Bill Carne recently chatted to Ieuan Rutherford and was amazed at the range of sporting and leisure activities undertaken by this talented youngster who lists football as his major sport . . .

IT is always great to see youngsters taking part in a wide range of sporting activities and there are few who could get more out of their participation than Ieuan Rutherford, who hails from Milford Haven.

Ieuan is a very good footballer who plays for Milford United after a previous spell with the Cardiff City Academy in Carmarthen – but he is also a brown belt in karate, was a good swimmer with Milford Haven Tigers and is being coached in Tennis by Emlyn Williams.

Then there’s surfing with his family at Newgale as he uses a short board and most of the other members try body boards.

That is quite a commitment from a 15 year old and it is worth recording the fact that he does it all alongside his academic work with regard to his studies for GCSE examinations.

Not content with that little lot, Ieuan is a very good musician who plays trumpet and cornet, guitar and drums – and is a member of the Pembrokeshire Schools’ Brass Band and Concert Band, as well as playing trumpet and cornet with Milford Haven Town Band.

Ieuan set out in football in a series of kickabouts at the Meads Leisure Centre with Tracey Parkes.

“I was the youngest in the group and at first I found it very hard going because I was on the small side,” said Ieuan, “but once she organised it on size and age my play took off.

“I played as an eight year old with Daisy Picton at Hakin United and I can remember I was very nervous,” Ieuan told us “but I was delighted to score a hat-trick in my first game.

“Then as we were walking off I heard one of the other team’s parents say, “It would have been a lot closer if they didn’t have that little girl playing who scored those goals!””

Ieuan had long hair in those days and although he still likes having his hair on the long side it was cut shorter straight away after that match!

It was Gary Jones who asked Ieuan’s dad Shaun and mum Tracie if they were prepared to let him be nominated for trails with Cardiff City.

“I was at a birthday party at Halloween I was happy to go - and I must have done alright there because I was invited to join the academy squad based in Carmarthen and before long we were playing against other squads from Cardiff, Treforest, Neath, Llanelli and Bridgend.”

He was there until he was 12 years old until the team was sadly disbanded because there were no funds to sustain it, so he joined Debbie Wise and Lee Morgan in the academy team at Haverfordwest County.

“We were a very inexperienced team,” said Ieuan, “and we had plenty of hammerings, including one 16-0 defeat.

“But we stuck it out and in the next season, with Phil Jones as coach, and after drawing 0-0 with a strong Bridgend squad in our away match we beat them 8-0 at home to show how much improvement we had made.”

Ieuan then joined Gary Jones and Andrew Burgoyne at Milford United and last season saw them maintain a strong challenge for the league title in their age group before narrowly missing out to Haverfordwest Cricket Club.

“I really loved it there straight away and we did really well - and our aim this season is to keep aiming higher, and hopefully go one better in the league.”

He would also like to progress higher in the sport, having had his appetite whetted by playing against Valencia.

Outside of his football, Ieuan has been involved with an interesting range of other sports, not least in swimming, where he took lessons with Gaynor at the Meads, passed his badges and was soon swimming for the Tigers’ squad organised by Tracy Parkes and Paul Absolom, competing in the butterfly races, which was his favourite stroke.

But at 11 years he stopped because he was training three times a week and with competitions at weekends so it clashed with his football and karate.

He set out in the martial art with Kevin John and Jamie Phillips at Milford Haven Karate Club and has gradually moved through to Brown Belt in July after taking the tough tests in fitness, sparring and Kata (technical moves).

He gained a bronze medal in the Welsh League competition over several weekends all over Wales, losing out by a whisker to a British champion and eventual winner.

“We were level and so ‘sudden death’ was called in – and we both went for a punch at the same time and he beat me to it.

“I was disappointed but there’s always next year,” Ieuan said, “and I’m aiming to go for my Black Belt in the next two years because Kevin and Jamie are such good coaches.”

Outside of his sport he also practises his musical skills as often as possible, as well as attending rehearsals at county schools’ level, where Gareth Saunders has been a great help, and Milford Haven Town Band run by Matthew Jenkins.

In all that participation, Ieuan is quick to sing the praises of his parents, Tracie and Shaun, who also spend much of their leisure time supporting Ieuan’s younger brothers Eirian (13) and Idris (12) who both play football.

Others to be thanked include Tracy Parkes and her husband Steve, Bernie Steer and Matthew Price at Haverfordwest County, Gary Jones and Andrew Burgoyne at Marble Hall, Kevin John and Jamie Phillips at the karate club. Ieuan is keen to thank anyone who has helped him and that tells you a lot about his approach.

We are delighted to feature this pleasant young fellow from a smashing family – and we wish him every success in the future.