Welsh Club Focus: Cemaes Bay FC

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Founded in: First in 1870, current side formed in 1976

Colours: Red & White.

Home ground: School Lane ground.

Honours: 2x Cookson Cup Winners (91/92 and 92/93), 1x Welsh Alliance Champions (92/93), 1x Cymru Alliance Champions (94/95), 1x Cymru Alliance League Cup Winners (00/01), 1x Kon-X Wales Ltd Anglesey Football League Elias Cup Winners (13/14), 1x Kon-X Anglesey Football League Dargie Cup Winners (14/15), 1x Kon-X Anglesey Football League Megan Cup Winners (14/15), 1x Kon-X Wales Ltd Anglesey Football League Charity Shield
Winners (14/15).

Manager: Sion Wyn Griffiths.

2017/18 Cemaes Bay squad. Picture: Cemaes Bay FC (Facebook).
RIGHT In the very Northern parts of Anglesey, and indeed Wales, lies a well-supported former Welsh Premier League side.

The seaside village of Cemaes Bay may have seen its football club suffer a fall from grace in recent times, but they are in fact a club with a lost of history and are one of the island’s most successful sides, being one of only two sides from Anglesey to have played in the top flight, alongside Llangefni Town.

 

A brief history/League of Wales days.

Arguably, the most illustrious period in the club’s history was during the 1990’s, where they won many honours and managed to find their way into the top flight of Welsh football.

In the 1991/92 season, Cemaes won the Cookson Cup, beating Llangefni Town 1-0. They then retained the Cup in the following season, hammering Bangor City’s reserves side 5-0. They also won the Welsh Alliance championship title and gained another promotion to the Cymru Alliance.

In 1994/95 a run of 25 league matches without defeat made Cemaes Bay the Cymru Alliance league winners and a true force to be reckoned with racking up a goal difference of 100+. They were subsequently promoted to the League of Wales, or the Welsh Premier League as it is now known.

Promotion was not guaranteed, however, as the School Lane facilities were not considered to be satisfactory enough by the FAW.

Loyal fans of Cemaes Bay FC and even local villagers came together to lend a hand to ensure that the club would gain the promotion it deserved. New floodlighting was installed, a new stand was erected and other facilities were upgraded, enabling the club to take its place in the League of Wales in August 1995.

They finished 15th in their first season (there were 21 teams in the league at that time) and survived comfortably, ten points off the relegation zone. The following season in 1996/97, they went one step further and finished in 12th place in what was to become the club’s highest finish in the Welsh pyramid system to date.

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School Lane in the 1990’s, League of Wales days. Picture: welsh-premier.com.
Following on from their two years of success in the top flight, the club adopted the name “Cemaes Bay Ynys Mon FC” to try and boost the island’s status on the national stage.

At the end of 1997 however, things began to take a turn for the worse for the seaside village club when their main financial backer resigned and in turn they lost several key players.

Cemaes struggled grately for the remainder of the 1997/98 season and were relegated back to the Cymru Alliance. They finished the season with just nine points to their name, having lost 33 of their 38 matches, winning just two. To this day, it is the worst record of any club to have played in the top flight.

Over the course of the next four seasons that followed their relegation, Cemaes regularly challenged at the top of the Cymru Alliance, but they couldn’t find promotion. In 2004/05, the club were relegated further to the Welsh Alliance and in 2005/06, they dropped to the Gwynedd League.

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The club has a large following despite their drop down the leagues. Picture: Cemaes Bay FC (Facebook).
After many hard years of struggling, they dropped to the Anglesey League (Sixth Division of North Wales football) in 2008/09. Arguably though, that was what the club truly needed to at least begin to get back on its feet.

 

The present situation

Since 2009, Cemaes have been climbing their way back up the divisions and winning various trophies along the way and have now reached Welsh Alliance Division Two, where they face a tough challenge.

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Winning the Dargie Cup in 2015. Picture: Cemaes Bay FC (Facebook).
The struggles continue at the club, with some of their star players, including the dynamic duo of Keenan Downey and Steven Whittaker having left over the summer.

However, it’s fair to say that things have most certainly been on the up in recent seasons and the club currently still has some talented players within their ranks, some of whom have been at School Lane for a number of years.

Defender Lewis Connor is one of those players and is now the club captain. As well as putting in the tackles, he has been known to also pop up with a few goals from time to time. Midfielder Mathew Shakespeare is another experienced footballer who’s played for various clubs on Anglesey and always gives his all out on the pitch.

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Connor (right) challenges for the ball. Picture: Cemaes Bay FC (Facebook).

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Shakespeare on the ball. Picture: Cemaes Bay FC (Facebook).
The trio of Tam Morton, Christ Byast and Player-Manager Sion Wyn Griffiths have hit two goals each so far this season and are the joint-top scorers.

Results this season have been hard to come by so far for Cemaes Bay after the loss of some key players over the summer and it is expected to be a tough season for the club in Welsh Alliance Divison Two as the competition is very strong.

For many critics, they’re one of the favourites to be relegated come the end of the season, but they’ve struggled before and have nearly always come back fighting, so it will be interesting to see what they can achieve.

Keep a close eye on this side as they’re a club with a large following and are one of Welsh football’s forgotten gems.

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