Rhyl are the early surprise leaders of the Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League after narrowly avoiding relegation last season following a convincing 5-1 victory at Caldicot Town on the opening weekend. However, things are not about to get any easier for newcomers Caldicot, and this weekend they travel to champions Swansea City Ladies.
Ian Owen's side didn't feature on the opening weekend having recently returned from Romania where they had been competing in the UEFA Women's Champions League, and while they will be playing catch-up, Owen is confident side are ready for the challenge ahead. “As far as pre-season preparation goes we couldn’t have asked for any better,” he explained. “The squad was tested to the max and they are ready for the season ahead. This season there is no change to our thinking, we want to win as many games as possible and to qualify for the Champions League again by winning the WPWL.”
Emily Jones was the hat-trick hero for Rhyl last weekend, but they can expect a tougher test this week when Abergavenny Town make the long journey to North Wales. Richie Jeremiah's side claimed a 4-2 victory over Llandudno last Sunday with new signing Maxine Mudge opening the scoring, and the manager was pleased with the way his side started the new campaign. “It was nice to get the three points and the performance was good,” said Jeremiah. “Our aim now is to do better than what we did last season in every department, both on and off the pitch, and keep this club moving forward.”
Abergavenny winger Lauren Boyd spoke to the clubs YouTube channel after the match, and emphasised how well-equipped her side are for the season ahead. “Pre-season has been really productive,” said Boyd. “We've brought in some really good players to add strength in-depth and I think we're a lot more together as a team. We've worked on tactics and styles of play, which has really benefited us. We have a really good squad here and we're more than capable of challenging for the top places.”
However, having stayed up in the final couple of weeks of the last season, Rhyl manager Tom Jamieson is keen for his side to improve during the current campaign having enjoyed a great start on Sunday. “It was a great performance from the team today with some real quality goals,” Jamieson explained after the match against Caldicot Town. “As long as we compete and perform like I know we can we will upset a few teams this season.”
Caernarfon Town had a rude awakening on their return to the top-flight last weekend as they were humbled 4-1 away to former champions Cardiff City. This weekend they host Cyncoed, who were narrowly defeated 3-2 at home by Port Talbot Town. Both sides will be looking to get points on the board this weekend, especially as Cyncoed will be looking to build on last seasons fifth-place finish. Port Talbot Town left it late to claim maximum points last weekend, and can expect a difficult test on Sunday when Cardiff Met are the visitors to Victoria Road for their first match of the season. Meanwhile, Llandudno host Cardiff City in the remaining fixture.