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Football: Bournemouth test is not the only examination for Ward.

Byline: By Colin Stoner

Graham Ward is easy to spot sitting on the Tamworth team-bus. Rather than flicking through the tabloids, switching on his iPod or joining the back-of-the-coach card school, the midfielder is engrossed in capillary joints, leaking glands and compression joints.

The 21-year-old former Wolverhampton Wanderers, Kidderminster Harriers and Cheltenham Town player found his future in flux when he left professional football in the summer. But now he is also into solder, copper piping and all the other skills required to become a plumber.

While the Lambs face the toughest test of the season today with a first-round date at Bournemouth, Ward has his own examinations next week as part of his two-year course to qualify as a plumber.

Tamworth prepared for their tie at the League One side with an overnight stay and that meant plenty of time for study.

OIOve got seven exams coming up so itOs hectic at the moment,O Ward said. OTamworth have had a couple of long trips - going to Exeter last week and going to Bournemouth this week - and IOve taken my books with me to do some studying. It has to be done. I get a few jokes from the lads but I have got to do the work if I want to pass these exams.O

Ward, who hails from Dublin, started a plumbing course when he was at Kidderminster, simply as a way to keep busy after earlier passing courses in leisure and tourism as well as computers.

All thoughts of u-bends, though, will be firmly pushed to the back of the mind today. Tamworth will be seeking to send BournemouthOs hopes down the plug-hole and claim their first League giant-killing since beating Torquay United in 1969.

Ward accepts it will be a tough challenge against the play-off chasing Cherries but he has witnessed the drama of the Cup first-hand. Two years ago he was part of the Kidderminster side which came within two minutes of dumping out his old Wolves colleagues.

His corner led to John Williams firing Jan MolbyOs Harriers ahead in a January 2004 third-round clash but Alex Rae spared WolvesO blushes to secure a replay.

OI love the FA Cup,O Ward said. OPlaying Wolves, having been let go by them, was a dream and I thought we had beaten them. I was absolutely devastated when they got their equaliser and I wasnOt the only one. We were the better team.

OGoing back to Molineux for the replay was fantastic and my friends and family came over from Ireland. It was a great memory but hopefully I can create some more memories this year.O

With a typical Cup twist, Ward could have ended up playing at Bournemouth. Manager Sean OODriscoll ran the rule over Ward in 2002 when he was freed by Wolves but any deal was scuppered because they had no money and he went to Kidderminster instead before joining the Lambs in the summer.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 5, 2005
Words:493
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