PICTURE by Cemaes Bay FC shows a previous encounter between Llanerchymedd (green) and Cemaes Bay (red).
THE moment us local football fans have all been waiting for finally arrives tonight as two of the pre-season tier five title favourites go head-to-head on the pitch.
Cemaes Bay will welcome Llanerchymedd to School Lane for 7.30pm with up to 100 fans allowed in to the ground (gates will close for kick-off at 7.30pm).
Strict Covid-19 guidelines must be adhered to by all in attendance however and spectators will be required to:
- Observe a code of conduct in relation to Covid-19
- Complete a medical questionnaire prior to entry which includes a temperature check
- Wear a face covering at ALL times
- Observe social distancing within the ground and use the hand sanitisers provided.
WHAT a season opener this promises to be and it should be a match that will be worth the long overdue wait for anyone in attendance there tonight.
These two clubs will no doubt be among the strongest in the newly-formed North Wales Coast West Division One (tier five) but with them facing off on the very first game of the season, it’s a game which really could go either way on the night.
Last year, Llanerchymedd got the old band back together – even bringing talented defender Dan Thomas and prolific goal-scorer Matthew Jones back to the club, having both played at tier two level with Llangefni Town before their return.
Add to that the likes of naturally-gifted players such as Deion Evans, Gavin Sharpe and Callum McMinimee and those who provide the solidity such as Hari Jones, Tomos Jones and Dylan Owen and you have yourself a squad which looks very dangerous.
Two recent signings who certainly deserve a mention and are worth keeping an eye on for Llan are Mark Jones and Chris Bennett. The former is a forward who recently returned to Tan Parc and has been firing the goals in in pre-season and the latter is a highly-respected midfielder who really knows how to control the game – and also score goals. Bennett last played for Gaerwen, where he hit double figures in Welsh Alliance Two in 2019/20.
Llan also have some exciting young stars such as Tom Kelly and Ben Hughes coming through at the club and it will be interesting to see how they get on in the new season.
Tonight’s home team Cemaes themselves have also re-united several former players over the last two years. Back in the summer of 2019, former manager Darren Thomas returned to School Lane alongside his assistant Alan Gray and a host of former players too.
Captain Keenan Downey returned from Bodedern Athletic as did the magnificent Steven ‘Tyco’ Whittaker among several others as Bay went on to win the last-ever Anglesey League title following a season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.
Their team that season, and indeed for the upcoming season, was/is a great mix of youthful talent and useful experience. Centre back Dylan Jones, who had spent many a season with Bro Goronwy before switching over to Cemaes in 2019, is one of the best defenders around at lower league level and rarely misses anything in the air. Meanwhile, veteran forward Andy Williams, who turned 40 last week, is still going strong having scored 19 goals for the club last season.
Their midfield is always solid too with the likes of Ryan Folksman and Luke McKittrick always battling hard and putting the foot in when needed. Several young players also caught the eye at the Bay in 2019/20 however – with the likes of Daniel Jones, Sol Williams, Josh Griffiths and Daniel Howes all showing what they could do despite being in a squad filled with players who far more experienced.
Defender Lewis Connor recently returned to Cemaes Bay from Llanerchymedd and so this could be an interesting game for him should he play tonight and the same goes for Ryan Thomas Jones who appears to have signed for Llan from Cemaes judging from recent pre-season pictures posted by the club.
Both teams have impressed in pre-season, enjoying the following results:
- 1-1 draw v Bodedern Athletic
- 2-2 draw v Caergybi
- 1-0 win v Penmaenmawr Phoenix
- 1-0 win v Mochdre Sports
- 3-2 loss v Penrhyndeudraeth
- 1-1 draw v Amlwch Town
- 2-1 win v Gwalchmai
- 4-4 draw v Llangefni Town Reserves
- 2-2 draw v Aberffraw
These two clubs have history with each other.
They most recently played against each other in the same division back in 2016/17, when they were both in the Welsh Alliance and there has certainly never been any love lost between these two local rivals.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride for both clubs ever since – with both having to drop down the leagues to re-group and go again. It has worked out well for the Bay who bounced back win the Anglesey League and I’m sure that it will also work out very well for this now-strong Llan side too who will no doubt more than improve on the zero points a struggling Llan side endured in the Gwynedd League in 19/20.
It could be a match for the ages tonight – and it’s certainly one that’s tough to call. But, whatever happens, it will just be good to see two Anglesey clubs officially back in action after a year-and-a-half without any league action.
Good luck to both teams!