Interview: Cathays Conservative Snooker Club

The Cathays Conservative Club is one of the ‘Diff’s hidden gems. Situated next to the busy Harriet Street and Mackintosh pub, many walk past without ever taking a second glance – fantastic new grafitti-art on the club’s exterior should change that, though. In addition to a full-size snooker table, the club have a pool table, a dart-board and a skittle alley – making it a pub game utopia. We spoke to team member Martyn Evans who gave us an insight into the Cardiff snooker scene.
The Cathays Conservative Club.

The Cathays Conservative Club.

What is the history of the Cathays Conservative Snooker Club?
“It’s not known how long the Cathays Conservatives Club has had a snooker team, but it’s well in excess of 40 years. In 2013 we won the interdivisional cup, last year we won the division one cup. Clearly, cup specialists!”
Some more of the club's excellent graffiti.

Some more of the club’s excellent graffiti.

How many players make up the team?
“Our current side comprises of 10 registered players. Eight of those are regulars. One, John Hicks, has played for the team since 1984. Unfortunately for John, snooker is one of those sports where you can play for years and get worse! Most of us have joined within the last six years, with many playing for different sides in Cardiff.”
“With eight players, but only five singles matches played each week, we rotate based on form. If you win, you’re guaranteed to play in the following match. If you lose you might be dropped… depending on who is available.”
“It means there’s good banter and – if you are dropped – you always pop down to play before the fixture starts – and have a few beers!”
Some more graffiti-art.

Another shot of the colourful club.

Which league do you play in?
“The decline in pubs and social clubs in the UK has an obvious knock-on effect on snooker teams. Cardiff has lost a lot of snooker venues in the past few years – both Rileys clubs have closed and snooker tables are slowly being removed from other venues.”
“This season we play in the Cardiff and District Snooker League. This comprises of 15 sides from as north as Senghenydd and as south as the Savoy club, in Barry. We play between September and April.”
“There are a few professionals that started in this league: Paul Davies (former world 35) and Michael White (current world 24). Currently the league has Mark Bennett (former world number 24) and Kishan Hirani, who has played in several Players Championship Tour events.”
A shot of the baize.

A shot of the baize.

What is the format of the Cardiff and District Snooker League?
“With 15 teams, we now have a new league format. Teams play each other once before a ‘SPL-style’ split. The top eight teams going in to the premier league, with the bottom seven competing in division one. The league splits on 22nd January.The format of a league match is five singles matches, refereed by the home side. The ‘miss rule’ is also enforced.”
“The natural perception of snooker is that it’s played by older people. However, the teams are made up by a variety of genders, ages, ethnicities and abilities. Trecenydd comprise players as young as 10 and other teams – like the cuesaders – have teenage players.”
“Last year, Kirsty Davies played for us. She’s the current women’s world pool champion!”
A list of the wide range of activities on offer at the club.

A list of the wide range of activities on offer at the club.

What are your plans for the future? 
“Cathays Conservatives are a fantastic team with great players on and off the baize. Our aspiration for the future? Funding for a new cloth on our table, a few victories, competitive matches and new friends along the way! First stop Cathays, next stop the crucible!”
To find out more about the Cathays Conservative Snooker Club follow @CathaysSnooker or visit  www.cardiffsnooker.org.uk

 

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Map: In a ‘Diff League in 2014

We have created a map of all the teams profiled by In a ‘Diff League in 2014. If you would like us to feature your team on our website in 2015, you can contact us by email: diffleague@gmail.com or twitter: @inadiffleague

Profile: Cardiff Raptors Korfball

Raptors in action.

Raptors in action.

What is Korfball? Besides being a prize-winning answer on Pointless the eight-a-side basketball-netball hybrid is a popular sport in Europe – and more recently, Cardiff.  Each team must consist of four men and four women, and the mixed-gender sport has been popular at University level for some time. Away from the University game, Cardiff City Korfball was set up in 2003, Cardiff Dragons Korfball came along in 2005 and since the summer of 2012, the Cardiff Raptors have provided another outlet for budding korfers in the ‘Diff.

Korfball on pointless.

Korfball on pointless.

The Raptors have 22 players in total, while more than 35 have played for them since they were founded. Player coach Will Hayward and Jo Nash both represented Wales at the 2011 Korfball world championships in China while Nash also went to this year’s European Championships in Portugal. Pat Merton has been selected for Wales but has not yet been capped while Gavin Robbin, Rosie Drummond and Rachel Long have all played in the Welsh development squad.

The Raptors in training.

The Raptors in training.

The Raptors have two teams who both currently play in the Welsh league – where the first team are unbeaten this season. Player Coach Will Hayward said: “We play in the Welsh league but hopefully we will win it and qualify for the Regional league where we will play against teams from all over the South and West of England. This is our third season and hopefully we will be able to add a third team next year.”

“The main thing we are aiming for is participation. So many people joined the club because they are young professionals new to the city so we make sure we have regular socials and go to as many summer tournaments as possible.”

Will Hayward giving some tips.

Will Hayward giving some tips.

Susie Ventris Field, the Raptors’ social media officer, said: “It is honestly a really good way of meeting people. I was quite new to Cardiff, along with many others, and it has been a fantastic way of meeting new people. If anyone from the team has plans to go to see a game, go to a gig or just go for a drink then they will say so in our Facebook group – which is great.”

“Although we are a sociable team we are ambitious as well. Our first team is doing really well and we have some really talented players. Our aim is to be social and welcoming for beginners, but also to accommodate for those who are very good, enabling them to compete at a high level.”

“I have just had a baby and can’t wait to get back playing!”

The Raptors train every Thursday from 8-10pm at the Ysgol Pen y Garth school in Penarth. The first two sessions are free. For more information visit http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/cardiffraptorskorfballclub/ or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Raptors-Korfball-Club/318225431584848?fref=ts or follow @RaptorsKorfball

For a more thorough explanation of Korfball, watch this:

Profile: Cardiff Celts Wheelchair Basketball

There are currently three teams called the Cardiff Celts in the ‘Diff. One plays volleyball, another plays korfball, while the third have three Great Britain internationals, and play in a Great Britain National League – in which they are unbeaten this season.

Cardiff Celts Wheelchair Basketball Division 2 team

Cardiff Celts Wheelchair Basketball Division 2 team

The Cardiff Celts Wheelchair Basketball club, formerly the Cardiff Bay Tigers, have been Wales’s premier wheelchair basketball team since their formation in 2002. Prior to this, there were no wheelchair basketball teams in Cardiff meaning talented players had to ply their trade in either London or Bristol – or further afield.

In 2006 the Celts entered a team into the Great Britain National League for the first time and moved from their Cardiff Bay home to Trowbridge – where they still train today. In a landmark year for the Celts, they also recruited Great Britain Paralympian Caroline Matthews, who now plays and coaches the team. Matthews recalls the move fondly: “I left my London club to support and play for the Cardiff Celts in 2006. I thought, ‘at last, there was a competitive club on my door step and I could stop wearing grooves up and down the M4.’ I haven’t looked back since.”

Cardiff Celts Wheelchair Basketball Division 3 team

Cardiff Celts Wheelchair Basketball Division 3 team

In 2007 the Celts won the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Association’s “Best Performing New Club Award”, with club coach Holly Hinchley also commended with a Sports Council for Wales’ Coach of the Year award.

The Celts have consistently fielded two teams each season since 2006, with both playing in national leagues – in 2011-12 and 2012-13 the Celts competed in Divisions 1 and 2. It has, however, not been plain sailing for the Celts. Matthews said: “The CELTS were promoted from Division 3 to Division 2 after their first year and it wasn’t long until we broke into Division 1. Unfortunately that promotion coincided with the loss of several vital players (including Phil Pratt, who had moved to Loughborough) which resulted in two very challenging seasons in Division 1. But, the CELTS stuck together like the true family they are and this is our first season back in Division 2.”

Cardiff Celts in action

Cardiff Celts in action

In their current campaign the Celts are flourishing, having won all four of their league fixtures. Matthews said:  “Our goal is to make it to the play-offs this season and win promotion back to Division 1 next year. We have been very fortunate in re-signing Phil Pratt this year. He has matured as a true international talent over the past few seasons and we are very lucky to have him in our team. Harri Jenkins, who won a Gold Medal for the GB under 22’s in the European Championships this year, has also been excellent.”

“All of the CELTS players who fought through the last two difficult seasons in Division 1 have improved enormously. After playing against much stronger teams for the past two years, we are now a stronger unit.”

“Longer term, I would like to see the CELTS progress to the point where we could support a competitive Premier League team – which is the division above Division 1.”

Celts enjoying a post-match selfie.

Celts enjoying a post-match selfie.

The Celts train three times a week: Tuesdays at the St Cenydd Lesure Centre in Caerphilly, Thursdays at Cardiff and Vale College, Trowbridge Campus and Saturdays at the Talybont Sports Centre.

For more information on the Cardiff Celts and wheelchair basketball, visit http://www.cardiffwheelchairbasketball.co.uk/ or follow @CeltsWBC

Survey: What do you predict the future of Cardiff sport will be?

In light of the recent Sport Wales Advisory Group report, which of the following do you think is the most likely future for Cardiff?

The South Wales Rivalry, American Football’s derby

Great read about South Wales student American Football.

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The rivalry between Wales’ biggest cities finds itself on the gridiron
Cariff Cobras QB Rich Gardner surveys the Swansea Titans defence Cariff Cobras QB Rich Gardner surveys the Swansea Titans defence

AMERICAN Football dates back to the 1870s in the Ivy League colleges of America’s east coast – in 21st Century Wales it is also among the universities the game is flourishing.

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