2018/2019: Welsh Premier Women’s League Season Preview

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Wales’ Qualification campaign may be over, but this weekend the Welsh Premier Women’s League returns.

In its ninth year, the top flight of Women’s football promises to be an exciting one, as Wales’ best teams battle it out.

Cardiff Metropolitan are back from the UEFA Women’s Champions League adventure in Ukraine, where they drew once and lost twice, going out in the preliminary rounds.

The Archers were busy, recruiting no fewer than 11 new players, including Wales international Chloe Chivers. Met’s Kennesha Nanette has also been on the international scene, having represented Bermuda

There’s a new manager in the dugout too. Cassie Thomas has taken charge of Rhyl and she’s been busy in the transfer market. Emma Roden, Molly King, Emily Bentley, Ellie Bretherton, Zoe Stopford and Ellie Davies have all joined the North Wales club.

Cardiff City were hit by the news that star striker and Welsh Premier Women’s League Player of the Year, Shannon Evans had retired from football.

Cyncoed Ladies have lost Wales international goalkeeper Laura O’Sullivan, as she returns to Cardiff City Ladies.

Joining O’Sullivan at Ystrad Mynach is Alice Griffiths and Grace Horrell, both formerly of the Mighty Oaks. Jess Williams and Robyn Pinder have also left for league rivals Swansea City and Cardiff Metropolitan.

Fern Burrage has tried to fill the gaps in though, by signing Ffion Price, Lucy Atwood, Jess Osborne and Sophie Norman.

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Opening Day Fixtures – 02/09/2018

Briton Ferry Llansawel v Cardiff City

Newly promoted Briton Ferry Llansawel host Joel Hutton’s Cardiff City, after winning the Welsh Women’s League last season. Cardiff City were losing finalists in the FAW Women’s Cup last season.

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The Reds returned to the Welsh Premier Women’s League in the first time of asking after their relegation in the 2016/2017 season.

Speaking to CardiffCityFC.co.uk, manager Joel Hutton had this to say about Sunday’s game:

“We know that any first game of the season is going to be tough. We know Briton Ferry have been promoted and are going to want to prove a point.

They’ll want to stay in this league so it’s definitely not going to be an easy game for us which I’ve made the girls fully aware of.”

Captain Siobhan Walsh also returns having returned from injury.

The Bluebirds skipper spoke to CardiffCityFC.co.uk on the physical threat the opponents pose

My match fitness isn’t quite where I want it to be, but I’m hoping to get some minutes on Sunday.

“We know we’re in for a tough game. I recall the last time we played them they were a physical side and I’m sure they’ll give us a good test.”

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Cardiff Metropolitan v Cyncoed Ladies

Kerry Harris’ side begins their season having already played three competitive games.

It’s a new look side for the Students, who have lost Jessica Simpson to Cardiff City Ladies. However, the Met squad looks strong with players such as Erin Murray and captain Tina Richardson there.

Mighty Oaks boss Fern Burrage spoke to TBGWales.com ahead of Sunday’s Cyncoed Derby:

“We remain the underdog in this game which is probably good for us as we have nothing to lose.

“We know that we’ll have to be well organised and work hard in every minute of the game in order to get a result but we’ll go into the game with a good pre-season under our belt and a confidence that we have beaten them before.”

Llandudno vs Port Talbot Town

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Llandudno host South Wales side Port Talbot Town at Maesdu Park. They will be buoyed by the arrivals of Anna Jones, Catrin Thomas and Ceri Slaney, who have all joined from Caernarfon Town.

Rhyl v Caernarfon Town

After being given a reprieve, following Northop Hall’s refusal to be promoted after their title win, Caernarfon Town begin their second campaign in the Welsh Premier Women’s League.

Katie Rowe has returned to the club, after the folding of Bangor City. Rowe was the first woman to be nominated for Sgorio’s Goal of the Month award. Former Bangor players Ceri Thomas, Nat Minard and Beth Jones have all joined her at The Oval.

Swansea City v Abergavenny

Swansea City kick off their season at home to Abergavenny, who finished just behind them in third. The Swans have home advantage at Llandarcy.

In midweek, the Swans held WSL 1 side Bristol City to a 1-1 draw, albeit a few players missing due to international action.

There’s international recognition for Swansea as Emily Richards is called up for Wales U19’s.

Abergavenny boss Richie Jeremiah spoke to AbergavennyTown.co.uk ahead of Sunday’s crunch encounter:

“Everyone at the club is looking forward to the season kicking off and what a way to do it with a trip to face Swansea City.”

Our games with Swansea are usually action-packed and have lots of goals in them.

Bannon added: “I expect Swansea to be very similar to last year, they’ll want to keep the ball for long periods when in possession and then be tough physically out of possession.”

(Featured Image: Will Cheshire)

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