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Aber in seventh heaven

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ABERYSTWYTH Town put their supporters in seventh heaven on Saturday (Dec 16), delivering them a huge victory in their last home game before Christmas with a 7-1 triumph over Prestatyn Town.

First half goals from Ashley Young, John McKenna, Malcolm Melvin and Joe Phillips put Aber fully in charge, only for Noah Edwards to reduce the arrears with an obstinate strike seven minutes into the second half.

Stunning finishes from Ryan Wade and Declan Walker increased the margin, and after Chris Mullock had saved Jack Higgins’ late penalty, Craig Hobson made it seven with two minutes left to crown Aber’s best result of the season.

In what was a frantic first half, the visitors started the brightest as striker Jack Kenny saw his header well saved by Chris Mullock, before having a penalty appeal waved away by referee Lee Evans.

Aber were unable to find their usual rhythm and fluency in the early stages, as Prestatyn imposed their high-press game to great effect. On 15 minutes, Town created their first opportunity when Ashley Young’s corner kick was headed narrowly wide by Declan Walker.

Soon after, Walker again went close with a header from a set piece as Nev Powell’s men began to find their feet in the game.

On 31 minutes, Aber found the breakthrough when Ashley Young sent a rasping shot beyond the reach of Prestatyn goalkeeper Ryan Roberts and into the corner of the net, via the post, to make it 1-0.

The momentum of the game suddenly swung in Town’s favour, as Malcolm Melvin saw his effort sail narrowly over the crossbar before Craig Hobson was inches away from getting on the end of Ryan Wade’s inviting cross into the penalty area.

Aber began to boss the game, and on 41 minutes they doubled their lead when John Mckenna rose highest from a corner kick to head the ball low into the bottom corner and make it 2-0.

Aber weren’t finished there however; as on 43 minutes, Declan Walker surged down the right flank before lofting an inch perfect cross into the box where Malcolm Melvin was on hand to head the ball beyond Roberts and make it 3-0.

The visitors were evidently in shock after two sucker punches in quick succession, but no sooner had they caught their breath, Town were on the attack again. As the game entered first half stoppage time, Aber broke once more at breakneck speed as Ryan Wade played in Joe Phillips, who rounded the goalkeeper and produced an excellent left-footed finish to make it 4-0.

Soon after, the half time whistle went with Town in cruise control after what had been a difficult start to the game.

The second half started in similar fashion to the first; with the visitors dominating the opening stages and testing Aber’s resolute back line.

On 52 minutes, they were handed the smallest of lifelines as tricky midfielder Noah Edwards cut inside before unleashing a right-footed shot into the top corner to make it 4-1.

Soon after, Chris Mullock produced a smart save from Jack Kenny, before Damian Ketley went close as his shot was well blocked by Ryan Wollacott in the six-yard box. On 58 minutes, Luke Borrelli came on to replace Malcolm Melvin as Town looked to settle the game down again and stretch the visitors’ defence with some additional pace.

On 67 minutes, Aber well and truly put the game to bed with a fantastically worked goal. Declan Walker sent a 40-yard pass towards Ryan Wade, who brought the ball down with finesse, before lifting the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper with a magnificent chip to make it 5-1.

Geoff Kellaway was then introduced to the game in place of Joe Phillips, and he very nearly extended Town’s lead with his first touch as he sent a curling effort just over the crossbar.

But on 81 minutes, Town did indeed extend their lead as Ashley Young played a short free kick into the path of Declan Walker, who sent a thunderous shot beyond hapless goalkeeper Roberts to make it 6-1.

Despite the resounding score line, the visitors continued to press for a consolation goal, and they were awarded a golden opportunity late in the game as Jonny Spittle was adjudged to have fouled Alec Williams in the penalty area.

Substitute Jack Higgins stepped up to take the spot kick, but goalkeeper Chris Mullock dived low to his right and produced a fabulous save to preserve Aber’s lead.

As the game entered the closing minutes, the home side sent their supporters into seventh heaven as Geoff Kellaway crossed for Craig Hobson to nod home with a magnificent diving header; a goal that was thoroughly deserved for the striker after leading the line with another stellar performance.

One final positive note to come from the game was the JD Welsh Premier League debut of promising young defender Lee Jenkins, who came on to replace captain Jonny Spittle late on for Aber.

A fantastic victory for Nev Powell’s side, who move up to 10th place in the JD Welsh Premier League table.

More importantly, Aber now lie just five points behind sixth placed Cefn Druids as they maintain their hopes of grabbing a top 6 spot before the league split in January.

Town’s attentions now turn to Friday evening (Dec 22), when they travel to face current champions The New Saints in the JD Welsh Premier League.

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Wales v Scotland postponed

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WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.

“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

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Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended

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THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.

The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance.

The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate.

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Sport

Exercise Referral Scheme doing more for health intervention than ever before

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A record 35,069 participants attended Exercise Referral classes during 2640 hours of health classes in 2019.

The National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) is an evidence-based health intervention scheme which incorporates physical activity and behavioural change techniques to support referred clients to make lifestyle changes to improve their health and well-being.

NERS Ceredigion has seen a dramatic increase in demand over the past year. A coordinator and four full time exercise professionals work to deliver the scheme, delivering 73 classes per week. The age of participants range from 16 years old, with the eldest participant in Ceredigion being 95.

Exercise class options include Gym, Circuit, Postural Stability (seated), Spin Bikes, Aqua Aerobics, Tai Chi and Pilates. Venues include council and community centres in Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Lampeter, Tregaron, Cardigan and Llandysul.

Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure, highlighted the benefits of the scheme, “There are many physical, psychological and social benefits to being part of the scheme, including confidence-building, better self-esteem, meeting new people and being generally fitter and healthier. Ceredigion Actif’s highly qualified Health Intervention Team provide opportunities to exercise that are fun, rewarding and that can be incorporated into everyday life.”

NERS Ceredigion targets people with a medical condition through various pathways including generic, cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary, PSI falls, stroke rehabilitation, mental health, cancer and weight management. The 16 week tailored programme of exercise is delivered by a team of specialist Level 4 qualified exercise professionals who guide referred participants towards realising their individual goals.

A participant in Aberystwyth said, “This has been the best thing I have ever done. I have thrived from doing different activities and pushing myself out of my comfort zone which has not only helped my self-esteem but also my depression and everything else including my pain. I have also made new friends which I didn’t even consider would happen and we’re not only being social but we’re having fun too which is a bonus”.

There is ongoing monitoring from the instructors with follow up assessments at 16 weeks as well as on completion at 52 weeks. Long-term ‘maintenance’ options are available post 16 weeks which include the continuation of exercise classes as well as opportunities to join clubs such as walking basketball, walking football, golf sessions and walking rugby.

During 2018-2019 there were 913 referrals to the scheme. To gain access to the scheme, a person needs to be referred by a Health Professional, usually a GP, Practice Nurse or a condition specific Physiotherapist.

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