First up - Mary Ball and Port Talbot Town Ladies.
As a team Port Talbot Town Ladies have just entered their 10th year, having been set up initially in 2008. For the first couple of months, Mary Ball was simply helping the manager and coach by collecting and encouraging players to join the team as subs. Since her children started playing the sport, she has been involved in football in some capacity for around 25 years.
Having seen many changes in the last 10 years, in the progression of the team and the growth in girls and ladies’ football in general, it’s had a massive impact on the community. The team spirit and camaraderie are brilliant and Mary has played a huge part in this.
“It’s important for young females to continue playing sport for both their physical and mental health, I’m glad I can be a part of making this happen through football in Port Talbot. I really want Port Talbot Ladies to be a team that the whole community can be proud of and that young players aspire to join.”
Throughout the course of her volunteering career she has made a significant impact on several clubs including Neath AFC and Margam, establishing one of the most successful girls’ sections in south Wales. Giving up endless hours to carry out the tasks required to help the team is part of Mary’s weekly role as secretary for the club and she is highly respected among the grassroots community with her extraordinary dedication to the club.
The club are on a high since Hayley Williams took on the management and coaching role for the team and are soaring so far in the league. Having won the Orchard WPWL Manager of the Month accolade for September 2018, the impact is already visible: within the first month Town have already exceeded the points they accumulated by the Christmas break last season. They have no secret recipe or special formula, all their success is down to sheer hard work, determination and team spirit. They are like one big family and the way in which the team bonds both on and off the pitch reflects that. At Port Talbot Town Ladies, they are a true grassroots club with obvious talent and ability.
The club is always happy to welcome new players and will never turn anyone down who wishes to become a match day volunteer. The steel works is the main thing people think of when you say “Port Talbot” but Mary and the team want to keep working hard to get their name on people’s lips when mentioning their town.