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

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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.

Profile: Cardiff Volleyball Club

You don’t have to be on a beach in Brazil to play volleyball. In fact you only have to drive to Llandaff College to ‘get your spike on’ and join one of the ‘diff’s most up-and-coming sports sides – Cardiff Volleyball Club.

Volleyball is not a new sport in Cardiff. In 1978 current CVC head coach Steve Marshall played for and helped set-up the Cardiff Volts, before going on to create the Cardiff Ladies in 1979. The Cardiff Tigers, LYC Men’s Volleyball Club and the Cardiff Wildcats are just a few of the sides that have come and gone over the years and it was in early 2014 when Marshall coined the name Cardiff Volleyball Club, marking a new era for Volleyball in the Welsh capital.

The Cardiff Dragons team photo.

Cardiff Falcons team photo. Credit: Martin Reed

CVC have two branches. The first is the Cardiff Falcons, a female side who compete in the South West League. Having trained for a just under a year together, the Falcons have ambitions of reaching the National Volleyball League after a promising first season last year – they finished mid-table in the South Wales league. The international Falcons feature players from Wales, England, Slovakia, Spain, Papa New Guinea, Italy and Norway – to name just a few.

Waiting Dragons.

Falcons waiting for their prey. Credit: Martin Reed

Their second side is the Cardiff Jets. They are also a female side, who ply their trade in the Gloucester Volleyball League – a competition which they cruised to victory in last year, even though it was only their first ever competitive season. The Jets aim to fill the potential space left in the South West League by the Falcons as they seek pastures new in the Nationals.

CVC also have a male contingency who are currently not entered into a league competition. They are regularly training with the view of entering the South West league next year where they will be known as the Cardiff Panthers.

Dragons pouncing.

Falcons flying. Credit: Martin Reed

Cardiff Jets Head Coach, Martin Reed, said: “The club is very welcoming. Whether old or young; tall or small; it makes no difference to us. We train, we compete, we win or lose as a team. That is what makes us so special.”

“So what is next? We are attempting to broaden our wings to set up a sitting volleyball team. This will allow those with some physical restraints to train and compete at a different aspect of the game.”

“We want our brand to grow, become huge and why not shoot for the skies.  The only restrictions are our own ambitions, and we are very ambitious.”

To find out more about Cardiff Volleyball Club visit: http://www.cardiffvolleyballclub.com or https://www.facebook.com/cardiffvolleyballclub or https://twitter.com/Cardiff_VClub

Profile: Cardiff Dragons Dodgeball

‘Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and … Dodge.’ Yes these are the words of wrench-hurling master-coach Patches O’Houlihan, but they also form the tongue-in-cheek mantra of the Cardiff Dragons – South Wales’ newest dodgeball side. The Dragons, who first came together in April this year, can be further paralleled with the cult classic as their player-coach, Andrew Blower, is a modern-day Peter La Fleur (you know the character Vince Vaughan plays in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story). Formerly of the Coventry Cobras, Blower, like La Fleur, has galvanised a community, re-establishing dodgeball in the Welsh capital – all previous Cardiff clubs folded in 2010. Moreover, like La Fleur and his Average Joes, Blower places a high emphasis on inclusion and mass-participation:  “The great thing about dodgeball is that truly anyone can play! It’s so easy to pick up and there’s always an experienced hand to guide you through the finer details of the game.”

Dragons in full-flight!

Dragons in full-flight. Credit: Andrew Blower

The Dragons are, however, no Average Joes. Although only forming five months ago, they are the only Welsh team to have won a match at the UK championships – after beating the Scottish champions in July. The Dragons have also qualified for next year’s UK Dodgeball League where they will compete in Division 2 South – against teams from Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton, London, Winchester and Leighton Buzzard. They have also secured funding from Sport Wales.

Fierce competition!

Fierce competition. Credit: Andrew Blower

Blower added: “We are going from strength to strength with new members joining every week. We’ve got such a great group of players, some of who have represented Wales internationally, helping out our newer members who are fresh to the sport.

“We are currently in pre-season training for our first competitive season which starts in November. Last season we also represented Wales at the UK Championships, finishing 15th overall.”

Down but not out

Down but not-out! Credit: Andrew Blower

The Cardiff side are based at Cantonian High School, Fairwater, and train every Wednesday from 6.30-8.30pm. Sessions cost £2.50 per week but the first session is free. Kit can also be purchased but isn’t essential for training. All over the age of 16 are welcome – even pirates called Steve!

More info: www.cardiffdodgeball.co.uk or www.facebook.com/CardiffDragonsDodgeballClub or @CardiffDodge