North Wales League: Flint coach says promotion is the target ahead of 2017/18 season

Reporter:

Daniel Heald

FLINT coach Aled Davies insists that promotion is his side’s immediate priority heading into the 2017/18 season.

Relegated from the Division Two East league last term, Flint start with a trip to Pwllheli Seconds in the new-look League Three North.

Last season’s league campaign was blighted by numerous fixture cancellations with Davies describing the situation as a ‘debacle’.

Now competing in a newly-formed third-tier featuring several second teams, Davies is looking forward to playing regularly.

A mixed pre-season saw Flint overcome Ashton-under-Lyne 19-7, before they were hammered 76-0 at Northwich side Winnington Park.

Ahead of the new campaign, Davies said: “Hopefully we’ll see fewer postponements this season and we can get some momentum as the league season progresses.

“We have managed to add to our coaching staff this season, along with myself (forwards) and Aubrey Evans (backs) Mark Parry from Flintshire Falcons has joined us as defensive coach.

“I'm sure with his experience of coaching the Flintshire Falcons for the last seven years he'll be a great asset to the club. He's still part of the Falcons coaching set up, but has taken a step back from running the senior team.

“Obviously our aim this season is to gain promotion into Division Two where it's a more level playing ground. We've had a decent preparation to the season, and I think that both games were good learning games for us.

“We want a good start to the season, travelling down to Pwllheli makes it a little bit harder for us, but this game will test our mettle.

“Everyone should be available plus ex-youth player Danny Langford at flanker, who has come back to us after being away for three years at university. 

“Our new hooker Scott Jones, who played for Mold youth last year will also feature tomorrow.”

An inconsistent 2016/17 campaign saw Mold win 11 and lose the same amount of their league games, culminating in a mid-table sixth-placed finish in Division One.

Hooker Ryan Kirby and flanker James Grundy were the club's standout performers and coach Ben Grundy will hope for strong contributions from the pair again.

Mold kick-off with a trip to a Bala side that finished fourth last season and Bala chairman Tony Parry said: "We are looking forward to the start of the season.

"We have got Mold at home first and then Nant Conwy away, so it's a difficult start to the season.”

Nant Conwy go to Bro Ffestiniog, Colwyn Bay host Caernarfon, Llangefni host Dolgellau.

Title contenders Pwllheli have home advantage over Gwynedd rivals Bethesda, while Ruthin are at home to Llandudno.

Ruthin were involved in a nervy battle against relegation last time out as they finished in 10th position, just four points clear of the dreaded drop zone. 

Ruthin coach Andy Williams said: "We have had a number of retirements to key players and others moving out of the area in the last two-or-three years.

"We have had some of the youth players coming through, though, and the lads that have been away at university are now coming back."

Jordan Jones has come up through the junior and youth ranks at Cae Ddol over the past few years, and he is the first team skipper for the new campaign.

In North Wales Division Two, Wrexham host Harlech in their opener with captain Keir Harding hoping to lead a promotion charge to League One.

Shotton Steel head into the new season buoyed by a fine 29-22 pre-season victory over established first division side Caernarfon.

Stand off Daniel Lynskey ran-in a superb hat-trick in the game and will look to take his impressive summer form into their match at league newcomers Rhyl.

Bangor host Newtown, Llangollen are at home to Abergele, while Welshpool entertain Denbigh.

Mold’s second team get their League Three North fixtures started at home to Menai Bridge, Denbigh host Benllech, Rhos go to Holyhead, while Nant Conwy seconds host Machynlleth.

Email:

daniel.heald@nwn.co.uk

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