Footballers find the energy to travel halfway round the world

An exciting scheme which is taking young footballers from North Wales halfway round the world to play is being backed by a local company.

Ruthin Football Club, who play in the Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) Premier Division, are also sending some of their brightest young talents to New Zealand thanks to a link with a club in the country’s North Island.

The link with Melville United, of Hamilton, is being backed by club sponsors The Energy Company, who are based in Lon Parcwr, Ruthin and specialise in managing the energy supplies of businesses and charities.

The club’s sponsorship secretary Andy Edwards set up the connection with his uncle, Steve Williams, who became involved with Meville United after emigrating to New Zealand from Liverpool.

Andy said: “My uncle runs a very successful side out in New Zealand and we’ve linked up with them to provide opportunities for young players from Ruthin to go out there and it’s been a great experience for them.

“We’re delighted to get support for the scheme from The Energy Company because it’s something that benefits the players on a personal as well as a sporting level.

“I went over there and played for Melville for about four years and it’s a good standard and we’ve had eight lads go out since and they’ve really enjoyed it.

“We’re grateful for the support of The Energy Company and hopefully we can put our own energy supplies in their hands.

“We are planning a major redevelopment of the ground here which will include turning the pitch round and putting up floodlights so getting us the best price for electricity will be a priority.”

John Davies, Managing Director of The Energy Company, said: “Whenever we can, we are keen to support local organisations and put something back into the local community ..

“Ruthin Town Football Club do a great job and have a fantastic youth set-up and we thought it would be ideal too support a scheme which is aimed at giving a major life experience to some of the young players who have come through that junior system.

“When the Club’s energy contract comes up for renewal, we will be happy to ensure that they are on the best possible rates and to check that the tariff they are on is the right one for the expected increase in usage with the new floodlights.”

One of the most recent young players to return from New Zealand has been striker Jordan MacCarter whose goals helped fire Melville to the semi-finals of the Chatham Cup, New Zealand’s premier knockout competition, and to third place in Division Two of the Northern League.

The 22-year-old groundworks contractor from Clawddnewydd said: “I was out there from March to November and had a really good time so I’m grateful to the club for giving m e the chance.

“Andy told me about it and his uncle Steve runs the team so I flew out there to join them and they repaid me for the flights and sorted out work and accommodation for me and even arranged a car.

“The football was a good standard too and we were pushing for promotion and only just missed out and they got to the semi-finals of the Chatham Cup which was a really big thing there – it was like playing in the FA Cup.”

The Energy Company was founded by John Davies and Colin Pritchard nearly 20 years ago. They are based on Lon Parcwr, Ruthin, where it employs eight staff as well as a network of agents across the UK.

John Davies said: “It is surprising how many people are on the wrong tariffs and the energy companies seem to feel no obligation to find the best tariff for them – and that’s where we come in. Not only do we identify the best rates at the time, we also ensure that customers are on the correct tariff for their business.

“In addition, we continue to offer support and advice for any issues that may arise. We take care of terminations, ensuring that contracts do not roll on to out of contract rates, all this at no cost to the customer.

“We’re delighted to help all our customers and we estimated that in the last 10 years alone we have saved them well in excess of £5 million, money which I am sure they can better spend elsewhere in their business.”

Ruthin Town are one of Wales’s oldest clubs, founded around 1870 and in their heyday in the 1880s reached the final of the Welsh Cup, losing to Cefn Druids, and providing five Wales internationals.

In recent years they have had an acclaimed and successful junior section which has produced another international, Swansea and Wales star Neil Taylor.

They are currently involved in major improvements to their Memorial Playing Fields ground and Andy Edwards said: “We have turned the pitch 90 degrees and moved the cricket square which will enable us to enclose the pitch, put up floodlights and new stands.

“We have plans as a sports association to improve the facilities here to make it a top class set-up and as well as football and cricket we have also looked at providing a playing area for lacrosse.”

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