Meet the Gwent County League’s three new teams
With promotion and relegation all sorted in the Gwent County League now, the league line-ups have been sorted and the Gwent area will welcome three new teams into Division Three.
The three clubs aren’t your usual clubs that have been around for years gone by, these clubs are relatively new but have since come a long way to play in the Gwent County League.
Each club has their own story on how they formed and what motivated them to come together. Unsurprisingly these clubs have done well both in the League and the Cups in seasons gone by.
Cwmcarn Athletic were founded in 2005 by Steve Pontin and Andy Penduck.
In their first season they won the Newport & District League Division 2 in the 2006/2007 season. The club then expanded to two teams 2007/8 season.
The first team were then promoted to Newport and District Premier League X in the 2009/2010 season. Having finished playing Steve Pontin took over role of 1st team manager in 2014/15 acquiring services of former player Richard Bills to assist him as 1st team coach.
The 2015/16 season saw the club finish runners up to Machen in Prem X but gain their first silverware in 10 years winning the Senior Bowl Cup Final 2-0 v Machen.
The 2016/17 season saw unprecedented success with the first team becoming first team in Newport & District League history to win the treble of League, Cup and Plate, securing promotion to Gwent County League along the way. Tom Llewellyn has been club and 1st team captain since the clubs first season. Rob stock manages
The Oak FC
The club was started in 2006 by some local players at a pub who became bored at having a free Saturday afternoon. Since then has grown and grown.
There are 3 players that have been there since the very start, playing over a decade for the club. David Watkins (389 apps) Rhodri Williams (373 appearances for the club) Ben Watkins (367 apps) The latter- Ben Watkins actually became manager of the club, as well as secretary AND chairman, after the first season at the age of just 21 when the original people who run the club had to leave due to work commitments.
Youthful manager Ben mainly manages, but does play occasionally when needed. Under his management, and his assistant, Adam Rees, they have won the North Gwent Division 1, North Gwent Premier (twice-this year getting promoted) and the Riley Parfitt cup. This season the club went the full season unbeaten and have actually not lost a competitive game since February 2016.
Club records: Top scorer – David Watkins (156) Rhodri Williams has been captain for 10 straight seasons also.
Usk Town AFC were founded in 1946 and have since been playing in the Gwent Leagues, this in the recent history being Gwent Central. Club plays at ‘The Island’ in Usk, a picturesque ground by the River Usk.
The team revolves around young local lads, with Ross Curzon as player manager for the last 3 seasons, in which he has won the League Cup, Open Cup and in 2017 the Gwent Central Division One title taking them into the Gwent County League.
During this time the First Team managed a spell of about 18 months unbeaten in 90 minutes.
Going into Gwent County has been a huge step for the club, gaining permission and getting groundwork in place for promotion. This couldn’t have been achieved without all of the fundraising and generosity of players and supporters along with the chairman and secretary from the Jones family putting everything into place.
The club has taken some huge strides forward in the last few seasons with the first team now having an average age in the low 20s.
Harry Wade who has led the line in the last few seasons, finishing Gwent Central Division 1 top goalscorer in both, backed up by a solid back 4 and well organised midfield.
Going into next season the club are looking to develop further with the appointment of Stuart Rodden as first team manager, with Steve Wade and Gary Butler as assistants.
(Featured Image: Will Cheshire)