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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, 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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