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Ward hat-trick boosts Wales



Wales women 4 Kazakhstan women 0

A HAT-TRICK from second half substitute Helen Ward gave Wales a crucial victory in their Euro 2017 qualifying game at a capacity Conygar Bridge Meadow on Thursday (26 Nov).

Wales women welcomed their counterparts from Kazakhstan, knowing that only a win would do if they were to maintain hope of qualifying for the Euro 2017 finals in the Netherlands.

Ahead of kick off Wales were adrift at the bottom of the table, one point behind the visitors, having lost their opening two fixtures, away at Austria (3-0) and Norway (4-0). With their next game a difficult trip away to Israel, it really was a must win game at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium.

Star striker, Manchester City’s Natasha Harding had stated as much before kick off saying, ‘”We can’t think of anything else. We can’t think to draw or lose.” Kazakhstan too had lost to both Norway and Austria, although their defeats came at home, whilst they had picked up a solitary point in a goalless draw at the Lod Municipal in Israel in October.

3 Pembrokeshire players were included in the matchday squad, with Angharad James (Bristol WFC) starting at right back, and goalkeeper Joanne Price (unattached) among the substitutes with Nadia Lawrence (also Bristol WFC).

The game didn’t get off to the greatest starts when the Welsh anthem was played twice, before it was announced that the Kazakhstan anthem was unavailable, leaving the visiting players to sing ‘acappella’, much to the dismay of manager Kaloyan Petkov.

As play got underway, Wales started the first half on the front foot, enjoying a great deal of possession in wide areas, and it was from out on the right hand side that the first opportunity was created, as a good cross from Helen Bleazard found the head of Nia Jones, who was ruled to be offside when she headed home from 8 yards.

Jones was proving a handful up front, and when she was slipped through on goal with just 15 minutes gone, the capacity crowd thought she had scored, but she struck her effort just wide of the far post.

The rest of the half passed without any chances of great note for Wales, although Fishlock will have been disappointed not to hit the target when the ball dropped to her 18 yards out.

On the other hand, Kazakhstan, despite being under pressure for the majority of the first half, will feel they should’ve gone in with the lead as a defence mix up led to a glorious chance for Saule Karibayeva, but with the goal empty, as goalkeeper Alice Evans was left stranded on the edge of the box, her chipped effort was headed off the line by the scrambling Natasha Harding.

With Wales having faded before half time, coach Jayne Ludlow will have been keen for her side to emerge for the second half with a renewed attacking vigour, and this they did, taking the lead within five minutes of the restart.

With the visitors failing to clear a corner, a bout of head tennis ensued, and after Rhiannon Roberts had nodded the ball across the goalmouth, Natasha Harding reacted quickest, nodding home from a yard.

This settled Wales down, and playing with confidence, the stage was set for substitute centre forward Helen Ward to shine as she collected a sensational second half hat trick.

Her first came just after the hour mark, as Fishlock played a beautiful ball with the outside of her right foot into her path, and she strode forward confidently to smash the ball past the on-rushing Oksana Zheleznyak in the Kazakhstan goal to spark wild scenes of celebration, and perhaps relief on the Welsh bench.

Two minutes later and the same two players combined to produce an identical result, as this time Ward raced clear through the left centre back’s channel, finishing smartly with a cool left footed pass under Zheleznyak, giving Wales a comfortable 3-0 lead.

As a dejected Kazakhstan faded, Wales kept possession with ease, creating several further opportunities to extend their lead. As it was, it was the in-form Ward who pounced again to give Wales a well-deserved 4-0 victory and complete her hat trick in the dying moments of the game. Good work from Bleazard and Fishlock had sent her through, and she stretched out her right leg to toe the ball into the far corner.

It was a fantastic victory for Ludlow’s side, which owed much to a magnificent second half salvo, which blew the visitors away. The side move on to play Israel in December with renewed confidence in their quest to reach Euro 2017.


12 Alice Evans, 3 Nia Jones, 4 Sophie Ingle ©, 5 Rhiannon Roberts, 7 Angharad James, 8 Melissa Fletcher, 9 Natasha Harding, 10 Jessica Fishlock, 11 Rachel Rowe, 13 Helen Bleazard, 16 Amelia Ritchie.


1 Joanne Price, 2 Chloe Chivers, 17 Charlotte Estcourt, 18 Helen Ward, 19 Kayleigh Green, 20 Alys Hinchliffe, 23 Nadia Lawrence.

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Crabb backs veterans of Irish Troubles



VETERANS of the Northern Irish Troubles have been backed by Preseli MP Stephen Crabb during votes in the House of Commons.

In the absence of a functioning administration in Northern Ireland, Members of Parliament have been voting in an effort to keep Northern Ireland running.

Stephen Crabb co-sponsored an amendment put forward by Johnny Mercer MP which passed. The Secretary of State must now report on the options available to allow veterans of the Troubles to assist in a truth recovery process, for the benefit of bereaved families, without fear of prosecution.

Commenting following the vote, Stephen Crabb MP said: “This is a positive step towards ensuring the hounding of veterans is stopped. The proud, local veteran community, along with myself, have been deeply troubled by the ongoing pursuit of current and former British Soldiers for actions carried out while under orders on active service.

“I have made the point previously to Ministers that we risk a serious breach of trust with our Armed Forces by opening the door to such prosecutions. The pressures placed on a solder in conflict situations are enormous and it cannot be right that actions carried out in these circumstances are re-opened decades later by people with no understanding of what happened on the ground.“

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Identical ‘call-out’ within three days for Fishguard RNLI lifeboat



FISHGUARD RNLI inshore lifeboat launched on Thursday evening 18 July to the very same inflatable dinghy they rescued on Monday July 15

The inshore lifeboat and three volunteer crew launched at 8.45pm after the inflatable was reported drifting out to sea from Fishguard harbour. The flimsy inflatable and the young men onboard were taken under tow back to the area of Goodwick beach and they were again spoken to regarding the dangers of inflatable craft. On this occasion there was an off-shore wind and an ebbing tide which potentially presented much more dangerous conditions for the persons onboard.

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Rosslare ready to go it alone



THE UK Government stands ready to revoke legislation governing the relationship between the ports of Fishguard and Rosslare.

The abolition of the current arrangements is a step closer according to Irish newspaper reports of a recent meeting between Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesperson Robert Troy and Wexford TD James Browne.

According to the reports, Mr Grayling told the Irish politicians that the UK has ‘no strategic or economic’ interest in keeping the ports’ governance structure.

The Irish Government, meanwhile, regards Rosslare as a major part of its Brexit plans and has acquired further land to provide additional facilities there.

The ports are governed by a UK Act of Parliament from 1888, which created the Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company.

The Act continued to govern the relationship between the Ports, even after most of Ireland secured its independence from the – then – British empire.

However, the old legislation has – in the view of Irish TD James Browne – hindered the Irish Government’s ability to expand activities at Rosslare to the benefit of the local and Irish economies.

Stena Line: Looking at the long term development of both ports

Fishguard and Rosslare ports are part of the one company, namely the Fishguard and Rosslare Railway and Harbours Company set up by an Act of Parliament.

Mr Browne explained to The Herald: “In effect, ownership of the port lies with UK government. But in turn the ports are effectively run as private companies: Irish Rail control and operate the Rosslare end and Stena control and operate the Fishguard side and there is an agreement in place as to the division of profits of the company.

“In Ireland, this complex and archaic ownership model has regularly been cited as an inhibiting factor in the development of the port. In short, no one will invest in a port whose ownership is unclear.”
The opportunity is not, however, all on one side, says the Wexford TD: “The decoupling of the two ports, and the transfer of Rosslare to Irish state ownership would free up both ports from this complex ownership model and allow investment in the ports.”

Mr Browne also highlighted the potential for growth in economic activity in West Wales’ closest trading neighbour: “Dublin Port is so busy that it is turning away business. Rosslare Port is in an ideal geographical location to attract shipping business and to take the pressure off of Dublin. Port. It, in turn, would act as an economic driver for the entire South East of Ireland.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb told us: Stephen: “The importance of the Fishguard – Rosslare ferry connection is unquestionable with 80% of all goods from Ireland passing through Welsh ports.
“However, the historic legal framework for the ports is outdated and does not give either side the freedom they need to develop and innovate. I can well understand why change is being sought at this time.

“I have met with the management on both sides of the Irish Sea to discuss Brexit planning and other aspects of the industry and will continue to do so.”

Ian Hampton, Chief People and Communications Officer, Stena Line said: “Stena Line hopes that by removing the historical legislation that governs the status of The Fishguard Rosslare Railways and Harbour Company it will enable Stena Line and the Irish Government to work closer together creating greater opportunity, such as the options for the long term development of both the respective ports.”

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