THE first-ever season of the North Wales Coast West Division One season proved to be a thriller in 21/22.
And 22/23 should prove to be the same with some big clubs returning to action to replace the top three who have all moved on up into tier four.
One team who will be hoping for better fortunes in tier five in the upcoming campaign is Holyhead Town.
Here’s the lowdown on last season and the season ahead for them …
The Harbourmen endured a mixed bag of results last season – it was very much a tale of two halves to the campaign for them and they finished in 12th place out of 16 clubs in the table.
Craig Brodie and David Jones’ side began their season with a brilliant 3-1 away at Llanfairpwll – who eventually finished 7th in the table.
Difficult to believe then that they would then go on a run of 6 straight defeats before beating league new boys Bethesda Rovers 5-2 for their second win.
That was then followed by a bitterly disappointing 9 straight defeats in all competitions before they met Rovers again and won 5-1 in November.
January 2022 though seemed to be the turning point for Town as they started a streak of four wins in a row. They would then win 3 more of their last 7 matches in all competitions to lift themselves out of the league’s bottom three.
It was an underwhelming campaign for a team which probably expected to achieve more. I had them down to finish high up the table last season but unfortunately that wasn’t to be.
A change in managers was made when Stephen Owen departed after just a few matches and Brodie returned to the helm. It was great to see some top young players such as top scorer Kaine Bentley (who we will talk about further below) and Chris Hughes (who moved over from Fali) get the chance to shine at Millbank too.
22/23 SEASON PREVIEW
Next season offers plenty of fresh hope for the Harbourmen particularly as they have made a number of great signings and also, importantly, kept their best players at the club.
They’ve managed to keep their star player from 21/22 Kaine Bentley and that is huge news for them.
The 18-year-old was nothing short of sensational last season, particularly when you consider Town’s struggled at times. The attacker scored 16 goals and provided 13 assists in his 27 league appearances for the club.
Another top young player staying at the club is winger Chris Hughes. He arrived from Fali early on last season and impressed greatly with his directness, always a threat going forward with his pace.
And giving young stars the platform to shine is continuing to be the philosophy at Town in 22/23 it seems.
They have signed two top young talent who will be playing their first season in men’s football; Callum Batsford and Callum Queen as well as others to watch out for including Michael Jones and Callum Moore.
Perhaps the most important signing of all though is prolific goal-getter Craig Moore, brother of the aforementioned Callum.
The forward, 30, will be a familiar name to many having banged in the goals at various clubs down the years.
In 2018/19, he was phenomenal, scoring 61 goals as Bryngwran Bulls won the Anglesey League and earnt promotion to the Gwynedd League. His pace and eye for goal that season in particular were incredible and was astonishing to think that he didn’t win the top scorer prize – unfortunately for him, it was the season that Caergybi’s James Ryan (also with Holyhead Town last season) would break records by scoring 74 goals!
In 2019/20, Moore – known as ‘Midge’ – finished as one of Tom Scott’s Hotspur Reserves side’s top scorers with 13 goals to his name and also bagged three for the first team at the New Oval.
He later transferred back to the Bulls (now Trearddur Bay and not Bryngwran) that season, who he had been so influential for in the season before. Upon his return to Richard Owen’s side, Moore scored a further six goals – taking his tally for the season to a respectful 22 goals for a season which he did not feature all that regularly in.
The Harbourmen have signed a player who guarantees them goals in North Wales Coast West Division One there.
Another top signing they’ve made is in the form of attacker Robert Thomas who returns to Millbank after a spell away with Holyhead Hotspur Reserves. A strong player and a great finisher, he was previously with Town’s Reserves side in the Anglesey League and scored plenty of goals there aged just 16.
Add to that the fact they’ve also re-signed the majority of their key players from 21/22 including midfield maestro Charlie Diamond, the versatile Tony Meyer and experienced forward Ian Williams, and it looks to be promising times ahead for the Harbourmen.
As well as that, they have also added some top coaches to the team in the form of Bangor City forward Nigel Moore (father of Callum and Craig) and Rob Bentley (father of Kaine and brother Mike who also plays for Town in goal).
All of that is surely a recipe for success and Town are surely a side to keep an eye on in the 22/23 season.