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We take life too lightly and sport too seriously

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By Jonathan Twigg

DEBATE rages in Wales at present, where rugby has infiltrated the summer domain of cricket, which has held unparalleled dominance of the summer sunshine.

There has been a culture change, whereby summer tours and early season fixtures of the traditional winter sports means earlier starts.

Look no further than next seasons football league championship season for Swansea City, starting on Saturday (Aug 5) until Sunday (May 26) 2019.

The outcry from the boundary ropes comes more about how mini ruby has become a summer sport, bulldozered through, as opposed to negotiated.

WRU figurehead in this Ryan Jones, former Wales captain and British Lion parading the paraphernalia, Cricket Wales Development Officer Keri Chahal, having face to face meetings to form common ground.

The winner, undoubtedly now rugby as their mini game is happening in front of our eyes, but has cricket lost?

Jason Roy: In action for England against Australia

Not looking at the participation statistics in the new ‘All Stars’ programme, where children bestowed in blue attire are bouncing around cricket fields in the sunshine, the magic there to entice the next generation.

What sells it to parents, who undoubtedly influence their siblings?  The paradox of ‘I played the game, so you must do also’ may live in both sports, but it’s more than that.

Attendances at international matches, in cricket’s case by supporting England, well the England and Wales Cricket Board side, the pathway? Saturday (Jun 16) saw them rock up in Cardiff, rugby capital of Wales, the Swalec Stadium to be precise, skirting the River Taff through Bute Park, the hosts leading a five match series against Australia 1-0.

Sell out you would think? Far from it; the Principality Stadium, bestowed with a retractable roof, unequivocally is, if Australia are the visitors, the Swalec attracted around 13,000, a fifth of their rugby rivals capacity.

Does cricket lack that panache to attract the floating spectator, often then with the family in tow?  The game has stand out stars, opening batsman Jason Roy pulverising the Aussie attack, the Richardson’s, Jhye and Kane, of no blood synchronisation, a rarity in this sport for two with the same name to be sharing the new ball. Root 66, the featured face of the cricketing market, Joe, England Captain present, alongside former Glamorgan opening bowler Alex Wharf, making his ODI debut, as an umpire.

Coloured clothing, blue against yellow for the 11am start, the Aussie public back home having a choice of watching cricket, World Cup football against France, or rugby as the Wallabies welcomed Ireland to Melbourne.

Cricket is sensational down under, the viewing figures from Saturday would make an interesting comparative, lifting some of the ‘doom and gloom’ emanating from our ‘middle England’ type dulcet tones of the cricketing ‘I know best brigade’.

Food for thought, or is it time for the Blazers and prawn sandwiches to be confined to the attic, relics of periods passed? 100 ball ‘City’ cricket is another gurus dream, not welcomed by the current ‘Blazers’, where Saturday’s game produced 102 runs for one wicket, from just a third of the games total deliveries.

Believe me, there was a following of supporters, some perhaps beer monsters, in fancy dress but the majority of paying punters here, at £65 were from a generation brought up on John Arlott, a commentator remembered with fondness, his soupy‑thick Hampshire vowels drawling “we take life too lightly and sport too seriously.”

‘Wise up or weep’ is the cry for cricket, as this game on paper had everything, including the proverbial rain, which has so impacted the winter sports programme to influence the thinking of the WRU game management board.

England’s batsman rattled up for the first time in history five consecutive 50 plus run partnerships with stand in skipper Josh Butler ‘ramping’ sixes over the wicket keepers head; text book they are not but part of the modern game as he brought up his own 50 in the forty first over, with 17 runs in five balls!

What are the indicators for success? Tactical understanding from a blooded skipper Tim Paine, Jason Roy 120, Josh Butler 91 not out and Johnny Bairstow 42, in England’s highest ever ODI total of 342-8, where the expectation nowadays is 300 plus. Certainly, making sunshine on a rainy day sings Zoe, although those in the know were drumming Mambo number 5 with a cucumber sandwich during the interval.

Australia, looking to save some grace on a day when their rugby and football comrades were dispensed made a fist of it, Maxwell striking 31 alongside Glamorgan star Shaun Marsh.

Marsh handled the pressure but the crowd sensed the game slipping into the memory bank, in the lowering sunlight, buoyed by the beach ball antics of amongst others, Baywatch, tennis players and the Smurfs who embraced the evening’s ambiance, before the jobsworth lumbered in.

Marsh passed 2000 white ball runs on his way to 131, the end coming through Roy’s match winning catch to secure the star player award as over 600 runs were chalked in the scorebook. Something was missing, no pyrotechnics from which to salivate. Down to the pitch maybe, a slow burner typifying middle England in the centre of Wales, or is the product label just too predictable.  Maybe a famous son of Yorkshire can answer that, after all he was called upon to ring the five minute ‘bell’ to signal the start of play.

That Yorkshireman; Neil Warnock; the irony, Manager of the newest Premier League football team, Cardiff City, promoted last season from the Championship, brought in for ‘iconic value’. Can the traditional sports share the space before time is called one wonders, with no frills, no fuss, depicted serenely by Arlott.

That memory is worth a toast, of his favourite Beaujolais tipple, for this is cricket as we know it, but for how much longer?

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Haverfordwest County officials to visit Atlético Osasuna for strategic discussions

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NEXT week, Haverfordwest County A.F.C. chairman Robb Edwards and COO Beccy Nuttall will travel to Spain to visit Club Atlético Osasuna. During their visit, they will engage in high-level discussions with Osasuna’s upper management, focusing on community and fan engagement strategies.

In April, both Haverfordwest County A.F.C. and Club Atlético Osasuna were appointed to the Executive Board of the Union of European Clubs (UEC), an international organisation established in April 2023. The UEC was founded to provide a voice to the 92% of professional football clubs that often go unheard. The Union aims to democratise decision-making processes in European football, ensuring that each club has a vote and that the destiny of the sport is not determined solely by the wealthiest clubs on the continent.

“We look forward to this meeting with Osasuna and hope our collaboration with other clubs continues to grow,” said Edwards. The upcoming visit underscores the commitment of both clubs to fostering stronger ties and working collaboratively to shape the future of European football.

The discussions will likely cover a range of topics, from enhancing fan experiences to developing community outreach programmes, reflecting the shared values and objectives of both clubs within the UEC framework.

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Free multi-sports events for 5-7 year-olds in Haverfordwest

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SPORTS mad youngsters aged 5-7 and those looking to try out new sports and activities are invited to free multi-sport sessions in Haverfordwest.

The sessions run from 4.15pm to 5pm every Thursday during term time and are based on the Tennis Courts at Haverfordwest High VC School.

All sessions are free and there are a wide range of activities to try.

The sessions are run by Sport Pembrokeshire Staff and assisted by Young Ambassadors from Haverfordwest High

Local clubs also take part to run sessions and provide information on how to continue with any sport.

Parents/Carers who would like to sign children up for the session are required to complete the online form.

Dan Bellis of Sport Pembrokeshire, said: “It is great to see so many young people enjoying Sport and being physically active.

“The multi-sport sessions are great as they allow youngsters to try out so many different games and activities which really helps them to learn and develop.”

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Bike It 100: Kilgetty gears up for charity cycling event

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CYCLISTS from across the country are gearing up for the Kilgetty Bike It 100, a charity non-competitive cycling sportive set to take place on Sunday, 28th July 2024. Organised to support the Paul Sartori Foundation and Haverfordwest High School’s South Africa Rugby Tour 2025, the event promises a fun, friendly, and challenging day on the bike.

Participants can choose from three scenic routes of varying difficulty: 50.5 miles with an elevation of 3,400 feet, 77.8 miles with an elevation of 5,284 feet, and the full century route at 101.7 miles, climbing a total of 7,428 feet. Each route is meticulously planned with GPS guidance, direction markers, and designated water stops to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

Early bird entries are priced at £35 and are available until 31st May. Post this date, if slots remain, the entry fee will increase to £45. All participants will receive a commemorative Welsh slate medal upon completion. In addition to the ride, the event features organised outdoor BBQs, coffee stops, and well-earned drinks available for purchase at the finish, courtesy of Kilgetty Sports & Social Club.

The sportive has been a tremendous success in previous years, raising £12,000 in 2021 and 2023. Organisers hope to exceed this amount in 2024, bolstered by the community’s continued support and enthusiasm.

For more details and to register, participants can visit the British Cycling website or scan the QR code on the event poster. Queries can also be directed to [email protected].

Join us for a day of cycling through the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside, all while supporting two fantastic causes. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to ride, enjoy, and make a difference. Secure your spot today!

For more information, visit British Cycling Event Details.

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