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Commonwealth Games bid withdrawal blasted

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THE WELSH GOVERNMENT has this week announced that it will not be submitting a formal bid for Wales to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games. 

The Labour Welsh Government made its shock announcement this week, citing funding uncertainties as a consequence of Brexit.

The move has been slated by some, with Welsh Conservative Leader Andrew RT Davies describing it as ‘a sad day for Welsh sport’.

A study was conducted, but that revealed costs of between £1.3bn and £1.5bn and Economy Secretary Ken Skates said a bid would not be feasible.

That is despite costs for the Glasgow Commonwealth games in 2014 totalling a cost of £543m.

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, said: “This is hugely disappointing, and it’s rather pathetic that the Welsh Government is once again attempting to use Brexit as a smokescreen to disguise a lack of ambition and imagination.

“Having jumped on the bandwagon of Welsh sporting success over the summer, the Welsh Labour Government is now abandoning the stage.

“Welsh sport needs major competitions and stars for the future – not working groups.

“Clearly a bid would have come at great cost, but over the extended period, the economic, social and sporting benefits to Wales would have been huge.”

Local Assembly Member and Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy, Adam Price, has criticised the decision to not bid to host the Commonwealth Games as ‘wilfully ignoring the pressing need to attract investment into the Welsh economy’.

Adam Price AM said that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union should be an incentive, not a deterrent, to attract new investment to Wales.

The Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy said: “Rather than show resilience and send a clear message that Wales can weather the Brexit storm, the Labour Government seems to be resigning to the fact that the challenges facing our economy are insurmountable.

“If anything, the UK’s decision to leave the European Union should be an incentive, not a deterrent, to taking bold steps to attract new investment to Wales. Wales needs to engage with the world – we need to be proactive in marketing our economy, our people and our ideas.

“Not only have the Labour Government made the wrong decision, but by making this announcement while the National Assembly is in recess, they have shown an utter disregard for scrutiny and accountability. This decision shows that Labour not only lacks ambition, but also the courage to explain its decisions.

“Hosting the Commonwealth Games 10 years from now would have acted as a huge global shop window for Wales, allowing us to showcase the best of our great nation to the world.”

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Sport

Street through in Central Wales Cup

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BOW Street made it through to the third round of the Central Wales Cup on Saturday (Jan 5) as they beat Llansantffraid 3-2 after extra time.

The game was played at Aberystwyth Town’s Park Avenue and Street were keen to pick up victory to start 2019 in style.

Ben Jones scored for the Magpies to make it 1-1 after 90 minutes before the game came to life in extra time.

Llansantffraid took the lead but Dylan James scored to level the scores and he then provided the assist for Jones to score his second to make it 3-2 and send the Street through.

Street will be keen to carry on their good cup form on Saturday (Jan 12) as they travel to Cefn Albion for a fifth round tie in the FAW Trophy.

Elsewhere, Aberaeron bowed out as they were beaten 4-1 at home by Llanilar.

Ceredigion League Division 1 side Ffostrasol were also knocked out as they lost 3-0 away at Hay St Marys.

Llandysul suffered a 5-0 defeat to Kerry while Penrhyncoch conceded their tie with Llanidloes, having played a league game the day before.

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Street edged out by Llani

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BOW Street suffered a narrow defeat on Saturday (Dec 29), as they were beaten 1-0 by Mid Wales League Division 1 leaders Llanidloes Town.

Having been held to a 1-1 draw with Aberaeron on Boxing Day, Street welcomed the leaders looking to cause an upset.

Credit must go to the Cae Piod groundsmen who ensured the overnight downpour didn’t affect the game.

After an even start, Llani were given a penalty with just over half an hour gone but Alex Pennock made an excellent save to keep the scores level.

However, just moments later the visitors did take the lead as they grabbed the only goal of the game with ten first half minutes still to play.

Photo by Colin Ewart

Llion Jenkins’ pile driver cracked the cross bar from 25 yards but the ball fell to George Clarke who tapped in the rebound to make it 0-1.

In the second half, Ryan Biggs saw red for a foul but both sides agreed that the punishment was a little harsh.

Bow Street threw everything at their opponents as they looked for the equaliser in the last half an hour but were unable to find a way through.

Llani defended well to keep their clean sheet intact and despite seven minutes of added on time they held on for the win.

Street currently sit second from bottom in the table but will take a break from league action on Saturday (Jan 5), as they welcome Llansantffraid in the second round of the Central Wales Challenge Cup.

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Aber’s top six hopes dented

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ABERYSTWYTH Town’s hopes of securing a top six finish in the JD Welsh Premier League took a blow over the festive period following two defeats to Newtown.

The first, on Boxing Day, saw them slip to a 2-0 defeat at Park Avenue after goals from Steve Leslie and Nick Rushton.

Then, on Sunday (Dec 30), they were beaten 2-1 at Latham Park after a first half goal from Neil Mitchell and another from Rushton in the second half.

Manager Nev Powell made three changes to the side defeated by the Robins on Boxing Day, with Alan Goodall, Geoff Kellaway and Rio Ahmadi entering the starting line-up.

In similar fashion to the Boxing Day clash, it was Newtown who started the game faster, and they took the lead with their first meaningful attack of the game as Callum Roberts crossed for Neil Mitchell to head home within the opening 90 seconds to make it 1-0.

Despite the early setback, Aber fought their way back into the game and tested home keeper Dave Jones with long range efforts from Wes Baynes and Rio Ahmadi.

Photo by Colin Ewart

On 13 minutes, the Seasiders carved out their best opening yet as Geoff Kellaway forced jones into a fine save after breaking free on the left side of the penalty area. But as the first half wore on, the game became a closely contested affair with neither side able to carve out any clear opportunities and the hosts would enter the break with the advantage.

The Black and Greens started the second half in much brighter fashion, and very nearly equalised on 50 minutes when Paulo Mendes saw his header smartly saved by Jones in goal.

Then, on 56 minutes the visitors went closer still, as Rio Ahmadi cut inside and fired a low effort from outside the area against the base of the post. It seemed a matter of time before Aber were back on level terms, but on 60 minutes came the sucker punch that all but sealed three points for the Robins.

Sam Phillips broke free on the edge of the area before playing in Nick Rushton, who rifled a shot into the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-0 very much against the run of play.

Soon after, they almost well and truly buried the Seasiders as Luke Boundford went through one-on-one with Terry McCormick, but the Aber keeper stood strong and produced an excellent save to smother the shot.

Substitutes Ash Ruane and Joe Phillips were introduced in place of Kellaway and Ryan Edwards, and soon after Aber went close once more as Ryan Wollacott met Mathew Jones’ corner, only to see his header cleared off the line.

As stoppage time approached, Aber did find a way back into the game as Declan Walker flicked the ball through for Ahmadi, who produced a neat chip into the corner of the net to make it 1-2 with five minutes of additional time remaining.

In the very last minute of stoppage time, Paulo Mendes appeared to be fouled in the penalty area, only for his appeals to be waved away by referee Cheryl Foster, and the Seasiders would leave Latham Park empty handed.

It was an improved performance from the Seasiders’ previous defeats, but manager Nev Powell will be disappointed his side were unable to convert the chances they carved out at Latham Park on Sunday afternoon.

Town now face a real uphill battle to finish in the league’s top six as they welcome Conah’s Quay Nomads to Park Avenue on Friday evening (Jan 4) in the JD Welsh Premier League.

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