BALA Town have lost the services of key midfielder Kieran Smith, but manager Colin Caton has meanwhile boosted his squad by signing experienced defender Evan Horwood.
25-year old Smith has decided to join former team mate Rob Pearson in playing football in New Zealand - but has committed to rejoin Bala on his return to the UK next year.
"We have reluctantly agreed to release striker Kieran Smith from his contract after Saturday’s game against Caernarfon Town," said a club statement.
"Kieran has decided to take the opportunity to play football in New Zealand for 12 months, joining up with former Lakesider Rob Pearson.
"The Club did not want to stand in the way of this incredible opportunity.
"He has signed an agreement that when his time ends in New Zealand, he will be returning to Maes Tegid for the 2018-19 season.
"Everyone at Maes Tegid would like to wish Kieran every success and thank him for his services in his time here at Bala Town."
Smith was Player of the Season with Chester Nomads and West Cheshire League Player of the Season in 2012/13, before signing for Bala in August 2013.
He has since scored 21 goals from 85 (+9) Welsh Premier appearances, including the winner in this year’s Welsh Cup final against TNS.
Meanwhile new arrival Horwood, a left-sided midfielder or full back, signed a six-month deal with Chester in May, but that has been terminated by mutual consent to allow him to join the Lakesiders.
The 31-year-old started his career with Sheffield United, before making 200 Football League appearances for Carlisle United and Hartlepool.
In 2013 he moved to Tranmere Rovers before signing for Northampton Town a year later and had a loan spell with Grimsby, before signing for Chester in July 2016 and making 21 appearances.
“I’m absolutely over the moon to have secured the services of Evan Horwood," said manager Colin Caton.
"Having been approached by Evan about his interest in going part time a while ago, we were instantly interested.
"He is a top class player who can play anywhere down the left and centre midfield. He is a good personality that will fit in well with the rest of the squad.”
See this week’s Meirionnydd edition for the full report.