PICTURE BY Nige Williams-Drago
MANY people on Anglesey regard Rich David Williams as one of the best defenders to have played locally over the last decade or so and with good reason too.
The 31-year-old, who is from Bryngwran has always been a highly reliable centre back ever since the Sunday League days.
Back then, he represented his home village team of the Bulls who dominated Sunday League football for many a season. Whilst there, he won numerous pieces of silverware with Richard Owen’s all-conquering side.
Williams played for the Bulls between 2010 and 2014 and in his final season there he was also playing for Saturday League side Holyhead Hotspur Reserves as rules about Saturday League players playing for Sunday League teams at the same time were relaxed.
With Hotspur’s second string he won the Gwynedd Cup and was voted Players Player of the season following a fine campaign for the player and the club in 2013/14.
Another successful spell with Trearddur Bay United then followed for Williams between 2014 and 2017 – a great period in the club’s history. The Beach Boys finished third in Welsh Alliance Two in 2014/15 and that was enough to earn them promotion to Welsh Alliance One.
An even more incredible campaign followed in 2015/16 as, in their first season in WA1, Trearddur Bay won the title. Two goals from Asa Thomas, who has by now surpassed the 500 goal mark in his career, in a 2-0 victory at Llandudno against Abergele Town secured the championship.
In 2017, Williams moved on to current club Bodedern Athletic – who he has become club captain for, once again highlighting his influence as a player. And, with Ricky Williams’ side, the success has only continued for the player.
In his first season with Boded, the club won a Gwynedd League and cup double, clinching promotion to Welsh Alliance Two. That inspired form for the club continued in 2017/18, when the Green and White Army secured back-to-back promotions and moved on up to WA1, whilst also having won the Take Stock Van Hire Cup (below).
In 2018/19, Boded went so close to making it a hat-trick of promotions but would go on to narrowly miss out as island rivals Llangefni Town won the WA1 title and were promoted to the JD Cymru North.
During his time with the club, they have also reached the semi-finals of the prestigious FAW Trophy. Just last season, Boded finished seventh in Welsh Alliance One (tier 3) following a campaign cut short by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking about being captain at Bodedern at his career so far, Williams said: “It means a lot being the captain and knowing the manager has the trust in me to be his leader means a lot but I’m getting on now and I’m one of, if not the, eldest player in the team, so that probably has something to do with it too!
“I’ve always played football really from when I was young. I wasalways down the school field playing singles and all that with all the local lads.
“Over the years, I’ve played with some brilliant players. the Trearddur Bay team that won Welsh Alliance One 1 and the Boded team that finished second in the same league are the two best teams I’ve played for, both with quality players in every position. If I had to pick one player out of them all though it would be Luke Roberts (meat head) one of the centre half’s at Trearddur Bay. An outstanding centre half, he could do everything – read the game, good in the air, good in a tackle and a brilliant passer. Just a complete centre half in my opinion.
“All my managers have helped me along the way too really, Rich at the Bulls, Mark and Dave at Tbay and Ricky in Boded. Everyone of them did things differently and have different styles of managing so that taught me a lot about how to play in different formations with different tactics and so on.
“The overall highlights of my career have to be winning Welsh Alliance One with Trearddur Bay and getting to the semi finals of the Welsh Trophy with Bodedern.”
When football resumes in the not-so-distant future, Bodedern Athletic will play in the newly-formed North Wales Coast West Premier Division (Tier Three).
Williams hopes he can lead them on to title glory.
He said: “Hopefully we can push for the league in the new league structure. There’s a few good local Derby’s in that league so it should be an interesting one to compete in.
“I’ve missed the crack with the lads more than anything I’ve the last year. Once you’ve had that in your life every weekend for so many years Saturdays aren’t the same without it.”