Anglesey has produced some amazing goalkeepers over the years, Wayne Hennessey and Tony Roberts two examples of island stoppers who have gone on to reach the very top.
When it comes to selecting the best glovesman from Ynys Môn not to feature in the English Football League, Paul Pritchard has to rank very high on the list.
The 34-year-old has played for a fair few clubs in his career, but has always operated at a high level, usually tier-one or two, and proved an asset to whoever he represents.
Sometimes he has played for struggling teams, which has often meant him being kept very busy, but has never been anything less than reliable.
With more than 100 Welsh Premier League appearances to his credit for Caernarfon Town, Connah’s Quay Nomads and Rhyl, Pritchard has also kept goal for numerous Huws Gray Alliance sides, including Holyhead Hotspur, Glantraeth, Llangefni Town and Llanfairpwll (the latter three when they competed in the second-tier league).
Confident and self-assured, he is renowned for organising and commanding his area well. He is also an outstanding shot-stopper.
Paul also has a penchant for saving penalties. In Greg Strong’s first game in charge of Rhyl in 2009/10, Pritch crucially kept out a spot-kick against Carmarthen to ensure the then Welsh Premier champions won the match.
In the 2007/08 Welsh Cup for Nomads, the Anglesey stopper denied The New Saints no less than three times in a penalty shoot-out which the Deesiders won 3-2.
And in the same season, a sensational double save from the spot by the Quay keeper to foil Caernarfon’s Layton Maxwell is still talked about by those who were there as crucial in keeping Nomads in the Welsh Premier.
The old saying about great wines maturing to their best with age appears to ring true for Pritchard this season.
He seems to be performing better than ever, having kept a whole host of clean sheets for latest club Porthmadog, who he joined in the summer as a replacement for long-serving Richard Harvey.
Port manager Craig Papirnyk must be pretty content about how his new glovesman is performing so far.
On signing the highly-respected keeper, “Paps” said: “It wouldn’t be an easy feat to come in and replace Harvey, but Pritch has all the qualities needed in abundance.
“He’s been there and done it but, more importantly, he still has the hunger and drive to want more from his career and after meeting him I knew he was the right person to come in for us and thankfully he felt exactly the same way.”
Pritchard made his Welsh Premier debut for Caernarfon in 2004 and was the Canaries’ regular keeper for two seasons before moving on to Nomads.
After one campaign at Deeside Stadium, he switched to Rhyl, playing for the Lilywhites in the season they were relegated from the WPL – despite finishing as high as sixth – because they failed to secure the domestic licence qualification.
Outside of the Welsh pyramid, Pritchard has turned out for Warrington Town in the Northern Premier League.
A former Wales Under-18 international, he has represented Anglesey in the Island Games and earned a late call-up to the Welsh Semi-Professional squad in May 2008, featuring briefly in the Four Nations Tournament against Gibraltar at Rhyl.
He possesses one of the best goalkeeper CV’s in North Wales football.