For a third successive season since their return to the Cymru Premier, Caernarfon Town have punched above their weight and secured a Championship Conference berth.
It means another second phase of mixing with the elite as the Canaries chase that elusive first sojourn into Europe.
Town are now guaranteed a semi-final play off for a place in the Europa League.
Joining the Cofis in the upper six in phase two will be Connah’s Quay Nomads, The New Saints, Bala Town, Barry Town United and Penybont.
In phase one, Caernarfon took four points against Bala, three versus Barry, one off Penbont and none when they faced Nomads and Saints.
The Championship Conference position was really sealed thanks to a magnificent eight-game unbeaten run going back to December.
From their final nine matches, Huw Griffiths’ side pocketed 20 points out of a possible 27.
All this has been achieved against the odds.
Caernarfon have suffered more than anyone through matches having to be played behind closed doors this term due to coronavirus.
As the best supported club in the league, Town rely heavily on gate income and money from in-ground sales, but have received nothing through the turnstiles since September.
They have also been hit by the cancellation of the Welsh Cup. Having reached the semi-finals, another route into Europe was cut-off.
Manager Griffiths also faced a considerable rebuild at the start of the campaign following the loss of key players.
Despite all this, and facing many clubs with considerably bigger resources, The Oval side have finished up among the high-flyers once more.
Club chairman Paul Evans said in a statement yesterday: “On behalf of the Board of Caernarfon Town Football Club I want to thank Huw, Richard, Rhys and Kevin, and all the players for all their hard work during the first phase of the season.
“Their hard work, diligence and commitment has been a credit to them and we are extremely pleased that their efforts have been rewarded with a top six berth and guaranteed European play-off semi-final now secured.
“We also want to thank our fantastic supporters who have worked so hard behind the scenes, both on match days and during the season, when many put hours into the club, without expecting any recognition for their efforts. This includes all those who have bought their season tickets, in the knowledge that they might not get to see the team during the campaign.
“Finally, a huge thanks to our sponsors, who have stood shoulder to shoulder with us again this year, despite such a difficult time for most of them.
“The season is not over yet and we have the exciting second phase to play before the European play-offs begin and we know that Huw and the boys will continue to make us proud.”
One of the major reasons behind Caernarfon’s continued success has been manager Griffiths’ policy of giving local talent its chance.
Players such as Telor Williams, Ryan Williams and Sion Bradley have flourished, while the capture of young keeper Josh Tibbetts following the blow of the departure of Alex Ramsay last summer has proved a great move.
Experienced front man Michael Hayes, top scorer with seven goals, has made a massive impact, as well as new face Paulo Mendes, a major midfield figure.
Well-known faces Gareth Edwards and Joe Williams have worked wonders in helping the younger players settle, while former Prestatyn Town stars Michael Parker and Jack Kenny have made their mark very quickly.
Midfield dynamo Noah Edwards has been outstanding, and loan signings from Wrexham, Max Cleworth and Jacob Bickerstaff, have hit the ground running.
Predicted by many to struggle this season, Caernarfon have proved the critics wrong like never before.
Whatever happens in phase two, that top six spot is fully merited. This great club now truly deserves its amazing fans back in the ground – sooner rather than later.
Since returning to Cymru Premier in 2018-19
2018-19: Played 32 Won 13 Drawn 7 Lost 12 Position 4th of 12
2019-20: Played 26 Won 11 Drawn 5 Lost 10 Position 5th of 12
2020-21: Played 22 Won 9 Drawn 5 Lost 8 Position 6th of 12 (season still ongoing – second phase to come)
Caernarfon Town complete Welsh Premier record
(Season-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Goals For-Goals Against-Points-Position/No of Teams)
1995-96 Welsh Premier 40 16 13 11 77 59 61 6/21
1996-97 Welsh Premier 40 23 9 8 81 58 78 4/21
1997-98 Welsh Premier 38 12 7 19 57 66 43 13/20
1998-99 Welsh Premier 32 13 11 8 45 46 50 5/17
1999-00 Welsh Premier 34 1 8 25 21 81 11 18/18
2001-02 Welsh Premier 34 12 8 14 64 64 44 11/18
2002-03 Welsh Premier 34 8 10 16 43 53 34 14/18
2003-04 Welsh Premier 32 11 9 12 65 65 42 9/17
2004-05 Welsh Premier 34 7 7 20 29 72 28 15/18
2005-06 Welsh Premier 34 9 10 15 47 55 37 13/18
2006-07 Welsh Premier 32 6 8 18 41 73 26 15/17
2007-08 Welsh Premier 34 10 6 18 42 74 36 14/18
2008-09 Welsh Premier 34 5 8 21 32 73 20 * 18/18
2018-19 Welsh Premier 32 13 7 12 45 47 46 4/12
2019-20 Cymru Premier 26 11 5 10 36 38 38 5/12
2020-21 Cymru Premier 22 9 5 8 33 42 32 6/12 (season still ongoing)
All-time league record (up to and including end of phase one April 2, 2021)
Goals For 758
Goals Against 966