Iwan Williams set on Huws Gray Cup retention
After a season of highs and lows, Caernarfon Town have chance to end 2016/17 with a trophy when they face Flint Town United in the Huws Gray Cup on Saturday afternoon.
The Cofis will have reason to be confident as they are the reigning Huws Gray Cup champions – but will be wary to confide in this fact too much, having seen their hopes of back to back league titles and promotion quashed by a dominant Prestatyn Town this season.
And cup competition’s have brought further heartache for manager Iwan Williams and Caernarfon, who at the start of the month reached their first JD Welsh Cup semi final in 25 years only to be beaten 3-1 by Bala Town having been 1-0 up 13 minutes from time.
Facing his final competitive game of the season, Y Clwb Pel Droed caught up with Iwan Williams ahead of Saturday’s cup show down.
As Huws Gray Alliance competitors, Williams is highly familiar with Flint and enjoys a good relationship with the club and manager Aden Shannon.
“Yes we’re under no illusions that this will once again be a tough game and a tight final between the two of us. I have massive respect for Flint and I’m good friends with Aden so I’m looking forward to the occasion.
“They have a good spine coupled with experience so we’ll have to be on it if we are to repeat last season’s cup final win.”
And while he wants to win it, Williams won’t see the HGA Cup as a mark of success for the Cofis, admitting promotion was the aim above all – even their historic Welsh Cup semi.
“I’d have swapped the Welsh Cup Semi-Final and the chance of winning the League Cup for promotion to the WPL any day of the year as that was the main objective. However it wasn’t to be.
“One thing it has done is made me more determined to go and do it next season and we will learn from the bad experiences in the league this term. People say that this year has been a success, for me it hasn’t but I’m pleased that the Cofi Army get another day out to a cup final as they’ve been fantastic this season.”
Caernarfon already had a 2nd place finish sealed before the Welsh Cup semi, but standards have remained high for Iwan Williams’ squad, who signed off the league campaign with a 6-0 thrashing of Buckley Town.
“Since the Welsh Cup loss the players have responded well in training especially. We haven’t allowed the league to fizz out. We’ve kept the professionalism and applied ourselves the same way to every game.
“The win against Buckley was the perfect preparation however we know Flint and will be a different kettle of fish so we’ll prepare the same way as we have done in the Welsh Cup. They deserve that respect but we are going there to win the game and keep our trophy.”
The last time Caernarfon and Flint met, they battled out a 1-1 draw already aware they were to meet in the HGA Cup final. Williams expects a similarly tight affair on Saturday.
“We tried different things and different personnel as they did. It took a while for us to get to grips with the game. We went with three at the back in the second half and I thought we were more effective. It was a typical tactical game where both teams were trying to work each other out competitively but in good spirits. It’ll be tight that’s for sure.”
Caernarfon go into the final with a fully fit squad who will be expected to fight to make it another season of silverware at the Oval.
“Nothing to report in terms of injuries and suspensions. We have a strong squad going into the game and I’m sure Thursday’s session will be intense with players fighting for a place in the starting eleven.”
The game kicks off on Saturday 29 April at 2:30pm at the neutral venue of Conwy Borough FC.
(Featured Image: Conwy Borough)