This week Bill Carne popped across to Hakin to chat to Camron Thomas, who is a rising star with Hakin United and the Pembrokeshire Academy Football teams . . .

CAMRON Thomas is just 12 years of age, mad about football and plays a fundamentally important midfield role in the highly successful Hakin United junior team.

Camron has been scoring goals from his midfield berth since he started out as a real nipper when his granddad, David ‘Daisy’ Picton, took him for a kick about at the Observatory Field in Hakin – and found himself joined by six other eager youngsters.

“I felt like the ‘Pied Piper’ said Daisy, “but they were all so eager to play that I phoned Trevor Morgans, who does such a good job of organising the junior leagues.

“Amazingly, Trevor had just had a team drop out before the season was about to start so Colin Fawcett and I formed a Hakin United under eights team – and we went through the whole of that season without losing a single game!”

Since then, Camron has been joined at the heart of the team’s midfield by Jake Merry (Fishguard), and Miles Morgan (Crundale) has also joined but the rest of the players are still those who set out so early and in five years have lost only one league match, when Hundleton beat them 1-0.

Last season summed up how well they have done because Camron & Co came back superbly from another defeat early in the campaign when they were knocked out of the cup for their age group. They met Pennar Robins in the first round and lost 1-0 from a goal scored in the last minute of extra time – but they made amends in the league as they beat the Young Robins twice amongst their 22 wins from as many starts, with a massive 287 goals scored and only 11 conceded.

They scored 32 goals against Camrose over two matches, plus a 23-0 away win over a Fishguard team which never stopped trying, plus lots of other big scores as Camron grabbed 48 goals in support of striker Ben Fawcett, who claimed 78 goals. Camron’s best haul came against Haverfordwest Cricket Club when Hakin led 6-0 at half time and he had claimed a double hat-trick. But then he was taken off by Messrs Fawcett and Picton, to his evident disappointment!

There was also great success last season in the West Wales Under 12 Cup, where the Young Vikings showed their footballing pedigree with a string of away victories against the cream of junior football in West Wales.

They began their quest for more silverware with a 7-0 success over previously-undefeated Dafen, then equally good wins at Hendy (3-0), Saron, near Ammanford (5-0), and a 4-0 drubbing of Bishopston in the semi-final at Pwll.

It set up a final against Pontardawe in the final and although Hakin conceded their first goal of the tournament in the first half they were back level at the interval. They also played the better football for the rest of the match and throughout extra time but there were no more goals so a penalty shoot-out was needed.

Hakin showed great maturity as Camron scored after Ben Fawcett had successfully opened their account, with other goals from Jack Wilson and Alexander Morris – and two saves at the other end by Jack Ackerman meant that Hakin were home and dry as the burst under 12s team in West Wales!

Camron trained with Cardiff City for a while last year and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, despite having to travel twice a week for training and again for a weekend match. He was also chosen for a ten-week course at the Swansea City School of Excellence and was disappointed not to be retained at the end – but continues to work hard to improve his skills and fitness levels so who knows where that could lead in the future.

In the forthcoming season he will be training with Hakin United juniors on Tuesdays and playing for them on Saturdays, with the Pembrokeshire Academy team playing on Fridays and playing midweek, often under the superb lights at the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium.

He is still hopeful of getting a place with the Swans but really enjoys being involved with his pals in both teams.

When they were a little younger they won the Tom Yeoman Shield under the guidance of Angie Nicholls and they made the long journey north to Newtown worthwhile as they beat a North Wales outfit 2-0 – and Camron grabbed one of the goals.

He has also been twice to Butlins, in Minehead, with the Young Vikings for the Festival of Football, taking on the best teams from all over the United Kingdom.

Hakin won it quite well at under nine level but went even better last campaign as they not only scooped the silverware again but had a 100% record over the two days and scored 42 goals whilst only conceding one!

All the families were there in support and Camron has been lucky to have total support from his parents Richard Thomas and mum Linzi Picton, whilst grandmother Janet Picton has been a wonderful taxi driver and granddad daisy has been a major influence on his playing career so far.

“They have all been brilliant to me,” said Camron, “especially Granddad, Colin Fawcett and Angie Nicholls, who have all looked after me so well.

It seems the appreciation is mutual because Colin told us,

“Camron is developing nicely as a player and as a natural left footer helps bring balance to our side.

“He tackles well, is a good distributor of the ball and can run all day – and scores more than his share of goals from midfield.”

High praise indeed from someone who knows his footballing onions and we can pay Camron Thomas no better tribute – but we can wish him every success as he climbs the footballing ladder so that he can play senior football with Haverfordwest County, and anywhere his natural skills take him after that!