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Hudgell heads Goodwick to Cup glory

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GOODWICK United’s Lee Hudgell headed his side to a second West Wales Cup win in two years as they beat Penlan 1-0 in the West Wales Cup Final at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea.

The Pheonix boys won the Cup in 2016 as part of their historic treble winning season and they were keen to get their hands on the cup once again.

There was a good crowd of 674 and they witnessed a close game which could have gone either way.

Goodwick nearly went ahead after thirty seconds as Jordan Griffiths won the ball and headed on to Lee Hudgell who crossed into the box for Jonny Horgan but his volleyed effort went wide.

With five minutes gone Griffiths played Horgan in down the left but his shot again went just wide of the right hand post.

On eight minutes Wayne O’Sullivan brought down Penlan’s Darren Rowe on the edge of the box giving them a good opportunity. Dale Otten took the kick but Jamees Gwilt made an excellent save to deny him.

Moments later Jordan Griffiths danced his way through a number of players in the box but his shot was eventually saved by Penlan keeper Marcus Collins and the rebound was blocked wide.

Penlan’s Luke Chappell then came close but his curled effort went wide of the right hand post. Luke Dallin also found space down the left but his cross was blocked well by Stefan Hayes.

With twenty minutes gone Chappell won the ball back and Dallin took over but his shot also went wide of the posts.

Goodwick’s Horgan was causing problems down the left and when he was fouled after he made a cross the referee blew for a free kick and Kyle Barrett picked up the first yellow card of the game. The free kick was sent into the box but straight into the arms of the Penlan keeper.

Penlan’s Dallin then passed into the middle for Rowe but his goalbound effort was saved by Gwilt.

Kieran O’Brien then found space to run into the Penlan half and he passed to Griffiths but his shot on the turn was blocked.

Penlan looked to break and a great pass found Barrett but as he was about to pull the trigger, Llyr Tobin got back to make an excellent tackle.

Six minutes before half time, Dallin found Chappell whose shot was saved well by Gwilt but it wouldn’t have counted had it gone in as the linesman flagged for offside.

Dallin was proving a handful for Goodwick and he won a free kick on the left edge of the box which he took and had to be blocked wide by Goodwick’s defenders.

The half time whistle went with the score still locked at 0-0 and both sides were still in with a chance of lifting the cup.

There was a scrappy start to the second half as both sides committed fouls, one of which saw Wayne O’Sullivan booked.

It was Goodwick who had the first real chance of the second half ten minutes in as Hudgell crossed into the box but the ball was headed over by Penlan, away from the waiting O’Brien. From the resulting corner Horgan’s kick was headed in at the front post by Lee Hudgell.

Griffiths then had a chance to double Goodwick’s lead but his effort was blocked wide for a corner.

With twenty minutes to go, Goodwick’s Chris O’Sullivan was injured and he had to be brought off and replaced by Matty Delaney.

Matty was straight in on the action as he beat his man down the left before running into the box and stopping on the byline. Penlan keeper Collins came for the ball and appeared to catch Matty but no penalty was given.

Llyr Tobin was then sent off with ten minutes to go for a second bookable offence and Goodwick would have to hold on with ten men.

Penlan sent a number of crosses into the box but Goodwick dealt with them well. Otten had a chance from one such cross but he gave away a foul as he headed over.

James Gwilt, who had not had much to do, was alert as he punched away another free kick and the rebound was fired over.

Four minutes of added time were signalled and Gwilt again did well to pluck a dangerous cross out of the air.

Gwilt punched another free kick away and that sent Johnny Horgan through but his shot went agonisingly wide of the posts.

Penlan pushed but the final whistle went meaning Goodwick were West Wales Cup Champions yet again!

After the match, the Herald caught up with keeper Gwilt who said: “We’re delighted, the boys worked extremely hard and we ground it out and managed to win the cup.

“I’ve got a great back four in front of me so they make my life easy and we managed to keep them out so it is a great win.”

Chris O’Sullivan added: “It’s great for the club, for what it does throughout the season, it’s a great compliment to our team. It’s a professionally run club and everybody deserves it, they’ve worked hard for it.

“Both teams created a lot of chances first half and could have taken the lead. 0-0 at half time was a bit disappointing because we had some great chances but we knew we were always going to create chances and it was just a case of taking one of those and we know how to see a game out, we’re really well drilled and once we scored I was confident in seeing it through.”

Asked how the sending off affected the team, Chris said: “We work on things like that, we banked up with two banks of four, a coach of mine taught me that really well, Sean Cresser, so that experience in working alongside him helped us today, it worked, we’ve seen it out so it’s great for the club.”

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Wales v Scotland postponed

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WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.

“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

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News

Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended

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THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.

The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance.

The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate.

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Sport

Walking rugby is a game for all ages and abilities

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WALKING RUGBY has taken off throughout Wales in the last 12 months and is benefitting participants in more ways than one.

The participants – male and female of all ages and abilities including one man who lost his sight 13 years ago – talk of clear benefits to their physical health and crucially, their mental health through being involved in the groups.

The number of Walking Rugby groups in Wales grew organically from two in December 2018 to 16 just twelve months later and new groups are starting up all the time.

A range of organisations from rugby clubs to charities, Health Boards and third sector bodies are seeing the benefit of the inclusive rugby format and engaging more than 300 participants on a weekly basis.
The Aneurin Bevan Mental Health unit has worked with the Dragons Community team to set up a team of their own, training weekly at Rodney Parade.

Kevin Hale, Community Support Worker for the Aneurin Bevan Health Board Forensic Psychiatry Service, who set up the Dragons NHS Walking Rugby team said, “From a mental health point of view it’s been priceless, the social benefits, in particular, are tremendous. Many of the players were very shy at the start and quite withdrawn but confidence levels and communication skills have grown massively and they have told us Walking Rugby has helped them in other areas of their lives.

“It started off as a means to get some of our service users active and also to have some social time afterwards to discuss any issues they’re having. It’s gone from strength to strength and we’ve opened up the opportunity so that anyone can join us at Rodney Parade on a Tuesday afternoon.

Christian Hyde now plays for the Dragons NHS team despite having lost his sight through diabetes.
“I played rugby from the age of 8 to 26. After losing my sight, I had to stop playing – and refereeing. You really miss being part of a rugby environment so being back involved in the game is huge for me and something I never thought I’d do.

“I’m already involved with the visually impaired rugby at Cardiff Blues but being a Dragons supporter, I’m thrilled to be able to train at Rodney Parade and to be involved in matches again like the recent festival. To have ten teams turn up shows the enjoyment we’re all having.”

Anne Jackson plays for Pontyclun Walking Rugby. She said “I’m the only woman at the club at the moment and we could do with more. It really is for everyone. It’s wonderful. It keeps you active – I’ve got fitter since playing Walking Rugby. We train twice a week on a Monday evening and Wednesday morning. We laugh most of the time, we all get on very well.”

Former Wales full-back and Cross Keys coach Morgan Stoddart coaches the Cambrian Walking Rugby group in the Rhondda. He said, “We regularly get 15 or 16 players at our twice-weekly training sessions, we had 12 teams at recent Walking Rugby festivals in Treorchy and Cambrian so it’s gaining popularity all the time.

“Quite a few of the players played rugby in their youth and others haven’t played much sport at all throughout their lives. One lady, Frances Jones, is a regular player and still going strong at 84!

“They enjoy the exercise and also the friendship and camaraderie they gain from it. I enjoy it too, it’s a real change from competitive league rugby as it’s so open to male and female players of all ages and abilities.”
While the format is fully inclusive to all ages, genders and abilities, its main appeal is to Wales’ older and socially isolated population. With more than 877 000 people over 60 in Wales (just under 30% of the population), and that figure set to rise to over one million by 2030*, social isolation and mental health issues are a real issue.

The Welsh Government Strategy for Older People in Wales (2013-2023): Living Longer, Ageing Well, states that loneliness is a real health risk – ‘the same as smoking and twice that of obesity.. that staying physically active protects mental and physical health and that older people say that if they are able to participate in social and leisure activities, they are more likely to say they feel well.’

Based on this evidence, it is no surprise that some GPs are now referring patients to Walking Rugby for the physical and social benefits it brings.

Greg Woods, WRU Enterprise Manager said: “Anyone can play Walking Rugby, whether you’re a lapsed rugby player or new to the game. It’s a social, enjoyable activity with obvious physical and mental health benefits. There is clearly a growing demand for more Walking Rugby opportunities around Wales and we are working with the current groups and a wide range of other partners to not only cater for that demand but provide support to the volunteers running the clubs and work with others to set up new outlets.”

WRU Community Director Geraint John added: “It’s exciting to see the growth of Walking Rugby and to think of its future benefits to the health and well-being of the people of Wales – both the current or recent rugby-playing population and those who could join the rugby family through the Walking Rugby format”.

If you want to start a walking rugby club, get in touch for advice and support participation@wru.wales

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