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?

Report: Cardiff Celts vs Bury Bombers

20-year-old Great Britain international Phil Pratt led the Cardiff Celts to a 76-34 victory over the Bury Bombers in a Division 2 clash at the Talybont Sports Centre today.

Phil Pratt for the Cardiff Celts. Credit: Caroline Matthews

Phil Pratt for the Cardiff Celts. Credit: Caroline Matthews

The Celts, who were unbeaten going into the tie – having won all three of their league games this season – started the match brightly with Pratt and Liam Holt combining to score the game’s first points. The Bury Bombers, who had lost two and won two before the encounter, replied through Hugh Anderson, who scored their first basket with an angled long-range effort from out wide.

Liam Holt and Phil Pratt of the Celts. Credit: Caroline Matthews

Liam Holt and Phil Pratt for the Celts. Credit: Caroline Matthews

Initially, the first quarter consisted of two point exchanges between Pratt and Hugh Anderson. As the quarter went on the Celts hit their stride with both Holt and Harri Jenkins supporting Pratt with some free flowing scoring. The Celts early lead was partially pegged back with some fine shooting from both Kate Parish and Hugh Anderson, but the Celts overall dominance saw them end the quarter with a significant 22-12 lead.

The Celts second quarter lead was extended in the first. Player coach Caroline Matthews joined the fray, giving the home side another attacking outlet. Matthews, a former Great British Paralympian who competed at Athens and Beijing, linked up well with Holt, Jenkins and the impressive Rhys Thomas, taking the game even further beyond the Bombers. Although Hugh Anderson provided some resistance, the Celts went into half-time with a considerable 36-20 lead.

Caroline Matthews leads the Celts charge. Credit: Caroline Matthews

Caroline Matthews leads the Celts charge. Credit: Caroline Matthews

It was in the third quarter where the Celts really stamped their authority on the game, scoring 20 points while only conceding three. Their tenacious yet disciplined defence proved difficult to break down, while the attacking exploits of Holt, Jenkins and Mo Khan took the Celts into an unassailable position.

With the outcome of the match set, the fourth quarter saw the game free up. Further scores for the Celts were met with some attacking joy for the Bombers – as the Celts defence tired. Pratt continued to be the Celts catalyst, both scoring and setting up his team mates – with Mike Carruthers and Owain Taylor getting on the score sheet. Anderson and Parish led the Bombers fight back, with Daniel Dickings, Paul Guest and John Rowncefield also scoring. Barry Anderson, the father of Hugh, also contributed, slotting a neat 2 pointer from close range. Yet it was a game dominated by the Celts, who came away with a comfortable 76- 34 win.

Mo Khan competing with a Bury Bomber. Credit: Caroline Matthews

Mo Khan competing with a Bury Bomber. Credit: Caroline Matthews

Player coach Caroline Matthews said: “We started slowly but we sorted out the issues we had early and came back very strongly. We ended up playing well and managed to secure a good win. It’s a great feeling to finish the first half of the year unbeaten.”

Bury Bombers points: Hugh Anderson: 18, Kate Parish: 6, Daniel Dickings: 4, John Rowncefield: 2, Barry Anderson: 2, Paul Guest: 2.

Cardiff Celts points: Liam Holt: 22, Phil Pratt: 18, Caroline Matthews: 14, Harri Jenkins: 12, Rhys Thomas: 4, Owain Taylor: 2, Mo Khan: 2, Mike Carruthers: 2.

Interview: South Wales Samurai

The Team.

The team.

Ball hockey: Think Mighty Ducks meets Rollerball – without the skates. The ferocious, fast-paced game has been steadily increasing in popularity in the ‘diff over the past few years, attracting former ice and field hockey players alike – plus those who have never picked up a stick. I spoke to Danny Langhorn from the South Wales Samurai, one of Cardiff’s newest ball hockey sides.

When were the South Wales Samurai set-up?

Our last tournament as the Devils was in Newcastle in August – after the Cardiff Devils were taken over by Todd Kelman and a consortium of Canadian business men. Following an awful season for the organisation both on and off the ice, he decided (and rightfully so) that he was going to strip everything back so the name would only be used by the main squad. This meant that in September we became the South Wales Samurai and we debuted in our first tournament on November 8th – topping our group and missing out narrowly in the final 3-2.

Ball Hockey 1

What a save!

 

How many players do you have in total? Are you all from Wales or do you have a range of nationalities?  

We have about 25 players all together – with other people coming along to train now and again either to try the sport out or for fitness. Nationalities vary, most guys are from South Wales with a couple of North Walians mixed in, a few English folk and a Slovakian for good measure! Our captain Tom Link has been trialling for the GB team hoping to make the final squad heading to the World Championships next year!

How many competitions have you been involved in to date?

Under the Devils name we played six or seven tournaments, two of which we hosted in Cardiff. In August we went up to Newcastle to take on the Newcastle Dekstars three squads as well as the Sheffield Knights. We beat the Dekstars in the final to win the Summer Cup. This was a huge moment for our club and one we will never forget – it was a great way to end the Devils. As the Samurai we kept on rolling making the finals in our debut including beating our local rivals Cardiff Thunder 4-1 and 5-0 along the way!

And another!

And another! Credit: Danny Langhorne

Plans for the future?

The plans for the future are simple – become the biggest and best club in the UK. We want to be an organisation from top to bottom that other squads aspire to be like. A lot of us come from none hockey backgrounds so it’s great to see new faces and show people the sport. Ice hockey is restricting in the sense you need to skate to play it and it’s quite costly to do so. Here we offer a similar sport which is far more affordable and accessible to the average Joe! Samurai is a club that will never quit, we see ourselves as warriors on and off the court.

Team Welsh Air Ambulance. Credit: Danny Langhorne

Team Welsh Air Ambulance. Credit: Danny Langhorne

We are also holding an inter-club Christmas Cup on December 9th where the club has picked two captains who’ve drafted two squads that will go head to head for the cup. One is playing in support of Wales Air Ambulance, the other for the British Heart Foundation – this is a great opportunity for people to come along and watch us play and see what it’s all about!

Team British Heart Foundation. Credit: Danny Langhorne

Team British Heart Foundation. Credit: Danny Langhorne

South Wales Samurai train every Tuesday at Penarth Leisure Centre between 7 and 9pm. Training costs £6.00 and kit is provided for those wanting to trial the sport.

To find out more about South Wales Samurai, follow @SamuraiBHC or visit https://www.facebook.com/SouthWalesSamurai