Welsh Blood Service teams up with FAW’s Cymru Leagues & WPWL urging supporters to save lives

The Welsh Blood Service has partnered with the FAW’s JD Cymru Leagues and Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League to launch a brand-new campaign to encourage domestic football fans to donate blood.

Through its ‘Blood, Sweat and Cheers’ campaign, clubs are being encouraged by the Welsh Blood Service to engage with their supporters and local communities to promote the importance of giving blood and signing up football fans to save thousands of lives. The campaign has received support from former Wales midfielder Owain Tudur Jones and Wales forward Natasha Harding.

Every single day the Welsh Blood Service needs to collect 350 blood donations to supply hospitals with enough blood for patients.

Blood and its by-products play a vital role in saving lives each day, with donations helping accident victims, patients having a kidney, liver or an organ transplant, pregnant women, leukaemia and cancer patients, someone about to undergo open heart surgery and premature babies who cannot survive without a blood transfusion. 

The Welsh Blood Service collects 100,000 blood donations each year from roughly 70,000 volunteer donors. In its new role as the official community partner of the FAW’s Cymru Leagues and Welsh Premier Women’s League*, the Welsh Blood Service is hoping the ‘Blood, Sweat and Cheers’ campaign will help the organisation with its goal of signing 11,000 new blood donors in 2020.

Although the pandemic has temporarily stopped football fans from attending games, clubs are asking supporters to cheer their team on by making a potentially lifesaving blood donation instead. Giving blood is considered an essential service, and donation sessions have continued across Wales throughout the pandemic with additional safety measures introduced to meet Welsh Government guidance for donors attending.

Professor Donna Mead, chair of Velindre University NHS Trust, said: “This is a brilliant result for the Welsh Blood Service. These football clubs have a huge connection with their local communities and we really hope that our ‘Blood, Sweat and Cheers’ campaign will inspire fans to drop into a local donation centre.

“Additional measures have been introduced to ensure we can maintain our high levels of safety during the pandemic, from introducing new venues that meet the latest social distancing guidelines to introducing PPE requirements for staff and donor safety at session.

“Every single blood donation has the power to save up to three lives and there are plenty of upcoming donation fixtures that football fans can play a part in.”

Stephen Williams, Chairman of the National Leagues Board, said: “The Welsh Blood Service is our first community partner for the JD Cymru Leagues and Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League and we’re delighted to have made such an important signing. In each and every community across Wales there are people whose lives have been supported by blood donation and we’re calling on football fans to get involved and be lifesaving champions. 

“We know football clubs across all levels of the game are often at the heart of their communities and during what continues to be a difficult time for all, we are grateful to provide clubs and fans an opportunity to play an important role for their club when many clubs aren’t currently playing.”

With around 1,600 donation sessions at 400 different venues across Wales every year, there are plenty of opportunities for fans to find their nearest session and make a difference. Anyone aged between 17 and 66 can enrol online and become a donor. From start to finish, the process of donating takes just less than one hour, with the actual blood donation lasting only five to ten minutes.

The Welsh Blood Service has introduced a new function on its website which will allow fans from clubs across Wales to click on their club’s emblem and view a list of upcoming donation centres local to them. To learn more about those sessions or donating blood, visit wbs.wales/football and enter your postcode to find all donation sessions in your area.

Connah’s Quay Nomads vs Barry Town United | JD Cymru Premier preview

A close battle lies in store this afternoon as we travel to face Connah’s Quay Nomads in the JD Cymru Premier (kick-off 1:30pm, live on Sgorio).

Gavin Chesterfield described last weekend’s goalless draw with Newtown as a “0-0 thriller”, with both sides

Nat Jarvis struck the crossbar with a good effort in the first half and Kayne McLaggon forced a good save from Dave Jones after the break, while Mike Lewis was also kept busy at the other end. The point kept us fourth in the Cymru Premier table.

Nomads are one place better off in third, having won their last two games against Caernarfon Town and Cefn Druids, both by a 2-1 scoreline.

The champions are aiming to keep the pace with current league leaders The New Saints, who are currently six points ahead of Andy Morrison’s side, but have a game in hand.

Our last meeting with Connah’s Quay Nomads came only last month, in a 0-0 draw at Jenner Park. The game was bookended by red cards, with John Disney sent off early on for Nomads, while the last action of the match saw David Cotterill given his marching orders.

We conceded two goals in second half stoppage time to lose 2-0 on our last visit to Deeside back in January, but did draw both games there in the 2018-19 season. 

Looking ahead to this afternoon’s game, Gavin Chesterfield said:

“Deeside Stadium is a difficult place to get a result, but over recent years we have shown our battling qualities in often difficult conditions and it has resulted in some tight scorelines.

“Following last week’s disappointing first half performance, our main focus at the moment is to produce a greater level of consistency in our game. If we deliver on that, consistency of results will follow.

“We’ve had a good week in training and travel to the game with belief in knowing that our best is good enough and we will be striving to get a positive result.”

Due to a Welsh Government and FAW ruling, games must currently be played behind-closed-doors until stated otherwise. Your support will be hugely missed at Deeside, but you will be able to follow this afternoon’s fixture through live updates on our Twitter page and on Sgorio.

Barry Town United launch ‘Share a smile this Christmas’ campaign

In the midst of the pandemic, 2020 has been a difficult year for so many communities and families. Our first team squad and staff want to give something back to our local community, and working with the club’s other teams, they are excited to launch our “Share a smile this Christmas” campaign.

Our campaign will see us raise money to make Christmas extra special for those families who need it most. Every penny of the money raised will be used to purchase high quality toys which will be donated to The Vale Of Glamorgan Council’s Big Wrap Initiative.

How are we going to do this?

The first team squad will be donating a percentage of their wage while carrying out other activities such as auctions and raffles. The ladies team will be running fancy dress training sessions. The academy and grassroots sections will be running their own training based challenges.

How can supporters help?

We have an ambitious fundraising target which we know supporters will want to help us hit. You can contribute via our Go Fund Me Page or by popping into the clubhouse. Supporters can donate as much or as little as they can. Every little helps to make a magical Christmas possible for those who need it the most. You have until December 12 to donate.

First team manager Gavin Chesterfield commented:

“I am really proud of the lads as I am of all at the club for getting on board with this fantastic campaign. It has been a rotten year and it feels like this Christmas more than ever is one to cherish with our loved ones. I hope those of us more fortunate will contribute to help those not so have a Christmas to remember. Thank you to Mark, Emily and Mike Barrett for their guidance, contributions and support for the campaign and to all at The Vale of Glamorgan Council.”

We will be sharing lots of updates and photos of our fundraising activities over the coming weeks.

Please help us share a smile this Christmas.

Barry Town United vs Newtown | JD Cymru Premier Preview

After a narrow defeat away to The New Saints last weekend, we’re back on home turf this afternoon as Newtown travel to Jenner Park in the JD Cymru Premier (kick-off 2:30pm, live on Sgorio).

We trailed 2-0 at Park Hall before Nat Jarvis’s close range finish halved the deficit, but we couldn’t quite find an equaliser late on despite a flurry of chances and a couple of penalty appeals.

Nonetheless, it was an encouraging performance after not playing for four weeks and the team are now aiming to return to winning ways against Chris Hughes’s Robins.

It has been a tricky season for Newtown so far, with just two wins to their name from 10 games. However they were victorious last weekend, as they defeated Flint Town United 3-2 despite twice going behind. They turned the game around with Nick Rushton’s equaliser in the 67th minute before Tyrone Ofori popped up with the winning goal less than two minutes later.  

That result has left the mid-Walians ninth in the table, two points off the top six – which they have qualified for in each of the last two seasons.

Newtown won on two consecutive weekends at Jenner Park last season, firstly in the league and then in the Welsh Cup. In our most recent meeting just a month ago, Kayne McLaggon’s 94th-minute goal rescued a point in a 1-1 draw at Latham Park after James Davies had given the Robins the lead.

Due to a Welsh Government and FAW ruling, games must currently be played behind-closed-doors until stated otherwise. Your support will be hugely missed at Jenner Park, but you will be able to follow this afternoon’s fixture through live updates on our Twitter page and on Sgorio.

Cymru Leagues receives vital National Lottery funding as part of unique partnership

Barry Town United would like to say a huge thank you to the National Lottery following confirmation that a financial support package has been agreed for all Cymru Leagues clubs.

A statement from the Football Association of Wales read:

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) is pleased to announce that all 44 Cymru Leagues clubs are set to receive financial support as part of a unique partnership with The National Lottery.

The financial package – established by the FAW and The National Lottery and facilitated by the UK Government – will see clubs in the JD Cymru Premier, JD Cymru North and the JD Cymru South receive funding while matches continue to be played behind closed doors, owing to the current COVID-19 restrictions.

Football clubs and training facilities across the Cymru Leagues are often at the heart of their communities. They act as central hubs that give further opportunities for children and adults to be active, while bringing a source of pride to their towns. This funding stream recognises the essential role that Cymru Leagues clubs play beyond matchday.

National Lottery players, who make a difference every time they buy a lottery ticket, will also get a range of benefits as a thank you for their support – including free tickets to football matches, once stadia are safe to reopen, and VIP experiences with the Cymru National Team.

The funds, which will be distributed via the FAW, will play a key role in ensuring that the clubs can continue to exist, and, where possible, operate during these difficult times.

Jonathan Ford, CEO of the Football Association of Wales:

“At the FAW, we are incredibly grateful for our unique partnership with The National Lottery and the funding stream which has been provided for our clubs across the Cymru Leagues, while matches continue to be played behind closed doors.”

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:

“Clubs in the Cymru Leagues play a huge role in their local communities and, like many others, they have been struggling in the current climate. I’m delighted that the UK Government could help bring The National Lottery and the football authorities together to deliver for these clubs and for grassroots football in Wales. From Prestatyn to Taffs Well, this funding package will help enable clubs to keep going until fans can safely return.”

Nigel Railton, Chief Executive of National Lottery operator Camelot, said:

“The National Lottery and its players have been making a massive difference to communities across the UK for the past 26 years, so we’re thrilled to be able to partner with the Football Association of Wales to provide vital funding for these incredibly important clubs in the Cymru Leagues. As a huge football fan myself, I know what this will mean to fans of these community clubs, and I’m sure they’ll be pleased to hear that their clubs are getting the support they need.”

The partnership follows a similar National Lottery initiative between the FA and National League in England, which was facilitated by the UK government.  Work continues on partnerships with the Scottish and Northern Ireland FAs.

Clubhouse shut today (Friday 20 November)

Unfortunately we have received notification that a customer who attended the club for a short period on Monday and Tuesday evening has tested positive for COVID-19.

Our customer had no symptoms but tested positive on Wednesday evening. We send them our very best wishes.

As a precautionary measure and to ensure the safety of our employees, supporters and customers, unfortunately our clubhouse will be closed today, Friday 20 November. This will allow us to carry out a full deep clean.

Our thorough Track and Trace procedures will enable us, with the support of Public Health Wales, to identify those who came into direct contact with the individual and they will be contacted via Track and Trace to undergo isolation.

We will be open from midday on Saturday 21 November and look forward to seeing you.

Confirmation of six rearranged fixtures

The FAW has today confirmed the rescheduling of a number of the remaining Phase One JD Cymru Premier fixtures, including six games we are involved with. These are:

Haverfordwest County vs Barry Town | NEW DATE: Tuesday 8 December (7:45pm)

Caernarfon vs Barry Town | NEW DATE: Saturday 12 December (2:30pm)

Barry Town vs Penybont | NEW DATE: Tuesday 22 December (7:45pm)

Cefn Druids vs Barry Town | NEW DATE: Saturday 16 January (2:30pm)

Barry Town vs Bala Town | NEW DATE: Saturday 30 January (2:30pm)

Cardiff Metropolitan University vs Barry Town | NEW DATE: Saturday 6 February (TBC)

Our full set of 2020-21 fixtures and results can be found here.

The New Saints vs Barry Town United | JD Cymru Premier preview

After a four-week break in play due to Wales’ firebreak lockdown, we are back in action in the JD Cymru Premier today as we travel to The New Saints (kick-off 5:15pm, live on Sgorio).

Our last game before the firebreak was a 0-0 draw against Connah’s Quay Nomads, with both sides finishing the game with ten men – David Cotterill’s late red card meaning he is suspended for today’s fixture.

We currently sit fourth in the league table, behind the Bala Town, the Nomads and today’s hosts TNS.

Due to their professional status, Scott Ruscoe’s side continued to play during the firebreak and beat Haverfordwest 3-2 before drawing 1-1 with Bala last weekend.

Those results have left them in top spot as they aim to win back the title they lost for the first time in eight years last season.

They have been in imperious form in their quest for glory and are unbeaten in the opening ten games, scoring 32 goals and conceding just five.

TNS won 3-0 at Jenner Park back on the opening weekend of the season, but we travel to Oswestry in the knowledge that our recent record at Park Hall is a good one.

Since our promotion back to the top-flight in 2017, we have lost just once on five visits – and last season took four points from our two trips there.

In phase one, Evan Press’s first half thunderbolt was enough to secure a 1-0 win, while in phase two – in what proved to be our final match before the season was curtailed – we drew 2-2 thanks to an Aeron Edwards own goal in second half stoppage time, having trailed 2-0 at half-time.

Looking ahead to the game, Gavin Chesterfield said:

“It’s great to be back playing. The squad have worked hard over lockdown and we are excited to go to Park Hall. While it is a tough challenge, it is one the lads will relish and try to maintain our good record there in recent times.

“In terms of the squad, some miss out through injury, suspension and an international call up but it’s great to welcome some back from injury also. The game is live on TV and while supporters are sadly unable to be at Park Hall with us we know you’ll be following closely on tv.”

Due to a Welsh Government and FAW ruling, games must currently be played behind-closed-doors until stated otherwise. Your support will be hugely missed at Park Hall, but you will be able to follow this afternoon’s fixture through live updates on our Twitter page and on Sgorio.

Club Statement: Firebreak Lockdown

On Monday 19 October, the Welsh Government announced that Wales would go into a ‘firebreak’ lockdown, commencing at 6pm on Friday 23 October until Monday 9 November.

The conditions of the lockdown state that:

Sportspeople who work and earn a living through sport are allowed to continue working, and like everyone else they can leave home to do so if they cannot work from home.

Fixtures involving professional sportspeople are allowed to continue behind closed doors. All participants, such as players, officials, coaches, and broadcasters, are there in a working capacity.

Meanwhile, the ‘elite programme’ – that had allowed the 2020-21 JD Cymru Premier season to start behind closed doors and with strict protocols – has been suspended.  

Following this announcement, we, along with all other JD Cymru Premier clubs, were asked by the FAW if we would be able to continue playing with only professional players and staff. 

We want to, and are ready to, continue playing with 21 professionally registered players. However it was our opinion that we should only continue to play football if the whole league was able to do so. As a result, our fixtures during the lockdown period will be postponed.

Our reasons for taking this stance are as follows:

  • We believe the decision should be one that is in the best interest of the whole JD Cymru Premier. 50% of the clubs in the league would be unable to continue playing as they do not have enough professional players registered. 
  • It is our opinion that either the whole league should have its elite status reinstated and we all play, or no team in the league should continue to play. 
  • Whilst we currently find ourselves in a financially stable position, many of the clubs in our league do not. This break gives those a much needed financial rest.
  • A stop in all domestic football activity in Wales will help the infection rate to slow and hopefully allow all tiers of football to begin and fans to return to our grounds as soon as it is safe to do so. 
  • The return to play protocols we have been guided by since the start of the 2020-21 season require an army of volunteers in roles such as administration, compliance, stewarding, ball retrieving and temperature checking. These individuals would not be permitted entry to our games as they are volunteers. We take our responsibilities as a club extremely seriously and do not feel we could safely run a match day without these individuals who are the lifeblood of our football club. 

We thank supporters for their understanding during these challenging times. We hope to be back on the football pitch very soon and have you there with us. 

Josh Graham: “I believe I’m ready to make that step up”

Following confirmation of Josh Graham’s arrival, we caught up with the striker to discuss the move.

Hi Josh, welcome to Barry Town. How pleased are you to get the move done?

“Thank you for the welcome! I’m very pleased to have signed. It’s a good opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get going.”

What was it about Barry that appealed to you?

“It’s a higher standard than I’ve played at before and I believe I’m ready to make that step up. I hope being here will only make me a better player.”

Speaking to Gavin Chesterfield, how did he convince you to sign?

“He told me a lot about the club, the players and the unity in the squad and I can’t wait to be a part of that.”

Most people will know you as part of STM Sports’ side over the last few years. Tell us a bit about your time there?

“I had been at STM my whole adult life before they unfortunately folded in the summer. I’m a local boy so I always loved playing for the club, and it was great to finish on a high by reaching the Nathaniel MG Cup final last season. I moved to Taffs Well but with the Cymru South not starting, I never played a minute!”

This will be your first taste of the Cymru Premier, are you excited about that?

“Yeah I just can’t wait to get going! I believe in myself and my ability so I’m looking forward to starting training on Tuesday and testing myself.”

For supporters who might not know too much about you, what sort of player are you and what do you hope to bring to the team?

“I’m direct, quick and energetic. Hopefully I can bring some goals too!”

Finally, do you have any message for fans?

“Get behind the team and let’s hope we can get into Europe once again!”