Can the North Wales Women’s Football League complete its 2019-20 fixture list?

Amlwch Town’s Paige Williams (blue) in action. Still in three competitions, Amlwch could yet have to play another 12 matches this season. Picture: Gethin Jones ATFC

Here we are, in mid-March, and the North Wales Women’s Football League is facing a potentially serious end-of-season fixtures backlog.

With 11 weeks to go until the last day in May, one club could yet have to play another 14 league and cup matches in total, while three others look at the prospect of 12 more games in all competitions.

It is still possible to complete the list, but midweek matches will need to come into play and we all know from experience the problems they bring with travel demands across a league which includes one member from Powys (ironically this team has the potentially lengthiest remaining fixture schedule).

We also still have the foul weather to contend with. As I write, awaiting the peace of beautiful spring to arrive, the rain is battering down on my window.

It has been raining most of the day and already, in the early hours of Thursday we have to start thinking about the state of pitches for Sunday.

If a women’s team has to play on a grass pitch the day after a men’s match (as well as in some cases junior games) has taken place, who knows what type of surface they will be left with?

On top of this, it is now pretty much common knowledge that some women’s teams are struggling for players in the closing weeks of the campaign.

We can all raise the question of commitment, etc, but think how tough it has been for some teams this season.

One side has played two games in 17 weeks due to the weather and other reasons.

How do you keep a squad of players motivated in those circumstances?

Also, it is no coincidence that many teams are reporting lengthy injury lists, which is surely due in some part to the state of the pitches they have been playing on.

In almost every game I have been to this season, I’ve seen someone suffer a bad injury. Players being carried off and sometimes taken to hospital.

In short, despite all the good intentions, the 2019-20 season has so far been a nightmare for North Wales women’s football.

And let’s not even start on the fact we now have no northern teams remaining in the Welsh Premier Women’s League following Llandudno’s resignation in December due to demands of travelling on player commitment.

Or the fact Llandudno then offered to be a late entry into the North Wales League which would have meant the availability of a 3G pitch not just for them, but other clubs, to get games played……but the league refused.

Then we have to take into account the cost of hiring all-weather pitches.

Last weekend, a club which shall remain anonymous, tried to book a pitch at a leisure centre in the area to play a game.

They were quoted £325 as they were told they would have to hire it for 5 hours and pay for staff. No 3G pitches at leisure centres are open on a Sunday afternoon so you have to fund staffing.

How can teams be expected to afford those prices!

Obviously the women’s game was right at the forefront of the planning of 3G pitches!

Yes, there have been a few cases in the league this season of games being cancelled for, let’s say, questionable reasons.

Plenty of people know it’s gone on, but no punishments have been administered whatsoever, despite indications last season that there would be.

So, where do we go from here?

Should the NWWFL have prioritised league fixtures over all cup games to ensure both divisions finished their business first?

So now, will the season be finished? Can everyone complete their fixtures? It’s still possible, but it will take more commitment, co-operation and – most of all – luck than we’ve had thus far.

Here are the remaining league and cup fixture numbers and how they affect all teams…..

Division One

Llanfair United: Played 5 Points 15
To play
League: 9
Cups (possible): 5
Total games (possible): 14

Bethel: Played 5 Points 13
To play
League: 9
Cups: 1
Total: 10

Rhyl: Played 6 Points 13
To play
League: 8

Northop Hall: Played 7 Points 10
To play
League: 7

Airbus: Played 7 Points 7
To play
League: 7
Cups (possible): 2
Total (possible): 9

Denbigh Town: Played 4 Points 6
To play
League: 10
Cups (possible): 2
Total (possible): 12

Corwen: Played 7 Points 6
To play
League: 7

Wrexham: Played 7 Points 0
To play
League: 7

Llanfair United could yet have to play 14 more matches across three competitions

Division Two

Amlwch Town: Played 9 Points 25
To play
League: 7
Cups (possible): 5
Total (possible): 12

NFA Ladies: Played 9 Points 18
To play
League: 7

Connah’s Quay Nomads: Played 6 Points 16
To play
League: 10
Cups (possible): 2
Total (possible): 12

Llanberis: Played 11 Points 14
To play
League: 5
Total: 5

Pwllheli: Played 10 Points 13
To play
League: 6
Cups (possible): 2
Total (possible): 8

Mountain Rangers: Played 6 Points 10
To play
League: 10
Total: 10

Penrhyn Bay: Played 7 Points 9
To play
League: 9
Total: 9

Caernarfon Town: Played 8 Points 6
To play
League: 8
Total: 8

Holywell Town: Played 10 Points 0
To play
League: 6
Total: 6

CUP GAMES REMAINING

NEWFA Cup
Semi-final
Amlwch Town v Llanfair United
Into final: Bethel

FAW Women’s Welsh Cup semi final
Connah’s Quay Nomads v Swansea City

Betty Pickering Cup
Quarter-final: Llanfair United v Amlwch Town
Into semi-finals: Denbigh Town, Pwllheli, Airbus

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