Rowan’s firing on all cylinders at The Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium and Phoenix Park!

Rowan NicolsonAt 17 years of age Rowan Nicolson is a very talented footballer with trophies galore from his junior days and recognition now by dint of the fact that he is a regular playing member of the Development Squad at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium with Haverfordwest County.
Rowan has enjoyed pre-season training with the Young Bluebirds' squad that is well looked after by Steve Batty and Ceri Phillips, after playing last campaign despite being up against some opposing players three years older than he is.

Involved at Phoenix Park

He will also be involved for his second season with the senior squad at Goodwick United, where he has enjoyed the initial coaching of Nigel Delaney and Chris O'Sullivan, who is now helping brother Wayne in the role.
"I've been very lucky to have their advice, alongside captain Adam Raymond  and Steve Blackford because they have been very supportive and I was chuffed to be chosen as second team 'Players' Player of the Year' and 'Manager's Player of the Year', admitted Rowan.

Great family support

"We train on a Thursday evening at Phoenix Park and on Tuesdays at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium and I'm allowed to play for both since local league matches are played on a Saturday and Haverfordwest County play on Sunday afternoons or midweek evenings under floodlights.
"Since I am a farm boy from Maenclochog it means a lot of travel but I get total support from my family, as does my brother Tom (15), who plays as a hooker at Crymych RFC and as a central midfielder with Boncath FC in the Ceredigion Junior League.
"Our dad Robin was a good show jumper who represented Wales in his younger days and mum Julie is currently walking the entire Pembrokeshire Coast Path for charity with a friend, but still finds time to taxi us wherever we need to go."

Rugby as a second sport

Rowan also played rugby as a full back or winger at Ysgol y Preseli, where he was coached by Gethin Vobe and Marc Lloyd, and helped them win county finals at different venues around the county.
"We were lucky to have class players like Gethin Davies, now with the Scarlets Under 18s, and Lleucu George (now playing for the Welsh Ladies' team - and in 2014 we reached the last four of the Welsh Cup for our age group but lost narrowly to Neath at The Gnoll."

Early start and selection for the county schools

Rowan set out in football as a nine year old at Boncath, where he was coached by Adrian Varney, who had once been a flanker with the hugely successful Neath Rugby Club of the day.
"But then I was invited for trials with the Pembrokeshire Schools football team that was superbly looked after by Angie Nicholls, and was delighted to be part of a strong squad which won the Welsh Primary Schools under 12 competition by beating Rhyl at Newton on a penalty shoot-out after being level at full and extra time.
"I would have loved to take a penalty but I'd been injured and substituted so missed the chance," said Rowan with a chuckle!

Great success at Camrose . . .

At the same time he was playing for Camrose FC under the coaching of Phil Jones and included very good players of the calibre of Curtis Hicks, Nick Jones, Matty Delaney and Travis O'Connor that won the league and cup double for their age group every season up to under 15s, with Tenby as our main rivals.
"During that time we also won the West Wales Cup Final twice, beating Garden Village and Malsters Colts, both on the fantastic pitch at Stebonheath Park in Llanelli.

And a West Wales Cup hat-trick

"But when I was in my last season of junior football I started to play for Tenby Juniors because my friend Curtis Hicks had joined them and I was also pals with Max Brindley, whose father Alan was manager.
"I really enjoyed my season there and although Camrose beat us in the league and cup I picked up my third West Wales Cup Final medal as we reached the big day against Sandfields Colts (Port Talbot) and we won on penalties after the scoreline reading 1-1 at full and extra time."

Memorable moments

Ask Rowan about other memorable moments and there are several which spring to mind.
"In 2012 I went with Angie Nicholls' squad to Spain for five days with ace coaches at Villareal, where they had the most amazing facilities - and top off a great trip we played against their under 13s team on the final morning and won 2-1.
"Whilst at Camrose we were invited to Aston Villa's training ground for some coaching and the trip ended with us taking on their full academy squad and although we lost it was still a wonderful experience.
"In 2013 we also went with Ysgol y Preseli to play football in a tournament called 'Mondial Pupilles' (Students of the World) where there were over 80 teams that included Sao Paulo (Brazil), Evians and Vannes (France) and Dutch team Anderlecht, who went on to win - but for us it was just great to be there for such a huge competition."

Joining Batty’s Boys at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium

At the start of the 2016/17 season Rowan joined Steve Batty at Haverfordwest County Development Squad and was welcomed without the need for trials because of his previous footballing history.
"It was a huge step up in terms of physicality and took a while to adjust to playing against quality players from all over South Wales who were up to three years older but I was pleased to be part of a youngish squad which came fourth in the table and reached the semi-finals of the cup before just missing out at Bridgend.
"I managed to score seven goals in the second half of the season, with a brace apiece against Port Talbot and Bridgend in league games as I enjoyed playing alongside Leon Luby, Alfie Stottor and Luke Raymond."

Sharp learning curve with Goodwick

Alongside his involvement at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium, Rowan also made his first team debut for Goodwick United in the Senior Cup semi-final against Clarbeston Road and came on a late sub - and was as shattered as the rest by a surprise defeat.
"Now that was memorable for all the wrong reasons and was perhaps the most downbeat moment of my playing so far," he told us.
But now a new season has dawned and things have started well in both camps as he is a naturally hard trainer.
He is spoken of very highly by both Steve Batty and Wayne O'Sullivan, who agreed that Rowan Nicolson is certainly one to watch for the future because of his natural skills, allied to his willingness to heed good advice as he works on his game - and we wish him every success and enjoyment because he is a credit to his family, clubs and county football in general!