North Wales Women’s Football League Division Two preview 2019-20 season
Division Two begins its second season and the quality has visibly risen.
Amlwch Town, with their classy summer signings strengthening an already formidable squad, are expected to be very strong, as is the case with newcomers Connah’s Quay Nomads, who have put together an impressive set of players.
New side NFA have plenty of Welsh Premier experience on board, while Llanberis appear to have enough talent in the ranks to produce a fine debut season.
Pwllheli, who drop down from Division One, have a number of faces who know the game well, and Mountain Rangers have recruited smartly in the summer and should come on for a tough first season which finished quite promisingly.
Youth will come to the fore through Penrhyn Bay, Caernarfon Town and Holywell, who it is hoped will enjoy the ride and learn plenty along the way.
Amlwch finished last season on a real high by winning the Supplementary Cup – and they look well set to build on that success this term.
The Anglesey club have benefited from the perfect summer boost of the Ynys Mon women’s team reaching the final of the Inter-Island Games.
Amlwch provided a number of key players for that squad, and have since signed five other top quality talents who represented the island at the tournament.
Ffion Owen, Ceri Slaney and Beth Jones have joined from Caernarfon Town, Ceri Lois switches over from Bethesda Athletic, and dynamic young striker Catrin Evans has left Bethel to be part of the Lon Bach revolution.
Mo Eynon and Charlotte Bethany Webb will lead a side offering a fascinating balance of youth and experience.
Top-scorer at the Island Games, Lexi Crawley, who was also second highest markswoman in Division Two last season, midfield maestro Cerys Gadd, rock-solid defenders Carol Lewis, Laura Pritchard-Eynon and Sara Furlong, as well as the versatile Paige Williams and Ashleigh Jones, all help make up an outstanding Amlwch squad.
After a traumatic 2018-19 season, Caernarfon Town are looking to pick up the pieces and start all over again.
The Canaries began the last campaign in the Welsh Premier League, but resigned five games in due to lack of resources.
Talk of the club joining the North Wales League failed to materialise and despite playing in and winning two cup ties, a Supplementary Cup final against Pwllheli never happened.
Almost all of last season’s squad have joined other clubs and it is believed managers Keith Fearns and Tania Jones are carrying on with a team of local youngsters.
Connah’s Quay Nomads
Lots of excitement surrounding this newly-formed team managed by top North Wales coach Sara Hilton.
In their first-ever fixture, Nomads beat Division One Wrexham 5-2, Candice Nellist and Lani Bouckley netting two apiece with Tonicha Dickens also finding the net.
Following the game, manager Hilton told the club website: “It was a fantastic opportunity to see the players in action.
“The girls have take on board so much information in such a short space of time and I couldn’t ask any more from them.
“The confidence that they all showed to get the ball down and play was great to see and I’m thoroughly looking forward to the season ahead.”
Sara is a former Crewe Alexandra manager and as a player reached international standard before injury curtailed that part of her sporting career.
She has pulled together an impressive Nomads squad in a very brief period.
Jasmin Dutton, plus twins Rebecca and Samantha Jarvis-Evans, have all played in the Welsh Premier with Llandudno, while Candice Nellist and Tonicha Dickens have done likewise for Rhyl.
Other names that may be familiar to North Wales women’s football fans include Ellie Sandiford and Shannon Hobbs, consistent goalscorers with the likes of Prestatyn, Rhyl and gap Northop Hall in the past.
Squad: Lucy Harrison, Lian Renshaw, Annie Jones, Tara Nattrass, Jasmin Dutton, Rebecca Jarvis-Evans, Samantha Jarvis-Evans, Tonicha Dickens, Ellie Sandiford, Shannon Hobbs, Candice Nellist, Kate Horne, Lani Bouckley, Jennifer Haynes, Erin Heathcote, Olivia Owens, Laura Albiston, Megan Carpenter, Rebecca Morris. Some transfers await international clearance.
Holywell FC Girls and Ladies
Regardless of how many games they may win in their first season in the league, Holywell are sure to win plenty of friends.
Ever since they announced their intention to form a women’s team and compete in the North Wales League, their attitude and enthusiasm has been first class.
They’ve got some good players in their squad too.
The captain is Sarah Massey, a very talented striker with Kinmel Bay in the past, while young winger Caitlin Hadaway, who was at Northop Hall last season, is very much a player on the up. Her brother Jordan, joint-manager of Caerwys men’s side, will also help run the Holywell ladies team.
Other recognisable names are Talia Jones and Caitlin Latham, who have stood out for Kinmel Bay in past seasons.
Manager Tony Doyle said: “We’re a totally new team with a great team spirit.
“Seven players are mums of players of the girls teams and we are trying to build a community hub/spirit which outweighs performances as we want to show the younger players the correct way to play football and give them all a target to follow the pathway to the ladies first team, but most of all enjoy their football.
“We want to compete this year but also want to enjoy the experience of being the first ever Holywell ladies team entering the league.”
Manager: Tony Doyle; assistant-manager: Jordan Hadaway; coach: Harley Doyle; captain: Sarah Massey.
Squad: Olivia Williams, Sarah Massey, Sarah Massey, Hazel Ogden, Angharad Warburton, Sian Griffiths, Rebecca Reeves, Sarah Lloyd ex airbus, Debbie Davies, Caitlin Hadaway, Jo Lloyd, Charlotte Durrans, Stephanie Doyle, Stephanie Bamford, Becca Hughes, Caitlin Latham, Talia Jones. Other signings expected.
Another brand new team looking to make an impact.
Sioned Phillips, the former Bethel forward, will lead the side as player-manager.
Moving over from Bethel with her are Leonie Prytherch, Catrin Hughes and Ffion Bee.
The rest of the Llanberis management team is – coach: Johnathan Batten; assistant coaches: Lois Regan and Aron Griffith.
Manager Phillips said: “We are a new team looking to expand on what we have now and set something for future generations in the village and bring new opportunities for women/young ladies in the area.
“We are hoping to achieve a mid table finish by the end of the season.”
Squad: Jamie Boyd, Catrin Jones, Catrin Hughes, Bethan Jones, Charley Davies, Dorris Roberts, Elin Arwen, Ffion Bee, Haf Owen, Indie Hassall, Kelly Williams, Alaw Jones, Leonie Prytherch, Lowri Collins, Natalie Meek, Nia Owen, Sioned Phillips.
It has been a busy summer on the transfers front at Rhosgadfan.
Star signings include Katie Bowe, goal-getting midfielder with Llandudno and Caernarfon Town in the Welsh Premier over the years, and highly-rated defender Sara Williams, who has played for all the top teams in North Wales.
Also on board is Charlotte Webb, a strong-tackling defender who joins from Amlwch Town, Jessica Lane, a capture from Bethel and a long throw specialist, and the versatile Efa Jones, formerly of Caernarfon.
Another quality addition is experienced defender Kim Broadbent, top class performer for many seasons with Caernarfon, and attacking player Danielle Barnfield, who rose through the ranks with the Canaries and was a stand-out in youth football.
Catrin Thomas and Sioned Bohana, who were with Rangers last season, have both joined Welsh Premier club Llandudno this term.
Mountain Rangers have suffered a couple of summer setbacks with injuries to defender Heledd Evans and forward Kreena Worbey, but the squad they possess should be good enough to make them one of the leading sides in Division Two this season.
NFA (North Football Association)
Rhyl-based NFA have brought together a very impressive looking squad which will no doubt be out to shine in Division Two.
Several players who featured in the Welsh Premier League for Rhyl have joined, including Rachel Lloyd, Rebecca Bannister, Yasmin Mills, Amy Webster and striker Emily Jones.
Libby McClelland, an experienced midfielder with Prestatyn in recent seasons, is another good addition, while there is a welcome return to the football scene for Sammie Jo Hyland, a member of the 2014-15 Prestatyn Girls squad which won the Under-16 FAW Welsh Cup.
Coaches for NFA are Andy Lloyd, who guided the above Prestatyn Girls squad and was part of Rhyl’s management team in the WPWL, as well as former Rhyl player and NFA girls coach Rebekah Hansen.
Andy Lloyd said: “We are thoroughly looking forward to the coming season. The ladies have performed well in training and friendlies and we have some very experienced players who will bring our younger players on through advice and help both on and off the pitch.
“We know that it is not going to be easy but as long as the ladies enjoy themselves and play like we know they can then we will be fine. Thanks to all our sponsors for their continued support and a massive thanks to Rebekah for all she has done to bring this team to fruition.”
Squad: Yasmin Mills, Dominique Marshall, Rebecca Bannister, Amy Webster, Rachel Lloyd, Jessica Mills, Libby McClelland, Heather Griffiths, Stephanie Hewitt, Hannah Davies, Lily Hughes, Abi Bradley, Chloe Evans, Sammie Jo Hyland, Alicia Wellsbrierley, Alicia Stretton, Emily Jones.
Nine of this season’s Penrhyn Bay squad were involved in the club’s fantastic achievement of winning the Under-16 Girls Welsh Cup last April.
So the senior side have plenty of young talent at their disposal in Division Two this term. Last season saw Penrhyn Bay struggle badly with an inexperienced squad, but hopes are high that things will be better this time around.
Coach Ian Morgan said: “We’re looking forward to the women’s league although with a bit of apprehension. We’ve got a tough first game against Pwllheli, who did well in the first division last season.
“We have a squad of 17 with 14 of them 16/17 years old so there’ll be a few nerves and a steep learning curve ahead, but I’m confident in their ability and we will adapt as quickly as we can.”
Despite finishing fourth in Division One last season, Pwllheli applied to drop into Division Two as they anticipated the unavailability of a number of players.
A club spokesperson said: “Hope for the season is to keep Pwllheli ladies going and to attract more girls and enjoy our football, as half of our girls are off to university and some are due to, or have become, mothers.”
Players with the experience of Erica Jones and Lowri Hughes, as well as the goal-getting talents of Lois Thomas will stand the team in good stead.
Squad: Delyth Jones, Lia Roberts, Sian Moore, Erica Jones, Jess Roberts, Emily May, Hannah Thomas, Lowri Hughes, Hayley Rees Williams, Magi Hughes, Amy Roberts, Llinos Pritchard, Lois Thomas, Erin Parry, Shoned Jones (new captain), Stacey Sansome, Bess Roberts, Elliw Williams, Leanne Rees Hughes.