Hopes are high for Chepstow and Mathern football clubs
4:13pm Monday 19th August 2013 in Sport
As the new football season begins slowly, with local leagues all having different start dates, hopes are high for two clubs taking their place at a higher level – Chepstow Town and Mathern FC.
For Chepstow Town, their promotion to Division 2 of the Welsh League means the chance to renew local rivalries against Caldicot Town and Undy Athletic.
The first of these derbies, scheduled for tonight (August 21st), is against Caldicot Town who will be on a high after a 4-0 home victory against Newport YMCA last Saturday.
Undy Athletic also enjoyed a home victory, 2-1 over Ammanford.
This Saturday, Caldicot entertain Briton Ferry, Chepstow Town welcome Ely Rangers and Undy are away to Newport YMCA.
Meanwhile, in the Gwent County League, managers and players at Mathern FC (they’ve dropped “Wanderers” from their name for the new season) are also looking forward to local derbies against Thornwell Red & White and Caldicot Castle.
Two seasons ago, Red & Whites were promoted because champions Tintern Abbey’s ground did not meet Gwent County League standards, a fact which prompted a large part of Tintern’s team to move to Mathern, a club which is widely regarded as having one of the finest playing surfaces in the county.
The rest, as they say, is history. Mathern won the East Gwent Senior League Division 1 title and after a lot of work at the end of last season, their application to join the Gwent County League was approved.
They were due to begin their 2013-14 campaign at home to Trinant last night (Tuesday) and follow it up with another home match against Race on Saturday and a visit to Abergavenny Thursdays next Tuesday.
Thornwell were due to entertain Cwm FC last night and travel to Pontypool Town on Saturday before another home match against Ponthir next Tuesday.
Caldicot Castle were due to visit Rhymney last night, followed by a home match against Abergavenny this Saturday before travelling to play Race next Tuesday.
While all this early-season activity is going on, teams in the East Gwent Senior League are still staging friendly games as their season doesn’t begin until September 2nd.
With two divisions of 10 teams, it is hoped the competition will be pretty tough this term with Tintern Abbey and Underwood Athletic entering two teams and a new side from Devauden Green playing in Division 2.
Underwood’s A team will be favourites for the Division 1 title on the strength of their performances last season when they pushed Mathern all the way in the title race to the last few games and won two cups.
In Division 2, Mathern FC look particularly strong with a number of players from the title-winning squad staying in the East Gwent because of work commitments clashing with the need to travel further for Gwent County League matches.
Mathern manager Lee Baker watched his team win 7-0 against a good Chepstow Town team in a friendly on Saturday and vowed they would be contenders for promotion.
“We had a good end of season, winning the Fishwick Cup and going on a lengthy unbeaten run after Christmas and I think we have a stronger side this season,” Baker said.
“We’ve lost a few players who have moved up to the Gwent County side but we’ve got some good new players to replace them and I am very positive about our chances.”
Mathern led 2-0 through James Burchill and impressive new boy Callum England in the first half but a Dan Tyler hat-trick and goals from Rob Wood and Sam Davies after the break capped a confidence-boosting performance.