Today delivered the announcement of the ‘elite eight’ football teams who will form Tier 2 North of the re-structured Welsh women’s game in 2021-22.
Airbus UK Broughton, Bethel, Connah’s Quay Nomads, Denbigh Town, Llandudno, Llanfair United, Pwllheli and Wrexham were all accepted into the second-tier division.
Here is a profile of the eight clubs.
Airbus UK Broughton
Formed close on 30 years ago, and at one time known as Broughton Wings Ladies, Airbus are twice past winners of the English North West Women’s Regional League.
They joined the North Wales Women’s Football League in 2011/12.
In 2012/13 they agonisingly missed out on the title to Kinmel Bay on goal difference (one goal in it), but did win the League Cup that season.
The women became part of the Airbus football family in 2016/17, allowing them access to top quality coaching and management which changed things enormously.
They won the League Shield in 2016/17 and have fared well in Division One since the NWWFL was split into two sections.
One of the most progressive clubs in North Wales, they possess a young, but very strong women’s side as well as a flourishing girls section which has provided so many quality senior players.
Bethel were joint winners of North Wales Women’s League Division One in 2018-19, the season in which they also reached two cup finals.
The Caernarfon-area team have also made it to the Welsh Cup quarter-finals twice.
Connah’s Quay Nomads
The women’s side was only formed last season, but made quite an impact.
Then managed by Sara Hilton, Nomads finished unbeaten in North Wales Division Two in securing runners-up spot and also reached the Welsh Cup semi-finals.
They knocked out Welsh Premier side Port Talbot along the way, but their last four meeting with mighty Swansea City never took place because of Covid-19.
The women are on the up at an amazing time for the club, with the men’s team having recently sealed back-to-back Cymru Premier titles.
North Wales League champions in 2014-15 and Betty Pickering Cup winners the season before, Denbigh also reached the Welsh Cup semi-finals in 2015-16.
Town have been a little less successful in recent times, but have still held their own in North Wales Division One.
Long-time manager John Clayton has now stepped down and Jordie Baker is at the helm. The new man is overseeing some promising developments in the club’s female football section.
Founder members of the Welsh Premier Women’s League when it went fully national in 2012-13 and spent two seasons there as Llandudno Junction.
Changed their name to Llandudno in 2014-15, then became MBi Llandudno the following season when they made it all the way to the Welsh Cup final.
For the next three campaigns they were called Llandudno Ladies, but midway through 2019-20 they resigned in their eighth season in the top flight after years of travelling demands and struggling with player commitment took its toll.
Now looking to make a fresh start in Tier 2 North.
Although based in Powys, Mid-Wales, Llanfair have competed in the North Wales Women’s League for a number of seasons.
They have been a good asset to the league, finishing joint title winners in 2018-19 before claiming the crown outright in 2019-20 after a much-curtailed campaign due to coronavirus.
Lifted the Betty Pickering Cup and North East Wales FA Cup in 2018-19.
Strong side with several talented and experienced players.
Reached the Welsh Cup final back in 2005-06 where they lost heavily to Cardiff City.
Have flitted between North Wales League Division One and Two in recent seasons, but a very popular team which always gives their best.
Beaten finalists in the Betty Pickering Cup in 2016-17, Pwllheli possess a number of excellent players, none more so than long-serving defender and manager Erica Jones, who is rated one of North Wales’ greatest ever.
Once the strongest team in North Wales, Wrexham were crowned Northern Conference champions in 2011-12 and were beaten 3-0 by UWIC in the national Championship Final, which carried the prize of European football.
Wrexham entered the fully-national Welsh Premier the following season and finished third – the best-ever position for a northern team.
Sadly they dropped out of the WPWL for the 2015-16 season and disbanded.
The Racecourse Community Foundation resurrected the senior women’s side in 2018-19 and they won the Division Two League Cup.
Although league results were poor in Division One in 2019-20, the news of Tier 2 North membership this season will no doubt lift a team with ambitious plans to develop a bright future.