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Neyland win Alec Colley thriller

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NEYLAND claimed the Alec Colley Cup for the first time in 28 years as they held off a late charge from Cresselly on Sunday (Aug 18).

It was a thrilling final which went down to the final ball but it was Neyland who came out on top in Pembroke.

Neyland scored 146-4 in their first innings before Cresselly replied with 127-4.

That gave Neyland a lead of 19 runs and their seconds innings total of 152-4 set Cresselly 172 to win.

Cresselly looked to be on their way to their target but some good late bowling ensured Neyland won by only six runs.

Prior to the game, a minutes silence was held in memory of umpire John Williams who sadly passed away. A collection was also held with money raised going to the Wales Air Ambulance.

Cresselly won the toss and elected to field and it was Nathan Banner and Lewis Page who opened up with a first wicket stand worth 48 runs.

Page made a score of 23 before he was bowled by Lyn Richards and Matthew Lewis then bowled Stephen Murray.

Ollie Richards then had Gavin Rowland stumped by Neal Williams as Neyland were reduced to 99-3.

Banner made his way to a score of 76 with four fours and five sixes but he was then caught by Matthew Lewis off the bowling of Josh Lewis.

Patrick Hannon finished unbeaten on 17 to give his side a good opening total.

Cresselly’s reply began badly as Mike Venables was run out by Nathan Banner and Neal Williams then saw his shot caught by Luke Ryan to give Patrick Hannon his first wicket.

Despite being 1-2, Simon Cole and Scott Arthur shared 83 runs for the third wicket as they looked to get Cresselly up and running.

Arthur made his way to a score of 32 but he was then caught by Paul Miller off the bowling of Gary Lloyd.

Cole scored an excellent half century but was then trapped leg before by Banner on a score of 55.

Matthew Lewis then finished unbeaten on 18 and Lyn Richards unbeaten on 11 as Cresselly ended their first innings 19 runs short of their opponents.

Neyland lost Lewis Page early on as he was caught by Lyn Richards off the bowling of Josh Lewis.

However, Banner and Patrick Hannon then began to cut loose as they shared a second wicket stand worth 115 runs.

Hannon scored 26 but he was then stumped by Neal Williams off the bowling of Matthew Lewis.

Banner hit seven fours and five sixes as he made his way to a score of 97 but he was unlucky to miss out on a century as he was bowled by Matthew Lewis.

The same bowler then had Luke Ryan stumped by Williams as Neyland’s second innings came to a close with the score on 152-4.

That set Cresselly 172 to win the game and they started well with Williams hitting three boundaries in the first over.

However, he was bowled by Nathan Banner on a score of 15 and Mike Venables was bowled by Gary Lloyd.

Banner struck again as he had Scott Arthur caught by Callum Woods and Lloyd then got his second as he had Lyn Richards caught by Lewis Page.

That left Cresselly on 47-4 and staring at a big defeat but Simon Cole and Steffan Jenkins had other ideas.

They shared 76 runs as they kept the scoreboard ticking over but Jenkins was caught by Banner off the bowling of Patrick Hannon on a score of 23.

Cresselly didn’t let that derail their chase as Matthew Lewis joined Cole at the crease.

They took Cresselly to within thirteen runs of their target with the final over being bowled by Jamie Smith.

Lewis took three runs off the first ball but the pair could only manage another three runs between them before the final ball. A six would have tied the game but Lewis missed as Neyland claimed victory.

There were two excellent knocks as Lewis finished unbeaten on 27 while Cole was unbeaten on 69 but it wasn’t to be Cresselly’s day.

It meant that Neyland won the Alec Colley Cup for the first time since 1991 with captain Paul Miller delighted to get his hands on the trophy.

It was an excellent final and a fitting tribute to John’s memory.

News

Gareth Southgate resigns as England manager following Euro final

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In a significant turn of events, England manager Gareth Southgate has stepped down just two days after England’s 2-1 defeat to Spain in the 2024 European Championship final in Berlin. This marks England’s second consecutive Euros final loss, having been beaten on penalties by Italy at Wembley three years prior.

Southgate, 53, who led the national team in 102 matches over his eight-year tenure, was due to see his contract expire later this year. In a heartfelt statement, he expressed his deep pride in having served his country: “As a proud Englishman, it has been the honour of my life to play for England and to manage England. It has meant everything to me, and I have given it my all. But it’s time for change, and for a new chapter.”

Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham announced that the process to find Southgate’s successor is underway, aiming for a swift appointment. He assured that an interim solution is in place if required and that there would be no further comments until a new manager is named.

England’s next fixture is against the Republic of Ireland in the Nations League on 7 September. FA sources have indicated that the selection process is unlikely to be restricted to English managers alone. Potential candidates include Under-21 boss Lee Carsley for an interim role, Newcastle’s Eddie Howe, former Brighton and Chelsea manager Graham Potter, ex-Chelsea and Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, as well as speculations around ex-Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, who left Bayern Munich last season.

Southgate’s tenure was notable, as he became the only England manager besides 1966 World Cup winner Sir Alf Ramsey to lead the team to a major tournament final. He guided England through four major tournaments, including the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 and the quarter-finals in 2022. Under his leadership, England won nine knockout matches, a significant improvement from the six won in the 50 years prior.

Despite his successes, Southgate faced mounting pressure this summer, with many fans critical of his utilisation of England’s talented attacking players. The tension peaked when supporters expressed their discontent following a goalless draw against Slovenia in the Euro 2024 group stage. However, he regained some support during England’s run to the final.

Reflecting on his time, Southgate praised the current squad: “The squad we took to Germany is full of exciting young talent and they can win the trophy we all dream of. We have the best fans in the world, and their support has meant the world to me. I’m an England fan and I always will be.”

Prince William, the FA president, commended Southgate for his leadership, saying: “Thank you for showing humility, compassion, and true leadership under the most intense pressure and scrutiny. And thank you for being an all-round class act. You should be incredibly proud of what you’ve achieved.”

Tributes also poured in from players, with Declan Rice and Jordan Pickford expressing their gratitude for Southgate’s guidance and support.

Southgate, who replaced Sam Allardyce in 2016, concluded with a message of thanks to his players and staff, singling out assistant Steve Holland as “one of the most talented coaches of his generation.” Reflecting on his journey, he stated, “I joined the FA in 2011, determined to improve English football. I hope we get behind the players and the team at St George’s Park and the FA who strive every day to improve English football, and understand the power football has to drive positive change.”

Bullingham lauded Southgate for making “the impossible job possible” and laying strong foundations for future success. He added, “Over the last eight years they have transformed the England men’s team, delivering unforgettable memories for everyone who loves the Three Lions. We look back at Gareth’s tenure with huge pride – his contribution to the English game, including a significant role in player development, and in culture transformation has been unique.”

As the search for a new manager begins, Southgate’s departure marks the end of a remarkable chapter in English football, one that brought hope, pride, and a renewed belief in the Three Lions.

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News

The Three Welsh athletes that featured at Wimbledon

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IN A HISTORIC moment for Welsh tennis, three Welsh athletes competed in various events over the two-week duration of Wimbledon 2024. Mimi Xu (16) and Viktor Frydrych (18) showcased their talents in Junior Wimbledon, while Niall Pickerd-Barua (13) made his debut in the 14-and-under invitational event.

Mimi Xu from Swansea reached the finals of the girls’ doubles alongside fellow Brit Mika Stojsavljevic (15). The pair impressively knocked out the number 1 seeds in the quarter-finals and won all but one match in straight sets. This was the first time Xu and Stojsavljevic teamed up for a Grand Slam event.

The duo narrowly missed the title, losing in the final to the Australian Open Girls’ Doubles Champions Tyra Caterina Grant and Iva Jovic, with scores of 5-7, 6-4, [8-10]. An emotional Xu thanked the Wimbledon crowds and her team for their support throughout the event.

Xu also competed in the girls’ singles event, advancing to the second round before being defeated by Hungary’s Rositsa Dencheva.

Viktor Frydrych from Bangor played his final Junior Wimbledon, reaching the quarter-finals in the boys’ doubles with his Norwegian teammate Nicolai Budkov Kjaer (17).

In the singles event, Frydrych started strong, winning the first set 6-1 in the first round. However, multiple rain delays disrupted the match, and his opponent came back to win the next two sets 2-6, 2-6.

Frydrych now looks forward to concluding his junior career and transitioning to a full-time professional career.

Mika Stojsavljevic of Great Britain and Mingge Xu of Great Britain pose with the Girl’s Doubles Runner-Up Trophies. (Photo: Daniel Kopatsch)

Niall Pickerd-Barua, the current U14 British champion, made his Wimbledon debut in the 14-and-under event. Pickerd-Barua played four matches, competing against players from Brazil, Japan, and America in a round-robin format. In the playoff stage, Pickerd-Barua was eliminated in a close match by Johann Nagel-Heyer (13), with scores of 6-2, 5-7, [8-10].

Following Wimbledon, the Junior World Rankings place Xu in 9th position, just two places behind British Junior number 1, Hannah Klugman (15). Frydrych now sits at 40th in the boys’ rankings, Still being comfortably in the top 50.

Both Xu and Frydrych are set to compete in the Junior US Open next month.

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Entertainment

New Radio series on remarkable rise of women’s football

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FROM hand-me-downs to heroes, a new three-part show celebrates the incredible growth of women’s football in Wales

BBC Radio Wales has today announced a new series Iconic: The Rise of the Women in Red, documenting the rise of women’s football in Wales. 

Presented by Jess Fishlock, Wales’ most capped footballer, the series offers an unprecedented look into the evolution of women’s football from its humble beginnings to its current status as a sporting phenomenon. With exclusive access to the Football Association of Wales (FAW), the series features in-depth interviews with prominent figures in the sport, including Welsh captain Sophie Ingle and midfield star Angharad James.

The series delves into the early days of women’s football when players wore hand-me-down kits from the men’s teams and played in front of modest crowds. It tells of the struggles of those who paved the way for the current generation of female footballers, to the present day where thousands of fans flock to stadiums to watch women’s football, and even more tune in to the television and radio coverage.

Jess Fishlock says, “I’m really excited that our story’s finally getting told and people can see how far this game has gone but also what has been sacrificed to get us to where we are right now in the women’s game.”

Carolyn Hitt, Head of BBC Radio Wales says “The series highlights how more women and girls than ever before are taking up the sport – as fans and as players.  It really showcases the FAW’s efforts to foster this growth and support the women’s game at all levels.  Jess Fishlock’s unique perspective and engaging storytelling brings to life the triumphs, challenges, and aspirations of the team whilst also providing a candid look at the professional journeys of these women.”

Sue Butler, Managing Editor, BBC Wales Sport, says “In the run-up to these crucial play-offs for UEFA Women’s Euro 2025, the series is a timely celebration of the progress and potential of Welsh women’s football. It will inspire and energize fans and players alike as the national team prepares for one of its most significant challenges yet.”

This three-part series will premiere on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Sounds this October.

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