Non-League Football: Battling Barri's home groan

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The Independent Online
TO BE or not to be Welsh: while the top teams in the Konica League of Wales conclude their quest to play in next season's European club competitions, the Principality's four outcasts remain disowned by their homeland and are preparing for at least another year in exile.

Barri and Newport, of the Beazer Homes League, and Colwyn Bay and Caernarfon Town, of the HFS Loans League, have failed to persuade the Football Association of Wales to sanction a return to their own grounds for the 1993/94 season. The four clubs were forced to share with English teams after their refusal to abandon the non-League pyramid and join the new League of Wales last summer.

While the other three sides have had steady mid-table campaigns, Barri have fought a brave promotion battle despite not enjoying the benefits of a true 'home' game all season. Their dream of going up from the Beazer Midland Division was ended only this week. They were beaten at Worcester, their 'home' ground, by Gresley Rovers on Monday, and Stourbridge on Wednesday - when Gresley won at Hinckley to secure a place, along with Nuneaton Borough, in the Premier Division next term.

'If we'd played at home we'd have won this league,' Chris Aust, the Barri secretary, said on Monday. Barri will stay at Worcester next season, but Colwyn Bay, their fellow rebels, are to move from Northwich to Ellesmere Port.

Inter Cardiff, the leaders of the League of Wales, complete their season at Afan Lido tomorrow. Whatever the result, they will be overtaken if Cwmbran win their last two games: at Llanelli on Monday and Connah's Quay tomorrow week. If Cwmbran lose both, Aberystwyth could steal second place on goal difference. The champions will play in the European Cup next term, with a place in the Uefa Cup as a considerable consolation prize for the runners-up.

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