Penrhiwceiber Rangers: Former miners club eye JD Welsh Cup upset
Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter
Penrhiwceiber Rangers are looking forward to one of the biggest days in the clubs 59 year history next weekend as they host Flint Town FC from the Cymru Premier league in a JD Welsh Cup 3rd round tie.
The Cynon Valley club who play in the Ardal league South West division have come through two preliminary rounds and first and second round proper to earn the tie against Flint next Saturday.
The club affectionately known as “Ceiber” is based in a small mining village at the heart of an old mining community within Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Their ground is one of the last remaining that was funded by the miners of nearby collieries to be still purposely run by the Glasbrook committee and not by the local authorities.
The club is a well-run, headed up by its chairman Billy Cooksley who this year celebrates 60 years with the club which he helped establish back in 1962 and has remained a loyal stalwart ever since.
He works with a band of loyal committee members including Mike Barnard, Jeff Dudley, Anthony Kitto, Rob Morgan, Gwyn Jones, Gareth Williams, Danielle Haggett and Dilwyn Pritchard who between them have over 100 years of experience with the club helping out on match day and fund raising through various circles to maintain the club running for not only today’s players but those of the future.
So far this season they have played local side AFC Penrhwiceiber, Aberfan FC, West End and in the last round secured the scalp of Ammanford FC, coming out winners in a 3-0 victory that nobody apart from the club expected.
Manager Dean Brown has assembled a very good collective of players, including some experienced heads to bolster what is a relatively young squad and along with his coaching staff of Warren Jones, Lee Williams, Alex Rees, Daniel Trampelli and Ryan Roberts maintained the fitness of the players throughout the recent Covid pandemic, and also raised over £3,500 for the NHS with their 30 miles a day walking challenge.
Along with other initiatives like Kits for Africa where the club donated over seven kits to be sent to the African country of Gambia, they also helped Tenovus fund raise during the Euros with over £100 raised with their wristbands which showed support for Wales.
Committee member Dilwyn Pritchard said: “The game against Flint Town will be one of the biggest we have played in the JD Sports Welsh Cup in our history and we hope we can attract a good crowd, play to our ability and to be proud of representing Ceiber in what we know will be a tough game.”
He pointed to a Wales Online report of June 2, 2019 which revealed that around half of the children in Penrhiwceiber are growing up in poverty and while there are several ways to measure child poverty the one used most commonly is that a child is living in poverty if their household’s income is less than 60 per cent of median income, adjusted for their household size and type.
Mr Pritchard said: “As of April 2018, median gross weekly earnings for full-time adults in Wales were £509 which would give you an indication of the challenges the club face to maintain the ground and infrastructure at the ground.
“We live in a proud village where people support each other and no more than during the pandemic when the club made its players and coaches available to run errands for people to do shopping or run errands along of course with the massive impact of supporting the NHS with the daily challenge to fund raise over £3500 with a fete which inspired a lot of other clubs to reach out and do similar.”
Councillor Ross Williams who represents Penrhiwceiber on Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said: “As councillors for the Penrhiwceiber ward myself and Cllr Fox are extremely proud of the achievements of the club, the players and their committee.
“This very proud club with a prestigious history are hugely punching above their weight.
“We will always look to work with the committee to explore avenues of much needed funding to ensure we have a bright future ahead.
“I’d like to think this is the beginning of a wonderful story, the players and staff are hungry for success, they are passionate both on and off the field and the whole village should be proud of what we have in Penrhiwceiber.
“If anyone was interested in sponsoring this historic club and becoming part of the great journey I would encourage them to reach out and speak with the dedicated committee.”