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An evening with Andy Powell in Neyland

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FORMER Welsh international Andy Powell was guest speaker at Neyland Athletic Club on Friday night (Apr 27) offering an insight into one of the great characters of Rugby Union.

The event, attended by over 70 people, was organised by Jason Morgan, and hosted by Phil Howe; the comedian and actor with roles in Hollyoaks, Casualty and Eastenders. After his routine, Howe proceeded to interview Powell about his life, coaxing many anecdotes out of the 23 cap international known for his colourful career. Powell, 36, was selected for the 2009 tour to South Africa with the British and Irish Lions, as well as featuring for the Barbarians in their 2009 victory over the All Blacks. He represented ten different clubs in his Union career, as well as having spells with Wigan and South Wales Scorpions in Rugby League.

Powell told The Herald of his admiration for the Scarlets, as well as the West Wales side’s coaching staff, backing them to take over from Warren Gatland after the 2019 World Cup.

He said: “Wayne Pivac and Stephen Jones encourage their players to take their chances and back themselves.”

When asked of the success of the Wales Deaf side in Australia, lifting the Sevens World Cup after beating England in the final last week, Powell described it as: “a special moment. Going out there and beating England, they’ll always remember that.”

Powell is now coaching hometown club Brecon RFC in Swalec National League Division One East, set for a top three finish.

He spoke of his ambitions: “I’m there for the next two years, I’ve told them that, then I’ll look to move on, maybe abroad. I believe I can coach at the highest level.”

Powell felt the fact that he was ‘very hard to manage’ as a player gives him the insight needed to motivate individuals.

Regarding his reputation as a character, Powell said: “I was a little bit wild but got away with it, the story of my career until the M4.”

Of course talk soon turned to the infamous incident in 2010, when after the last gasp victory over Scotland, many Wales players went out for celebratory drinks. One thing led to another and Powell was arrested driving a golf buggy down the M4. Powell described the event as ‘costing him 20 caps’.

The evening is a continuation of famous faces acting as guest speakers in Neyland, after referee Nigel Owens spoke in January, whilst former All Black Zinzan Brook and Welsh international Rupert Moon visited last year.

The night also had a sports auction, with memorabilia such as signed prints and shirts sold, with the profits going to Neyland clubhouse. The event carried on well into the night, fitting for one of Welsh rugby’s great characters.

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Conservatives hold on to Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat

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THE CONSERVATIVES have held on to their Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire seat despite Labour closing the gap.

Sam Kurtz will take over the seat from the outgoing Angela Burns who held a majority of 3,400 at the last election.

This time, the gap was just 936 to Labour’s Hassan Riaz who picked up 10,304 votes.

Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell picked up 6,615 votes.

The turnout in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire was slightly up to 52.12% from 51.2% in 2016.

However, with a larger electorate thanks to votes for 16/17-year-olds, the number of votes cast went up by almost 3,000.

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Paul Davies re-elected as Conservatives hold Preseli Pembrokeshire

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PAUL DAVIES has been re-elected to represent the Preseli Pembrokeshire constituency.

He won with 12,295 votes, while there were 10,895 votes for Labour’s Jackie Jones.

Plaid Cymru candidate Cris Tomos gained just over 6,000 votes and there were also 1,239 for Reform UK candidate Alan Dennison.

There were over 3000 more votes cast in 2016, down largely in part to the fact that 16 and 17 year olds were able to vote in this election.

Both the Conservatives and Labour received more votes than before while the gap to Labour closed to just 1,400.

After being elected, Paul Davies said he would continue to ‘fight for Pembrokeshire’ and thanked those who had been involved in his campaign.

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Former Cardigan Castle director sentencing delayed

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THE SENTENCING of a former director of Cardigan Castle who has pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft totalling over £40,000 has been delayed.

Former director, Jac Davies, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft was due to be sentenced on Wednesday (May 4) at Swansea Crown Court – but has now been delayed.

Davies who held the £40,000 a year post fraudulently obtained £33,098.75 and stole a further £7,932.97 from the award winning restoration project..

Davies held his position at Cardigan Castle from September 2017 to November 2019.

The defendant has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining £4,143.20 from the castle on December 21, 2017.

Again Davies admitted to fraudulently obtaining £28,955.55 between February 4, 2019 and November 3, 2019.

Two further charges of theft were also admitted – one charge of  theft from the castle of £1,908.18 between May 2, 2018 and May 24, 2019 and a further charge of theft from Cardigan Castle Enterprises to the sum of £6,024.79.

Dyfed-Powys Police conducted a year long investigation after being contacted by the castle board of directors.

Financial discrepancies were identified during financial monitoring.

An internal investigation was launched and Davies left his position within the castle in October 2019 following a disciplinary process.

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