Date of Visit: 26th March 2022
Competition: Cymru North
Ground Number: 120
- Founded: 1897
- Ground: Cae Bob Parry
- Home Town: Llangefni, Ynys Môn
- Colours: All blue kit with a white trim
- Highest League Placement: 18th – Welsh Premier League [2007-08]
Social Media Channels
- Website: http://www.llangefnifc.co.uk/
- Twitter: @LlangefniTownFC
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/llangefnitownfc
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/llangefnitownfc/
After the excitement of the previous weekend’s groundhop when I revisited Rhydymwyn for a return visit and to restart the groundhopping blogging again (the link to that blog can be found HERE), the last weekend of March 2022 would provide yet another opportunity for another groundhopping blog, and to also visit a new ground for me. The schedule for my beloved Holywell Town’s Cymru North fixtures had planned a tasty-looking away trip to the Isle of Anglesey to see the Wellmen take on Llangefni Town, who were sadly experiencing a tough season in the second-tier by being situated second-from-bottom in the league. With the weather forecast predicting unseasonably high temperatures and beautifully sunny weather, I, therefore, decided to make the journey across the breadth of northern Wales to beautiful Ynys Môn and visit the isle’s capital for some Cymru North football and visit my 120th ground – onwards to the Cae Bob Parry!
The ancient cattle market town of Llangefni is the county town of Ynys Môn/Isle of Anglesey and is located in roughly the centre of the island. Situated on the Afon Cefni (which flows from its source at the Llyn Cefni reservoir, located northwest of the town, to the southeast of the island where it flows into the Irish Sea, and is one of the island’s main rivers which the town is named after – “church on the Cefni” in English), the town is the second-largest town on the isle with over 5.1k inhabitants, and was the home of internationally renowned painters Kyffin Williams and Charles Tunnicliffe, with collections of both artists displayed in the town’s Oriel Ynys Môn museum and gallery that is located to the north of the town. Although Llangefni does not have its own railway station anymore, with the nearest being Llanfair PG five miles away, it does have good infrastructure links with the surrounding towns via regular bus services. In addition, the town is just over a mile north of the important road arteries of the old A5 and the A55 Expressway.
Llangefni currently has two football clubs that play in the town. CPD Cefni are the newer of the two teams and they play in the fifth-tier regional North Wales Coast West League Division One, playing their home games in the centre of town at Isgraig. Whilst the older and more illustrious team from the Môn town is Llangefni Town, who currently plays in the second-tier Cymru North and plays in the northeastern outskirts of the town at Cae Bob Parry.
Records show that football has been played in the market town since 1892 although the current Llangefni Town were officially founded in 1897 where they became founding members of the now-defunct Anglesey League, which was also founded in the same year. For the vast majority of the club’s history, they competed in the island league with the club winning the bulk of their island-based trophies, including four of their seven Anglesey League titles, in the 1930s and the post-WW2 period. However, the end of the 1980s and the start of the 1990s saw big developments for Cefni in-line with various developments within Welsh league football. Llangefni accepted promotion into the Gwynedd League in the 1988-89 season and achieved a perfect debut by winning the league, the Eryri Shield, and the Gwynedd Cup to achieve a treble-winning season, something which they then repeated in the following season.
Further success would follow at the start of the 1990s when Llangefni accepted a promotion to the Welsh Alliance League, and achieved yet another debut treble-winning campaign by winning the league, the Barrett Cup, and the Alves Cup in the same year. Llangefni won various competitions including three Welsh Alliance League championships in four seasons, three consecutive Barrett Cup wins between 1991 and 1993, a Cookson Cup victory in 1994, and a Welsh Intermediate Cup (now the FAW Trophy) victory in 1991 when they defeated Caersws 2-1 in a replay match to become the first (and only) club from the Isle to lift Wales’ second-oldest national cup competition. The club spent nine seasons in the Welsh Alliance League until they won their fourth WAL title in the 1998-99 season (winning the title on goal difference ahead of Locomotive Llanberis) and accepted the promotion to the second-tier Cymru Alliance.
The 2000s would be a hugely eventful period for the club as they competed in the Cymru Alliance. They achieved a second-place finish in the 2000-01 season, and then merged with fellow Môn-based Cymru Alliance club Glantraeth the following season to create the Llangefni/Glantraeth superclub. Despite finishing second and fourth in the next two seasons, the merger ultimately soured, and the clubs divorced back into separate clubs once again. Llangefni continued to be one of the better clubs in the league, finishing no lower than fifth position, until they finally clinched the Cymru Alliance title in the 2006-07 season by finishing two points ahead of Bala Town and earning promotion to the Welsh Premier League. Alas, their debut appearance in the top-flight would be a brief one as they finished bottom of the 2007-08 WPL table but just missed out on staying in the league by just two points. They continued to be one of the strongest teams in the Cymru Alliance, and won the league for the second time in 2010 but were unable to accept promotion back to the top flight.
Having being unable to accept promotion back to the Welsh Premier League, it was the start of Llangefni’s rapid descent down the leagues with the club finishing in tenth position in the 2011-12 season, and then getting relegated from the Cymru Alliance the following season when they finished fifteenth in the sixteen team league – just two seasons after being crowned league champions. Cefni would suffer a second consecutive relegation the following season when they finished bottom of the Welsh Alliance League Division 1. Llangefni Town would eventually have to withdraw from the Welsh Alliance League after most of the players left the club during the summer meaning the club could not raise a first team.
Llangefni Town decided to restart from the bottom of the pyramid by using a team of young local players from their reserves and return back to the Anglesey League for the first time since 1988. Despite finishing in mid-table for their first season back, Llangefni managed to stabilise as a club and were accepted back into the Welsh Alliance League by gaining promotion to WAL Division Two (fourth-tier). This promotion started a resurrection for the Dazzlers through the leagues as they finished runners-up in the 2014-15 WAL Division Two table and gained promotion back to the third-tier and Division One. During their four-season stay in WAL Division One, they finished no lower than third position, finishing third twice in their first two years at that level, runners-up to Conwy Borough in the 2017-18 season, before finally returning back to the second-tier when they won the 2018-19 WAL Division One title (their fifth WAL title overall) by finishing six points clear of nearest rivals Bodedern Athletic. As a result of their promotion, Llangefni Town became founding members of the Cymru North, which replaced the old Cymru Alliance league, and finishing in thirteenth position in their first season back (via the points-per-game method) in the second-tier for the halted 2019-20 season. Like every other Welsh club, they were not able to compete last season due to the global pandemic which halted all football taking place below the Cymru Premier level.
The 2021-22 Season
The 2021-22 season has been a tough season for Llangefni Town, as they found themselves situated in fourteenth position (out of fifteen teams after Bangor City’s withdrawal from the league midway through the season) with just 13 points earned from their previous 23 league games played. Below are Llangefni Town’s results from their last five league games:
- 22nd Jan 2022: Llanrhaeadr (h) 1-2
- 29th Jan 2022: Colwyn Bay (a) 0-0
- 5th Feb 2022: Prestatyn Town (a) 0-0
- 25th Feb 2022: Buckley Town (a) 1-1
- 5th Mar 2022: Gresford Athletic (a) 2-1
After having a miserable start to the season which saw the club earn just one point from their first six league games, and seven points from their first sixteen league fixtures, Llangefni’s form has improved in recent times by having earned a further six points from their last four league games prior to this upcoming game. They experienced their sixth consecutive league defeat against relegation rivals Llanrhaeadr in late January, when they disappointingly lost 1-2 at home, by having two players dismissed and conceding an injury-time winner despite Josh Stanley having equalised with a quarter of an hour remaining. However, their form and luck improved the following weekend when they managed to achieve an impressive goalless away draw against Welsh Cup semi-finalists Colwyn Bay, before repeating the feat in the first weekend of February when they achieved another goalless away draw, this time against the out-of-form Prestatyn Town.
A third straight away draw was achieved towards the end of February when Llangefni earned a 1-1 result against Buckley Town. James Phillips gave the visitors a first-half lead and were very near to earning their first league victory since early November, but an equaliser conceded with just ten minutes remaining in the match meant another draw for the Dazzlers. However, they wouldn’t need to wait long to get their third league win of the season, when they continued their impressive away form by beating Gresford Athletic 2-1 at Clappers Lane. First-half goals from Josh Stanley and Jack Smith were enough to clinch the three points for Cefni, and extend their unbeaten streak to four games going into the home match against Holywell, their first home game since late January.
Llangefni’s opponents for the afternoon, Holywell Town, were one of the in-form clubs in the league having won six of their last seven league games since the restart in mid-January. After a poor start to the season which saw the Wellmen earn just two points from their first six league games, their form has dramatically improved with manager Johnny Haseldin winning the Cymru North Manager of Month awards for both November and January, and saw Holywell rise to fifth in the table having earned 38 points from 22 league games. Their last five league games are the following:
- 5th Feb 2022: Guilsfield (a) 2-1
- 12th Feb 2022: Holyhead Hotspur (a) 0-1
- 26th Feb 2022: Llanrhaeadr (h) 5-0
- 1st Mar 2022: Colwyn Bay (a) 3-0
- 12th Mar 2022: Gresford Athletic (h) 4-0
At the start of February, Holywell achieved a second victory within a week over the previously undefeated third-placed side Guilsfield when they clinched a 2-1 win at the Guilsfield Community Ground. After conceding at the half-hour mark, they equalised just before halftime with a Zebb Edwards strike, before Tom Bibby grabbed a second-half injury-time winner to give Holywell yet another win over the Powys-based side. However, Holywell’s 100% form after the restart was halted in Caergybi when Hotspur inflicted an injury-time winner of their own to give the Islanders a 1-0 victory in the “Holy Derby”. Holywell responded perfectly a fortnight afterwards when they defeated bottom side Llanrhaeadr 5-0 at Halkyn Road to recommence their excellent form. First-half goals from Dave Forbes and Ilan ap Gareth meant the home side had a 2-0 lead at halftime, before a goal from Zebb Edwards and a brace from Danny Andrews confirmed a comfortable 5-0 result.
March started with a huge game against Colwyn Bay, and the Wellmen stunned the Welsh Cup semi-finalists at Llanelian Road with a 3-0 win over the Seagulls. Another Ilan ap Gareth goal in the first half (his fourth league goal of the season at that point) gave Holywell a slender lead, before an 89th-minute goal from Danny Sullivan confirmed the points, with Dave Forbes adding the coup de gras in the fifth minute of injury time. In Holywell’s last match prior to this upcoming game, they achieved another home victory when they defeated Gresford Athletic 4-0. The turning point of the game was a Gresford dismissal in the 25th minute with Danny Andrews converting the resultant penalty before Dylan Allshorn doubled the lead three minutes later. Two goals in three minutes towards the end of the first half from Ilan ap Gareth and Dave Forbes confirmed a 4-0 victory at Halkyn Road confirming Holywell’s 11th league win of the season.
- Travel Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Travel Distance: 55 miles
- Entrance: £6.00
- Cup of Coffee: £1.00
The journey from 94thMinHQ to the ground took about 70 minutes, with the A55 Expressway being surprisingly free-flowing and not as laden with caravans or motorhomes venturing westward as I expected it would be with such fantastic weather in North Wales. One thing that I certainly correctly anticipated was that there is always a section on the dual carriageway where roadworks and delays happen, and that occurred just after Colwyn Bay where the speed limit was reduced to 40mph (although there didn’t seem to be anyone working on the road, but hey ho…). However, other than that sluggish section on the northern Welsh main infrastructure artery, the journey was relatively straightforward in the beautiful sunshine and I arrived at Llangefni Town’s huge car park at around 13:50.
Earlier in the week, my initial plans had been to arrive a couple of hours before kick-off at the ground, park up at the club’s car park, and then take a walk into town to explore the place and take a few photos. If there was still time remaining, I even considered popping into the Oriel Môn Gallery to see some of its exhibits and paintings, including its famous Kyffin Williams collection, which is meant to be really good. Alas, time constraints meant I was unable to do that, and as the ground is about a 15-minute walk from the town centre and its famous clock tower, I just settled on going into the ground earlier. Next time I visit Llangefni, I want to explore the town Fitba Nomad-style by exploring its various pubs as well as taking pictures of the town itself!
Cae Bob Parry is located in the northeastern outskirts of the town and directly opposite Ysgol Y Graig, with the entrance to the ground on the B5109 road. Llangefni Town moved into their new ground during the 1999-2000 season after having played at their old home of Isgraig since their foundation in 1897 (although the reserves still play there), and is an incredibly impressive arena for football. In a rarity for Welsh league football, Cae Bob Parry has covered stands on all four sides of the pitch. The large main stand is located on the ‘Town Side’ of the pitch, with hundreds of covered seats, whilst there is another smaller stand with seats on the opposite side of the pitch. At the ‘School End’ of the ground, the covered stand has three steps of concrete terracing where more seats could be potentially fitted in the future, whilst at the opposite ‘Llyn End’, there is another covered stand although it is just flat ground where only standing or disabled supporters can watch the game undercover from the elements. Finally, the ground has a concrete path around the perimeter of the pitch allowing easy access for all supporters to move around the ground, as well as the ground possesses floodlights allowing nighttime games to be played. It’s no surprise that Llangefni’s ground was one of the grounds extensively used during the 2019 Inter Games Football Tournament that was hosted on the Isle, and saw the home side win the gold medal.
After having paid the entrance fee of £6, and being immediately blown away by the ground and its size, I spotted a number of the regular Holywell supporters standing around the entrance to the ground and spoke to them. A considerable number of them had traveled to the ground on the club’s coach with the majority of them already enjoying what alcoholic drinks the clubhouse had to offer, with the clubhouse complex situated next to the entrance. Having a peer inside, it looked like a big function room with a number of chairs dotted around and a bar at the far end of the room. Had I also got on the bus, I think I would have enjoyed sipping a couple of ales in the fine Anglesey sunshine, but alas it was just non-alcoholic drinks for this game considering I had driven down. Therefore I bought a cup of coffee from the snatch hatch, which is attached onto the end of the clubhouse complex, for the standard price of £1. Having driven for over an hour in a black car in warm conditions, I was a touch parched when I arrived at the Cae Bob Parry, so the black coffee certainly wetted the whistle.
We had a chat about how impressive the ground looked, as well as the journey along the continually roadworked A55 to get to Llangefni. One subject that was discussed amongst us visiting fans was Llangefni’s unique nickname, “The Dazzlers”, which has been mentioned on their Wikipedia page, and its potential origins. I later contacted the club’s Twitter account asking about the origins of this nickname, and here’s what they said:
“Years ago, there used to be a football tournament held at Llangefni during Easter. The tournament was quite popular [at] attracting teams from afar. A team of the town’s best players entered on an annual basis and were calling themselves ‘The Dazzlers’. The club later adopted the nickname ‘Dazzlers’ in the hope of having a team of players that dazzles, is highly impressive, and skillful.”@LlangefniTownFC
After taking a brief look around the ground, the teams soon emerged from the changing rooms that are located between the clubhouse complex and the main stand on the town side of the pitch. Holywell Town were wearing their usual Joma-made red and white striped shirts (the design with the faded stripes) with red shorts and red socks, whilst Llangefni Town were in their home Macron-made strip of all-blue with white trim. As I had noticed with the previous week’s match between Rhydymwyn and Llandudno Albion, Llangefni were also displaying a charity on the front of their shirts rather than a traditional corporate sponsor. Their blue shirts proudly displayed the NHS logo with a rainbow background on its front, with the club showing its appreciation for the hard work the national health service has done during the pandemic, and continuously does every day. A lovely touch from the club there!
For the first half, we all decided to stand behind the goal Holywell were attacking towards, and that meant we all occupied the ‘School End’ stand near the entrance and stood on the concrete steps. It also meant that it was the first appearance of the season for the 94thMin flag as we were able to tie it to the stand roof rafters which allowed it to be displayed for the opening 45 minutes. I had thankfully remembered to bring it along this time around! Haha!
Prior to the game starting, there was a minute’s silence in memory of Llangefni’s under 16 goalkeeper Elgan Jones who had sadly passed away the previous week, and it was incredibly sad news to read about. All our thoughts and condolences were with Elgan’s parents, family, and friends during such a difficult time for them.
Llangefni started the brighter of the two sides and had the majority of the half-chances created early in the first half, although nothing of note that would ultimately trouble Holywell’s keeper Keighan “Jesus” Jones into making a save. A shot from Jack Smith zipping past the woodwork within the first quarter-hour was the closest the home side came to opening the scoring. Sadly, Llangefni’s failure to capitalise on any of their half-chances came back to haunt them when, in the 27th minute, the impressive forward Dave Forbes broke clear of the Llangefni defence and audaciously lobbed the onrushing home keeper Steve Sinclair from just outside of the penalty area to break the deadlock and score his sixth goal of the season. A marvelous opener in the Môn sunshine! The momentum had swung in the visitors’ favour and they now continually threatened the Llangefni goal, with a Danny Andrews header and Ilan ap Gareth strike producing excellent saves from Sinclair in goal. They soon punctured through the Llangefni defence once again with five minutes remaining of the half when a cross found Zebb Edwards unmarked at the far post to slot the ball into the bottom corner to increase his goal tally to seven for the season and double Holywell’s lead at half-time.
At half-time, we all decided to switch ends and move to the ‘Llyn End’ of the ground but I don’t think any of us were prepared for the change in climate by walking over to the other side of the pitch. From the relative warmth and summer conditions at the ‘School End’, it was absolutely baltic at the other side with a stiff, chilling breeze catching everyone out and causing grumbling from those who went over. It was that cold, I had to fish out the coat from the backpack and put it on – the last breaths of winter had rapidly returned with a vengeance despite the sun in the sky! Just further evidence that you have to be prepared for all weather conditions in Welsh league games, I guess…
The second half started out a scrappy affair with neither side able to create anything of value, with Holywell perhaps having the best of the early chances. Winger Dylan Allshorn, who was causing Llangefni’s Canadian right-back, Philippe Edmonds, all sorts of problems throughout the half, was the visitors’ most successful outlet. With ten minutes played, Allshorn managed to find space in the box and unleash a volleyed shot on goal, although it was aimed straight at Sinclair for a textbook save. A few minutes later, Danny Andrews attempted an audacious lob to try and catch-out Sinclair, who had pushed forward from his goal line, but his effort bounced past the post. However, in the 70th minute, the tie was concluded as a contest despite a sturdy display from the hosts. Once again Allshorn would play a crucial role as he speedily slipped past the challenge of Edmonds and slotted the ball into the bottom far corner of the net to give Holywell a three-goal cushion.
Despite the scoreline, Llangefni never gave up, much to their credit, and they threatened the Holywell goal, as the game opened up somewhat late in the second half. They forced Jesus into making a couple of saves, and a few last-ditch defensive blocks were needed to maintain the team’s clean sheet. They also showed their fighting spirit with some fierce challenges which caused tempers to flare up a little bit at times, although these flickers of aggression between players were quickly quenched. Alas, the Dazzlers were unable to breakthrough their opponent’s defensive line and the game subsequently ended with the Wellmen earning themselves a hard-fought 3-0 away victory, and earning applause from the visiting supporters as they returned to the changing rooms.
FULL TIME: Llangefni Town 0-3 Holywell Town
Post Match & Conclusion
Holywell Town’s victory combined with Guilsfield’s 1-3 loss to Colwyn Bay meant the race for third place in the Cymru North would become a fascinating battle until the end of the season. Guilsfield continued to hold the position, but with Holywell and Colwyn Bay’s victories for the afternoon, they were both just three points behind the northern Powys-based side. Colwyn Bay looked to be in the weakest position of the three teams by having just got three league games remaining of their season and possessed an inferior goal difference (+14). Holywell Town looked to be in the strongest position as they were the league’s in-form team, had the best goal difference of the three teams with +28, and had a game advantage over Guilsfield who had played a game more. In addition, the Wellmen were scheduled to play all four of their April fixtures at Halkyn Road meaning home advantage could play a crucial role in their season. It also meant that their home game against Colwyn Bay the following weekend would become a critical game for the season for all three sides, and could determine which club ultimately finished in the third position in the Cymru North.
Sadly, another defeat for Llangefni did not help their position in the Cymru North table as they continued to battle against relegation. Their seventeenth defeat of the season kept Cefni in 14th position and six points adrift from Llanidloes Town in 13th spot, although the Daffs’ 1-2 loss to fellow Môn side, Holyhead Hotspur, ensured the margin between the two clubs did not increase for Llangefni. Also, Llanrhaeadr’s 0-3 home defeat by Penrhyncoch meant the gap between Llangefni and the bottom-place club did not disappear due to the Dazzlers’ loss. As with the race for third place, the battle for relegation looked set to be another fascinating contest going into the conclusion of the season with all of the bottom three clubs having four league games remaining to avoid relegation to the Ardal Leagues, not to mention Prestatyn Town’s form dramatically dropping off (earning just two points in the last six games) and sliding into a potential relegation battle.
Overall, I was very impressed with Llangefni Town’s ground and I think, in terms of facilities, it is probably one of the best in the whole league. As I mentioned previously, it’s very rare in Welsh league football currently for a club to have a covered stand on every side of the pitch, and Llangefni has that. Plus, they have the space and potential to increase their capacity by adding additional seats in the ‘School End’ stand, or even adding further stands around the ground should they wish to in the future, or if the club gains promotion to the Cymru Premier. There is plenty of space for car parking at the ground, which is something I always appreciate, and the clubhouse looks like a decent spot for a couple of pre or post-match drinks. Certainly, the Holywell fans I spoke to were impressed with the clubhouse anyway. Perhaps, if there is a downside to the Cae Bob Parry, it is that the ground is a bit of a walk from the town centre and other pubs or cafes, but most newer grounds have this issue nowadays as they’re usually built in the outskirts of towns.
In conclusion, I would highly recommend anyone to visit Cae Bob Parry should you get the opportunity in the future. The warm welcome we all received from the home stewards and supporters was very nice, and the ground is an excellent venue for watching football. Certainly, I am looking forward to returning back to Llangefni in the near future where hopefully I’m able to have a good wander around the town centre, and perhaps experience some of its pubs or cafes (plus visit the Oriel Gallery also), as well as enjoy another visit to the ground.