With preseason well underway for most clubs, including Champions League and Europa League qualifications for The New Saints, Bala Town, Cefn Druids and Connah's Quay Nomads respectively, the fixtures of this year's JD WPL season have been announced for each club. Here are a few key dates up until January 12th 2019 - the end of the first phase of fixtures.
The season begins on Friday the 10th of August with three fixtures kicking off at 7:45 as last year's ninth placed side Aberystwyth host last year's tenth placed side Llandudno FC. Bala Town may currently be focusing on their Europa League dream but come the opening day they will have to ensure they are prepared for Carmarthen Town at Maes Tegid which is being shown on Facebook Live. Newtown travel down to Cardiff as Cardiff Met University hope their top scorer from last last season, Eliot Evans ,can once more hit the heights he achieved last season in his second season in the league.
Record League Champions TNS play their first game a day later against Barry Town United and newly promoted Llanelli Town AFC and Caernarfon Town FC host Connah's Quay Nomads and Cefn Druids respectively on the Sunday of the opening weekend- the latter being the first live game being shown on S4C; kick off 5:15.
The mouth-watering games of the new season come swiftly on the second week with Champions TNS travelling to third place Connah's Quay Nomads- the reverse fixture taking place on the 20th of October. Caernarfon Town and Llanelli face each other for the first time since their promotion in late September at the Oval, before the Reds host the Cofis on the final day of phase one.
September kicks off with three matches on the first of the month, the all north Wales affair between Cefn Druids and Llandundo has been selected for live S4C coverage (time to be confirmed). The following week sees Barry Town United travel to Llandudno and a trip down the coast awaits Bala on the 15th of October as Aberystwyth host in front of the S4C cameras.
October is once more a hectic month for clubs as Camarthen welcome TNS to Richmond Park. The Old Gold suffered the worst home defeat of last season against TNS; the final score being 0-5 to the visitors. On the 12th of November Aberystwyth host Caernarfon for the first time in the league for over nine years after the Canaries' 2009 relegation. Cardiff Met travel to mid-Wales to face Newtown, hoping for a more comfortable win than the 3-2 win in favour of the home side last season.
Llanelli make the journey up for their Saturday match against Connah's Quay Nomads on the 3rd of November, who will be wishing to replicate last season's home form; only dropping nine points from a possible thirty three and only two against lower teams in phase one of fixtures. A team who would definitely like to improve their home form would be Bala Town, and they would hope to improve on the the 1-1 last time round.
The Festive period is one full of footballing action, with seventeen matches taking place between the 21st of December and the 1st of January. One such game is Newtown vs Carmarthen at Latham Park which saw seven goals in the two games played there between these two sides last time. Newtown manager Chris Hughes would more than likely prefer a less nervy game to last season's affair where he saw his side almost sacrifice a three goal lead. Another game to watch out for is Llanelli's match against Bala. The last encounter between the two was a pulsating 5-1 win to Bala Town, with Ian Sheridan netting a hat-trick back in 2013.
TNS face Cefn Druids twice within eight days, with the Ancients making the short journey to Park Hall before hosting on New Year's Day. Greg Draper of TNS famously scored four (a league record for the season) last time the teams met in the league in a 5-1 demolition. Other notable matches on New Year's Day includes Llandudno travelling to their westerly neighbours Caernarfon Town and Bala Town hosting Connah's Quay.
The final matchday of phase one sees all twelve sides playing simultaneously. Connah's Quay and Cefn Druids travel to Carmarthen and Newtown respectively. TNS will be playing Llanelli whilst Cardiff Met make the long journey to face Llandundo. Finally, Barry Town United welcome Aberystwyth to Jenner Park and Caernarfon are away to Bala.
Matches currently selected for S4C Coverage:
-Bala Town v Carmarthen Town (10/08/2018) (FACEBOOK LIVE) 19:45
-Caernarfon Town v Cefn Druids (12/08/2018) 17:15
-Aberystwyth Town v Cardiff Met University (17/08/2018) 19:35
-Llanelli Town v Barry Town United (24/08/2018) 19:35
-Cefn Druids v Llandudno (01/09/2018) KO-TBC
-Aberystwyth Town FC v Bala Town (15/09/2018) KO-TBC
-Llandudno v Connah's Quay Nomads (22/09/2018) KO-TBC
-Cardiff Met University v The New Saints (29/09/2018) KO-TBC
Once phase one of fixtures is complete, a new set of fixtures of phase two will be released accordingly.
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