Top and Bottom at Christmas, but will it stay as it is in the Welsh League?
Being top or bottom at Christmas is always seen as an indicator for the remainder of the season, but is it the same for the Welsh League?
Teams are the top will want the season to continue as it has done for the first half of the season. Teams currently languishing in the bottom will want to change their fortunes, to avoid the relegation backdoor.
With the newly formed FAW Championship coming in to play this year, all sixteen clubs in Division One will want to
Rhys Griffiths’ men go into Christmas top of the division, despite only playing eleven games.
His side have played some decent stuff, as well as being able to see out some nitty gritty games like last weeks win against Llantwit Major.
They remain the only Welsh League club in the three divisions to not taste defeat in the league this season and you begin to wonder where that defeat will come from.
I believe they have what it takes to go all the way, having held their own against Welsh Premier League leaders Barry Town United recently in the Welsh Cup.
Cambrian & Clydach Vale and Haverfordwest County though could stop it being an easy ride for the Bridgend club though.
Bottom: Taffs Well
Having been one of the Welsh League’s most recognisable clubs, Taffs Well are currently in a transitional phase after being under the leadership of Lee Bridgeman.
Bridgeman delivered four Welsh Football League Cups in five years but stood down from management at the end of last season.
Bridgeman is still involved in the club now and played a part in appointing Taffs Well’s new boss Jamie Sherwood.
Adrian Needs was unable to put his own stamp down at Rhiw Ddar, but now Jamie Sherwood who has managed just once due to a backlog of fixtures will want to hit the ground running.
Division Two: Croesyceiliog
Not many would have predicted that Croesyceiliog would be anywhere near a promotion spot, never mind top at Christmas.
Gareth Wilmott’s side have been a tough side to crack this season, having suffered just two defeats.
Croesyceiliog have as many wins in the fifteen league games they’ve played this season than they did in the 30 of last season. They’ve also got more points.
Speaking to Y Gêm, Wilmott said: “I’m delighted with how the first half of the season has gone.
“I think every team in the league at some point will have a slight wobble but the teams who are going to really challenge are the ones who react positively and use the disappointing results to spur them on to upping their game.
I’m sure the players are determined to do exactly this in our upcoming games.”
They’ve got some big games coming up. On Saturday they travel to Sketty Lane to face Division Three champions Swansea University. They then go to Cardiff to face STM Sports.
If Croesyceiliog can end 2018 with something from Swansea and begin the new year with something against STM, then you really have to stand up and take notice.
STM Sports are the team to keep an eye out for. Having missed out on promotion last season, they’ll desperately want to put it right this season.
Caerau Ely will be another team that Croesyceiliog should be wary of. The Young Guns have recruited well and have seen a few of their Division One stars return to Cwrt-yr-Ala Road.
Don’t write off Abergavenny Town though who are on a superb run of form. Having had a slow start to the season, Ben Bannon’s side don’t look like stopping, with confidence sky high at Pen-y-Pound.
Bottom: Aberdare Town
You can’t really see a way back for Aberdare Town who are still yet to win with more than half the season gone.
The former Welsh League Division One winners have just thirteen games remaining but have lost 15 out of 17 fixtures, picking up just two points.
Nearest placed Llwydcoed are nine points ahead of Aberdare.
It’s a similar situation to last season where Porth were hit with a mass exodus of players and had to rebuild.
Top: Trefelin BGC
Having agonisingly missed out on promotion last season, as Bridgend Street pipped them to the final promotion spot on goal difference, Trefelin will be eager to put things right this time.
With just one league defeat this season, Trefelin showed their grit as they narrowly beat new boys Albion Rovers.
An indication of whether this Trefelin side can achieve promotion this season is when they face one of the promotion favourites Trethomas Bluebirds at Ynys Park in their first game of the new year.
They’ve been on the receiving end of a number of heavy defeats, including a crushing 15-0 defeat to league leaders Trefelin BGC.
Surprisingly though, there are two other teams on the same amount of points as them.
It could be a real basement battle come the end of the season. Ely Rangers are down there again and will want to stop the rot.
(Featured Image: Will Cheshire)