Rev's Ramblings – And now the end is near

Whoever said that time flies wasn’t joking. I can remember travelling down to Pembrokeshire for the opening day of the Dafabet Welsh Premier League season as if it were just a few weeks ago – never mind nine months – as we took on newly-promoted Haverfordwest County.

The emphatic victory, a clean sheet and choosing Alex Darlington as the post-match TNS TV interviewee, far from fading memories are all fresh ones. Even the smile from Darlo when we called him ‘Maradona’ in reference to one of his goals as he weaved through the Bluebirds defence, is still before me now as I write.

On the team bus a secret selfie is spotted by the players
On the team bus a secret selfie is spotted by the players

Yet on Saturday just gone, the curtain came down on another WPL season. This time we were at the opposite end of the country as we travelled to Caernarfonshire and the home of MBi Llandudno, the other promoted team this season. Along with everyone else, I’ve been really impressed with them in their debut campaign in the top flight of Welsh football.

Travelling on the team bus we had a good journey there and back, and of course it was especially a happy one on the return leg courtesy of a 5-1 scoreline in favour of The New Saints. Although we had only made two trips to the ground previously – and one of them was the League Cup final – we’ve developed some good friendships with the people at Maesdu Park.

I’ve said it before and no doubt will repeat many times in the future, that’s one of the things I have come to appreciate very much during my time so far here at Park Hall. From Torshavn to Talbot, Bala to Barry it’s been a great journey so far both on and off the pitch. The relationships aren’t confined to just-in-person either, as courtesty of TNS Radio we’ve connected through the internet.

We had some great interaction this week on air, with tweets from Canada, South Africa and the USA mingling in with those from the UK. We even had a message from Cortez Belle, so inspired that his 1-2 prediction was still alive that he wanted the game to end there and then.

https://twitter.com/cortez_belle/status/723929305756110850

Sunday evening saw the end-of-season awards at Park Hall and it was another great honour, this time to be on the stage co-presenting the event with Keith Weaver. There are too many people to mention by name and anyway once you start doing that you always miss someone out. Therefore let it be sufficient to say that it was a tremendous collective effort from everyone.

Getting ready to go to the awards night. A bit of posing now and then does no harm
Getting ready to go to the awards night. A bit of posing now and then does no harm

The Academy and Scholarship coaches do a great work and it was brilliant to see all the players up on stage receiving their awards. Then of course, the coveted Mike Hughes Award that was collected by Brian Jones this time round. Although he is the official TNS photographer, he’s much more than that and can often be seen with a power tool or a hammer as he puts his hand to other creative enterprises around Park Hall.

They say never go on the stage with children. These were great
They say never go on the stage with children. These were great

It was great to see the first team players receiving their awards as well, with specific shout-outs to Aeron Edwards (Supporters’ player of the season) and Kai Edwards (Manager’s POTS and Players’ POTS). We even had a piscatorial conversation on stage as Kai and I talked about our recent excursion to Rhyl harbour. Fishing and football, not a bad life eh.

Kai Edwards, top footballer but angling blanker, with Craig Harrison
Kai Edwards, top footballer but angling blanker, with Craig Harrison

Anyway, after being in the limelight of the awards evening it’s business as usual next Monday when TNS Radio is back on air at 4.00 pm. If the end was near following the trip to Llandudno then it definitely is the final curtain as far as 2015/2016 is concerned, as we take on Airbus UK Broughton in the JD Welsh Cup final at Wrexham. Win that and it’s a truly historic achievement. Back-to-back trebles, what an incredible two seasons I will have witnessed in my time at Park Hall.

A picture paints a thousand words. Great shot from Brian Jones
A picture paints a thousand words. Great shot from Brian Jones

I would never get over-confident and certainly not counting any chickens before they are hatched, but with the league and league cup already in the bag, the beaks are beginning to show through the eggs at this stage. Just the one hurdle to clear – and that will a tough one of course as Airbus are formidable opponents. I’m really looking forward to the game. Hope to see you there, if not we look forward to your company on TNS Radio.