Date: Wed 16 May 2018

Season Overview - 2017/18

A brief look back at the WPWL over the past year.

For the fourth time in five seasons, Cardiff Met found themselves crowned Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League Champions after another fine season for Kerry Harris' side.

Met raced into a commanding lead at the top of the table, winning their first twelve games of the season. This included the key clash of the early part of the season away at nearest rivals Swansea.

Both teams boasted 100 per cent records going into the clash at the end of November, with Met top by virtue of having played a game more. Kelly Newcombe's strike on 70' had put the Swans in front, but late goals from Steph Turner and a Jasmine Simpson penalty opened up a six point gap at the top.

A further 2-1 victory when the sides met again in the reverse fixture towards the end of January left the gap looking insurmountable and, despite the threat of a comeback late on in the campaign, the Archers held on to record a five-point victory and seal their fifth WPWL crown.

Swansea's unbeaten run after that defeat to Met did threaten a comeback, particularly when the latter dropped points away at Rhyl and Abergavenny. In the end though the gap was just too much for Ian Owen's side, their only two defeats of the League season against Met meaning they relinquished the title they won last year. They did have success though in the FAW Women's Cup, a 2-1 win over Cardiff City at the Cardiff City Stadium sealing a third cup title for the Swans.

It was also a fine season for Cyncoed Ladies. Fern Burridge's side finished fourth in the table, one point behind Abergavenny in third, but also claimed their first piece of major silverware in the form of the WPWL League Cup. The Mighty Oaks caused a stir in their opening game, beating Swansea 3-2 at Llandarcy in the Quarter-Finals. That was followed up by a 3-0 win over Rhyl in the semi-finals, and a 1-0 victory in extra time against Met in a closely fought Final at Dragon Park in Newport sealed the trophy.

Abergavenny's third placed finish, one higher than last year, was the culmination of another good season for Richie Jeramiah's side. Reaching the quarter-finals of the Women's Cup and semis of the League Cup as well, the Gwent side will be looking to kick on next year and challenge for honours.

Fifth may seem like a disappointing finish for Cardiff City given they've been in the top three in the previous two seasons. Joel Hutton's side though had spent most of the season in and around that third placed spot, only falling away at the end with a run of two points from their last five games, during which they met each of the top three sides. Salvation was almost found in the Women's Cup, but they narrowly lost out to Swansea in the Final.

Not far behind City were Port Talbot Town, whose 25 points was their best return since reaching 30 in 2014/15. Former Town captain Hayley Williams took charge of the team mid-season after the departure of Jason Rees, and Williams' side picked up results when it mattered to ensure sixth place, including a point away at neighbours Swansea and a victory in their final game of the season at Cardiff City. They also reached the semis of the Women's Cup, and Williams will be looking at how they can break into the top half going forward.

Northern rivals Llandudno and Rhyl finished seventh and eighth respectively. Both sides are now firmly established in the WPWL, and will be looking to develop on their respective platforms next season. For Rhyl, they will be doing it under the stewardship of a new boss, after Tom Jamieson took a step up into the role of club chairman.

Finally, the two newly promoted sides Caernarfon and Caldicot both experienced difficult first season's in the top flight, the latter's being compounded by a nine-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player. The Canaries' only win of the campaign came late in the day, a 1-0 win over Caldicot meaning they finally picked up points at the fifteenth time of asking. That was enough to see them finish ninth, Town's points deduction meaning they finished on one point in tenth.

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