, Dave Cartwright,?.
Front row: ?, Max Wiecko, Gareth Jones, Tony Williams, + brothers "Eli" Ian + Whippet ?
Back row: Harry Lloyd (Goalkeeper), Gordon Evans (far right)
Front row: Arthur Shone (second from left), Tommy Thompson “Sailor” (far right)
Rhostyllen Villa, ( Church Youth League ) 1965 -
Rhostyllen Victoria 1890 – 1897 Played in the Welsh Senior League -
Allen Pugh second from left at the family home in Station Cottage, Station Road.
Allen Pugh (back row with hat).
Allen Pugh (Station Road) with Eldon Williams (child). Eldon Grove was named after him.
Back row: Hughes, ?, ?, ?, ?
Middle row: Bates, ?, ?, Orville Evans, ?, Hary Lloyd, Simpkins, ?, Cooper, ?, ?, ?
Front row: ?, ?, Wilf Hanmer, Charlie Evans, Len Williscroft, ?, Den Pritchard, ?, ?
Back Row, L to R, David Hughes, Frank Roberts, Rees Thomas, Peter Hughes, Richard Owen, Ken Pritchard, David Ryder.
Front Row, L to R, Tommy Thomas, Alan Stevenson, Lenny Hewitt, Malcolm Roberts, David Lloyd.
"I can remember we beat Treuddyn 2-
Welsh Amateur Cup Winners and Wrexham & District League Winners
Rhostyllen Football Club 1879 -
1979 Rhostyllen Villa Football Team
Back row: Raymond Downward, Stephen Foulkes, Brian ?, David Edwards, John ‘Skid’ Hignett, ‘Wevin’ Williams, Mark Williscroft, Beryl Downward, Frankie Roberts.
Front row: ‘Porkie’ Austin, Stan Matthews, John Thomas, Steve Downward, Nigel Harper, Kevin Lamothe.