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Tuesday, 07 November 2017 14:39

Pillaged

SATURDAY 28th OCTOBER. Waunfawr Park, sunny intervals.
CWMCARN ATHLETIC 1 HAKIN UNITED 8 (FAW TROPHY ROUND 3)
With the weather calming down after its recent excesses, there's a full programme of football going ahead on this, the last Saturday in October. But no need to scan the fixture lists - my choice is already made.

This is the match I should have been at last Saturday. I was glad when it was called off in mid-morning, because I didn't fancy a storm-affected trip to a ground without cover, with every risk of postponement. Today, however, its appeal is irresistible. A couple of buses get me to Cross Keys, where the Sirhowy flows into the Ebbw, and where Gwent League newcomers Cwmcarn Athletic play in Waunfawr Park.

Published in Football
Sunday, 16 October 2016 08:35

North v South in the West

SATURDAY 15th OCTOBER - Phoenix Park, showery.
GOODWICK UNITED 2 HAKIN UNITED 0 (FAW Trophy, Round 3)
Every season I say I should get down to west Wales more often, but it's a resolution I often fail to keep. The West Wales Cup would be the perfect competition to use for visits west - but it is always scheduled to clash with the Welsh Cup, and the latter usually takes precedence. Few west Wales clubs ever enter national cups, but this year regular FAW Trophy entrants Hakin have been joined by a couple of others, including west Wales treble winners Goodwick. When Goodwick and Hakin reached the third round, and were drawn to meet at Phoenix Park, it was clearly time to visit the north Pembrokeshire coast.

Published in Football

SATURDAY 9th APRIL. The Bridge Meadow - chilly, but dry and sunny
GOODWICK UNITED 2 HAKIN UNITED 1 (Pembrokeshire Senior Cup final)

Hop on a train going east from Cardiff and it will take a couple of hours to get to London: you're in another world, faster, busier, more connected. Travel west instead, and it will take longer than that two hours to get to Pembrokeshire. But we sometimes underestimate how far, and how different again, the far west of Wales actually is, in culture, outlook, and - crucially - connectedness, or rather lack of it.

Pembrokeshire's geography isolates it, which can be both good and bad in many walks of life. As this is a football blog, that's the only area to discuss here, and geography (physical and social) shapes Pembrokeshire football more than any other county, though south Ceredigion shares more than a few similarities. Most notably, Pembrokeshire football almost a self-contained world: few clubs ever dip their toes in national competitions, few players can stomach the travelling and sacrifices required to play further up the Welsh or English pyramid systems, so as a result there's a thriving county league with competitions that are not overshadowed in any way. There's a sense of recognition and support for local clubs in the wider community that you don't get in the cities, the valleys or even much of mid and north Wales; and the local press - print and online - gives coverage that clubs in more populous areas can only dream of. For the season's showpiece, the Senior Cup final, they go to town - multi page spreads, previews, predictions and pen-pictures.  [article continues, click on 'Read More' if not visible]

Published in Football
Sunday, 22 November 2015 17:12

Vikings fail to pillage place in last 16

SATURDAY 21st NOVEMBER Longbridge Playing Fields, sunny, cold, northerly wind.
AC PONTYMISTER 5 HAKIN UNITED 1 (FAW Trophy Round 4)

The fourth round of the Trophy, sixteen ties to choose from in all regions of Wales; it's never easy to decide, but when this east v west encounter in Risca is confirmed as 'on' during Friday, that's good enough for me. It brings Pembrokeshire champions Hakin, so unlucky to go out to eventual winners Holywell last season, to first-time entrants Pontymister - who just happen to be playing on a new ground this season.

Pontymister's new venue, at Longbridge Fields, is at the north end of the linear village of Risca, whereas their former base in Fields Road was right at the other end. Hidden away just off the main road, the newly railed pitch sits on a raised plateau above road level, and up a slope from the austere changing room block near the Bridge Street entrance. A few spectators have arrived early and are sheltering from the bitter wind either in cars of in the lee of the changing room building. Hakin have brought a few with them, and there are a few neutrals like me, devotees of the unfamiliar fixtures the Trophy can produce. As kick off approaches, and the teams emerge, we too have to forsake shelter from the wind and take our places on the railing.

The first impression of the pitch is of the length of the grass - a rugby surface, not good for football. Whether the council would have cut it at this time of year is debatable, but they've had a perfect excuse with the incessant rain of the past two weeks. In some places the pitch surrounds are seriously boggy, though the playing surface itself doesn't appear to be holding too much water.

My thoughts in advance of this game are influenced by Hakin's good cup record, in this and the West Wales Cup. If the Vikings can reproduce that battling performance against Holywell last February, I'd fancy them to beat any Gwent County side. And initially, they start with confidence, taking the game to Pontymister; though there are a couple of worrying signs - an angry exchange between team-mates in the first minute, over a misjudged pass, and the way the conditions are affecting their preference for fast breaks from midfield. There's no real pattern to the first quarter of an hour, both teams struggling to establish control.

Published in Football
Sunday, 22 February 2015 09:47

Holywell ride their luck

SATURDAY 21st FEBRUARY: The Observatory Ground, bright but blustery.
HAKIN UNITED 3 HOLYWELL TOWN 4 (FAW TROPHY Quarter-final)
The last eight of the FAW Trophy, the first non-regionalised round of the competition, is potentially one of the highlights of the season - the one round when you can get a real north v south tie, played on a club ground rather than a neutral venue. And this year's draw has served up three such ties, although the down-side of that is the real possibility that all three southern sides will lose and the semi-finals will consist of four teams from the Welsh Alliance. Just one of the ties is taking place in south Wales, and that's where I'm heading...

Published in Football
Tuesday, 06 May 2014 06:58

Issue 173

WF173 cover

Issue 173 (May 2014) was published on 3rd May and is available to order by post (£3.50 including postage). Please send a cheque to 57 Thornhill Road Cardiff CF14 6PE (payable to Welsh Football) or use the contact form on this site to get details of how to pay electronically.

Contents include:

Feature on PEMBROKESHIRE football, including focus on champions HAKIN UNITED and cup winners TENBY AFC

Spotlight on RHOSGOCH RANGERS

FAW TROPHY final - LLANRUG UNITED victorious

LAMPETER TOWN win EMRYS MORGAN CUP

"THE GREATER GAME" - highlighting Welsh footballers' roles in the First World War

Reduced to £2.00 inc. postage

 

Published in Publication Dates
Sunday, 13 April 2014 08:20

A TALE OF VIKINGS AND WIZARDS

SATURDAY 12TH APRIL: The Observatory - overcast.
HAKIN UNITED 4 MERLIN'S BRIDGE 0 (James Williams Pembrokeshire League Division One)


In the mood for a longer trip this week, and with the weather benign, the question is "which direction?". North is tempting (FAW Trophy final at Rhyl, TNS clinching the WPL title at Park Hall, Cefn Druids getting the Cymru Alliance trophy at their home game).... but it's a while since I visited Pembrokeshire, and with their local cup final falling on Easter Saturday this year, I'll regretfully be giving that a miss. The league title isn't yet decided, with Hakin United, Goodwick and Tenby all chasing it, though unbeaten Hakin United look firm favourites. Cup finalists Tenby have an interesting game at Neyland, but though that would be a new ground for me, in the end Hakin's home game with Merlin's Bridge has greater appeal.

Published in Football

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