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  Timmy Edwards celebrates Rhyl's Welsh Premier title win with another ex-TNS man, Gareth Wilson,
and Steve Walters.
WHEN Timmy Edwards left TNS for Rhyl two seasons ago, he thought his chances of getting his hands on another Welsh Premier title had gone forever.
A victim of the Saints' switch to being a full-time outfit, Edwards - who skippered TNS to the championship in 1999/2000 - was sure the Saints, backed by owner Mike Harris' cash, would go on to dominate the domestic league in the way Barry Town had during the 1990s.
How ironic, then, that Edwards has been the rock on which part-timers Rhyl have built their charge towards this season's WPL title, forcing Ken McKenna's TNS to settle for second best.
It's an irony not lost on the 32-year-old Lilywhites skipper.
"I'd be a liar if I said winning the league wasn't that extra bit special on Saturday because of my past history," he admitted. "I was pleased when it was Rhyl who came in for me two seasons ago but I could not have predicted how well things have turned out.
"I honestly thought TNS would go on and win everything in sight."
Edwards spent four happy seasons at Treflan, but when the Saints went full time he was reluctant to give up his job as a housing developer.
While it was a wrench to leave TNS at such an exciting time, Edwards had enjoyed a four-year spell at Belle Vue earlier in his career and had no hesitation in rejoining the seaside club.
In another ironic twist, the next assignment in Rhyl's pursuit of four trophies this season comes against, you guessed it, TNS - in the Welsh Cup final at Newtown's Latham Park this Sunday.
"It's funny how things work out in football, isn't it?" laughed Edwards, who is just one of several current Rhyl players who will be facing their old employers this Sunday. Others include defender Mark Powell, midfield creator Gareth Wilson, striker Gary Powell and defender Robbie Wood.
Edwards refused to be drawn on whether Rhyl are capable of adding the Welsh Cup, FAW Premier Cup, the North Wales Coast Challenge Cup to the championship and the Loosemores Challenge Cup that already reside in the Belle Vue trophy cabinet.
"It has to be the league title," he admitted. "It proves you're the best team in the country and that's the one we all wanted to win most.
"It was a superb feeling to win it at Porthmadog on Saturday. It's a team game and everyone has played their part, but I also took a lot of personal satisfaction from it.
Edwards, who lives in Cefn y Bedd, near Wrexham, is relishing the opportunity to lead Rhyl in the Champions League - albeit the first qualifying phase - next season and his experience will be vital. The towering centre-back was involved in the competition the season after the Saints won the Welsh Premier title in 2000.
And Rhyl boss John Hulse knows Edwards' influence on the team is vital.
"He's been a great captain for me," he said, "and his experience is important to us. We have a good, honest working relationship.
"Timmy is a great leader on the pitch, but he also plays his part off it too.
"It was me who brought him to the club after I heard he might not be going full time at TNS because of his work commitments. Looking back, it was a great signing and things have turned out superbly."
Success has come to Edwards late in his career. A no-nonsense defender, he was never picked up by a professional club as a youngster and instead started his senior football education in the Wrexham area's Welsh National League.
He was then picked up by Rhyl, where he stayed for four years, and played one season for Bangor before making the move to TNS. He was 28 when he collected his first League of Wales title.
But when asked if he thinks he was a late developer, a modest Edwards joked: "There's probably plenty of people who'd say I've never really developed at all!" [Daily Post].
5 May 2021
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