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David Collins

David Collins

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Thursday, 31 May 2018 10:31

Issue 206 - Full 2017-18 Review

WF 206 cover

Our 2017-18 Review Edition was published on 31st May. 

Contents include:

WINNERS' GALLERY - 5 pages of photos of trophy winners

Full set of final league tables from Welsh pyramid + cup final results

Season reviews:  JD Welsh Premier, Huws Gray Alliance, Welsh League & Around the Regions & Anglo clubs

JD Welsh Cup final & Play-offs action + regional cup finals action

Spotlight on NEWCASTLE EMLYN

Annual WELSH PROGRAMME AWARDS

Update on prospects for Welsh clubs in UEFA competitions this summer

Looking Back -  the 1967-68 season 50 years ago

Looking Back -  the 1992-3 season, 25 years ago

Available direct from the publishers and from most independent bookshops in Wales. Also at WH Smith Albany Road Cardiff

Buy direct from us for £3.60 including postage - pay by cheque, bank transfer or PayPal.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for payment instructions. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 14:37

Sweltering

SUNDAY 6th MAY: Latham Park, heatwave. 

ABERYSTWYTH TOWN 1 CONNAH'S QUAY NOMADS 4 (JD Welsh Cup final)

 

Although many - okay, probably most - football fans in Wales regard Cardiff City's lunchtime promotion decider as the big game today, for those of us who prefer our football Welsh, the place to be is Latham Park rather than Ninian Park. The JD Welsh Cup final is one of the biggest days in our domestic football calendar and if this year's can deliver half the drama of the 2017 final, it will be well worth the journey.

 

Yes, the journey: getting to and from mid Wales on a Sunday is a challenge - as difficult in its own way as Bangor was last year, given the limited transport options. I'm fortunate to have successfully begged a lift up to Newtown with one of the broadcasters, and I'm sure I'll get home somehow. That's something to sort out later. The journey by road isn't plain sailing - an accident sends us on a 30-minute diversion east of Brecon - and it's just as well we left Cardiff early. On arrival at Latham Park, the car parks are filling up and there's a festival vibe in the bank holiday heat. Inside the ground, children's football is being staged on the 3G, but as the spectators for the main event begin to arrive this gives way to a music stage over in the far corner. If this passes unnoticed and unappreciated by most people in the 1,455 crowd, the same certainly can't be said of the RAF Falcons' parachute display which delivers half a dozen paras and the match-ball onto the pitch.

 

After all this, it's time for some football, although it's hardly the weather for it. Blazing sunshine, heat in the mid-twenties, glorious, for sure, but a timely reminder why I abhor the idea of summer football (a conviction that had been wavering during the endless winter and spring months of postponements). But I can't help pondering the contrast from my visit here just a month ago- something in between these extremes would be more comfortable.  Aberystwyth Town and Connah's Quay Nomads enter the stage, with a place in the First Round of the Europa League for the winners.

 

Logic says Nomads are hot favourites, but Aber manager Nev Powell's Welsh Cup record (with Bangor) is enough to allow a scintilla of doubt. There are conspiracy theorists too, believing it will be in Nomads best interests to lose today and get an easier Preliminary Round opportunity in Europe, but the idea of Andy Morrison not wanting to get a trophy win is preposterous. In pre-match discussions with fellow neutrals, the idea of an early Aber goal is popular. We fear that if Nomads go 1-0 up they'll shut up shop and leave us - and the live TV audience - with less of a spectacle.

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 14:33

Seventy Years of Hurt

SATURDAY 5th MAY : Ty Isaf Park, warm and sunny.
ABERTILLERY EXCELSIORS 0 YNYSDDU WELFARE 2 (Gwent FA Amateur Cup final)

The beginning of a bank holiday heatwave banish all worries about postponements. Normal football apparel of thermal layers and woolly hats are discarded, instead I dig out sunblock and shades ahead of a short trip to Risca United's old ground, now used for the Gwent FA's finals. Of the two main finals (Senior and Amateur, open to clubs from different levels of the county's leagues) it's the Amateur one which appeals, involving two clubs I've had particularly friendly contact with over the years.

The finalists are both Gwent County Division 2 clubs, but Ynysddu come here as favourites after winning the division recently. The other big advantage they have is former WPL man Lee Kendall in goal. However, the club's cup pedigree isn't great: six losing cup finals in recent times, and seventy years since they last lifted the county's Amateur Cup. Seventh time lucky?

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 14:27

Ups and Downs

SATURDAY 28th APRIL: Bedwellty Road and Bargoed Park. Chilly and damp.
NEUADD WEN 1 BRIDGEND STREET 4 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Div 3)
AFC BARGOED 2 PENRHIWFER 3 (Highadmit Projects South Wales Alliance Div 2)

After days of watching the weather forecast and looking out for a fixture with real meaning, I've settled on a plan: a trip to Bargoed, and two fixtures on either side of the valley. The first game has bearing on both promotion and relegation in the Welsh League, whereas the second is a needed revisit to Bargoed Park, before AFC Bargoed make the seemingly inevitable drop out of senior football. I can only see half of one game, and hopefully almost half of the other, but it will do.

 

The drawback to my plan is the valley itself, notoriously steep here. If the games are concerned with ups and downs of the footballing variety, my day is going to involve some physical ones. The walk from Bargoed station up to Bedwellty Road needs to be taken gently, with a few stops to gather breath - no problem, I've plenty of time before kick off at the Rec. high on the eastern side of the valley. It's rather chilly up here, exposed to the wind, but the game is on and there's a basic photocopied programme given away with admission, so I can't complain.

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