By Ashley Cox

BARRY Town's 10-game Championship Conference programme will begin and end against Caernarfon Town after the Cofis claimed the final spot in the JD Cymru Premier's top six.

Gavin Chesterfield's squad will travel to The Oval this Saturday to kick-off Phase Two, before welcoming 13-time champions The New Saints to Barry on Tuesday, April 13.

Town then head to champions Connah's Quay Nomads on Saturday, April 17 before tackling Penybont at Jenner Park on Tuesday, April 20 as the struggle for European places intensifies.

Barry And District News:

Barry start the Championship Conference in fourth following back-to-back wins

Each of the Championship Conference's top three will represent Wales in Europe next term, with play-offs at the end of this current campaign to determine the fourth and final entrant.

With six points separating the sides, fourth-placed Barry go to third-placed Bala Town on Saturday, April 24 before making the comparatively local hop to Penybont on Tuesday, April 27.

The Jenner Park outfit then kickstart next month with back-to-back home fixtures, hosting Colin Caton's Bala on Saturday, May 1 and Andy Morrison's Nomads on Tuesday, May 4.

Barry And District News:

Evan Press made it three goals in a week for the Town

New TNS manager Anthony Limbrick will hope his Saints are still in title contention by the time Town run out at Park Hall on Saturday, May 8 before the potentially-crucial closer between Barry and Huw Griffiths' Caernarfon takes place at Jenner Park on Saturday, May 15.

Unless the Welsh Government are to decree otherwise, all 10 of the Town's Championship Conference matches will be played, somewhat bafflingly, in a behind-closed-doors setting.

Already qualified, Barry closed Phase One on Good Friday with an eggcelent 2-1 victory at Cardiff Met, egged on by a group of distanced supporters at the roadside behind one goal.

Barry And District News:

Luke Cooper celebrates in front of some locked out supporters

Once more, it was Evan Press who wrote the headlines, crashing home a stoppage-time winner to gift his team the spoils, after Emlyn Lewis had cancelled out a Met own goal.

It was the second time in succession that Barry had won at Cyncoed Campus, a venue that had played host to several of the Town's most lamentable defeats of the past few seasons.

TV coverage of the Championship Conference starts with Bala against TNS at Maes Tegid on S4C this Saturday (5.15pm) and Caernarfon versus Connah's Quay on Facebook and YouTube on Tuesday (7.45pm), with Barry supporters forced to wait to see their own team on screen.

Meanwhile, the Cymru Premier's bottom six of Haverfordwest County, Aberystwyth Town, Newtown, Cardiff Met, Flint Town United and Cefn Druids are all set to play on in the parallel Play-off Conference, with a European play-off place the prize for the winners.

As ever in Welsh football, the implications are far from straightforward, with Haverfordwest declining to apply for a UEFA licence, thus ruling the Bluebirds out of any potential play-offs.

Should the County win the Play-off Conference, it is expected the teams finishing fifth and sixth in the Championship Conference will play against one another, with the victors of that travelling to the fourth-placed team to determine the fate of the final European spot.

If Newtown, Aberystwyth or any of the bottom three climb to top the Play-off Conference, then they will play the Championship Conference's fourth-placed team away, while fifth will host sixth; two semi-finals in essence, the winners then competing to stamp their passports.

With the Cymru South and North both nixed until next season, no promotion or relegation is expected, while the JD Welsh Cup has been cancelled completely for the first time since the Second World War, twelve months after the 2019-20 edition was left in a lingering limbo.

In contrast to the approach of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Wales will not crown national cup champions for either 2020 or 2021, but it is hoped the knock-out competition, which began in 1877, will be able to be staged fully in the forthcoming 2021-21 campaign.

As customary, the winners of the JD Cymru Premier will enter the First Qualifying Round of the UEFA Champions League, joining the likes of former Cup Winners' Cup winners Dinamo Tbilisi, 1979 European Cup runners-up Malmo and former Barry opponents Zalgiris Vilnius.

However, changes to UEFA's competition structure mean there will be no immediate UEFA Europa League entrant from Wales, with the Cymru Premier's runners-up, third-placed team and play-off winners all to be part of the new UEFA Europa Conference League competition.

The First Qualifying Round of this tertiary tournament starts on July 8, the day after the second re-arranged UEFA Euro 2020 semi-final tie is scheduled to take place at Wembley.

The purpose of the competition is ostensibly to give clubs from the lower-ranked European countries a better chance of progressing, though England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France will all have one representative in the tournament, which wraps up in Tirana in May of 2022.

Beaten on foreign soil the past two summers, Town manager Chesterfield will hope his squad can secure a third opportunity, though more than 900 minutes of Championship Conference football and over 1,200 miles of travel still separate the Barry team from a return to the European stage, 25 years after their breakthrough UEFA Cup run of 1996.

Nevertheless, the Town manager has never been afraid to dream big and, with his players achieving successive victories at this key point in the season, there is still plenty for Barry supporters to dream about, even if the gates to games do remain sadly closed this spring.