With no football to keep us entertained right now, it is a perfect time to look back on some of the greatest moments in the history of our domestic game in Wales, and what better way to do that then through the eyes of the people who have made them happen?
That’s why we’ve reached out to some familiar faces from the domestic game in Wales to hear more from them about what their best moments have been during their time spent in the Welsh game.
Today we bring you the top five moments of one of the JD Cymru Premier’s best-ever defenders – Carmarthen Town colossus Lee Surman.
1 – Road to 2009/10 JD Welsh Cup Final with Port Talbot
The couple of seasons leading up to reaching the JD Welsh Cup Final with Port Talbot are certainly a highlight for me – I certainly think that group of players we had there was good enough to win a trophy.
We finished third in the league that year we got to the final as well, we were a very good team and we had everything. We competed well, we could play, we were super fit, and we had a great group of players that would fight for each other – it was just a special bond with everyone, and it was very memorable to be a part of that team.
2 – Winning the 2012 European Playoff Final
That season I had signed for Llanelli and as soon as I went there, we had European football that pre-season and played Manchester United in a pre-season friendly, and in that team I felt like we had the quality to win the Cymru Premier.
We had everything as a team, and it was probably quite memorable for the fact that we should have won the league but didn’t, and certainly come the end of the season, for us to feel quite disappointed to only achieve Europe is a gauge of how successful that could and probably should have been that season.
3 – Captaining the Wales ‘C’ Team
I was captain of the team for several seasons when it first started, being involved in what was an Under-23s side then. Over the course of three seasons we had games in Italy, against England, in Portugal, and we had some good matches and great experiences.
Everything was done properly by the FAW, we had all the meals and the kit and it did make us feel professional, and being captain of that team was a great honour for me and I owe that experience to the JD Cymru Premier for giving me the platform to become captain of that team.
Every Non-League player was considered for that team, not just Cymru Premier players, so at the time I might have been 23 and to be considered to be one of the top 18 Welsh players outside of the Football League was a massive achievement for me.
4 – Beating Rhyl 3-2 in 2008/09
We went up to Rhyl with Port Talbot with a heavily depleted side in the year they won the league title missing a lot of our key players, and they had Lee Kendall, Neil Roberts, George Horan, some monsters in that team and they were a good side in general.
We went up there and took a 3-0 lead with a significantly weakened side and managed to hold on to win 3-2 against what was an all-conquering Rhyl side at the time.
Rhyl’s ground that season was packed with about 1,000 fans a game, it feels like an old-school Football League ground, and they’re a super power in the game – so to get that win in those circumstances when we were expecting a hiding was huge and a big moment.
5 – Llanelli debut against Dynamo Tbilisi
I made my debut for Llanelli in the Europa League against Dynamo Tbilisi, who we’d done our research on and in the 80s they had won the UEFA Super Cup, so they’re a huge club in Georgia.
The first leg was my competitive debut and we played them at Parc y Scarlets and we beat them 2-1 with Jordan Follows getting a couple of goals, which was a massive, massive result which was unexpected.
If you went through the archives it was probably one of the biggest one-off results for a Welsh side in Europe because they were an absolute monster of a club, they had so many resources.
The away leg was a massive experience too. We had a police escort to the ground, there was a hostile atmosphere there and it was about 30 degrees on the day in front of 25,000 fans. Their team turned it on in the game, too, and they were 3-0 up after 25 minutes and I remember looking over to Stuart Jones – a fantastic centre-half – and thinking how we were in for a long night. It finished 5-0 in the end, but the whole experience – especially to win on my debut in Europe – was incredible.
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