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Club History

It is uncertain when Hay St Marys was formed however, it is known that when the Herefordshire League was formed in 1889 The Saints were then playing in the Mid Wales League, against the likes of Builth, Llandrindod and Rhayader.

First information available about major honours is that although playing in Wales the club lifted the prestigious Herefordshire Senior Amateur Cup in 1923/24 and again in 1933/34. Things go quiet then until football began again after the war when Hay joined the Herefordshire League along with Monmouth and Presteigne. Some 21 years later further major success came The Saints way in the form of the HFL Junior Cup, defeating Kington Reserves in the final. Two seasons later and Hay were promoted to the Premier League in Herefordshire. In the third season, 1971/72 Hay were the winners of the HFL Senior Cup. Another two seasons passed and, after a fantastic run in the Herefordshire County Challenge Cup in which they beat higher graded opponents Pegasus, Dales(Leominster) and Kington(Mid Wales League) they went on to share the trophy after drawing with Lads Club twice. Both results were 2-2 after extra time, the first being played at Edgar Street and the second at Kington. In the first game Hay trailed 2-0 at half time but hit back with goals from Johnny Gittoes and Alan Edwards to take the tie in to extra time where neither side could break the deadlock.Hay:Richard ‘Octo’ Bryant, John Ruff, Ben Morris, Roger Wilde, Ken Field, Dai Brown,Alan Edwards,  Geoff Watkins, Brian Preece, Steve Long, Johnny Gittoes, Sub Derek Keeble.

In the second game  Johnny Gittoes equalised a Gary Stephens first half goal  to send the teams in at half time 1-1. The scores were level until the first half of extra time when Steve Long put Hay in front for the first time over the two games only for Lads Club to grab an equaliser 10 minutes from time.Hay’s team was the same as the first game other than Tom Forbes coming in for the injured John Ruff and Derek Keeble and Dai Brown swapping places.

A cup treble was completed was completed when Hay beat Builth Wells in the final of the Hay Cup with a 20 yard free kick from Steve Long proving to be enough.Knighton Town(Mid Wales League)were also beaten in the final of the Radnorshire Cup 4-3 after extra time at Builth.The Saints were trailing 3-1 with 15 minutes left but left Knigton shell shocked by grabbing 3 goals to win the game. Knighton had led 2-0 at half time and Johnny Gittoes put Hay back in the game only for Knighton to restore their 2 goal lead. Gittoes scored again to make it 3-2 and then a 16 year old Derek Keeble grabbed two more to snatch the trophy from their higher graded opponents.

Another couple of quiet seasons and then the Saints were challenging for League honours only to be disappointed when they finished runners up to Llangarron. Defeat at Ross Town in the third week of May handed the title to Llangarron. They did however lift the  HFL Senior Cup Final a few days later when they beat Hinton 2-1. Peter Leighton equalised a first half goal. Ben Morris then hit the winning goal from the penalty spot after Derek Keeble had been brought down. Twelve months later and The Saints were back challenging for the title and this time were successful when they beat Ross Town on goal average, the difference between the sides being 0.412 of a goal. That same season they again reached the Radnorsire Cup Final where they met Aberystwyth Reserves but were unfortunately beaten by a team containing some of their sucessful first team. In 1980/81 they won the HFL Senior Cup with a goal by Bill Bradie who scored a header from an Alan Edwards cross but unfortunately they would soon be relegated to the First Division. Finishing as runners up in 1987/88 they returned to the Premier where they stayed for three seasons.

After the end of the 1990/91 season the club left the HFL for Welsh football once again as the Welsh FA were about to ban all Wesh clubs from playing in England. They joined the Mid Wales League South and in their debut season 1991/92 narrowly missed out on the title to local rivals Vale of Arrow. 1992/93 saw The Saints again finsh second this time to Penybont. Two third places in the next two seasons meant that the club did not quite get that League success.

Following this spell the club went through a difficult time losing a number of players from both sides all at the same time. This meant a readjustment and only one side playing in the Brecon League. This team was affectionately known as Sids Kids after club stalwart Sid Wilding who ensured the club  kept going at this stage albeit with a very young side. Hay returned to the Mid Wales South in 1997/98 for two seasons before having a season off due to lack of players. In 2000/01 they returned to play under the leadership of Chris Price however, foot and mouth terminated the season early.

In 2001/02 Hay again reached the Radnorshire Cup Final only to lose 4-1 to Rhayader, then of the League of Wales. Tom Ward scored the goal of the game for Hay a 30 yard screamer.A period of top six finishes then ensued before finishing fourth in 2006/07. They were unbeaten in the league from January  when they lost 3-0 to Llandrindod at home.Season 2006/07 began with the Saints maintaining this unbeaten run which saw them lead the league for months on end. There were some heart stopping moments along the way as they came back from the dead against Newcastle at home to grab a point and Llandrindod away to grab all three however, this unbeaten run stretched through the season with the club only dropping further points at Rhosgoch in the last game of the season when the League was already won. So the first Mid Wales South title by 9 points from their nearest rivals. The team went on to gain further success by lifting the Radnorshire Cup beating Builth 2-1 in the final, the Builth Spa Cup again beating Builth and, then the Kington Invitation Cup beating Kington Town 5-1 on their own ground in the last game of the season. A season of unprecedented success in which they only lost twice in normal time, both to Rhosgoch in cup competitions. The only other defeat was after penalties at Bishops Castle in the Emrys Morgan Cup.

Hay are now developing their new pitches and have recently played under fllodlights for the first time. They have also now got two portable stands which will  allow them access to higher leagues in the future when the opportunity presents itself.

Season 2007/08 saw Filip Wisniewski take over the managers job however, the league title was just beyond their reach as reformed Rhayader Town won the league and were promoted to the Spar Mid Wales. Progress was made in both Central Wales cups, with a 4-1 defeat to eventual winners Penparcau in the Emrys Morgan semi final and a defeat in the quarter final away at Aberystwyth Reserves in the quarter final of the Central Wales Senior Cup.Success was gained however in cup competitions as they won the Sparey Cup, beating Stoke Prior 2-1 , Builth Spa Cup, beating hosts Builth Wells 2-1,Brecon Town Cup, beating Crickhowell 3-1 and beating the Saints Sunday side in the Ron Ellis Cup.

The Sunday Saints under Gareth Ratcliffe were runners up in the Hereford League 2nd division and came runners up in the Shelton Cup.

So to season 2008/09 with Wisniewski in his second season in charge and what a season it turned out to be. Not only did the Saints win the league for the second time in three seasons but, they also won the Emrys Morgan Cup for the first time and also got to the Central Wales Senior Cup final. On top of this the Sunday Saints won the Hereford League First Division and the Shelton Cup under the guidance of Gareth Ratcliffe. A new Reserve side had a very creditable first season in the Hereford League Division 1 with Andrew Harris as manager and they lost to Gwernyfed in the final of the Sparey Cup after taking over from the 1st team earlier on in the competition as they were involved in the Emrys Morgan and Central Wales Cup runs. Another season of progress for the club.

Promotion to the Spar Mid Wales,denied to them 2 seasons earlier, was gained following the league win in which the Saints were pushed all the way by local rivals Gwernyfed. Success in the Emrys Morgan Cup was gained at Newtowns Latham Park where they beat Llanidloes Town 2-1 after going 1-0 down early on. Goals from Gavin Williams and Rob Snedden proved enough to lift this trophy for the first time. In the Central Wales Senior Cup Final they faced Spar League Champions Newtown Reserves who ran out 3-0 winners. The Saints did themselves proud though and, when you consider that they beat Penrhyncoch 1st team from the Cymru Alliance in the semi final at Rhayader you can understand what a fantastic achievement this was for the club.

As the club enters new territory with the 1st team playing in the Spar Mid Wales League for the first time in their history, a new 1st team manager has been appointed. Chris Baynton and his assistant Vernon Weale have taken over from Filip Wisniewski who was unable to continue because of work committments. Hay Reserves will continue to play in the Mid Wales South under the leadership of Andrew Harris and a third Saturday side will play in the Hereford League Division 1 with Chris Bounds as manager. The Sunday side has been disbanded as a manager could not be found to run them.

Time will tell how the club will progress from here however, when you consider that in season 1999- 2000 there wasn’t one side due to a lack of players it is extraordinary the way in which the club has developed.

In the 2014/2015 season under the guidance of manager Gareth Jenkins the Saints finished runners up and were promoted back to Spar Mid Wales League Division 1. Brendan Hackett was voted Spar Division 2 player of the season, the Saints also won The Otway cup beating Rhosgoch Rangers FC 1-0 with a goal from Jack Biggs.

The Saints enter season 2015/2016 with 3 senior sides, a ladies side and over a dozen junior sides, the main pitch has had new dug outs installed, the committee are looking to erect a new spectator stand by the end of the season.


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