11:02am Friday 16th August 2013
By Chris Kirwan
WHEN Celtic won the European Cup in 1967 all 11 of their players came from within a 30-mile radius of their Parkhead ground.
Just like the Lisbon Lions, Panteg have put their success down to local lads producing the goods for their club.
Not only do the leaders of Division One of the Glamorgan and Monmouthshire League look likely to be playing Premier League cricket in 2014 but they could do so as Gwalia Welsh Cup champions.
Panteg take on Llandudno at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff on Sunday.
The likes of David Harrison, Adam Harrison, Will Bragg and John Glover have come through the ranks at the club before going on to Glamorgan but it is the first time Panteg have made the final.
And chairman of the cricket committee Ian Baber believes the key to their success is talented young local talent.
“Plenty of players came through at the club and it has been unfortunate for us that they have gone on to bigger and better things,” he said.
“It does leave a gap when someone goes on to better things and you have to rebuild.
“We’ve done that and there is a great deal of pride in the fact that this is a local team full of homegrown talent.
“Most of the lads live within three miles of the ground and have learnt their cricket at the club. That is incredibly pleasing and has probably played a large role in our recent success.”
Llandudno are in their third successive final but are yet to negotiate the final hurdle.
Panteg, meanwhile, will hope to go one better than they did in the Macey Shield when they were edged out in a tight final against Usk. That is the only blot on what has been a 2013 to remember so far.
“We just seem to be a team that doesn’t know when to give up,” said Baber
“There have been a number of occasions this season when defeat has been on the cards and somehow the team have got out of trouble.
“It’s been a wonderful season and all the lads want to give the Premier League a try. They want to test themselves against the best.
“That’s top objective but we’ve made it to the final and it would certainly be a nice bonus to be bringing the cup back to the club from Cardiff as well.”
By the time they take to the field on Sunday Panteg, who have sent a good luck message by iconic former two-weight world boxing champion Joe Calzaghe, will hope to have strengthened their position at the helm of Division One.
They travel to relegation-threatened Pontypridd tomorrow while one of the chasing pack will see their faint hopes ended when fourth-placed Penarth host third-placed Usk.
Champions Sudbrook are in second and will look to keep Panteg honest with victory at Abergavenny.
Rogerstone are still winless but have a chance of breaking their duck when they head to fellow strugglers Pentyrch while Blackwood go to St Fagans and Chepstow host Tondu.
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