SWALEC National League all set for big kick-off

The 2010/11 SWALEC National Leagues campaign will kick-off on 4 September with promotions, relegations and moves bringing a fresh outlook to each division.

Ebbw Vale start life in Division 1 East after their relegation from the Premier Division with a tough home fixture against a Llanharan outfit that finished last season only four points behind champions UWIC.

Treorchy, who were in the Premier Division back in 1996-97, are on a march back to former glories and they celebrate a return to Division 1 East by entertaining Blackwood at the Oval.

Last season’s Division 2 East champions, Gilfach Goch, face a difficult visit to the Welfare Ground where they will meet Newbridge on the opening weekend. The home club have had a change of coaches in readiness for the new season, bringing in former home-grown Wales back row international Andrew Gibbs and Jonathan Hawker.

After five seasons in Division 1 East, last season’s champions UWIC have elected to switch their talents to Division 1 West and they open against Whitland at Cyncoed.

Maesteg are another club out to restore former reputations and, after winning promotion from Division 2 West, they begin the new season at Llynfi Road against Bonymaen, although all eyes will be on their derby clash with arch-rivalsBridgend, which is scheduled for 18 September at the Brewery Field.

The last meeting between these clubs came in the Premier Division during the 2007-08 season.

Waunarlwydd, who finished behind Bridgend in Division 2 West, will play host to Llangennech on opening day.

Penarth rubbed shoulders with the top clubs in the old Merit Table and Heineken league days, but a drop in fortunes left them plummeting down the divisions. After being narrowly pipped to the Division 3 South East title by Tylorstown they are now on the way back and a visit to Penallta will signal their return to Division 2 East.

Tylorstown will launch their new campaign with a visit to local rivals Llantwit Fardre, while the two relegated clubs from Division 1 East, Tredegar and Caerphilly, will meet at The Recreation Ground on the opening day in the division below. Last season’s Division 3 East champions, Fleur de Lys, travel to Ynysybwl as they begin life in the upper echelons of the National League pyramid.

Newcastle Emlyn, Skewen and Tondu are the newly promoted clubs in Division 2 West while Cwmllynfell and Builth Wells drop down from Division 1 West.

It is not that long ago that Abertillery were producing players such as Alun Pask, Haydn Morgan and Allan Lewis for the Wales national team, but recent years have seen them drop from the premier division of the old Heineken Leagues to the very bottom division.

But they have re-grouped and are once again becoming a force to be reckoned with, in their new guise of Abertillery BG. Successive promotions have seen them move back up into Division 3 East and they will play relegated Newport Saracens on the opening day.

Division 4 East champions Risca will make the short trip to play Pill Harriers in their opening fixture, while Garndiffaith, who joined Newport Saracens in dropping down from Division 2 East, will be hopeful of an improvement in fortunes when they kick-off against Croesyceiliog.

Dunvant, who had a one-season stay in the Premier Division back in 1999-00,  will be starting life down in Division 3 West in September after relegation from Division 2 West. They travel to Crymych for their first fixture in the division, while fellow relegated club Mumbles meet the Cocklemen of Penclawdd.

Also joining Division 3 West are newly promoted Tumble, who will start with a home fixture against Lampeter in their new life in Division 3 West. Morriston will provide tough opposition after they switched from Division 3 West to Division 3 South West and they travel to Brynamman on opening day.

Pencoed are the only club relegated into this division (3S/W) and they kick-off with a home fixture against Glynneath. Aberavon Green Stars and Taibach, the promoted clubs from Division 4 South West, play Seven Sisters and Nantyffyllon respectively.

The Division 4 South East champions Dowlais entertain relegated Abercynon in their new life in Division Three South East while Taffs Well, who finished one place behind Dowlais, make the short trip to Ashcroft Park to play Fairwater.

In the north, the newly crowned champions Nant Conwy will launch their defence at home with a mouthwatering clash against the team from whom they took the title, Caernarfon. The Division 2 North winners Bethesda have moved up to the top division while bottom club Denbigh are dropping down to take their place.

There will be a new addition in Division 2 North with Abergele joining the other nine clubs.

SWALEC NATIONAL LEAGUES

PROMOTIONS

NEW DIVISION          CLUB                                      OLD DIVISION
Premiership               Tonmawr                               1 West
1 East                          Gilfach Goch                         2 East
1 East                          Treorchy                                2 East
1 West                         Maesteg                                 2 West
1 West                         Waunarlwydd                        2 West
2 West                         Newcastle Emlyn                  3 West
2 West                         Skewen                                  3 South West
2 West                         Tondu                                     3 South West
2 East                          Tylorstown                            3 South East
2 East                          Penarth                                  3 South East
2 East                          Fleur De Lys                          3 East
3 West                         Tumble                                   4 West
3 West                         Pontarddulais                        4 West
3 South West              Aberavon GS                         4 South West
3South West               Taibach                                  4 South West
3 South East               Dowlais                                  4 South East
3 South East               Taffs Well                               4 South East
3 East                          Abertillery BG                       4 East
3 East                          Risca                                      4 East
4 West                         Neyland                                  5 West
4 West                         Aberaeron                              5 West
4 South West              Birchgrove                             5 South West
4 South West              Bridgend Sports                   5 South Central
4 South East               Barry                                      5 South East
4 East                          Senghenydd              5 South East
4 East                          Oakdale                                  5 East
4 East                          Blaenavon                              5 East
1 North                        Bethesda                                2 North
RELEGATIONS

NEW DIVISION          CLUB                                      OLD DIVISION
1 East                          Ebbw Vale                              Premiership
2 East                          Caerphilly                              1 East
2 East                          Tredegar                                1 East
2 West                         Cwmllynfell                            1 West
2 West                         Builth Wells                           1 West
3 East                          Newport Saracens    2 East
3 South East               Abercynon                             2 East
3 East                          Garndiffaith                           2 East
3 West                         Dunvant                                 2 West
3 West                         Mumbles                                2 West
3 South West              Pencoed                                 2 West
4 East                          Nelson                                    3 East
4 East                          Cwmbran                               3 East
4 South East               Treherbert                              3 South East
4 South East               Llandaff                                  3 South East
4 South West              Briton Ferry                           3 South West
4 South West              Maesteg Quins                      3 South West
4 West                         Cardigan                                3 West
4 West                         Llanybydder                          3 West
5 East                          Monmouth                             4 East
5 South East               Old Illtydians                         4 East
5 South East               Ferndale                                 4 South East
5 South Central           Pontycymmer                        4 South East
5 South Central           Resolven                                4 South West
5 South Central           Tonna                                     4 South West
5 West                         Pembroke                              4 West
5 West                         Burry Port                              4 West
2 North                        Denbigh                                 1 North
MOVES

NEW DIVISION          CLUB                                      OLD DIVISION
1 West                         UWIC                                      1 East
3 South East              Gwernyfed                               3 East
3 South West              Morriston                               3 West
5 South West              New Dock Stars                    5 West
5 West                         Llandybie                               5 South West
5 South West              Baglan                                    5 South Central
5 South East               Wattstown                             5 South Central
5 East                          Blackwood Stars                  5 South East
3 North                        Rhosllanerchrogog              2 North
2 North                        Abergele                                3 North
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