Tuesday, 25 June 2013

WPL set for explosive return

The Welsh Premier League is set for an action-packed return over the August Bank Holiday weekend with clubs set to play two gruelling rounds of matches in just three days.

The league kicks off a week later than usual with first-time European qualifiers Prestatyn and Bala Town squaring up on August 23, and the rest of the teams in action on Saturday, including defending champions TNS welcoming Scott Young’s Port Talbot Town to Park Hall in front of the live S4C cameras on August 24.

Completing the August bank holiday weekend, all 12 teams are in action again on the August 26.

Rhyl are back in the top flight after a three year absence, gaining promotion by remaining unbeaten throughout the last league campaign, winning 24 games and scoring more than 100 goals to become the first team to achieve that feat. They kick off their season with a home fixture against Aberystwyth, who finished 10th last season.

Another team with a home fixture as their first game is last year’s surprise package Airbus UK, who finished in second place ahead of WPL stalwarts Bangor City last time out, gaining a place in this year’s UEFA Europa League first qualifying round. They start their season against Carmarthen, who earned qualification to the UEFA Europa League play-offs last time out by finishing sixth.

Afan Lido finished last season bottom of the league by nine points, but due to Llanelli’s liquidation, they stayed in the WPL as the Reds were demoted. They will look to get some early points on the board with an away clash against Gap Connah’s Quay.

The other opening day fixture is contested between Newtown and Bangor City, which will take place at Newtown’s Latham Park.

The last games of the season before the league splits promise to be a great spectacle as last season’s top two go head to head at TNS. Other key matches include Bangor making the trip to Aberstwyth, while Rhyl face Port Talbot in a home fixture.

Other key dates include TNS travelling to Rhyl on October 12, Airbus taking on Bangor in a home tie on the November 15 and Prestatyn taking on Port Talbot at their home ground Bastion Road on October 19.

S4C will cover several fixtures throughout the season, the first five being:

24/08/2013: TNS v Port Talbot (15:45)
26/08/2013: Bangor v Rhyl (14:45)
31/08/2013: Afan Lido v Airbus UK (15:45)
07/09/2013: Prestatyn v Gap Connah’s Quay (15:45)
14/09/2013: Bala v Newtown (15:45)

Opening fixtures:
Prestatyn v Bala

Airbus UK v Carmarthen
Gap Connah’s Quay v Afan Lido
Newtown v Bangor
Rhyl v Aberystwyth
TNS v Port Talbot

Aberystwyth v Afan Lido
Bala v Airbus UK
Bangor v Rhyl
Newtown v Carmarthen
Port Talbot v Gap Connah’s Quay
Prestatyn v TNS

Aberystwyth v TNS
Bangor v Prestatyn
Carmarthen v Port Talbot
Gap Connah’s Quay v Bala
Rhyl v Newtown

Afan Lido v Airbus UK


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