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Final farewell to the popular Caernarfon and District Football League

The final winners of the Caernarfon and District League were this Y Felinheli side in 2013-14. They also lifted the Llun Mewn Ffram Cup and NWCFA Junior Cup to make it a treble. Are they one of the greatest teams to win the Caernarfon and District? Pic: CPD Y Felinheli

While there was much sadness over the demise of some long-running North Wales football leagues at the end of last season due to the national pyramid restructure, it should be remembered that a much-loved league also disappeared from the scene just six years earlier.

When the Caernarfon and District League was suspended before the start of the 2014-15 campaign due to a shortage of clubs, organisers were confident it would be back the following season.

Had the league gone ahead in 2014-15, there would have been just five member clubs in it, after three teams – champions Felinheli, Llanberis Reserves and Llanrug United Reserves – were invited into the Gwynedd League.

The five remaining sides would have been Barmouth and Dyffryn Reserves, Blaenau Amateurs Reserves, Harlech Town, Nefyn United Reserves and Talysarn Celts.

The committee opted for a temporary suspension, but sadly the league was never to return.

Now it never will – at least in the form it operated for 63 seasons (just one was cancelled) dating back to 1950.

After the Second World War ended, organised football was resurrected in North Wales.

In 1946-47, the Bangor and District League and re-formed Lleyn and District League began to operate.

The Bangor & District slowly grew in strength until by 1948-49 it had a membership of 14 clubs. This was caused primarily by the disbanding of the Lleyn League in 1948 as clubs drifted to its stronger neighbour.

As the geographical location of the membership drifted south, the Bangor & District was renamed the Caernarfon and District League for the start of the 1950-51 season.

The new league had eight members in its inaugural season, champions Cesarea Rovers, Mountain Rangers, Nefyn United, Abersoch Athletic, Talysarn Celts, Seiont Rovers, Caernarfon YMCA and Waenfawr (as spelt in the league table of the day).

The launch of the Caernarfon and District was somewhat overshadowed by the formation of a second division to the north’s top league, the Welsh League (North).

Due to this, the C and D did not operate in 1951-52, but was re-formed for the following season with a membership of seven clubs.

How about this fantastic photo of Nebo FC provided by Keith Morris? Nebo entered the Caernarfon and District League in 1953-54 and competed for three seasons. They were 7th of 8 teams in 1953-54, 9th of 13 in 1954-55 and 7th of 13 in 1955-56

This number grew to 13 by the mid-50’s. A slump in membership in the early 60’s was quickly corrected and by the 1980’s the league was well established as one of North Wales’ top junior leagues.

For many clubs in the area the league was a base for their reserve team; particularly during the 80’s following the setting up of the Gwynedd League as an intermediate step between the C & D and Welsh League (North).

Many impressive teams won the C & D title in the 1990’s and 2000’s and in 2007-08, with a record 22 clubs at its disposal, the league split into two divisions for the first time.

That amount of teams was never available again after the first bumper season, and by 2012-13, the C & D was back to one division of just eight clubs.

Long-serving league secretary Eric Wyn Jones

In 2013-14, the league started with 10 teams but the resignations of Caernarfon Borough and Pwllheli Reserves during the campaign meant there were only eight again at the close.

The writing was on the wall for this tier 6 league and it never saw action again.

Llanberis Athletic top the list of the most Caernarfon and District League titles won with nine, while Nefyn United are second on five.

Grassroots North Wales realises this feature could have been more in-depth, with details on great teams to win the league, well-known players, managers and characters.

Unfortunately this information was not available to us, but we hope to have done the league’s memory some justice.

Caernarfon and District League list of winners

The 2013-14 Y Felinheli treble-winning side. Picture: CPD Y Felinheli

1950-51 Cesarea Rovers
1951-52 League did not operate
1952-53 Nefyn United
1953-54 Nefyn United
1954-55 Nefyn United
1955-56 Criccieth Town
1956-57 Bangor Athletic
1957-58 Penrhos United
1958-59 Penrhos United
1959-60 Penrhos United
1960-61 Carmel Locals
1961-62 Llanberis Athletic
1962-63 Llanberis Athletic
1963-64 Llanberis Athletic
1964-65 Llechid Celts
1965-66 Llanberis Athletic
1966-67 Llechid Celts
1967-68 Llanberis Athletic
1968-69 Llanberis Athletic
1969-70 Mountain Rangers
1970-71 Llanberis Athletic
1971-72 Llanrug United
1972-73 Coleg Normal Bangor
1973-74 Talysarn Celts
1974-75 Mountain Rangers
1975-76 Mountain Rangers
1976-77 Pwllheli & District Res
1977-78 Llanrug United
1978-79 Llanrug United
1979-80 Llanberis Athletic
1980-81 Llanberis Athletic
1981-82 CPD Y Felinheli
1982-83 CPD Y Felinheli
1983-84 Pwllheli & District Res
1984-85 CPD Penrhyndeudraeth
1985-86 CPD Penrhyndeudraeth
1986-87 Nefyn United
1987-88 CPD Bontnewydd
1988-89 Llanrug United Res
1989-90 Locomotive Llanberis Res
1990-91 Penrhos United
1991-92 Bangor Waterloo
1992-93 Caernarfon Athletic
1993-94 Caernarfon Borough
1994-95 CPD Deiniolen
1995-96 Coleg Normal Bangor*
1996-97 Coleg Normal Bangor
1997-98 Bethesda Athletic
1998-99 Caernarfon Town Res
1999-2000 Nefyn United
2000-01 Nantlle Vale
2001-02 CPD Porthmadog Res
2002-03 Barmouth & Dyffryn United*
2003-04 CPD Bethel
2004-05 CPD Bontnewydd
2005-06 Llanllyfni *
2006-07 CPD Llanystumdwy
2007-08 Division One – Rhiwlas; Division Two – Caernarfon Wanderers
2008-09 Division One – Caernarfon Wanderers; Division Two – Mountain Rangers
2009-10 Division One – Bangor City Res; Division Two – Barmouth Res
2010-11 Division One – Llanllyfni; Division Two – Conwy United Res
2011-12 Division One – CPD Waunfawr; Division Two – Machno United
2012-13 Mynydd Llandegai
2013-14 CPD Y Felinheli

Championship titles

9 – Llanberis Athletic
5 – Nefyn United
4 – Penrhos United
3 – Coleg Normal Bangor, CPD Y Felinheli, Llanrug United, Mountain Rangers
2 – CPD Bontnewydd, Llechid Celts, Penrhyndeudraeth, Pwllheli and District Res
1 – Bangor Athletic, Bangor Waterloo, Barmouth and Dyffryn United, Bethesda Athletic, Caernarfon Athletic, Caernarfon Borough, Caernarfon Town Res, Carmel Locals, Cesarea Rovers, CPD Bethel, CPD Deiniolen, CPD Llanystumdwy, CPD Porthmadog Res, Criccieth Town, Llanllyfni, Llanrug United Res, Locomotive Llanberis Res, Mynydd Llandegai, Nantlle Vale, Talysarn Celts

Division One
1 – Rhiwlas, Caernarfon Wanderers, Bangor City Res, Llanllyfni, CPD Waunfawr
Division Two
1 – Caernarfon Wanderers, Mountain Rangers, Barmouth Res, Conwy United Res, Machno United

Many thanks to the Welsh Football Data Archive for its information.

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