IN WHAT might be the actual last-ever game on the Aber Town FC turf (after the last men’s & women’s fixtures, and the showdown of two Aber Town Classic XI’s
), two titans of the Aberystwyth DIGS League come together to find out who will be lifting this years prestigious Aber Town Cup.
After seeing off the teams in their groups and progressing through a raft of tense knockout games, CPD Y Geltaidd and Sexual Harassment Pandas have made it to the Mid-Wales Wembley of Park Avenue to see who will win the biggest trophy of the year, on an afternoon where the winners of all this years DIGS awards will be announced. The full ceremony will take place in the Aber Town FC clubhouse after the match but the presentation of this year’s entrants to the DIGS Hall of Fame will be held at half time, with Michael Cotter-Jones and favourite local photographer Chris Howells.
Geltaidd coming together, banner and all, for their team photo at Park Avenue. Will it be successive Cup wins for the Welshmen?
Y Geltaidd have had the roughest ride of the two teams this season. After winning dramatically from 3-0 down last year in the cup final against Toke City, they’ve not regularly struck the same form this time around, finishing in 4th place in the Premier League, albeit with an impressive goal difference of +17. In the Plate play-offs the results were mixed as well, finishing Shaktar Lastnight on penalties but were unfortunate to lose 3-4 to Borussia Teeth.
Manager Ynyr James was looking forward and feeling optimistic ahead of the clash:
The boys are excited to play again at park avenue again, as we have played there twice in the last year. SH Pandas are a very good side with some class individuals, so we will have to be very aware of their capabilities.
When I asked if they were getting nervous with a place in the Hall of Fame on the line, he was cool in his response:
Not really, all of the boys are pumped up to play in the final, and retaining the Aber Town Cup is huge for us!
SH Pandas, while never the bottom of the DIGS leagues, have done very well across the board this year. With only two losses in all competitions, both by one goal to We Hate Ben FC, they’re one of the strongest sides on paper. Undefeated winners of La Liga and the biggest league goal difference make them formidable opponents, but the pressure of Park Avenue can do strange things to a team.
Pandas together: the team are poised to cap a fantastic season off with even more silverware, but they’ll have to fight their way through one of the toughest oppositions in DIGS to lift it.
Leading DIGS goalscorer Liam Powell will be hoping to lock up the Golden Boot in this game with 21 goals in all competitions, but it’s not outside the realms of upset and possibility that Geltaidd’s Jack Thomas and Ynyr James (on 16 and 14 respectively) could try and challenge for that crown.
Shortlisted DIGS manager of the season, Bay Radio Sports Show host and local heartthrob Nathan Griffiths had a lot to say coming into this fixture. I asked if he and Pandas were feeling nervous ahead of such a big game against the incumbents:
Tomorrows game is the one we’ve been looking forward to all season. At the start of the year we set ourselves the goal of getting to the final of this years competition and to get there is a massive lift for the entire squad as it shows we’ve improved massively from last year.
The [two games] that we’ve lost this year, they were really close games and to lose twice to the same opposition was a hard thing for us to swallow. On the upside to that the squads we put out against WHB in the cup competitions weren’t the full strength squad but tomorrow is a different story. We have everyone available and I’m confident in the strength in depth we have as well as the ability of individual players that we’ll be able to put on an entertaining game and break into that fabled land of Aber Town competition winners.
When I quizzed him over the possibility of some of his team making it into the DIGS XI for the season, he was wary of Geltaidd’s successes as well as his own teams:
I think if we look at stats this season then Liam Powell has to be in the Digs XI. He’s scored 21 goals this season and is looking to be on the score sheet again tomorrow. Also I would say between the two teams in the final we have the two best strikers playing in Liam and Jack from Geltaidd. Whatever the outcome tomorrow, the team that wins will have proved something to the rest of the teams in DIGS and just to reach the final is a massive boost for us.
Hang around for the presentations to discover who will be walking away with the honours of player of the year (now male and female after the welcomed rule change allowing women and men to play in the same league), as well as the much more anticipated and less savoury accolades. Find out who threw the ‘Tantrum of the year’ which leaky defence will be awarded with The Seive, and more simply, which team were the biggest… well, you can do the rest.