All the prize winners from the last ever Anglesey League awards

PICTURE BY Edryd Jones/Cemaes Bay FC shows Keenan Downey on the ball.

THE Anglesey League officially came to an end during the 2019/20 season, after 123 years of existence.

The coronavirus pandemic meant it had to end much sooner than planned and it was replaced by the North Wales Coast West Division One league we now enjoy at the weekends.

During the season cut short, Cemaes Bay pipped Mountain Rangers to the title on Points Per Game (PPG) as they were crowned the last ever champions of the iconic league.

Last night, I attended what was the last-ever Anglesey League awards ceremony, as clubs and individuals were rightly rewarded for their efforts from that 2019/20 campaign.

Here’s who was recognised at the event at Llangefni Town FC’s clubhouse led by long-term league president Dennis Bryant.

ANGLESEY LEAGUE TOP SCORER – Sam Williams (Mountain Rangers)

PIC: Mike Pleming

The last-ever Anglesey League goalscorer hailed from beyond the bridge and its not often in its 123-year history you can say that.

The former Llanrug United man, known as ‘Ziggy’, officially finished as the Anglesey League’s last ever top scorer – ahead of the proposed league restructure for the 2020/21 campaign. 

Williams scored 33 league goals and 11 in cup competitions to place himself on 44 goals during a memorable season for him and the club. I’m sure that, if the season had continued to its conclusion, Rangers would have won some form of silverware. 

The highlight of Williams’ season of course came in January 2020 when he scored no less than TWELVE of his sides goals against Cefni in a 16-0 win. This is believed to be a record for goals scored by a single player in a single game in the Anglesey League and may even be up there with British records, although this is unconfirmed.

Either way, it’s fair to say that Williams’ eye for goal last season was superb and he really established himself as one of the best forwards around.

Having started the 21/22 campaign with Rangers, he’s now moved onto fellow tier five club Bontnewydd FC.

ANGLESEY LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE SEASON – Keenan Downey (Cemaes Bay)

PIC: Edryd Jones/Cemaes Bay FC

Talented midfielder who made the move (alongside many other former players) back to School Lane in the summer of 2019, arriving from Welsh Alliance One side Bodedern Athletic.

And the 23-year-old really showed that experience of having played at a higher level as he led the Bay to title glory in the last ever Anglesey League season.

In what was a memorable (albeit short) season for the central midfielder at his boyhood club, Downey picked up 15 goals and 19 assists in just 22 matches. In fact, the only two teams he didn’t score against were Hotspur Reserves and Valley.

A particular highlight for both Downey and the club came in a 20-0 win over Holyhead Town, in which he bagged a hat-trick. On top of that, he was awarded six Man of the Match performances by the opposition along the way.

ANGLESEY LEAGUE GOALKEEPER OF THE SEASON – Jason Hughes (Mountain Rangers)

Rangers conceded just 16 goals in their 15 matches last season and were always very hard to break down defensively with the likes of David Aaron Jones (now at Talysarn Celts, who also have an impressive defensive record!) at the back.

However, it has to be said that their keeper Hughes was also a vital component in helping them on to that impressive record. He proved to be a confident and reliable shot-stopper who looked a class above the rest at times.

He’s now captain at Rangers and still proving to be a brilliant shot-stopper for Alex Philp’s side.

ANGLESEY LEAGUE MANAGER OF THE SEASON – Darren Thomas (Cemaes Bay)

There can only be one winner here really as there was only one prize up for grabs at the end of the 2019/20 season and his side won it.

Darren Thomas’ formidable Cemaes side, mixed full of promising youngsters and Welsh Alliance experienced players such as Steven Whittaker and Keenan Downey, proved to be the best of the bunch that season.

They had also fought their way to several cup finals too and it’s a shame they never got the chance to compete for them – but I guess the title is a good consolation prize!

Thomas returned to the club in summer of 2019 and did a fine, fine job of turning things back around at School Lane after they had slipped won from the Welsh Alliance into the Anglesey League in previous years.

I’m sure that a bright future now beckons once more for the club as they continue to impress in North Wales Coast West Division One and are unbeaten in 10 matches.

BEST LEAGUE SECRETARY – Robin Griffiths (Bodorgan)

Behind every great club is a great committee who often don’t get the credit they deserve, people like Griffiths (on the right) are the heartbeat of local clubs.

It’s no secret Bodorgan have come a long way over their years in the Anglesey League and Robin has been a driving force behind that I’m sure. Good to see him get some deserved recognition.

BEST REFEREE – Kieran Thomas

Has recently stepped down as an official due to work commitments according to the league, but had been one of the best referees around at lower level for a long time and rightly deserves the award.

Thomas was previously a brilliant centre back with both Amlwch Town and Cemaes Bay and enjoyed a successful career winning both the Dargie and Megan cups during his playing days.

Upon turning to being the man in the middle, he was praised by many for being a top ref. If he has moved on, he will be a big loss to the local game!

BEST ASSISTANT REFEREE – Dave Webster (Bodorgan)

A double celebration for the ever-improving Bodorgan at the awards night!

At lower league level in Wales of course, clubs have to provide their own linesmen on a matchday with substitutes or coaches stepping up to take on the role (and trying to be as fair as they can in the process!).

Bod manager Webster has long been running the line for the club, and whether you agree with his decisions or not, it takes guts to step up and do it regularly, many wouldn’t.

That’s why the league’s other clubs selected him as the assistant ref of the season.

MOST SPORTING CLUB – Llandegfan FC

The club I spent three years with who made it a hat-trick of ‘Most Sporting Club’ prizes on the night for their never say die attitude.

2019/20 proved to be the best one yet for Llandeg on the field since they reformed in 2017, picking up four points in the league with a draw v Holyhead Town (4-4) and a first league win in two-and-a-half years v Pentraeth Reserves (2-1) in January 2020.

Unfortunately, the club folded in 2020 due to a lack of facilities and funding. But undoubtedly deserve praise for their commitment to the cause over the years and will go down as one of the last clubs ever to play in the Anglesey League – a competition they had won on two occasions in 1937/38 and 1973/74.

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At the event, it was also announced that the Anglesey League would be living on through its most prestigious competition – the Dargie Cup.

The league committee plans to present the competition as a pre-season tournament involving all clubs on the island, including reserves sides. It is proposed that it will firstly involve a group-stage format before going into knockout rounds and is expected to begin next summer.

Here’s hoping they can make that happen and keep such an important part of footballing history on Anglesey alive!

To read a bit more on the history of past AL winners and league participants, click here for a previous article I wrote.

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