PICTURE by Menai Tigers FC
AS PROMISED, here’s the new series I’ve been meaning to launch on here for awhile now – starting with the area in which I live at the moment.
This week on the blog’s Facebook page (if you’re not yet following on there – please do!), I announced the new ‘Anglesey Area XI’s’ series which will see me choose an XI of players who play for clubs in a specific part of Anglesey.
Here, I’ve chosen a mixed team of players from Menai Tigers, Llangoed and Llandegfan (the team I manage but have limited those choices to just two players who were superb for us last season).
The rules are as follows:
- Starting XI and manager(s) chosen by me.
- Players chosen on club they play for not where they are from.
- Maximum of 5 players (manager excluded) to be chosen from one club to make it fair.
AND YES it’s harder than it looks as I found out!!
Here’s the first line-up in the series. Have your own version you’d like to share? Please comment at bottom of page or on social media pages.
Again, it’s all for a bit of fun – so just enjoy it!
THE MENAI TIGERS, LLANGOED AND LLANDEGFAN XI
GOALKEEPER – Duane Hunt (Llandegfan)
I could’ve gone with Menai Tigers’ Dion Lewis here as he’s a fantastic goalkeeper and has achieved a lot of success in the game too – but I’ve chosen five Tigers players elsewhere.
So I’ve decided to go with Duane as he’s had such a huge influence on Llandegfan’s slow progress as a side since he signed for the club in 2018.
Brilliant reflexes and so much heart – he’d benefit almost any team at lower level in my opinion and is worthy of a selection.
RIGHT BACK – Sam Short (Llandegfan)
I promise I’ll stop being biased after this one!
The superb Tom Parry from Menai Tigers should really be in here but as I’ve already chosen five players from that club further down it made perfect sense to put Sammy in.
Was a brilliant addition to Llandegfan last season who never ever stops working hard to win that ball back for his side. A player who gives 110% every game and one you can just tell to go out and do his job and know that he’ll do it.
CENTRE BACK – Mitchell Jones (Menai Tigers)
Had to include Mitchell in here for the unforgettable season he had last year with the Tigers in the Gwynedd League.
He notched up 11 goals in all competitions – making him the highest scoring defender at lower league level and was just as effective in a defensive capacity also.
Although he’s normally a full-back, he can play CB as well. A player with real versatility and a good eye for goal who was on top form before football was suspended so he’s got to be included.
CENTRE BACK – Dafydd Healy (Menai Tigers)
Definitely couldn’t leave the man mountain of Tigers out of the XI!
I’m sure anyone that’s come up against Healy will tell you just how good he is – fantastic in the air both and a real no-nonsense defender.
Vice-captain at the club, he has been with the Tigers for 3-and-a-half seasons now and was a vital component of the side which won the Gwynedd League and Cup double under Sean Brett in 2018/19.
Healy also has plenty of goals in him too – scoring a total of six for the Tigers in 2019/20. His last one came in the club’s last official match they played – a Junior Cup QF 2-1 victory at Talysarn Celts.
A great player!
LEFT BACK – Matty Owen (Llangoed)
Llangoed’s ‘Mr Reliable’ is a much-loved and well-respected player at the club and rightly so.
Has been a big part of his side’s success over the past few years – including the season they won the cup double and promotion to the Gwynedd League in 2016/17.
Owen is a real grafter in the team and drives the team forward well out of defence too. He even scored six goals for Llangoed as they finished eighth in the Gwynedd League last season.
Now captain at Llangoed, he would be a quality addition to any side.
MIDFIELDER – Callum Davidson (Menai Tigers)
A top, top talent who many people I’ve spoken to over the years only have great things to say about.
Davidson can play up top or in midfield but I’ve stuck him out wide here as he’s a player who’s not afraid to take defenders on and has got the pace to get past them.
He was Menai’s star man in the Gwynedd League in 2019/20 as he hit 16 goals and earned himself plenty of Man of the Match awards along the way too.
A player who can change a game on his own at times.
MIDFIELDER – Sam Gregson (Llangoed)
One of the most exciting young talents around on the island now and a real asset to Llangoed’s team.
Gregson was just 15 years old when the 2029/20 campaign started – meaning he had to wait for a few games to pass until he was 16 and could play for the senior side. But once he did, what an impact he made!
The Caernarfon Town youth academy player has bags of confidence to go with his talent and was a real revelation in the middle of the park, even finishing as one of the club’s top scorers with nine goals to his name in his first season in men’s football.
A young man with a very bright future ahead in my opinion.
MIDFIELDER – Sion Hogan (Menai Tigers)
A player who returned to the Tigers last year having been such a fantastic asset to them previously.
When the club won the league and cup double in 2018/19, Hogan was outstanding – scoring 21 times in just 29 appearances and proving to be a real gem in the midfield.
After a spell away with Conwy Borough, Hogan, who usually plays in attacking midfield, is now back at the club and had impressed once more in friendlies before the last lockdown.
A real game changer of a player and a joy to watch.
ATTACKER – Dean Redmond (Menai Tigers)
One of the deadliest finishers around in the island so including him in the XI was a no-brainer!
Redmond, known as ‘Curls’, is a former Bethesda Athletic and Beaumaris Town forward who was in scintillating form for the Tigers in 2018/19. In that season, he was one of the highest-scoring players on the island with 39 goals to his name.
He then moved to Bodedern for the 2019/20 campaign and, despite moving up 2 divisions, he managed to score 17 goals for Ricky Williams’ side – finishing as top scorer and again proving his goalscoring prowess.
When football resumes, he will play against Boded with the Tigers in the new North Wales Coast West Premier (Tier Four) League and, judging by the form he was in in friendlies before the latest lockdown was enforced, he’ll have no problem scoring bags of goals against teams in that division.
ATTACKER – Wayne Thomas (Llangoed)
Another top class attacker in this side who is a true Llangoed legend by now for what he’s achieved during his time at the club.
Thomas has been part of it all at Tyddyn Paun, from winning cups to being promoted to the Gwynedd League. The 2019/20 season was a particularly memorable one for him as he passed the 150 goal mark for his club and again finished as their top scorer with 21 goals to his name.
A hard-working and gifted attacker who really is underrated in my eyes and in the eyes of many others who have watched him play also.
ATTACKER – Carwyn Williams (Llangoed)
Completing this XI and a superb attacking force for this period of the island is this Llangoed FC star.
Williams is another one who has enjoyed a great goalscoring record during his career (even when he was playing as a wing back previously!).
After spells away at Gaerwen and Bro Goronwy, Williams is now back at Llangoed where he and brother Nick (now retired from the game) have been influential figures over the years.
In the 2016/17 season in which Llangoed were promoted he netted a career best 28 goals and I believe that he will have no problem contributing goals for the club when football resumes.
MANAGER – Aaron Rowlands (Menai Tigers)
As Llangoed manager David ‘Twm’ Thomas has just recently been appointed to the role and I wasn’t going to pick myself – this again was an easy choice to make!
Rowlands, or ‘Spon’ as he’s known (pictured on the right above), has been a huge part of Menai Tigers’ success over the years and has spent more than a decade at the club.
He spent many seasons as assistant manager to the brilliant Sean Brett before becoming official manager ahead of the 2019/20 season. He guided the Tigers to a third placed finish at the end of a season cut short by the Coronavirus pandemic.
That was just the start of what should be a great spell for the Tigers under the guidance of Rowlands.