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Great season for the men’s teams – but Nomads women were outstanding as well

Sara Hilton (front) with assistant manager Cassandra Thomas (left). Picture: NCM Media

It’s been a fantastic season for the men’s teams at Connah’s Quay Nomads – but the women deserve a lot of credit too.

The club’s presentation night should be something special – if they are able to hold one.

Nomads’ first team won the Cymru Premier for the first time, as well as the Nathaniel MG Cup, the Under-18 side lifted the Welsh National League Reserves and Colts title and the U-19s were crowned champions of the Cymru Premier Development North League.

The newly-formed women’s side did not add to the list of silverware, but still did extremely well to finish runners-up in North Wales League Division Two and especially excelled in reaching the Welsh Cup semi-finals at the first attempt.

Coach Sara Hilton could feel extremely proud at the team’s efforts.

In the league, the Deesiders ended up undefeated over six games, winning five and drawing one.

They only missed out on the title by points-per-game, champions Amlwch Town finishing on 2.78 with eight wins and a draw from nine starts, with the Quay final P-P-G 2.67.

Had the season gone the full distance who knows how it would have turned out.

Nomads beat Llanberis (5-0), Pwllheli (4-1 and 9-1), NFA (5-3) and Holywell (12-0), while they were the only team to take a point off Amlwch, drawing 3-3 on Anglesey.

Hilton’s heroines made big waves in the Welsh Cup, knocking out Llanberis (6-2), Pwllheli (3-1) and Denbigh Town (8-3) before pulling off the result of the season in eliminating Welsh Premier outfit Port Talbot Town 2-1 in the quarter-finals thanks to goals from Candice Nellist and Becca Bannister, stand-in keeper Rhonwen Wilde standing out.

Sadly, due to COVID-19, Nomads’ semi-final against Welsh Premier champions Swansea City remained unplayed.

Quay’s only losses during the season both came versus Bethel in the Betty Pickering Cup and NEWFA Cup.

There was much excitement in summer 2019 when Nomads announced former Wales captain at under-15 to U-19 level, ex-Manchester United and Tranmere Rovers player, and now highly-qualified coach Sara Hilton would be running the side.

Also a former manager of Crewe Alexandra Ladies, Sara built a strong squad pre-season, bringing in ex-Welsh Premier players such as Nellist, Annmarie Jones, Tonicha Dickens and Shannon Hobbs, as well as former Wales senior international Jasmin Dutton and classy English pyramid names Lani Bouckley and Kate Horne.

During the season, ex-Rhyl stars Rachael Nattrass and Bannister also joined the ranks.

Nellist finished top goalscorer with 16, Dickens the next highest on seven.

While much good work was done in 2019-20, it was a frustrating season for Nomads overall with so few games played – just 12 in all competitions due to endless postponements before coronavirus took a hold of the country.

However, the Quay also laid some solid foundations and the major changes being introduced into the Welsh pyramid in 2021-22 could certainly benefit an ambitious team like them.

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