Christmas Eve chat with sporting class act Shona Roberts (football and boxing)

You’ve heard of Santa Claus, well meet SHONA Claus! Shona Roberts (centre) gets in the festive spirit with Mandy Doran (left) and Kirsty King

While the first half and beyond of 2021 brought much disruption to the sporting world because of Covid, the year has still produced some high points for many, including Shona Roberts.

The 20-year-old defender joined CPD Merched Bethel in the summer and has settled superbly in the team during their debut season in the Tier 2 Genero Adran North League.

And in November, Shona won her first-ever boxing contest by second-round stoppage.

Shona chatted to Grassroots North Wales on Christmas Eve about a year of progress.

How has 2021 been for you from a sporting point of view?

Despite the disruptions with Covid, looking back now it’s been really good. I have met a lot of new people and made some good friends through the new experiences I have had within both football and boxing.

You joined a new club, Bethel. How is it going there? Have you settled in well with the squad and management?

I love it at Bethel! I have settled in really well but that’s thanks to the girls and the management for being so welcoming. They are a lovely bunch who are always so positive which is really nice to be around.

Always a smile and a reassuring presence – Shona (left) with Bethel team-mate Jody Cain. Picture: DAI SINCLAIR

What has been the highlight for you at Bethel so far? And the lowest point?

This is a hard one because it’s still so early on but the highest point, apart from making a great start within the league, has got to be getting through to the quarter-finals of the FAW Welsh Cup. With the lowest point, I don’t think I’ve had one as of yet, I could say some losses we’ve had and some mistakes I’ve made in matches but that’s all part of the game so I don’t count them as low points.

You played for Llandudno for so long. What is it like to now play against them?

It’s like any other team in the league really. Everyone wants to win and Llandudno have a very strong squad so it’s a good test for us but I don’t think of it as any different to any other game we play.

Mandy Doran, Shona Roberts and Kirsty King on duty as elves at a Christmas party at Y Clwb in Glan Conwy

What are your football hopes for 2022?

I hope Bethel can continue on this good run we have had before Christmas to push us closer to the top spot for the league but the real test will be in February when we play Cardiff Met in the Welsh Cup, so I hope we can get a result against them.

Are you impressed with the tier 2 Genero Adran North? What is the standard like?

Shona on the ball. Picture: DAI SINCLAIR

There are some strong teams in the league so we have some good competitive games which I love. Regardless of what team you play it’s always down to which team turns up on the day and which team wants it more.

On to boxing….you made your boxing debut in November and what a debut! You won your first contest in round two – looking back how was the whole experience?

I loved every minute of it, from the fight camp before to the moment I stepped into the ring. I was fortunate to have a great team around me in the lead up to the fight who fed me with confidence which helped a lot.
I have a lot of people to thank for making my debut in boxing an amazing one first Gaz, Chris, Lisa and the team at EMA, Louisha (LK Fit) for the extra training and my family and friends for the continued support.

After doing so well on your debut in the ring, are you ready to step back between the ropes in the new year?

The next fight night is April so my plan is to go back to training in the new year and closer to the time decide if I want to give it a go again.

Why did you decide to give boxing a try?

Shona (left) with her inspiration Louisha Doran

It was Louisha (Doran) who introduced me to boxing because it is run at her family gym EMA. Originally it was just for fitness and a bit of fun – my intention was never to fight but my coach Gaz believed I was good enough to do it and here we are now!

Do you follow boxing on TV? who are your favourite fighters?

I watch the boxing now and then but Tyson Fury has got to be up there for me, not only because of his boxing but also for everything he has battled with in his personal life. He’s so open about his mental health and his ups and downs and I commend that from anyone as it is extremely important nowadays.

You’re such a nice person outside of the ring, but in the ring you are a tiger (or tigress) – does it come natural to you to box, or did you have to gee yourself up a lot?

Joy for Shona and her trainers after victory in November

I love boxing and did from the very start but in terms of stepping into the ring to fight someone else I had no idea how I would feel. I was lucky to be able to speak to Louisha about her previous experiences and get an insight into how she coped with it which was helpful, as well as having Gaz and the rest of the team to do the same as well.
On the night having immense support and the music playing helped me feel at ease but in the ring I just zoned out, all you see is the person in front of you and are oblivious to anything else!

Message for the world in 2022?

Do what makes you happy.

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