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Juniors to Nomads

JUNIORS TO NOMADS

The following extract is taken from the Connah's Quay Nomads AFC Coronation Souvenir Brochure - "Juniors to Nomads", published in 1953 by WT Hughes and FH Roberts.

Let it be said at the commencement that the Juniors, to give them their original name, were not created purely for the purpose of "pot-hunting." The aim was, and still is, to play football with the maximum of skill, whilst displaying the maximum of Sportsmanship in the process.

T.G. Jones, the ex-Everton and Wales centre-half back, felt that the district must contain a wealth of football talent, hidden for want of a searcher. So, assisted by others also interested in promoting football in the area, he set out to build up a team of youngsters who had the ability and desire to play first class football. Among the talent were some anxious to make football their career, but there were others who were content to play high grade Amateur football in a well blended side.

All were welcomed, none discouraged, and slowly a side began to grow. Among the early pioneers on the administrative side were Mr J Baird Jones and Mr Fred Richards, both of whom rendered yeoman service. The first early games were "friendlies", which were played on the Gladstone Playing Fields at Hawarden; and among the original players were Gerry Barker and Geoff Thelwell, who must now be feeling real veterans.

The seeds were now sown and then the Northop League was formed in 1946-47 the Juniors became one of the founder members; for permission had now been granted by the Northgate Brewery to use the Halfway Ground. This obtaining of a home was a tremendous incentive and the Club owes much to the Brewery Company for their generous help and interest. Football honours cam quickly, and in their first season in the League, the Club topped the League and carried off the Cups.

Competition had proved an excellent incentive and hopes of winning the Welsh Youth Cup began to be nurtured. This trophy, however eluded the Club until the 1947-48 season, when another milestone marked the Club's progress; for at Aberystwyth they defeated Cardiff Nomads in the final by 1-0.

Spectators will recall that goal of Tommy Lumborg's and the reception afforded the side when they returned nearly at midnight from their quest.

At this stage it became necessary to enlarge the Club horizon, for the original players and now become too old to compete in the Youth Cup Competition, and the Northop League, with their 18 year old age limit. Thus, in season 1947-48, for the first time sides were fielded in the age-limited Northop League and the Flintshire League, which had no age bar. The strength of the side was quickly felt in this new sphere, and the season saw the first of the local "derbies" with Connah's Quay Albion. Fresh talent was constantly being unearthed and attracted to the Club, whose reputation as a skillful football side grew steadily.

Again League trophies were gained, and hope of bringing the Welsh Amateur Cup to Connah's Quay began to grow. In season 1950-51, after hard battles, the final of this competition was reached, and the journey made to Aberystwyth a second time. This one however, unlike the first, was a fruitless one, for the team was defeated 3-1 by Treharris; after enjoying a 1-0 lead at half-time.

Meanwhile, the "Junior" side, playing really well, were doing their best to gain the Youth Cup for a second time, but without success. They could not get beyond the Semi-final stage, and old rivals in Cardiff, quickly dispelled any hopes of success. Not only in the field of play was the Club prowess growing, for behind the scenes too, much excellent work was being done. A strong, if small, Ladies' section had come into being, and the work being done by them was of untold help to the Club. These early pioneers are still going strong and the names of ladies like Mrs E Smith, Mrs J Lungley, Mrs S Welsh, Mrs McCloud, Mrs Turley and Miss L Turley come quickly to mind. The Club was becoming truly an enthusiastic body in every sence; the players, Committeemen and Ladies' Section alike were all fired with an unquenchable spirit of ambition. Now the Club headquarters at the Halway were marked with a pennant (kindly donated by the Ladies), which fluttered proudly in the breeze at each home game. With such enthusiasm the Club was certain to prosper and become a name to be conjured with in Amateur football circles. The Management Committee, too, has been fortunate to have at various time, the services of such men as Mr Tom Lloyd, Mr W Davison, Mr T Catherall, Mr W Bethell and Mr W Wilmore, all of whom rendered service of the highest order. No Club can function adequately without its "backroom" personnel; and the Club, both as Juniors and Nomads, has been foruntate to possess both men and women ready to give their services voluntarily and with unstinted vigour. Such is true at the moment and official like Mr Eric Smith, Mr H Turley and Mr C Garner, have worked unceasingly to keep the stock of the Club high. Enthusiastic Committee members can be a Club's sheet anchor, and it is encouraging to know that The Nomads are able to call upon the services of men, who, often at personal sacrifice, are prepared to do anything they can which will be of material assistance to the Club. Small in size it may be, but large in enthusiasm it certainly is. Thanks to them, we now have a loud-speaker system which compares favourably with anything along the Coast, and I know they have similar ideas which they are preparing to put into being. The Club should, and does, feel extremely grateful to all these energetic folk, all of whom have done much to make the Club prosper.

But to return to the Club on the actual field of play. Season 1951-52 saw a desire, not only in Connah's Quay, but throughout the East Flintshire Area, for football of a better class. In an attempt to achieve this, the Flintshire League permitted Clubs to play two professionals in both League and Cup games. At the Halfway, the policy was "no change" and an all amateur eleven was still fielded. The measure of success did not deteriorate in any way, and the Club still held its own against all comers, both in League games, and matches outside the League. In fact, it was during this season the the Club had an opportunity to test its mettle against a Third Division South team. In the 5th Round of the Welsh Senior Cup, we traveled to Newport, and despite being beaten by 3-2, we were in no way disgraced. The ground, after continuous rain, was a quagmire, which literally bogged our lads down. But even so, various players caught the eye and one recalls high-lights like Harold Rowlands display at left-back; Gerry Barker's penalty and the free-kcik goal scored by Don Owen. It was a South Wales club too, which wrote finish to our progress that season in the Welsh Amateur Cup. In fact, whilst in the Newport dressing rooms, news was brought us that South Wales were to receive us in the Quarter-finals. So we travelled down some fortnight later to Ton Pentre. A 2-0 lead at half-time made us quite cheerful, but fortune once again frowned upon us, and we were beaten 4-3, after a ding-dong battle. At one period of the game we had but nine players on the field, and our opponents' winning goal was scored in the last dying seconds of the match. It was bitter consolation to know that our opponents went on to win the Cup. It seemed that this trophy was always to elude us, and we had to be content with winning the North Wales Coast Amateur, by defeating Bethesda 2-0 in the Final tie at Llandudno.

The demand and necessity for stronger competition, better football and keener play continued to grow, and the Club Management Committee was not asleep to the fact that something must be done. Public meetings were called to sound the feelings of the supporters, and it was finally agreed that application for Welsh League Division One be made. Here, where all professional sides competed, would be, it was felt, the competition likely to bring our the best in our lads. For the one vacancy in the League, ourselves and Tonfannau were competitors, and the district awaited the result on posed toes. Fortunately for us, Wrexham withdrew from the League, for on a postal vote we were defeated. However, the close season was almost over and so the rush of preparation was a hectic one, to say the least. In the meaintime the Flintshire League, too, was agitating for Division 2 status, permitting the playing of full professional elevens. So the Club had now to decide whether to run a youth side or whether it would be possible to run a team in Division 2 as well as Division 1, of the Welsh League. Moving up to the highest senior grade of Welsh football meant that the name "Juniors" had to be dropped, and a new one substituted. "Nomads" it was, for had we not traveled almost the entire Principality during the course of the years? But a new name was not the only thing needed. A ground commensurate with our new status became a necessity, and so the job of creating a terrace on the West side of the Ground was undertaken. By the commencement of the season, it had taken shape, and the year 1952 saw us start a season which pessimists were chary about; whilst in which the optimists could see nothing but blue skies. The question throughout the district, if not throughout Flintshire was: "Can they make the grade?" And many eyes were on the Halfway. During the present season we have had our ups and downs, we have cheered the hearts of our supporters and maybe broken them almost on occasion. That elusive Welsh Amateur Cup is ours for 12 months, we reatined the NWC Amateur Cup, and reached the Semi-Finals o the Senior and Alves Cups. Have we made the grade? Thatis for you to judge, but we have tried right from our inception to play the game in a truly sportsmanlike fashion; whilst giving you, the General Public, football o the first order, irrespective of defeat or victory.

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