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Ward hat-trick boosts Wales

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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.

Team:

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.

Substitutes:

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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Police urge visitors to ‘check the rules’

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POLICE in Powys are reminding people to check the rules before they travel, as tourists from the Midlands, London and Bristol continue to visit despite lockdown restrictions.

Last weekend more than 1,000 cars were turned around by police in the Brecon Beacons after visitors attempted to access the area around Ystradfellte known as ‘waterfall country’.

Many of those stopped claimed they thought the rules around travel were the same as in England, while others had deliberately flouted them.

Seventy-two per cent of people reported for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions in Powys since March 27 have been from outside the police force area.

“I would like to thank the communities of Powys for their cooperation in recent months in complying with requirements of the Covid 19 legislation and also reassure them we are still working hard with our partners to police the restrictions that remain in place across Wales,” said Superintendent Steve Davies.

“Our officers have worked hard to engage with the public at every opportunity throughout these unprecedented times by explaining what we are doing and why, and encouraging people to make the best choices to protect public health in Wales.

“But where people have clearly flouted the rules we have dealt with them appropriately and issued fines.”

He said officers will continue to conduct stop checks throughout Powys and across the force area this weekend.

In England, people can now travel an unlimited distance for exercise and to access so-called ‘beauty spots’.

But the Welsh Government has said people must remain local – ideally not travelling further than five miles from their home – for exercise or limited leisure pursuits, and this also applies to anyone travelling across the border.

Wales’ three national parks – which include popular sites such as Snowdon, the Elan valley and the Pembrokeshire coast – currently remain closed to the public, as do all National Trust car parks and properties.

The latest Welsh Government advice is available at gov.wales/coronavirus.

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Coastal car parks at beauty spots remain closed

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THE RECENT changes in regulations reinforce that movement is restricted to your local area.

This has been identified by the Welsh Government as an approximation of a five mile radius from your home.

Members of two separate households from the same local area (not travelling more than five miles) can now meet outdoors, as long as they maintain social distancing.

You should aim to meet another local household as close to your home as possible. Always take care to maintain social distancing and hand hygiene.

Pembrokeshire County Council car parks at attractions and beauty spots (including public toilets) currently remain closed so you should check before travelling.

They remain closed as a clear message that travel remains restricted, and associated tourism amenities remain closed.

A critical point for all to note is that lifeguards are not currently patrolling beaches and toilets and other facilities are not open.

Full details of the car parking facilities which remain open for the local community can be found on the Council’s website:
https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/emergency-planning/service-changes

Councillor Phil Baker, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure said: “The emphasis is on careful, structured unlocking, and not to put in danger any of the recovery measures that relate to public health and not to undo the safeguarding that lockdown has delivered.

“We will continue to review and monitor this carefully and take cautious, measured steps only to provide the benefits of the eased regulations without putting our residents at risk.”

Motorists are reminded not to contravene parking restrictions – such as yellow lines – where they exist as parking enforcement is still being undertaken.

As with other service areas, car parks will be reviewed in line with current advice.

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Pembrokeshire County Council Leaders coronavirus update

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PEMBROKESHIRE County Council Leader, Councillor David Simpson, has provided a further coronavirus update for Tuesday, 2nd June, as follows:

‘I want to thank everyone for the continued support to myself, Elected Members and officers of the Authority.

‘We have all experienced many challenges over the years but this continued struggle is very testing for all. We continue collectively to work together to ensure we, in Pembrokeshire, remain safe and avoid catching Covid-19

‘It is clear that we still have to remain “local”. There is no remit for travelling outside our local community. You will have read and heard clear guidance on only travelling five miles from home.

‘As always and where you can, please exercise from your home. The more we can do to reduce the spread of the virus, the better we will all fare in the long term.

‘I want to highlight that today marks the 50 th anniversary of the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge. This was indeed a tragedy as lives were lost and it is a sad chapter in Pembrokeshire’s history.

‘As in any incident, people can, and do, rebuild and also learn lessons. After Covid-19 the new “normality” will look different from what we were used to. But we will all move forward and regain Confidence.

‘I’m sure, like you, I question how I should be tackling this issue. Should I be doing more? The answer is simple and direct – we need to ensure social distancing is maintained; wash our hands regularly and listen to the advice given by experts.

‘Remember: ‘Stay Strong and Stay Local.’

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