By Ashley Cox

IF a week is a long time in politics, then a week in the JD Cymru Premier might as well be a lifetime.

After spending the previous seven days lobbying the Welsh Government for the safe return of fans to matches, Monday's announcement of a nationwide 'firebreaker' fortnight has left Barry Town and Wales' other top flight football clubs facing an entirely different landscape.

Among the conditions of this temporary lockdown, professional sportspeople are allowed to continue working; meaning the likes of Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County will still be able to fulfil all of their fixtures between the dates of 23 October and 9 November.

However, the suspension of the Welsh Government's elite programme restricts non-professionals from partaking; a ruling affecting eight of the Cymru Premier's 12 clubs.

Barry And District News:

Sam Bowen made a competent debut for Barry against Nomads

In a statement released on Tuesday, it was revealed that Barry and other clubs "were asked by the FAW if we would be able to continue playing with only professional players and staff".

"However", the statement continued, "it was our opinion that we should only continue to play football if the whole league was able to do so".

"We believe the decision should be one that is in the best interest of the whole JD Cymru Premier. 50% of the clubs in the league would be unable to continue playing as they do not have enough professional players registered".

"It is our opinion that either the whole league should have its elite status reinstated and we all play, or no team in the league should continue to play".

Barry And District News:

John Disney's dismissal was a talking point at Jenner Park

It was earlier confirmed that the 13-time champions The New Saints will entertain Haverfordwest County in the only Cymru Premier fixture to be staged this weekend.

Barry will travel to Park Hall themselves when restrictions lift in November, but their games with Cefn Druids, Bala Town and Caernarfon Town, originally scheduled for the next three Saturdays, will instead now be postponed.

Gavin Chesterfield's team sit fourth in Wales' national division with seventeen points from nine matches; each completed behind-closed-doors since proceedings kicked off in August.

The Barry manager had been among a host of voices hoping for fans to return at a reduced capacity, a cause that stirred cross-party interest in the run-up to Monday's announcement.

Chesterfield and his players could have done with support last Wednesday, as the Jenner Park outfit, amidst a challenging, 300-mile midweek round-trip, crashed to a 4-0 defeat at Bala Town

With in-form striker Chris Venables helping himself to a ruthless, first-half hat-trick, Barry's second-half efforts at Maes Tegid were not enough to make up for their earlier defensive frailties, as Will Evans capped a night to forget for the visitors.

Saturday then saw a frantic start at Jenner Park, with Connah's Quay defender John Disney handed his marching orders in the televised match between Barry and the champion Nomads.

Unfortunately, Town's advantage seldom translated into any kind of clear breakthrough, though the hosts, in their new yellow and blue home strip, were frustrated to see Kyle Patten's opener disallowed by referee Bryn Markham-Jones, shortly after the restart.

With David Cotterill's stoppage time dismissal levelling the field for the final moments, a goalless draw would prove the outcome; one that might have left neither camp satisfied.

For fourth-placed Barry, whose talisman forward Kayne McLaggon has joined their growing ranks of injury casualties, the immediate challenge is to regroup, recharge and hit the ground running; though the window of opportunity to train between the 'firebreak' concluding on 9 November and the game against full-timers TNS the subsequent Saturday will be a slim one.

Nevertheless, as clubs and communities across the nation grapple with the prospect of a new, 17-day shutdown, the countdown to Town's return to action has already begun.

With S4C to broadcast the TNS/Town match on Saturday 15 November, Barry supporters could be set to see the first appearance of striker Josh Graham, who signed for the club from Taffs Well this week and was part of STM Sports' fairytale run to the final of the 2019-20 Nathaniel MG Cup.

Graham is the latest fresh face to arrive at Jenner Park, following midfielder Sam Bowen through the doors, with the Cardiff City fledgling and son of former Bluebird Jason Bowen completing his loan switch on Friday and making a credible debut in the draw with Connah's Quay.