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Euros success must help grassroots game

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Football in Burry Port: Welsh council cuts a grassroots challenge

Football in Burry Port: Welsh council cuts a grassroots challenge

WALES’ most capped player Neville Southall has heralded Wales’ success in Euro 2016 as a golden opportunity for grassroots football in Wales. Cuts in local authority budgets across Wales have led the FAW to claim there is a real threat to developing young players in the way that stars , such as Gareth Bale , came through the ranks.
Southall said: “We won’t get success if we ignore grassroots football.”
Some at grassroots level say that money from the Welsh Government aimed to encourage the development of grassroots football is not getting through to the youngsters that need it most.
Neville Southall wants to see every child in school playing football and given the dream that they can be the next Gareth Bale. He points out that in order for this to happen , the children must be given the facilities to play on with good coaching.
The legendary goalie is adamant that we won’t get continued success if grassroots football is ignored , and that serious thought should be given to where the kids go and where they play football.
Carmarthenshire Unified Sports Committee agree with Neville Southall. Speaking to the Herald , their representative Mike Bassett said : “We are in total agreement with Neville Southall. Unfortunately , users have to cover the full operational costs of the facilities they hire. This dramatically increases the running costs of clubs and has a knock -on effect for the development of the game.
“Each club is required to contribute £2500 per pitch and a further £1500 for use of changing facilities. When you also consider the costs of referees, equipment, insurance and the hire of venues for winter training, the sport becomes unaffordable and the number of participants drops. “
Ex-Wales international and former chairwoman of Sport Wales, Prof Laura McAllister, is calling for a much stronger joined-up relationship between local councils, schools and clubs and sports organisations. Her belief is that if you don’t have enough pitches, children can’t play.
According to the FAW Trust, which works to develop the sport at grassroots level, more people in Wales are playing football than ever before. The Head of Growth for the AFW, Jamie Clewer also sees the threat of local government cuts as a challenge to access to facilities and further investment at grassroots level.
Mr Bassett said that he agreed with what a number of people within the FAW were saying . H owever , he said :
“These cuts are affecting local clubs. Talks between Sport Wales, the FAW Trust and CCC should have already taken place and there should be continuous dialogue until a solution is found. It has been left to the CUSC to find all solutions with little support from the FAW Trust.
“The Welsh Assembly Government provides around £1m each year, via Sport Wales, to support the development of grassroots football, but that grant isn’t invested in grassroots football.
“There is certainly a wave of enthusiasm sweeping the nation as Chris Coleman’s team progresses further into the tournament. If Wales were to progress to the finals , it would yield a significant amount of money for the FAW.”
Mr Bassett concluded :
“There is enthusiasm to play the game but the spiralling costs to parents are forcing them to choose between leisure activities. We have lost six football teams since CCC introduced their policy on sports pitches. Previous to this, we had lost one
team in 25 years. Llanerch football pitch in Llanelli has already been earmarked as the site for a new school. These areas are, however, vital if football is to develop in Carmarthenshire. “

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Errors prove costly for Raiders

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West Wales Raiders 16

North Wales Crusaders 56

By Ian Golden at Stebonheath Park

NORTH Wales Crusaders’ play-off hopes took a boost on Saturday after taking advantage of West Wales Raiders’ many errors to earn to a large win.

The Wrexham-based side will go into their last two games full of confidence but know they’ll have a tougher outing at Newcastle Thunder in a fortnight.

Their first try came on 11 minutes when Ben Stead forced his way through, and the lead was soon doubled after Dave Eccleston dived through a gaping hole in Raiders’ back-line. Stead converted to put the score on 10-0.

West Wales were close to getting a try back midway through the first half after winning a repeat set near to the North Wales line. Ash Bateman was close following a good run from Archie Snook, but the ball was forced off him when diving for the line.

Crusaders made them pay. From the resulting scrum, a 90-metre set culminated in Warren Thompson scoring under the sticks and Stead converting.

Raiders hit back on the half-hour. Regaining the ball on halfway after Snook bravely collected a kick from close range, Phil Cowburn sneakily slipped the ball back to Mitch Shaw who dived under the sticks. Cowburn converted.

Photo by Darren Harries

Crusaders struck back when Steven Roper couldn’t believe his luck and even hesitated when he saw a gap he could easily run through to score a try. He added the extras himself.

There was controversy with the next score. The referee initially awarded a scrum to Crusaders but after consultation, he gave Crusaders a penalty and Matthew Reid scored from that set.

And it went from bad to ridiculous on the half-time hooter after Sam Baker spilled the ball inside his own goal area allowing Alex Eckley to touch down easily. Roper missed both kicks but Crusaders were 30-6 up.

They added to their lead on 47 minutes in a try they had to work hard for. Raiders were defending well but Joe Ryan finally managed to break through before Lewis Fairhurst converted.

Raiders were unlucky not to a try back on the hour when Baker was pushed into touch when diving for the line. Crusaders went straight back up-field and after winning a penalty, Dante Monte-Samuels crashed over. Fairhurst’s kick just made it through the posts despite the wind taking it wide and Crusaders were 42-6 up.

There were five full Wales internationals in the game, two of them with Crusaders, but it took until the 68th minute before one got on the scoresheet. Rob Massam, the North Wales winger was sent over in the corner. Fairhurst missed the kick.

Then, after regaining the ball from kick-off, one of the West Wales trio scored and it was typically Steve Parry, diving low from dummy half. Cowburn sliced the kick wide.

In the set after that was a rare Crusaders error. Snook did well to beat his marker to score, much to the delight of his mother on the PA system! Cowburn converted.

But it was Crusaders who ended on a high as Massam crossed for two more in the left corner. Shaw did cross for Raiders in the last move of the game but it was chalked off for a forward pass.

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Town too good for Dafen

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DAFEN Seconds suffered defeat on Saturday (Aug 17) as they were beaten by Briton Ferry Town.

The game was reduced to 40-overs a side because of earlier rain and when Dafen won the toss they elected to field.

However, Briton Ferry racked up an impressive score of 225-4 in those 40 overs.

Amar Waseem and Neil Baggridge shared 146 runs for the first wicket as both reached their half centuries.

Waseem fell for a score of 68 and Baggridge for 63 as Dafen looked to hit back and keep the runs down.

Adeel Khan made a score of 22 while Aman Tasnem made 25 from 14 balls with a four and two sixes before he was run out.

Photo by Darren Harries

Adrian Mainwaring then finished not out on 27 as Dafen were set 226 to win the game.

Dafen lost Oliver Evans early on to the bowling of Nabel Iqbal and he also claimed the wickets of Harvey Jones (12) and Jonathan Griffiths (14).

He then claimed a fourth with the wicket of Luke Dunning as Dafen’s reply faltered.

Rhys Marchant made a score of 14 before being bowled by Mumtaz Hussain and he also claimed a further three wickets.

Aadil Mukhtar hit three fours and a six in his score of 22 but he was then bowled by Adeel Khan.

Andrew Herbert finished unbeaten on 15 but it wasn’t enough as Dafen were bowled out for 133.

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Llanelli close the gap

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LLANELLI closed the gap to second placed Tata Steel on Saturday (Aug 17) as they beat them by eight wickets.

Llanelli elected to field on winning the toss and they were able to bowl Tata out for 117.

Chris Thomas trapped Kelvin Bartle leg before early on and Steven Devonald did the same to Rohan Herbert to leave the visitors on 13-2.

Morgan Jones and Martin Lewis then made a good partnership worth 57 runs.

That was brought to and end though as Lewis was caught by Rhidian Morgan off the bowling of Iwan Rees.

Jones had made a score of 38 but he was then bowled by Jac Rees as Tata slipped to 72-4.

That became 78-5 when Phillip Taylor was trapped leg before by Iwan Rees.

The same bowler then had Joseph Crocket caught by Morgan as wickets continued to fall.

The score soon read 94-7 as David Richards caught and bowled Sean Holley.

Photo by Darren Harries

Nathan Ferrell made a late score of 10 but then saw himself caught by Morgan off the bowling of Richards who then also had Adam Jardine caught by Devonald.

Richards then claimed his fourth as he had Damien Williams stumped by Morgan to finish with figures of 4-13.

That left Llanelli needing 118 for victory and although they lost Ioan Phillips early on in their reply they were never really troubled.

Iwan Rees and Craig Howells shared 87 runs for the second wicket to all but give the home side victory.

Howells hit eight fours and a six as he scored 50 but he was then caught by Morgan Jones off the bowling of Damien Williams.

Rees and Ryan Nicholas then saw their side to victory with Nicholas finishing unbeaten on 19 with two fours and a six from his 14 balls faced.

Rees finished not out on 33 as Llanelli reached their target with plenty of time to spare.

The win moves them to within 14 points of second placed Tata Steel with two games remaining.

The first of those games takes place on Saturday (Aug 24) when Llanelli travel to Bronwydd. They then finish the season at home to third placed Maesteg Celtic.

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