As we say farewell to the first phase of JD Welsh Premier League (JD WPL) games, in this week’s column I want to look back over the season so far. More importantly though I want to focus on the game last Saturday, when we hosted Bangor City.
As an individual I’m not interested in revenge, that’s too dark and murky an area to get involved in. However, the visit of the Citizens to Park Hall did present the opportunity to right a wrong. It’s seems a long way off now, but back in August last year we got off to the worst start possible, as our JD WPL campaign kicked off with a 5-2 reversal at Nantporth.
The real test of character though is not how you behave when things are going well but rather how you respond when they aren’t. Although a couple of defeats were added to the opener along the way, lots of wins and a few draws meant that we went into MD 22 in a healthy position.
Nine points ahead of Connah’s Quay Nomads in second and eleven in front of Bangor who occupied third spot, little did realise how, by the end of the day, a perfect brace of results would strengthen our hand even further.
Not only did we beat Bangor – more of that in a moment – but the Nomads crashed 4-2 at Park Avenue as Aberystwyth Town themselves picked up three valuable points in their relegation battle.
Like everyone else at Park Hall – and no doubt those associated with Bangor City as well – I always knew it was going to be a tough game. What a great match it turned out to be though, not only brilliant from our perspective, but as far as the bigger picture is concerned, a great advertisement for the JD WPL.
It certainly ranks up there as one of the best domestic games that I’ve seen in 2017/2018. Without a doubt, as far as I’m concerned, the league is improving year on year and this season is certainly no exception. What is great to see though – and Saturday’s game was a perfect example – as other clubs push us, the more we rise to the challenge and move to another level ourselves.
Bangor City were on top form but our response was to raise our game. To win the match, as we did, with a late winner was heartbreak hotel for the visitors but for The New Saints it was the exact opposite. If you want to hear how Blaine Hudson’s winner came over on TNS Radio, listen to the short clip below. To say I got excited is putting it mildly.
The Passion. The Pride. The Points. That, for me, sums up Saturday perfectly. Going into the final ten games with a twelve point lead over second place is the perfect platform from which to launch the final assault on consecutive league title number seven.
One thing is for sure though, although we are in a perfect position, nothing has been won yet. I can tell you for a fact that there will be no complacency in the squad. Whether manager or player, everyone will be totally focused on the job in hand.
The lead photograph is courtesy of Brian Jones and for me the man of the moment, Blaine Hudson, sums up the team spirit at Park Hall perfectly. Whether in training or in a competitive game, he’s giving his all.
Rev’s Ramblings is a weekly blog, following my adventures with the champions of Wales from a personal perspective.