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Team of the week: Haverfordwest County

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team of the weekFootball Club was formed on December 7, 1899 and changed the name early in its history to Haverfordwest Town.

Most of the team’s fixtures in those early days were friendly matches, but the club gained membership of the Pembrokeshire League before the First World War.

The senior team moved up to the Welsh Football League in 1936, and they became known as Haverfordwest Athletic.

Haverfordwest Athletic remained in the lower reaches until 1955/56 when they won the First Division title and gained promotion to the Premier Division. The following season, the team won the Welsh League title, with the legendary Stan Richards starring in the side.

It was at this point in their history that the present name of Haverfordwest County was adopted. County remained in the Premier Division, finishing as runners-up in 1969-70 and 1970-71, until a disastrous 1975/76 season saw them relegated.

The club just missed out on success for the following two seasons but, at the third attempt, comfortably won promotion to the top flight once more. A highly successful 1980/81 season enabled County to take the championship in their first year back, losing only five games.

In 1983, the League was restructured and the National Division’ created. In the nine years existence of the National Division, Haverfordwest County only once finished outside a top six position, but the championship eluded them.

County’s pedigree during the 1980s made them prime candidates for membership of the League of Wales in 1992/93. In that first season they finished comfortably in mid-table and consolidated their status the following season.

At this point in 1994, however, other influences came to bear. An offer to buy their Bridge Meadow ground had come from the Safeway Supermarket chain. This offer included the construction of a new ground and County decided this was the way to go.

County have an excellent new stadium, the New Bridge Meadow, and enjoyed three seasons back in the Welsh League in which they were twice runners-up and, in 1996/97, deserved champions.

Those three years brought seventy league victories and only 16 defeats in over a century of matches. Each season County notched more than a hundred league goals (335 in total!) and, by the time they rejoined the League of Wales in August 1997, the club was well set to continue where they had left off.

1997/98 was a difficult term for Haverfordwest County, and relegation was being accepted following a run of twelve games up to Easter in which they failed to register a victory. That all changed with a 2-1 home win against Connah’s Quay Nomads. The following season began brightly as, based on the goalscoring achievements of Paul Burrows and Richard Gay, Haverfordwest challenged the early-season league leaders. Successive victories by 7-2, 2-0 and 5-2, thanks to a couple of hat-tricks from Gay, put County in fourth place, though a slump was to follow.

Nevertheless, the team performed well enough to avoid being dragged into a relegation battle.Placed 15th in 1999/2000, County improved to finish 10th the following season.

The next campaign saw the former Norwich City and Wrexham defender Deryn Brace appointed player-manager and despite finishing the season next to bottom, County retained League of Wales membership.Season 2002/3 saw some improvement, but in 2003/4 the Bluebirds became the surprise package of the league, finishing in third place and qualifying for the UEFA Cup.

However, a cash crisis in 2005/6 saw the departure of several keys players. A new administration aimed at rescuing the Club from extinction began their task in January 2006 and the club stabilised its position to finish eighth in the league.

A poor start to the 2006/07 season saw manager Deryn Brace step down and he was replaced by former Manchester United and Cardiff City defender Derek Brazil who guided a young side to a mid-table position at the end of his first season in charge. In Brazil’s second season at the Bridge Meadow, Haverfordwest County improved to eighth in the league, and in the following season finished 7th on goal difference, whilst keeping 10 clean sheets during the campaign.

Over the past few years the directors of Haverfordwest County AFC Limited, a company that was formed in June 2006, have managed to engage new sponsors and much help from local businesses. The financial situation at the club is now healthy and the erection of a new stand was completed in time for the 2009-10 season.

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Sport

Welsh Athletics celebrate success

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MORE than 200 people from all four corners of the country headed to the Vale Resort Hotel in Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan on Saturday evening (October 19) to attend the annual Welsh Athletics National Celebration Awards Dinner for 2019.
The evening celebrated all the successes and achievements that happened across the sport of athletics in Wales over the last 12 months with a large number of athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and club & group representatives in attendance.
There were twenty-eight awards up for grabs with an expert panel deciding on who the worthy winners were for each one. The awards were across a variety of categories…from clubs, groups and volunteers to officials, coaches and athletes.
Altogether, 22 individuals, 5 clubs and 1 group shared the awards on offer and were welcomed to the stage to be recognised for their contributions.
Hosts for the evening was ever-present Rob Cole and joining him on the stage this year was Mica Moore. Sam Gordon, Jeremiah Azu, Steve Perks, Matt Newman, James Williams, Dafydd Trystan and Kelly Southerton were others who spoke throughout the evening.
It was fantastic to receive confirmation a fortnight ago from the new Chair of Welsh Athletics, Steve Perks that Carmarthen & District Harriers Athletics Club had been nominated to receive the Welsh Athletics Junior Off-Track Club of the Year award at this year’s awards dinner in the Vale Resort Hotel.
Present from the athletics club on the evening and joining other deserving winners from across Wales were Jake Morgan (Club Chairman), Cressy Morgan (Club Secretary), Richard Jones (Club Treasurer), Alison Thomas (Officials Secretary), Neil Thomas, David Toogood, Carol Jones and Delyth Brown (Club Endurance Coaches), Dafydd Jones and Frank Morgan (Club under 15/17 Endurance Athletes) and Nathan Jones (Club Media Officer).
Cross Country and Road Running successes in 2018 and the start of 2019 from endurance young members contributed to the club winning this award in 2019.
The Welsh Athletics Clubs Cross Country Championships came to Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire for the first year back in February and saw the under-11 boys, under-13 boys, under-15 boys and the Female Master 40 teams come away with gold medals on home turf whilst there were bronze medals for the under-11 girls.
The under-13 boys and under-15 boys were victorious at the 2018 Welsh Athletics Road Relay Championships to match their cross-country championships titles. Back in September, the under-11 boys and under-13 boys came away with comfortably victories at the recent 2019 edition of the Road Relays Championships and have got off a great start to the 2019 winter season in October.
The under-11 boys and under-13 boys also became John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League team champions backed up by second place for under-13 girls and third for the novice girls.
Two of Carmarthen Harriers’ endurance athletes Dafydd Jones and Frank Morgan, both pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Myrddin were there to go up and collect the award on behalf of the whole club.
Another to be recognised locally in West Wales was coach Kevin Evans who continues to coach athletes at the track in Carmarthen and a great supporter of the club. After collecting the Endurance Performance Coach of the Year in 2018, Evans was the recipient of the “International Performance Coach of the Year” this time around.
President the award on stage was local Carmarthenshire athlete and one of Kevin’s training group, Dewi Griffiths who hopes to be back to full fitness soon.
International athletes in Wales voted for their “Athletes’ Athlete of the Year” and announced as the winner was Pembrokeshire Harriers’ Heather Lewis, who enjoyed a great season on the race-walking circuit. Elsewhere, James Tomlinson was the “Junior Track & Field Athlete of the Year.” It was a double success here with his coach Paul Jensen, the “Track & Field Performance Coach of the Year”.
Swansea Harriers picked up both the “Off Track Club of the Year” in the older categories whilst the juniors enjoyed success too and as a result, won the “Junior Track & Field Club of the Year”.

 

photo credit: welshathletics.org

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Rain, rain, go away…

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LAST WEEK, two Manderwood Pembrokeshire Football League games dodged the rain.
After a week in which torrential rainfall was interrupted only by the occasional deluge, only one fixture was completed.
You have to feel for poor St Florence.
Through rain and tempest, they made the trip north to Solva, only to come away on the wrong side of a 9-1 shellacking by the home team.
Solva’s goals came courtesy of Joe Nash, Rhys Rivers, Tom Goodson, a hat-trick from Liam Thomas, two goals from Josh Bland, and one from James Griffin. Jake Webster scored the visitors’ only goal.
Every other game in Pembrokeshire was washed out. League organisers will be hoping that the weather breaks soon to allow the season to get back on track.
Solva’s victory was not the only game of football played in Pembrokeshire, however.
Once more Goodwick United defied the weather and completed a handy 3-1 win over Rockspur Fords in the West Wales FA Cup.
The visitors, who play in the Swansea League Division One, are a form team and must have fancied their chances at Phoenix Park. Goodwick are a tough team to beat, however, and they contested fiercely in appalling conditions for football.
Goals from Rhys Dalling and James Bryan gave Goodwick a 2-0 half-time lead.
On a blustery and soaking wet afternoon, Goodwick simply played the conditions better and there was more than enough niggle to go round in the slippery conditions.
Even conceding an early spot-kick midway through the second half didn’t deter Goodwick. With the score at 2-1 and time ticking down, a Jordan Griffiths free-kick snaked its way into the visitors’ net to clinch the tie 3-1 and leave Goodwick a step closer to a final at the Liberty Stadium next year.
Clarby Road were glad to have two pitches available for them. With the first team pitch unplayable, the second team one was judged fit for play for the second round WWFA Cup fixture against Llanelli’s Camford team.
While the conditions were foul, the pitch held up well.
As the halfway point in the first period approached, Ben John produced a screamer from outside the area to give Clarby the lead. One became two shortly afterwards when Matt Griffiths headed home a well-directed corner. Shortly before half-time, Ben John added another goal to give the homesters a 3-0 lead.
Undeterred, Camford scrapped hard in the second half and pulled a deserved goal back with a fine strike from Ben Bowler.
Clarbeston Road repelled another promising Camford attack before regaining a three-goal cushion, as Ben John completed a fine hat-trick.
With conditions closing in, Joules Ward added a fifth for the home team.
A final result of 5-1 in increasingly poor conditions was a fair reward for Clarby, even if it left an always striving Camford a little short-changed.

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Milford Ladies brave the elements

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Llandysul 3 – 0 Milford Haven
Saturday, October 26

ON A very wet, cold and windy day Milford ladies travelled to Ceredigion to play Llandysul this week. Both teams started well with some good hockey being played on both sides however, it was Llandysul who got the first game after 10 minutes.
Milford Haven pressed for an equaliser for the remainder of the first half but, although playing, the better hockey they had no luck finding the back of the net.
Due to the inclement weather, both teams agreed to a quick turnaround at half time.
Milford played well from the start of the second period, striving to get back into the game; however, after numerous chances and a fair share of bad luck, they ended up defending against one of the best teams in the division.
In spite of Milford Haven’s stern defence, it was only a matter of time before Llandysul forced several short corners and with ten minutes to go, they were able to score a brace of goals making it a three-nil win for the home side.
Rachel Coe Milford’s captain said: “It’s so disappointing to lose on the road once again. I cannot fault the determination in this very young Milford team. Just like Wales, they gave their all but it wasn’t to be our day. We have a free week this week, so it will give us time to get over it and look forward to our next encounter”
Milford Team
Emilie Zatac, Vicki John, Meg Bowen-Jenkins, Lucy Jayne, Kate Farr, Charlotte Davies, Em Sums, Cerys Jones, Alice Wonnacott, Rachel Coe, Cerys Dunn, Megan Owen, Cerys Dunn

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