The new JD Cymru Premier season is upon us as two new teams and eight new managers prepare for the league kick-off this weekend. 

Friday, 12 August 

Airbus UK v Aberystwyth Town | Friday – 19:45 

After just a two-year absence, Airbus UK are back in the top-flight following their JD Cymru North title-winning season in 2021/22. 

As the previous season was cancelled in the second tier due to Covid-19, Airbus have managed to bounce back on the first time of asking and Steve O’Shaughnessy will be determined not to see his team yo-yo down again this year. 

The Wingmakers will be especially eager to start strong at home where they went unbeaten in the league last season (won 13, drawn 1). 

There have been many changes at Aberystwyth Town over the summer as the Black & Greens have appointed Anthony Williams to replace the outgoing manager, Antonio Corbisiero.  

Aberystwyth Town spent the majority of last season lingering with the relegation zone, but after ending the campaign with a run of five games without defeat the Seasiders finished in 8th place, equalling their highest finish since 2015. 

Jake Phillips has returned for his second spell with Airbus UK, while two of Cefn Druids’ best performers last season, Charley Edge and Niall Flint have made the move to Park Avenue. 

Aberystwyth Town beat Airbus UK 5-3 and 1-5 back in 2019/20 which saw the Broughton boys being relegated at the end of the season. 


Saturday, 13 August 

Haverfordwest County v Caernarfon Town | Saturday – 14:30 

Tony Pennock has taken the reigns at Haverfordwest County, ending his eight-year stint as Hull City’s first-team coach. 

The Bluebirds finished just one place above the relegation zone last season, but Pennock will be keen to compete for a top half spot this year. 

It was a successful season for Caernarfon Town who won the play-offs and would have secured a place in Europe in any other year but have had to settle for a ticket to the Scottish Challenge Cup since Wales had lost their fourth spot in Europe.

Both clubs have signed solid shot-stoppers with ex-Cofi Lewis Brass moving south to Haverfordwest County, while Josh Tibbetts is back at the Oval. 

Caernarfon Town won both fixtures against Haverfordwest County last season, including the 2-0 victory on the opening weekend.  


Cardiff Met v Connah’s Quay | Saturday – 14:30 

Both clubs go into the new season with new managers, and the two have had promising starts to their tenures. 

Cardiff Met won 2-1 against Newtown in the Nathaniel MG Cup second round last weekend in what was Ryan Jenkins’ first competitive game in charge. 

And new Nomads gaffer Neil Gibson couldn’t have had a tougher test than to face The New Saints in his opening match, but the Nomads triumphed on penalties to progress into the next round. 

Along with Neil Gibson, a handful of players have made the short move from Flint Town United to Connah’s Quay, including Michael Wilde, Ben Nash and Callum Bratley. 

The Nomads received an 18-point deduction last season for fielding an ineligible player, and after a season in the bottom half the club will be aiming to be back challenging for the title this year.  

The students are also in a period of transition and are beginning a new chapter since Dr Christian Edwards stepped down as manager following 13 seasons at the helm. 

This will be Cardiff Met’s seventh season in the JD Cymru Premier but the Archers are yet to win a league game against Connah’s Quay (drawn 7, lost 11). 


Newtown v The New Saints | Saturday – 14:30 

Newtown were the only Welsh team to win a European round over the summer and the victory against HB of the Faroe Islands will provide the Robins with a substantial financial boost. 

There was disappointment for the Saints in Europe as the Welsh champions lost to Linfield of Northern Ireland before crashing out with a loss against Vikingur Reykjavik of Iceland. 

The defeats came at a price for Anthony Limbrick who was sacked 15 months after his appointment, despite winning the league by a 21-point margin. 

The Welsh pyramid’s most successful manager, Craig Harrison has returned to Park Hall five years since leaving his post where he won six championships, four Welsh Cups and three League Cups. 

After resigning as The New Saints manager in 2017, Craig Harrison has had troublesome spells with Hartlepool United and Bangor City before lifting the Nathaniel MG Cup with Connah’s Quay last season, who were also deducted 18 points in the league. 

New Robins signing Louis Robles will be eager to impress against his former club, while Josh Pask will be an exciting addition to The New Saints’ defence. 

Newtown won one of their four meetings with The New Saints last season, but the Robins have not beaten the Oswestry outift at Latham Park in almost nine years. 


Pontypridd United v Flint Town United | Saturday – 17:45 (S4C) 

As the 31st season of the JD Cymru Premier begins, Pontypridd’s promotion means that they are the 42nd different club to compete in the top-flight since 1992. 

Newly appointed Ponty manager, Andrew Stokes has been busy recruiting several experienced Cymru Premier players with Ashley Morris, Clayton Green and Luke Cummings amongst the new arrivals. 

And although Flint Town United are heading into their third consecutive campaign in the Cymru Premier, there will be a fresh look to the team as there have been major changes at Cae-y-Castell over the summer. 

Neil Gibson’s departure led to a mass exodus of players, and Lee Fowler has had to build a brand-new squad which includes 37-year-old French forward Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro who could be a key signing for the Silkmen. 


Sunday, 14 August 

Pen-y-bont v Bala Town | Sunday – 14:30 

Pen-y-bont had a dreadful end to last season, losing nine games on the bounce which included an 11-0 drubbing from Bala Town. 

Rhys Griffiths had clearly put all his hopes on winning the JD Welsh Cup, which would have secured a ticket to Europe, but the final defeat against The New Saints was a disappointing end to a disappointing season. 

On the other hand, Pen-y-bont went into the second half of the season in second spot and have proved that they have the talent to challenge for European qualification. 

Bala Town ended up in second place at the end of last season, and the target for Colin Caton’s crew will be to close the gap on the current champions, The New Saints. 

Along with Luke Wall and James Davies, Bala Town have added attacker George Newell to their ranks who will be looking to develop an effective partnership with captain Chris Venables in the forward line. 


All goals can be viewed on Sgorio’s online accounts, and all the weekend’s highlights will be on Sgorio on Monday night at 9:30 on S4C. 


Rhys Llwyd

Author Rhys Llwyd

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