WITH the Gwynedd League now well and truly underway – there seems to be just one big question pressing on everyone’s minds – can anyone beat Menai Bridge Tigers?
Eight games in and Sean Brett’s side have won every single one of their matches and have looked very convincing in those victories too. They look certain to go on and top the 11-team division come the end of the season, but here I take a look at them and also those teams that will be looking to run them close for the title.
The Gwynedd League’s top five currently looks this:
Menai Bridge Tigers – 24pts (8 games played)
Gwalchmai – 18pts (8 games played)
Glantraeth – 17pts (8 games played)
Llangoed – 17pts (10 games played)
Bro Goronwy – 16pts (9 games played)
So, Menai Bridge currently lead by six points and have dominated teams with their talented group of players proving their worth. Having been tipped to win the division by many in the summer, The Tigers are certainly living up to expectations so far.
Striker Dean Redmond (below) is leading the way in terms of goals in the league, having recently become the first player to hit double figures this season. He’s looked lethal in front of goal and has been a fine addition to his side after joining from the now defunct Beaumaris Town in the summer.
Sion Hogan is another attacker who has really stood out for Menai so far. His ability to get passed defenders and create space and chances for his team mates is excellent and he’s also popped up with six goals of his own too. Experienced midfielder Darren Gowans has also been a welcome addition to the side – having turned out for the likes of Conwy Borough and Glantraeth in the past, he’s proven his class already this season.
Of course, they also have the likes of Shaun Lock and Dave Baston to call upon for goals too and Dafydd Healy has been solid at the back for them.
Fair to say then that it will take a lot to knock that squad off the top, or in fact, see them get beat this season. One team that will be looking to stand in their way though is Gwalchmai FC.
Much like Menai Bridge, Gwalch have some very talented players in their squad and also have a deadly striker leading the line for them. The experienced Mark Griffith hit 20 goals for his side last season but has already bagged eight so far this year and has been in fine form. Another loyal servant, Craig Evans, has also been pulling the strings in this side and Corey Sinnott has impressed too.
Gwalch finished in fifth place last season (in a 12-team league) but will no doubt be looking for a better finish this time around. I can’t see them going on to win the division, but on their day, they have the capability to beat anyone in the league.
The recently reformed Glantraeth team will also be looking to cause an upset in this league. Manager Warren Gibbs has returned to the helm of the once highly successful club and they have started off well.
The signing of highly-experienced striker Andy Clarke has no doubt boosted their chances of winning games this season as he guarantees regular goals (five in the league this season). Having banged in the goals for Menai Bridge Tigers and Arriva Bangor (Anglesey League) last season, he’s already proving that he can lead his new club this season. However, its winger Dion Williams who’s leading the way in terms of goals for this side – with six to his name. Former Holyhead Town forward Tom Hadley has continued to show what he can do at this level too and he’ll no doubt score a healthy total of goals this season.
Despite being a new look side, Glantraeth look dangerous and I think if they can truly click as a team, then they can certainly finish within that top three this season.
Elsewhere, you have a Llangoed side who are continuing to improve and make a mark in the Gwynedd League. Vinny Walker’s side includes a good mixture of youthful talent and useful experience which when put together often results in some great football being played.
Top scorer for the club so far this season has been Carwyn Williams who has popped up with eight goals. Having returned to the club from Bro Goronwy alongside brother Nick in the summer, he’s certainly looked the part at Tyddyn Paun – especially in the 6-1 over winless Llanystumdwy – where he scored four. Matty Owen has been one of the most creative sparks in the side alongside the lively Llion Roberts and the highly-creative Wayne Thomas who has a number of assists to his name already this season. Youngsters Jay Finter and Nathaniel Evans have also shown what they can do after stepping up from the now extinct Reserves side.
You get the feeling that there’s a real sense of belief at Llangoed this season and I can see them having a decent campaign. It will be hard to catch Menai Tigers, but they’ll certainly give it a good go.
Bro Goronwy make up the league’s current top five and it’s fair to say that, although they’ve not been their usual dominant selves as of yet, you simply can’t rule them out as title contenders. In years gone by, Bro have been unstoppable at times and were only narrowly beaten to the title by Holyhead Town last season, missing out by just the one point in the end.
There’s no doubting that Lee Potter’s side has the players to compete for the title again this time around as well. Andy Williams is leading the line as always and young forward Jac Thomas always looks a threat going forward and both Dylan and Taylor Jones have been reliable players in that starting eleven for a number of seasons now. New addition Tom Wood should add some creativity too after recently arriving at Cae Nerys.
It’s anyone’s guess so early on as to who will eventually win the Gwynedd League of course but I think it’s fair to say that it looks for all the world as though it would take a miracle for the other teams to stop Menai Bridge Tigers’ formidable form. Stranger things have happened though and I for one can’t wait to see how the season unfolds.
Current top scorers in Gwynedd League:
DEAN REDMOND (Menai Bridge) – 10 goals
MARK GRIFFITH (Gwalchmai) – 8 goals
CARWYN WILLIAMS (Llangoed) – 8 goals
DYLAN SION JONES (Nefyn United) – 7 goals
SION HOGAN (Menai Bridge Tigers), JAC JONES (Talysarn Celts), GLYN TOMOS (Talysarn Celts), DION WILLIAMS (Glantraeth) – 6 goals