Gareth Richard’s Connah’s Quay Nomads Clinch Cymru League Development North Title
Congratulations to Sport Careers Agency Client GARETH RICHARDS who has saluted a 'special group' after Connah's Quay Nomads were crowned Cymru League Development North champions.
The National Leagues board confirmed last week that the Development League North and South would be finalised using a 'points per game' model.
And that handed Nomads, who led the division when the schedule was brought to an abrupt end by the coronavirus pandemic, their second title at this level.
Richards, who is in his first season as head coach with Nomads, said: "Under the circumstances, football carries very little weight with what's going on, but at the same time, to get this kind of news is fantastic and we are very pleased.
"It's a very special group that we've got in terms of the boys, but the support we've had, not just from the immediate staff, but everyone within the club, has been fantastic. It's a massive, massive group effort."
Richards is supported by the likes of Richard Cusato, Antonio Magalhaes and Jordan Parry at Under-19s level, while first-team boss Andy Morrison, assistant Craig Harrison and director of football Jay Catton have also been there to set an example during an impressive campaign.
"As a club we were really good early doors," said Richards. "The teams in the academy were performing well, the first-team were flying and I think that kind of rubbed off on everyone, especially ourselves because we are quite close to the first-team.
"Craig, Jay and Jock (Morrison) are fantastic at welcoming the boys and making us feel a part of things, because there are some boys who bounce up and down in terms of being with the first-team.
"We had a great start, but we struggled a little bit at Christmas. Such is the nature of the league that being in contention come Christmas time meant we would probably have to win all of our games until the rest of the season.
"Then you look at the fixture list and it includes Airbus away and TNS away, it's tough. The fact we are at this point, and we didn't fulfil all our fixtures like everyone else because of the pandemic, but our run does include victories at Airbus and at TNS."
There has been plenty of speculation as to how the season would finish due to the pandemic, Richards insisting that Nomads' title win courtesy of points per game was very much deserved.
Richards continued: "The worry for us was that we really, really felt that this group was special and were probably the best team in the league.
"The fact that we have got to this point and we have been awarded the title is because we've put ourselves in this position.
"It's just rewards for the efforts the boys have put in. You can only work with the tools you've got and I will always reflect on how special this group of boys are.
"Hats off must go to Iain Bennett and Jordan Parry, who did the recruitment prior to us coming in.
"We couldn't ask for a better set of boys to work with and this is just the rewards for their efforts this season."
Director of football Catton was also eager to praise the young Nomads, saying: "It's a huge achievement. This is only the second time in probably 10 years we've been running that we've won it and it's a huge achievement with what Gaz has done in his first season at the club and with the youth that have come through and all of the coaches.
"At this stage of the season, with a few games to go, we are deserved champions. We've been one of the standout teams."