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Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League side Cyncoed Ladies have confirmed their merger with Pontypridd Town ahead of the 2021-22 season, writes Tobias Hunt.

Cyncoed finished the 2020-21 Orchard Welsh Premier Women's League season in 6th place. However, the latest developments within the club come as a result of an internal desire to be ambitious and create a better future for the club.

Director of Football Fern Burrage commented on the foundations of the merger, stating “We have some huge ambitions and a great desire to grow our great club. We’ve been looking for an opportunity that would match our ambitions and help us achieve our long-term goals. Pontypridd did just that!"

“For many years Cyncoed Ladies have been a successful self-sufficient senior Ladies team. We have had a desire to grow and made progress with our U19s and sister club programme. When we reviewed our next steps, we recognised that we play in Pontypridd out of USW and have no direct links to the Cyncoed area whatsoever.

“We also knew from a branding/marketing perspective, there could be some links with Cyncoed Campus and Cardiff Met who play their home games there. We explored our opportunities and the landscape in South Wales and Pontypridd Town AFC was our perfect match. As such, we have applied to merge Cyncoed Ladies; Pontypridd Town Ladies (currently in SWWGL) and Pontypridd Town AFC.”

Pontypridd Town Sporting Director Steve Savage commented on the merger, “We were aware of Cyncoed’s ambitions, they have played at the USW Sports Park with us for a few years now.

“The discussions come about because they wanted to grow, we (Pontypridd Town) are looking to develop our football club. We want to be able to create a strong girl’s section, they will play as ‘Pontypridd Town Women’. We’re really excited to link up with a Tier 1 side and hopefully continue to develop the U19’s section as well as a Youth section."

“I feel like we’re building a good community football club for the Pontypridd Town area. This will improve the grassroots offering for junior boys and girls coming through, it also gives an opportunity for our Ladies side to play Welsh Prem football. For me, if you’re going to have a football club, you need to aspire to develop all aspects of the club, not just a strong Men’s or Women’s side. You need to have pathways and that’s what we’ll have. Also, it offers opportunities fantastic work-based learning opportunities for the students based at USW as the club are training and playing at the sports park. It also provides a good playing opportunity for those students looking to compete within an ambitious community football club.

“We want to create a girl’s offering which is what we’re looking to do by linking up with Cyncoed. They have some really good football people, Fern as Director of Football and Michelle Pervin-Davies, who’s the club secretary, and Kerry Moore as part of an excellent committee. Hopefully, we can link up all the good people to maximise the opportunities for women’s and girl’s football offering to the area.”

Both commented on what the reaction has been like following the plans to merge, with Burrage saying, “The people already involved in the club have been extremely helpful, welcoming, and supportive. There are some fantastic people already involved in this great club – the current boys’ and girls’ section; the current Pontypridd Town Ladies Team (soon to be Pontypridd Town Women Development); the current Men’s Team and of course Steve Savage.

“Everyone has been extremely supportive."

Savage also mentioned the positive reaction, “The chairman of Pontypridd football club Phil Gibb, he’s been with the club for 12 years and he’s incredibly enthusiastic about it. The Men’s side of the club are really excited by it, having a community feel around the club. We want to realise the potential that Pontypridd Town AFC has.”

The club will adopt its new identity ahead of the 2021-22 season. 

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