Saturday 3rd July 2021 14.00
North East Wales League Premier
Halkyn & Flint Mountain 3 Castell Alun Colts 2 HT: 1-1
Reece 4, Davies 50, Williams 93
from Pant Newydd
Despite being early July this was actually the opening day of the season in the brand new step three North East Wales Premier League. It had been almost two years since my last venture to the Principality, largely due to Wales not allowing spectators during the two covid hiatuses (hiati?). It was great to be back, and for an actual league game. The early start I think was to ensure enough time for the season to finish given suspected postponements due to covid reasons.
This season heralds a new era in Welsh football with a comprehensive restructure in the pyramid. It looks logical and has become more pyramidal, with the effect of a lot more teams moving up to tier four status, and better regionalisation higher up. The new structure highlights the inadequacies of the previous one, that had the impression of an outdated and incremental hodge podge.
Previously there was the Premier, covering all of wales, then in the south, going all the way up to Rhayader was the Welsh League Divisions One to Three (steps two to four). In the North was the Cymru Alliance (step two) and then three leagues with a Premier and First division – the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area), the Welsh Alliance (covering north wales, mainly coastal regions) and then the Mid Wales League covering the rest.
The pyramid now looks like this.
This looks a lot more sensible and has had the effect of unearthing some gems, that were hiding in obscure divisions at step five, such as Cemaes Bay, Bro Goronwy, Bethesda, Bodedern Athletic and Garw.
Halkyn and Flint Mountain started out as Flint Mountain in 2009 in the old Clwyd league and were founder members of the North East Wales League in 2011. They hopped between grounds in Flint, Connah’s Quay, Rhydymwyn, Sychdyn and Northop Hall, but in 2019 settled into Pant Newydd, which was the home of now defunct club Halkyn United. This coincided with the name change to Halkyn and Flint Mountain to reflect the arrangement.
The ground lies not far off the A55 main coast road, on Pentre Road (B5123), in Halkyn. It is on the same site os the cricket club, whose pitch is beyond the football field. Flint Mountain, by the way, is a small village a few miles back along the A55. You can get a good view of the pitch from the roadside as it sits quite a lot higher than the ground. In fact, with today’s crowd being limited to 100, it would be a good game to pick, as you could view it perfectly, if a tad uncomfortably, from the road verge.
The scenery isn’t as good as some Welsh Grounds but it’s a decent enough ground for step four of Welsh football, with a full railed pitch, small stand and small covered terrace. The stand was a corrugated iron affair with two rows of seats, totally around 40 and next to this was a covered area with a marvellously wavy corrugated roof. They were makeshift, as were the portacabins at the back, housing the changing rooms and, in normal circumstances, the snack bar. The sign still bore Halkyn United’s name, but I’m sure this will be swapped over soon enough.
The game was entertaining and fairly even throughout. Halkyn twice took the lead only to be pegged back, but their perserverence paid off as they fired how a winner in the third minute of injury time, helped by a deflection, to secure their first points of the new season.