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Europa League play off fight still on

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A DOUBLE from in form Marc Williams, allied to a defensive masterclass earned the Black and Greens a vital victory over Cardiff Met on Saturday afternoon (Feb 23) at Park Avenue, which ensures the fight for a UEFA Europa League Play Off place will continue into March.

Williams opened the scoring on 58 seconds, intercepting a clearance from Met keeper Alex Lang, and repeated the trick just after the hour with a low drive from further out. Town now stand just two points behind Met on 34 points with six matches of the regular season remaining.

On a balmy day which heralded the start of Springtime, the hosts had a dream start when Williams chased down a Met back pass and keeper Alex Lang’s clearance deflected into the net off Town’s Super Sparky Striker, after just 58 seconds.

A hectic period ensued as Met’s Adam Roscrow saw a shot blocked and Dylan Rees fired over. At the other end Paolo Mendes, who was having a super game snapping at Met’s heels and breaking up play, headed wide from Wes Baynes’ free kick. The ever dependable Ryan Wollacott denied Chris Baker a chance by clearing Roscrow’s dangerous cross, and back up the field Ash Ruane almost repeated Williams’ trick by chasing down another backpass, but to no avail.

With Town sitting deep and allowing Met possession in their own half, livewire Geoff Kellaway was always a threat on the break, and when the imperious Williams won the ball and played him in he clipped the post agonisingly with a cute effort past Lang. Emlyn Lewis’ cross was easy for home keeper McCormick, and just before the break Elliott Evans’ was so close to equalising when his free kick from 30 yards brushed the top of the net, but disciplined Town held out for a deserved half time lead.

Photo by Colin Ewart

Met tried to up the pace after the break but Wollacott did well to block Will Evans, before Kyle McCarthy’s testing right wing cross flashed across goal only for Elliott Evans to hit the outside of the post at the back stick. The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with Aber defending deep, superbly, and Met struggling to find space in the final third to create opportunities.

Town threatened as Ruane then found Williams, and his flying snapshot was somehow deflected to safety, Ryan Edwards’ effort flew wide, before Harry Owen responded for Met with a grass tickler which brought McCormick into play. Then Williams intercepted the ball on the half way line and broke down the right before firing a super second low down into Lang’s bottom right hand corner, to give Aber the real scent of victory.

Aber had a penalty shout when Lewis, already on a yellow, tangled with Ruane in the box, but then McCormick pulled off a great save from Will Evans to safeguard the hosts’ clean sheet.

Some late drizzle could not dampen the hosts’ ardour, and when Will Evans’ lob sailed over the bar with three minutes to go, the job was done, and Aber had a crucial victory.

With Aber earning their first clean sheet since November top marks must go to the defensive six of McCormick, Declan Walker, Baynes, Wollacott, Steff Edwards and Matthew Jones, but Williams, Kellaway and Ruane also caught the eye going forward, and Mendes and Ryan Edwards did brilliantly at their job of breaking up play and moving Aber forward also.

Two wins and a draw from their first four matches after the split has given Aber’s season a big boost and the Black and Greens will look forward with confidence now to their next assignment, when Carmarthen Town visit Park Avenue a week on Friday, March 8, (ko 7.45pm).

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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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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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