Club History – 2014-15
The club was originally founded in 1972 and played their football on the Park field (now the rugby field). The club moved to the Welfare ground and played there until approximately 1975, when the Cavaliers folded. The reasons for the club this are unknown, but players retiring and a lack of backing are considered to be the most likely rationale.
Football was played in Nelson in many guises through the years but in 1983 the Social Club formed a team to enter the Rhymney Valley Saturday League. The team then mainly played for the social side of football, but were a young and improving team. At the club’s AGM in 1992, John Price proposed a name change back to Nelson Cavaliers, John was one of the founders of the original Cavaliers. The change in name changed the face of the club.
Season 1992/93 With Terry Davies taking over as manager and Billy Matthews as captain, a more professional attitude was instilled in the team. The hard work and dedication off the field was provided by a revamped committee headed by Carl Dicks and Peter Szpadt. The club’s first season as the Cavaliers proved to be a success, with the club lifting its first trophy, the Rhymney Valley Cup.
Season 1993/94 proved to be a bigger success, with the club retaining the Rhymney Valley Cup as well as winning the Rhymney Valley League and gaining promotion to the 2nd Division of the South Wales Senior League with the club losing only two games, one of which was a South Wales Intermediate Cup quarter-final against Lisvane, who then went on to win the Senior League.
Season 1994/95 saw more achievements for the Cavaliers, with the club winning promotion to the 1st Division of the Senior League, finishing third behind Penydarren and Whitchurch.
Season 1995/96 Unfortunately, was not such a success with the club being relegated back down to 2nd Division after the loss of many players.
Following a few years in the doldrums, the club’s young and exuberant team gained promotion back to 1st Division in 2004/05, this time going up as champions! The club’s first season back in the 1st Division saw the club finishing a creditable 5th place, and finishing runners up in the C.W.Bruty Cup, losing to local rivals Fochriw in extra time.
From 2003-2006 the club ran an Under 18’s team in the South Wales Youth League. Although the youth team did not pick up any honours, it proved to be a success with a number of players now playing their senior football for the club.
Season 2006/07. The club formed another Saturday Senior team, in the Taff Ely & Rhymney Valley Alliance Saturday League. This was due to an increase in interest from players wanting to play for the club, many of whom had stepped up from the youth team. All players were available for selection for both the SWSL team and the TERV team.
A junior section was introduced in the Season 2007/08, entering an Under 10’s team in the Taff Ely Rhymney Valley Alliance League but unfortunately this only lasted for one season due to lack of numbers.
The club also has a veteran’s team where former players and older current players join together. The veteran’s team has yet to win honours, although in the 2004/05 season, they reached the semi-final of the National Umbro Veterans Tournament, which is made up from teams across England and Wales, some of which had ex-professionals playing for them.
Season 2009/2010 proved to be ‘The Vets’ most successful season with them reaching the final of the Consolation Cup only to lose 3-0 to a well drilled Swansea side.
Season 2010/2011 ‘The Vets’ entered an Over 40’s & Over 45’s in the Veterans League with both teams having a good season with them finishing 3rd & 2nd respectively in their leagues and both teams reaching the semi final’s of their cup competitions.
During these times the Cavaliers Veterans have regularly received international honours supplying a host of players to represent Wales against England, Northern Ireland & the Czech Republic.
Season 2011/2012 A Junior Section was revived and ‘taster sessions’ were planned to see the level of interest in the village and resulted in teams ranging from under 7’s to under 11’s. Therefore
reducing the need for parents take their children out of the village to play their football.
Although we successfully entered mini sides at Under 7’s, 9’s and 11’s in the Aberdare League we found it very difficult to compete the more established mini football sides, this is primarily down to the fact of Nelson parents taking their children to other teams outside the village. However, if more interest is shown in the future we will endeavour to resurrect the mini teams.
The Cavaliers again ran two teams, showing the level of interest with a blend of old players and young players coming through the ranks.
Unfortunately a poor season for both teams resulted in the 1st team losing their Senior League status.
However, even with a poor run of form by both teams, not helped by not having a regular goalkeeper’s, spirit within the club prevailed and we looked forward to a new season.
2011/2012 also heralded the retirement of two of the committee namely long standing treasurer, Vernon Clabby and 1st team manger Peter Jones. The club wish them well and look forward to seeing them as often as possible as supporters on a Saturday.
Season 2012/13 was to see a vast improvement in the clubs fortunes with the appointment of Martin Wilson as 1st team manager and Nathan Thomas as 2nd team manager adequately supported by club stalwart Rod Powell as coach.
The season began with the 1st team entering both the Welsh Cup and the Welsh Trophy but being drawn against stronger opposition in both competitions they went out in the 1st and 2nd rounds respectively although gaining valuable experience.
The 1st team also entered the prestigious South Wales Intermediate Cup and this turned out to be a different ball game. Beating teams from the other South Wales Leagues to reach the creditable 3rd round after proceeding through the Preliminary Round.
Unfortunately the 2nd team went out in the early rounds of both competitions but the 1st team reached the semi final of the Bernard Martins Cup,
losing to local rivals Cascade YC 2-1 but successfully beating Premier Division champions, Penrhos FC 6-2 in the Greyhound Cup semi final to go on to meet Cefn Hengoed FC in the final at Llanbradach Park.
After a tense opening ten minutes Nelson started to get on top and dominated the rest of the half. They didn’t convert their chances and paid the price in the second half. Nelson tried to respond but despite a few chances never seemed likely to get back into it losing 2-0.
League form fluctuated but after a shaky start both teams put in some creditable performances, not always getting the results deserved.
A disappointing end to an up and down first season in the TERV Premier League for the Cavaliers 1st team but they will hope to build on it to challenge on all fronts for the 2013/2014 season.
Finally, to close the season, a game was arranged between “The Young Guns” and “The Golden Oldies” to show appreciation to Scott Jenner, who whilst playing for the 2nd team against Ystrad Stars unfortunately broke his leg. (for a 2nd time) Scott has been a dedicated member of Nelson Cavaliers and we all wish him the best for the future.
The season began with the 1st team again entering the Welsh Cup, Welsh Trophy and the prestigious South Wales Intermediate Cup but being drawn against stronger opposition in all competitions they went out in the 1st and 2nd rounds although gaining valuable experience with still a relatively young side.
The league campaign for the Premier Division side had a mixed start with three wins and three losses, although losses only by the odd goal. Then into the TERV cup competitions ie the Bernard Martin and Greyhound cups respectively, these proved to be more productive for the Premier Division side with them reaching both semi finals.
With the poor weather around the New Year resulting in no football until March there was a rush to fulfil fixtures with cup and league matches coming together.
League form again was not consistent but with good wins and narrow losses the team finished a creditable 4th place with Cavaliers being
only one of three clubs with plus goal difference, showing how matches were narrowly lost.
A poor performance in the semi-final of the Greyhound Cup saw the Cavaliers narrowly lose 2-1 to Glyncoch Spartans but the semi-final against Cefn Hengoed in the Bernard Martin Cup was a different matter, with the game ending 2-2 after extra time it was down to penalties. After five penalties the score was still tied at 4-4.
In a sudden death shoot out Cavaliers missed their sixth but to the rescue came Cavaliers keeper, Matthew Farr, who saved brilliantly, next up Cavaliers seventh and young Ryan Donovan scored, Cefn Hengoed up next only for Farr to save again 5-4 to the Cavaliers and Cup Final here we come!!!!
In the Bernard Martin Cup Final Cavaliers met League and Greyhound Cup winners Dynamo Aber in a well contested game. Cavaliers had the better 1st half but couldn’t convert their chances.
Nelson fell behind just before the hour from a corner which wasn’t cleared and the rebound travelled through a wall of players to find the net. Nelson created more clear chances to equalise but failed to convert and fell further behind near the end as Dynamo Aber completed the treble following their other cup and league success.
Nelson were disappointed at the end but could be proud of their performance.
The 1st Division side’s season started well with a win but due to a lack of numbers and on occasions only fielding a bare eleven players were unable to field a stable side with players coming and going this leading to a run of losses both home and away. Even still their commitment couldn’t be faulted and continued to preserver with some good wins notably a three win run against Treforest, New Inn and high flying unbeaten Cwm Welfare.
In the TERV cup competitions, unfortunately, the 1st Division team went out in the early rounds to the same team from the Premier Division, AFC Caerphilly, although giving the opposition a creditable game only losing just 2-0 & 2-1.
The plan for the 2014/2015 season is to continue with the 1st Division side and hopefully encourage the youth of Nelson to play for the Cavaliers and build on the structure within the club to move us forward and upward.
Nelson Cavaliers Veterans’ over 40’s and 45’s both had reasonably seasons with the 40’s finishing a creditable 4th in their league and reaching their League Cup Final against FC Candac at Cambrian on 18th May.
Cavaliers started the final in a positive fashion and took the lead through a penalty. Half time 1-0.
Cavaliers were in control until an error in clearing the ball from defence gave the Candac forward the opportunity to smash the ball home. This seemed to inspire Candac resulting them taking the lead after a deflected shot allowed Candac to score with a header. Cavaliers pushed more players forward but left themselves open to the counter attack and two late goals somewhat flattered the result and the game ended 4-1 at the final whistle.
The 45’s also had a good season finishing 8th but were knocked out of their League Cup at the quarter-final stages by Penybont.
Nelson Cavaliers is enjoyable and ambitious club to be involved with, both on and off the field and have an enthusiastic committee who are doing their utmost to provide football across all age groups
Again, the players, management and committee would like to thank all our sponsors and programme contributors for the support over this and previous seasons, in particular Jason & Andrea from The Dynevor Arms, for sponsorship for the entire squad and whose after match meals are becoming legendary with both home and away teams alike.