Liam’s playing – and helping – sport in Pembrokeshire!

Liam Manwaring in action for the Blues against Milford Haven

Liam Manwaring is beginning to make a name for himself as a strong-running centre or winger at Haverfordwest RFC but it is good to report that he is also eager to encourage youngsters to take part in sport or leisure activities in his role as a recently-appointed Platinum Young Ambassador with Sport Pembrokeshire in County Hall.
Liam is now 22 and just completed a degree in Sports Coaching at Cardiff Metropolitan University where he achieved a creditable 2.1 honours degree before recently taking up a job with Marlowe Child Care Services (based in Solva and St Davids) where he is hoping to put his sporting experience with his young charges.

Recent start as a Platinum Ambassador

His involvement as a Platinum Ambassador is voluntary and came about after meeting Matthew Freeman, who had coached Liam when he was a nipper at Clarbeston Road, and is now involved in managing the Young Ambassador Scheme.
"I had read about the appointment of new Platinum Ambassadors and when I bumped into Matthew on the street one day he told me what it was all about; and after further enquiries I thought it was something I would like to do and so I applied.
"It involved filling in a quite detailed form and after being invited for interview I had to make a power point presentation and say why I thought I could contribute, and I was delighted a little later when I was told that I had been selected to take part."

Great experiences in Fiji

Liam Manwaring gets the Blues backs movingOne of the experiences that would surely have influenced the panel was the fact that Liam had gained experience of encouraging others in Fiji as part of a six-week period where he taught children in Maths and English in the mornings and then coached touch rugby in the afternoon.
"I saw the 'Think Pacific' advert for coaches on Face Book and after chatting to my parents, Nicola and Stuart, decided to give it a go - and before I knew it I was on the plane!
"The children's enthusiasm was amazing and we had great fun together - and during my time there I met all the country's amazing sevens' squad, who were all massive fellers but really smiley and gentle off the field.
"One of my treats was to go and watch a big 15 a side match between Suva, the capital city, and Nadroga, where I was staying, in front of a huge crowd of enthusiastic supporters. I felt it typified my stay and I had such great time in Fiji I would love to go back at some time."

Promoting sport amongst junior players

"But now I am back in my home county and I hope to put my own experiences as a young player in rugby and football to good effect, although I am also happy to try my hand at other sports as I think I will be involved in promoting sport and leisure activities in primary schools."
Liam has already gained some worthwhile experience whilst in college because he helped in a Cardiff Blues' scheme at the Arms Park where promising players came on six-week courses - and there was also work for him at half term camps at the famous ground.
Liam's own start in the oval ball game came as a junior and youth player at Narberth RFC, where his respective coaches were Mark Howells and Bobby Simons, playing in a decent side that included the likes of James Lewis, Rhodri Evans and Owen Jenner, as well as playing for STP School as they won the county tournament.

Rugby in Cardiff with Mark Ring

For the first two years of his University course Liam travelled home as often as possible to play locally but in his final year he joined the respected St Peters team, which was coached by ex-Welsh centre Mark Ring.
"He encouraged us to play positive, attacking rugby," said Liam, " and we looked favourites to gain promotion to Division One (East) until our final match but lost and had to settle for a disappointing third place."

Made welcome back at Pembroke Road – and starting well

So then it was back to Haverfordwest RFC, where he was made very welcome by coaches Bruce Evans and Simon Lepetit, plus the strong squad they have there.
"I'm pleased with the way things have gone there and after seven games we are in the hunt for promotion, despite losing to Pembroke in the dying seconds of an absorbing clash - but we made amends when we played other promotion hopefuls Milford Haven and won a real battle of wills in an 11-0 victory.
"I played left wing and although we didn't show our true attacking potential after so many weeks out of action we demonstrated our dogged defence as we didn't allow them to score a single point."
Ask Liam about his ambitions in rugby and he would say that he just wants to enjoy his involvement but if a chance comes along to try his skills at a higher level he would inevitably jump at it!

Liam Manwaring chips aheadRugby as his first choice

Liam's involvement in football started even earlier as he played at centre half from the age of eight until he was 15 with Clarbeston Road but then had to choose his sport because rugby and football were played on the same day then.
Rugby was his choice and he played for the Pembrokeshire Under 18s in the Welsh Colleges/Schools League which was of high quality and a number of players have gone on to the professional game.
"We were coached by John Llewellin and Barry John and I learned a lot from them in playing alongside players of the calibre of Lewys Gibby, Tommy John, Jordan Roberts, Billy Wood and Ben Groves.
"We trained on the pitch tucked inside the running track at STP and then went on to conditioning sessions in the SAW Gym. Simon Roach and his coaches were brilliant and I still go there as often as I can to train now!"

And finally . . .

Liam likes to keep active and as well as some weight-lifting he also likes a bit of tennis in the summer, and the odd run around the family home in Walton East.
"Living out there has meant that in my younger days mum was a great taxi driver and I also had total support from my dad, who played rugby until he had a bad knee injury, plus my grandparents Jean and John Brown, who used to be a very good footballer at Goodwick and Clarbie Road, and was a terrific role model for me when I was younger."
So now Liam Manwaring hopes to become a mentor for today's seven year olds in local primary schools and we wish him every success because his genuine enthusiasm, experience and basic skills are sure to be of real benefit to the ‘Platinum Young Ambassadors’' Scheme in general, and developing children he comes across as part of it!