CIRENCESTER TOWN scrapped all season with Welsh non-league giants Merthyr Town before eventually claiming the Calor Div One South and West title on the final day.
The club have nonetheless taken a little bit of Wales to their hearts – goalkeeper Glyn Garner and striker Jody Bevan.
At the club’s presentation evening on Saturday, Garner gained a landslide victory in the Supporters’ Player of the Year category – a barely veiled plea from the home fans to the veteran keeper that he should continue his association with the friendly Gloucestershire club next season.
Garner has been a key member of Ciren’s unforgiving back five, the bedrock on which their success has been built, but the man who received a sole cap for his country in an international against Trinidad and Tobago in 2006, modestly played down his role.
“I have just brought a little bit of organisation to the defence,” the 37-year-old insisted.
Another member of that famous five, centre half and occasional captain Leigh Henry, scooped the Players’ Player of the Year and the retiring club legend Jody Bevan received an emotional vote from boss Brian Hughes as Manager’s Player of the Year. Clubman of the Year award went to Terry Keogh, the Ciren fan who has tapped into his expertise in running the graphics department at St James’s Place in Cirencester to produce what is arguably the best club programme in the entire Southern League.
Cirencester got an early sight of one of their rivals next season in the Champion of Champions Cup on Saturday which they lost by the only goal to the top dogs from the Calor League Div One Central, Dunstable Town.
Dunstable looked a useful side and in prolific striker Lee Roache, a former pro with Barnet, they had the classiest player on the pitch.
But the goal they scored in the 37th minute was their only meaningful effort on target.
Ryan Plowright showed no hesitation when being given a sight of goal 25 yards out and Garner could only get a despairing hand to the first-time lob without keeping it out.
Cirencester were by far the better side in the second period but failed to convert a number of chances.
There were two sweetly-struck efforts at either end of the second half, a fierce, low free kick from midfielder Ben Wells in the 50th minute and a goal-bound volley from substitute Jacob Davidge two minutes from time, both of which were brilliantly kept out by goalkeeper Jamie Head.
MERTHYR TOWN will not be joining Cirencester Town in the Southern Premier League next season after losing their home play-off final 2-0 to Paulton Rovers.