As the cricket season kicks off tomorrow, with Ynysygerwn CC travelling to Monmouthshire to face Abergavenny in their first competitive game of the season, Ynysygerwn AFC face a massive end of season relegation scrap at Beddau against Cwm Welfare.
Ynys, who currently lie 6 points ahead of Cwm Welfare having played one game more, know that 3 points would all but secure Welsh League football from them next season. With Barry Town gaining promotion from Welsh League Division One to the Welsh Premier League (WPL) on Tuesday evening and Aberystwyth staying in the top flight, only 2 sides will face the drop from Welsh League Division 3. This is due to the two relegated WPL sides being from North Wales.
A win at Cwm tomorrow would mean the home side would no longer be able to catch Ynys, and with the other 2 sides in the bottom 3 (Caerleon and Tredegar) due to play each other next Saturday Ynys' survival maybe finalised before they next kick a ball on Wednesday 3rd May.
But if Ynys were to lose tomorrow, it would then mean they must beat Caerleon last game of the season to secure their position in the Welsh League.
With so many different scenarios still possible joint manager Nicholas Maggs is looking forward to the end of the season " If you said at the start of the season we would be in a position that our fait is in our own hands, I would have taken it. Similar to Cwm (Welfare) we came into the league through a play off and I am looking at our next game like that, a play off. Luckily we will have two bites at the cherry but of course I would like to get 3 points Saturday, to put the pressure on the chasing sides."
Ynys' season has been up and down from their 0-4 grubbing against Ely Rangers way back in August. With only 3 points on the board after 6 games Ynys seemed to be the whipping boys in Division 3 early on in the season. To go with the 0-4 home defeat to Ely, STM Sports won 1-5 at Llandarcy, while a 3-1 defeat at Llantwit Major was followed up by a 5-0 trouncing at Bridgend Street and 2-3 home defeat against Caerau. Ynys had conceded 21 goals in them opening six games, with only a 1-2 away win at Chepstow Town to smile about.
Joint Manager David Burrows, who took his place in the dugout for the first time at Chepstow Town, said "With 2 games of the season left, we find ourselves with our Welsh League status firmly in our own hands. Saturday sees us travel to Cwm Welfare whom we sit 6 points above in the table. A win would see us in unassailable position with Cwm."
A good middle part of the season, co insided with a fantastic FAW Welsh Cup run that was halted quickly by Lee Trundle's Llanelli Town side.
Since then Ynys have only picked up 9 points from 15 league games, although that hasn't been the full story as Maggs continued "We 've been desperately unlucky since Christmas. Results have been poor but that has been down to us not being clinical enough in the final third. Out of the 10 defeats since the new year , 8 have been by the odd goal. On Saturday we need to put this right and gain what would be a vital 3 points."
Maggs went on to say "To stay in the league would be a huge achievement, especially after the start we had. It was always going to be a difficult task with no budget and the boys having to pay subs, but we've stuck at it and will continue to fight for our survival. If we were to stay in the division I think we will go from strength to strength next season. A lot of our squad have never played at this standard until this season and to avoid the bottom 3 would defiantly give all the boys a massive confidence boost for next year. At the moment though it is important we focus on the weekends game at Cwm and come away with a positive result".
Burrows continued "We have to travel to Caerleon in a midweek fixture which, if we were to win both games, could put us on 34 points and in all probability safe. Caerleon will be hoping to pick up points against Tredegar Town before we make the visit which could see them close the gap on us. Let's not forget Tredegar, despite having 5 games in hand, are sat bottom of the table still 9 points behind us. Many permeations, I know, but we have to focus on ourselves and getting the 6 points which will see us to safety regardless of any other results. Let's hope for two positive results and another season in the Welsh League, which all linked to the club deserve!".
Ynysygerwn welcome back skipper Tom Phillips who missed the last two games. Also back in the squad is Corey Tristram and Joshua Roberts who missed the trip to Treowen last week. Vice Captain Adam Davies misses the trip along with Andrew Miller who are both unavailble.
Everyone at the club would like to wish the football section all the best for the remainder of the season. The reserve team are also in action tomorrow as they take on AFC Glais in the Semi Final of the Neath & District Division 2 cup, while two league victories will mean promotion to Neath & District Division One at their first time of trying, Lots to play for, for both teams so good luck all.
For anyone travelling to the game via the supporters bus please be at Ynysygerwn Cricket Club at 12:10p.m. Adults cost £10.00 and Children £3.00. Kick Off is schdueled for 2:30p.m. For anyone else travelling to Cwm Welfare, Beddau, the postcode for the ground is CF38 2AT.