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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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Shingler set to make 200th appearance for Scarlets

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SCARLETS’ Aaron Shingler is set to make his 200th appearance for the Scarlets on Friday night as his side take on Bennetton at Parc Y Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday (Oct 19), Shingler said it would be a proud moment when he walked onto the pitch.

Scarlets go into the game on the back of two defeats against Leinster and Munster and Shingler said it had been a ‘difficult couple of weeks’ for the team.

He added that Friday’s game would be a ‘test of character’ as they look to get back to winning ways.

Scarlets take on Bennetton on Friday night, kick off 7:35pm, and they then have a break of over a month before their next United Rugby Championship game.

Coach Dwayne Peel also spoke to the media and added that it was important they picked up the win on Friday.

He went on to say that although he saw an improvement in the team in the Leinster game after defeat to Munster, there was still work to do.

Dwayne said: “The boys are disappointed. We felt that at half time (against Leinster) we were still in the game, we knew the game plan we had but we were disappointed we didn’t allow ourselves to do that. So we were disappointed but in a different way.

“Ten guys have now gone away to Wales so there is a different group of boys who will get an opportunity for this game.”

With Wales playing their autumn internationals following Friday’s game, the Scarlets are next in action on November 27 when they travel to South Africa for games against the Cell C Sharks and the Vodacom Bulls.

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Three in a row for Kidwelly

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KIDWELLY Town earned their third straight win in Carmarthenhire League Division 1 on Saturday (Oct 16) as they came from behind to beat Tumble 4-1.

Tumble had lost their last three matches prior to Saturday’s game and it was they who took the lead when Garin Morris scored in the tenth minute.

Chris Cray equalised for Kidwelly and it remained 1-1 until half time.

Both sides knew the next goal would be crucial but it was the home side who got it as Rob Davis set up Alex Kay to score.

And just a minute later it was 3-1 as Connor Howells scored.

That all but won the game for the home side who made sure of the points in injury time as Kay fired in his second goal of the game from the penalty spot.

Their fourth win of the season sees them stay in eighth place but they are now only three points behind third placed FC Carmarthen.

On Saturday, October 23, Kidwelly travel to Llangennech who sit just a point and two places above them in the table.

Photo by Darren Harries

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Llangennech youth go top

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LLANGENNECH Youth moved to the top of the South East Carmarthenshire league on Saturday (Oct 16) as they thrashed Ammanford 47-0.

The home side ran in seven tries, six of which were converted, as they earned a third bonus point win in a row.

Rhys Harris scored a hat trick of tries and Kyle North also crossed the whitewash twice.

There were also tries for Ryan Guard and Kallum Morgan as the home side ran out comfortable winners.

Cameron Mills scored four of the conversion while the other two were scored by Tyler Payne.

The win sees Llangennech leapfrog Ammanford into top spot.

Llangennech will look to keep hold of their 100% record on Saturday, October 23, when they travel to Brynamman.

Photo by Darren Harries

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