The demise of the Welsh National League in 1930 saw a reorganisation
of league football in North Wales. The first attempt at setting up an all-Wales
league system had been installed in 1920 and involved three zones, and
it was intended to develop into an end product similar to the present League
of Wales. However, it never got that far and by 1930 was in a state of
virtual collapse in the north.
Two divisions covered the area now partly occupied by the Caernarfon & District
League. They were the Division 2 West and Division 4 West (Gwyrfai) -, the
Division 3 West had disbanded by 1929. From the collapse of these sections,
the BANGOR & DISTRICT JUNIOR LEAGUE was formed for the 1930-31 season,
changing its name to the BANGOR & DISTRICT AMATEUR LEAGUE the following
season. The 1931-32 season saw two Anglesey clubs in membership, namely Menai
Bridge Tigers and Newborough FC but the bulk of clubs were located on the
mainland - between Llanfairfechan in the east and Llanberis in the west.
The arrival of Nefyn United the following season expanded the area covered
by the League, as did the arrival of a third Anglesey side, Llandegfan FC.
The expansion west continued with Trefor Athletic and Pwllheli FC being admitted
for the 1933-34 season. It was classed by then as the zonal Third Division
of the new Welsh League Northern Section.
Development continued through the mid-30's but by the end of 1935-36 there
were only seven clubs remaining. The same number at the end of the season
following saw the League disband and the LLEYN & DISTRICT LEAGUE, formed
during 1936-37 took over as far as the clubs in the south and west of the
area was concerned. The Lleyn League continued until the outbreak of the
Second World War.
On cessation of hostilities in 1945, organised football was resurrected and
the area was covered at junior level by the GWYRFAI LEAGUE which lasted for
one season only. The League re-emerged the following season as the BANGOR & DISTRICT
LEAGUE and, together with the re-formed LLEYN & DISTRICT LEAGUE, the
area was conveniently split geographically for economic reasons. The Bangor & District
League slowly grew in strength until by 1948-49 it had a membership of fourteen
clubs. This was caused primarily by the disbanding of the Lleyn League in
1948 as clubs drifted to its stronger neighbour. As the geographical location
of the membership drifted south the Bangor & District League was renamed
the CAERNARFON & DISTRICT LEAGUE for the start of the 1950-51 season,
a name which alongside various sponsor titles it keeps to this day.
Its launch under the new name was somewhat overshadowed by the formation
of a Second Division to the north's top League, the Welsh League (North).
The effect was so strong that the League did not operate in 1951-52, but
was re-formed for the following season with a membership of seven clubs.
This number grew to thirteen by the mid-50's and the League, compared to
previous times, prospered. A slump in membership in the early 60's was quickly
corrected and by the 1980's the League was well established as one of North
Wales' top junior Leagues. For many clubs in the area the League was a base
for their reserve team; this was particularly prevalent during the 80's following
the setting up of the Gwynedd League as an intermediate step between the
League and the Welsh League (North). A slump in membership did not occur
on the formation of the Gwynedd League, but during the mid-80's the number
of clubs in operation did drop as some of the smaller clubs disbanded.
Developments above it in the pyramid system, where it occupies a 5th Division
slot, may have an effect in increasing the number of clubs in membership
as the top Leagues trim down.
The League provides football at local level for a wide area but more importantly
helps nurture local talent that can be developed by the bigger senior clubs
in the region. Long may it continue.