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Ardal North West: League Preview

For the predictors among you, very best of luck when it comes to guessing the outcomes of the 2023-24 Ardal North West season.

Holyhead Hotspur and Conwy Borough drop down from the second tier in place of Denbigh Town and Bangor 1876 who were quite simply majestic in the division last term, dropping just 24 points across 52 games between them (six of those were in matches against each other!).

Rhyl 1879 and Flint Mountain enjoyed impressive seasons themselves, and it all points to an intriguing title race for the campaign ahead.

Conwy Borough were just three points adrift of safety last term, and boss Anthony Weaver has ploughed into the transfer market to secure the services of players including Josh Hulmston, Ethan Hill, Toby Jones, Dan Evans, Ryan Vaughan, Luke Smith, Sean McCaffery, Dean Seager and Elliot Millar in the hope of ensuring tier two football returns to Y Morfa next season.

As for Hotspur, they have enjoyed an impressive pre-season, defeating the likes of Llanberis, Penycae, Glantraeth, Gwalchmai, Llanerchymedd and Pentraeth while the additions of midfielder Tom McMorine and defensive duo Sion Phillips and James Phillips, along with that of club youth product Shay Murphy, show the Anglesey side mean business.

Rhyl won an impressive 19 of their 26 league outings last time out but still finished six points off the league’s play-off place.

Should the aforementioned North relegated duo not be on song, the Lilywhites will be there to pounce.

Oli Buckley, Sam Thomas, Adam Hold, Damian Ketley and James Cairns have joined Gareth Thomas’s side along with forward Anthonio Zoezee, who made the switch from Conwy Borough which serves as a real coup for the club, particularly following the loss of last season’s top scorer, Jack Higgins.

The North West league returns to its full quota of 16 teams this time around, with Bethesda Athletic and Pwllheli gaining promotion from the North Wales Coast West Football League Premier Division while St Asaph City and Llannefydd came up from the East section of the fourth tier structure.

Athletic lost just twice en route to clinching the West title while St Asaph City won 25 of their 30 league games, scoring 100 goals in the process.

They finished a whopping 17 points clear at the summit of the East league.

These two really could cause some of the North West regulars problems.

It proved to be a tough old campaign for Hawarden Rangers, and the Deeside outfit were relieved that Rhostyllen’s remarkable resurgence came agonisingly too late last term.

However, they finished just a point behind Y Felinheli and two adrift of Llandudno Albion who ultimately folded, and with the four additions from the lower leagues, opportunity knocks for these sides to potentially climb away from the danger zone this time around.

Nantlle Vale earned themselves the ‘best of the rest’ tag last season having finished fifth, but the Maes Dulyn men will be bidding to kick on and close the gap to the upper echelons of the table after signing the likes of Caio Inch, Cian Pritchard, Harri Hughes and Cai Parry over the summer.

Llangefni Town, Llanrwst United, Brickfield Rangers, Llay Welfare and Saltney Town once again do battle in the North West league to complete this year’s 16-team line-up.

Saltney have brought goalkeeper Josh Cooke back to the club from Prestatyn while the capture of defender Cyprian Kulasza from Flint Town United looks a smart piece of business.

Marc Evans, Osian Tomlinson, Dylan Thomas, Osian Jones, Tyler Evans, Ieuan Lloyd, John Littlemore and Dafydd Jones have all gone to James Saxon’s Llangefni, a club that could feasibly create some headlines this term.

Let’s be frank. This is likely to be a league consisting of multiple mini leagues, which in itself makes for an exciting season ahead.

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