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Town back in play-off driving seat

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Carmarthen Town 5
Prestatyn 2

WITH RHYL slipping up at home to Connah’s Quay, the Old Gold took full advantage by dispatching of doomed bottom side Prestatyn, with the visitors reduced to nine men before half-time. It was a timely slip up from Rhyl, with them due to visit Richmond Park on the 11th April in what will surely be the decider for the play-off place.

With the Old Gold desperately needing three points from this game to boost their prospects of securing a UEFA qualifying play-off place at the end of the season, they made the worst possible start when the visitors, with their first attack, took the lead on 3 minutes. Jordan Davies sent his corner-kick into the crowded goalmouth and Jack Lewis was allowed the time and space to head the ball powerfully past keeper Lee Idzi.

Stung by that setback Town immediately pressed forward with a series of swift incisive raids and by the 12th minute they were back on level terms when Jordan Knott made good ground down the left wing before delivering a searching cross into the penalty area where Luke Prosser turned sharply and from 6 yards hit a crisp drive which was handled on the goal-line by James Stead. The referee straightaway awarded a penalty and, inevitably, dismissed the Prestatyn defender. Liam Thomas stepped forward and confidently drove the spot-kick past Scott Williams and into the back of the net.

While the Old Gold continued to enjoy the greater share of possession and territorial advantage, the visitors managed to break out occasionally on the counter-attack and after 15 minutes they almost repeated their earlier success when another Davies corner was met by Dave Hayes who rose high above surrounding defenders but his firm header slid just past the post.

Yet Carmarthen held the initiative and they deservedly scored a second goal on 20 minutes when Kyle Bassett sent a well-flighted corner into the penalty area and saw Jordan Wells meet it with perfect timing and place his header beyond Williams’ reach for his first goal in the Old Gold colours.

This spell of pressure continued with Bassett and Liam Thomas in particular using their lightning pace and mobility to torment the Prestatyn defenders while Lewis Harling, Ceri Morgan and Danny Thomas provided valuable support through their industry and vision in midfield. Meanwhile Town’s defence dealt capably enough with the visitors’ breakaways, despite a few worrying moments of hesitancy under pressure – but the key element here was the performance of Craig Hanford who throughout the game undertook his evident instructions to man-mark key striker Andy Parkinson so effectively that the goal threat normally posed by this dangerous marksman never materialised.

The hosts then went close to extending their lead in the 39th minute when Knott sent a sublime pass through to Liam Thomas who took the ball into the penalty area before releasing a smart angled drive that drew an equally impressive save from Williams to turn it around the post. Straight afterwards Bassett raced clear down the right flank to reach the edge of the penalty area but saw his fierce strike fly just outside the far post.

Then on 42 minutes Prestatyn’s prospects took another significant downturn when Ross Weaver, after having been shown a yellow card only shortly beforehand, was similarly cautioned following a bad challenge on Liam Thomas and, consequently saw the referee also brandish the red card in his direction.

Town immediately made good use of their enhanced numerical advantage by pressing forward with even greater intensity. After 44 minutes a neat exchange of passes between Danny Thomas and Chris Thomas on the edge of the penalty area finished with the ball being played back to Bassett but his well-struck effort went narrowly too high. But in added time their renewed pressure brought success when after a swift break by Prosser down the right flank he crossed towards the goalmouth where Bassett set the ball up nicely for Morgan and he gratefully rifled it home from 8 yards.

Following the interval any thoughts Town might have held that the game was already won were soon dispelled when on 49 minutes a long throw-in from Lewis led to a scramble in the packed goalmouth before Michael Parker, from close range, stabbed the ball past Idzi and over the line.

However the Old Gold were quick to respond and produced another sustained spell of pressure which the beleaguered Prestatyn defence struggled to deal with. After 56 minutes Liam Thomas raced forward to the edge of the penalty area before neatly sliding the ball across to the unmarked Bassett but he saw his promising drive denied by Williams with a fine reflex save. Then on 65 minutes substitute Jeff White sent a deep cross into the penalty area which reached Liam Thomas beyond the far post and from a tight angle he fired the ball past Williams only for Parker to recover swiftly and clear it off the goal-line.

But on 68 minutes Town’s lively striker was successful when he moved elusively across the goalmouth to meet Bassett’s corner-kick and direct a firm header past Williams and into the roof of the net. And moments later the Old Gold made their victory certain when following yet another Bassett corner the ball reached Prosser who swept it home from close range. From thereon Carmarthen were firmly in control of the game and while they created a few further scoring chances, Williams was never again seriously tested.

Team:

Lee Idzi; Jordan Wells; Craig Hanford; Chris Thomas; Jordan Knott; Kyle Bassett; Ceri Morgan (sub Chris Ham 74); Lewis Harling (sub Sacha Walters 74); Danny Thomas; Luke Prosser (sub Jeff White 71); Liam Thomas;

Unused subs: Paul Fowler; Hywel Llŷr; Glen Fearn;

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BBC Unsung Hero Awards are back!

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BBC Wales is searching for a great volunteer in Wales who’s made a difference in the last 12 months. Nominations are open today (17 September) for the 2019 BBC Wales Unsung Hero award.

The BBC Wales Unsung Hero award celebrates the most inspiring, dynamic and dedicated volunteers driving participation in grassroots sports and fitness activities in Wales.

Last year, volunteer Asa Waite from Newport was named the BBC Wales Unsung Hero. Asa is a basketball coach and runs training sessions and games for young people.

Asa said: “Winning the BBC Wales Unsung Hero award last year was such an honour. The award is something I would never have dreamt of and couldn’t achieve without the support of the participants, parents and guardians. All the other nominees were amazing so I really feel honoured. Winning the award has given me such confidence in what I am doing and made me realise that I am making a real difference to not just local young people but Newport as a whole.”

From volunteer fitness instructors who offer classes in communities, to the person who spends their free time running the social media accounts for dance clubs, or the steward who turns up every week to cheer on the runners in the weekly 5km. BBC Wales is looking for your local sporting superhero who has an inspiring story to tell.

Geoff Williams, Head of Sport at BBC Wales says: “The Unsung Hero award is all about honouring the people who show up, bring people together and really make a difference in their community. Volunteers are a hugely important aspect of any sport and it’s fantastic to give these people the recognition they truly deserve.”

Winner of BBC Wales’ Unsung Hero award will receive the award at the Wales Sport Awards ceremony on Tuesday, 10 December at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport.

The winner will then represent Wales in the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero joining other winners from Scotland, Northern Ireland and English regions. The overall UK winner will receive their award at this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony live on BBC One.

To nominate your BBC Wales Unsung Hero by video, audio, online webform or via email, simply visit www.bbc.co.uk/unsunghero or www.walessportawards.co.uk. Entries close on Sunday 20 October at midnight and the shortlist will be revealed in the days leading up to national BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony in December.

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Donate A Gate Scheme Launched

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Life is punctuated by occasions and events to be marked, remembered and commemorated. For some of these, it may be more appropriate to do something that has a longer-lasting effect than a card or flowers. Speaking on behalf of Ceredigion County Councils Public Rights of Way team, Eifion Jones says: “We have regular requests to install memorial or commemorative benches along paths in the county, and whilst there are a few locations where this is appropriate and useful, in the most part something as formal as a garden bench can be intrusive and out of place in our wild and remote landscape.” With this in mind, the team have launched a ‘Donate a Gate’ scheme.

The idea came about after a member of the public got in touch to see if they could ‘adopt’ a path as a unique and unusual gift to mark the wedding of some close friends. The couple are keen walkers regularly visiting Ceredigion to use the Rights of Way network, and their imaginative friend thought that contributing to the upkeep of these would be a fitting way to mark their special day. Not being something that had been done in Ceredigion before, it seemed wrong to turn down the chance of being able to carry out work which, without this donation, may not have been possible right now. The team came up with the suggestion of buying a pedestrian gate to replace a ‘past its best’ kissing gate on the Coast Path.

Councillor Rhodri Evans is the Cabinet member with responsibility for Economy and Regeneration. He said: “A simple replacement such as this can allow access to more people in line with Ceredigion County Council’s commitment to providing the least restrictive access wherever possible. The team’s innovative idea of launching the donate scheme is a great way for people to contribute to the Rights of Way network in a unique and special way while the team and its volunteers can continue to repair and protect the coastal path; doing their best to make it fit for use by anyone wanting to enjoy our wonderful countryside views.”

Installed by the Rights of Way Volunteers, the gate sits on the Coast Path looking over Ynys Lochtyn. As such it gives the newlyweds a stunning location to visit as part of their walks, something tangible they’ve contributed to and a place to visit to remind them of their special day.

If you’re looking for a way to mark an occasion, remember a loved one, promote your business or for an unusual gift, then you could consider donating towards a piece of furniture or stretch of path. The scheme is not restricted to gates and will include waymarking posts, bridges and flights of steps at the discretion of the Rights of Way team. These could be on a path which is near to your home, has a special significance to someone or indeed the iconic and famous Ceredigion Coast Path. A plaque can be placed on the item with appropriate wording recognising the donation as part of the installation process.

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Drug deaths at their highest ever levels in Wales

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WELSH drug deaths are at their highest ever levels according to a new report by Public Health Wales, with deaths from drug poisoning having increased by 78 per cent over the last 10 years.

The report also highlights that drug deaths may be increasingly occurring in people using drugs on a recreational basis, with a rise in deaths involving cocaine, amphetamine and MDMA collectively accounting for 14 per cent of drug misuse deaths. These deaths tended to occur amongst younger people in their 20’s.

In a third of all drug deaths reviewed, ‘no known contact’ was reported between the deceased and any local health, social care or criminal justice services in the 12 months prior to death.

The report recommends action to influence the current legislative approach to drugs policy in the UK, as well as a medical amnesty policy to protect people seeking medical attention relating to drug poisonings.

Drug misuse deaths, a subset of drug poisoning deaths, have increased by 52 per cent over the last decade and by 12 per cent in the last year up from 185 deaths in 2017 to 208 in 2018 – with a current rate of 72 deaths per million population. Wales has the second highest rates of drug misuse deaths in England and Wales regions.

Josie Smith, Head of Substance Misuse in Public Health Wales, said:
“Drug markets have changed and expanded over the last few years, both in terms of availability, and range of drugs, and this trend is set to continue. One of the most distressing impacts of these changes is the rise in premature deaths.

“Across Wales there are effective interventions in place to reduce premature drug deaths including specialist substance misuse services and, for opioid deaths, the provision of Take-Home Naloxone. However, expansion of the Naloxone programme will be required to ensure widespread access to this life-saving intervention. In addition it is vital that the range of people using drugs are able to make better use of services that can support them, and reduce their risk of harm and premature death.

“Given the scale of problem drug use in Wales, it is likely that every member of the population will know someone affected by, or experiencing difficulties with drugs be they illegal or prescribed, but may be unaware. Evidence is clear that seeking support early on can prevent escalation of problem use and dependency, however, fear of stigmatisation and social exclusion may be barriers to this. Consideration needs to be given to how this can be overcome in Wales to prevent future tragic deaths.”

As in previous years, opioids including heroin were involved in the just over half of drug misuse deaths reported in 2018. Poly-drug use, the use of other drugs including benzodiazepines and cocaine, was reported in 49 per cent.

In addition, there has been a more than four-fold increase in the number of deaths involving cocaine over the last five years. In 2018, cocaine was recorded in 31 of deaths, representing 15 per cent of all drug misuse deaths.

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