Blwyddyn Newydd Dda I pawb. We return to Maes Tegid for the last match of the calendar year and welcome our old friends and close rivals Newtown for this afternoon’s JD Cymru Premier League fixture. Our visitors today are riding high in 3rd spot in the table and have been a serious force in Welsh Domestic football for quite a number of campaigns now. We are ourselves in serious need of the 3 points on offer today and it would be a superb New Year present to bring in 2024 with these points in our back pocket. Needless to say it will be very tough indeed but it will be exciting, exhilarating and entertaining without a doubt!
2023 has as always had its considerable highs and lows. The 2022/23 season saw the Club achieve some considerable successes yet succumb to the disappointment of not achieving European qualification. We won the Nathaniel MG League Cup which was our second National Cup final success and then went on to reach our second Welsh Cup Final. This match proved one too far in the season and we were heavily beaten by an excellent TNS performance. This disappointment turned to even more upset when we crashed out of the European play offs in the Semi Final against our visitors this afternoon. Revenge would be sweet!! It really was a season which promised so much, ended with 2 Cup Finals, 1 Cup Trophy, yet tinged with disappointment about the European failure. We certainly set our bar high at Maes Tegid!
We also passed 3 very important and significant milestones during the year. Colin Caton passed his 800th match in charge of the 1st team and started his 21st season as Club Manager in September – a truly historic and remarkable achievement!!
Kieran Smith became the player with the most Premier League appearances for the Club when he reached 231 matches. It was also his 10th season with Bala Town and he enjoyed a brilliant Testimonial match during pre season.
Ryan Valentine also completed his 10th season at the Club and again enjoyed a superb Testimonial match to celebrate this achievement. I’m delighted to say that all 3 of the above are still with us at Maes Tegid – Continuity is the name of the game!!
The season to date has certainly had its highs and lows but we have already progressed to the Quarter Final of the Welsh cup again and are seriously challenging to reach the top 6 in the League again! Our consistency is remarkable.
And this consistency is repeated off the field as well with our hard working team never failing to achieve the very high standards which are required to compete at this exalted level of Welsh football. I must show my thanks and appreciation of the superb work of our Secretary/Treasurer Ruth Crump who has been working so hard behind the scenes for well over 20 years! It is a thankless task but without this commitment we would not be able to challenge at the very top. Our Chairman Arwel Roberts is the backbone of our Management Committee and has also been in that position for more years than memory serves me! Consistency!! And then to all our hard working volunteers who are the lifeblood of the Club. A huge thanks to each and everyone for their untiring dedication to Maes Tegid.
The challenges which we face to remain at the top of Welsh Domestic football are significant but with us all so committed and pulling together we continue to punch way above our weight. DIOLCH PAWB!!!