Report written by Jason Brindley
It has been a weekend to celebrate for The New Saints of Oswestry Town with victory over Cardiff Metropolitan University FC, while our TNS Academy were there offering full support.
On Saturday our first team were in the Nathaniel MG Cup final in Aberystwyth and we travelled down with over 100 Academy players to cheer on Scott Ruscoe’s side to a 1-0 victory.
Prior to the final we faced off against Aberystwyth Town and Cardiff Met in friendly fixtures. Our Foundation Phase age-groups played a round-robin against both teams at Park Avenue, home of Aberystwyth and then at a nearby venue for the final on their 3G pitch.
Our older age groups played against the Seasiders at the Blaendolau playing fields, at Abertystwyth University, the ground that once hosted the famous Ian Rush tournament, which used to attract teams from all over the world. Despite the difficult conditions and limited warm-up time, all teams played really well.
After our Academy fixtures, all teams made their way to the stadium for the main event, almost filling the stand behind the goal. Like the Academy before them, our first team played brilliantly and thoroughly deserved their win; it was the first trophy for my predecessor Scott Ruscoe, and assistant Steve Evans, and the first of many I’m sure.
The Academy had a brilliant day, singing songs with Graeme Kirkham conducting and initiating with the drum. All the players were fantastically well behaved and they created a great atmosphere. It was a really good day out for our club, topped off with a trophy.
Away from Aberystwyth, our Community Foundation (CF) U15s were unable to attend the final as they had a cup game of their own, welcoming Somerset to Park Hall Stadium in the JPL National Tournament. This is the first time we have entered teams via our CF, so we are testing waters and ventures new. Our U15s have a 100% record in their Northern League but Somerset promised to be more of a challenge, as they are also doing well in their respective league.
To make matters even more interesting, we were also hit by a snowstorm prior to kick-off. The U15s coach, Rob Hughes, was determined to get the game on though, especially with our opposition having travelled so far. The players helped clear the lines and the game went ahead as planned.
Our U15s continued their recent top form and took it to Somerset, who, through potential travel-legs, struggled to match our intensity early on. We proved too strong for our visitors and despite a late rally, ran out comfortable winners.
Unfortunately that was the last action at Park Hall this weekend, as all games were cancelled on Sunday morning due to the conditions.
Away from Park Hall, our U13s and U15s competed in non-competitive Futsal at Deeside Leisure Centre. The conditions were wet and cold, but no snow, so the games went ahead. Both age groups again did very well.
As we look back over the weekend, I am really pleased with the turnout for the final. To have so many of our youngsters there supporting our first team – and the players they one day hope to emulate – was brilliant.
It was good travelling down together on our team buses, with players occupying two and a half vehicles alone, never mind travelling parents. It made the day even more special – an Academy day out. During the game they kept singing and created a fantastic atmosphere, with players seated together from U8s right through to U16s.
One club. Together.
To find out more about TNS’ Academy, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org