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Sport

We take life too lightly and sport too seriously

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By Jonathan Twigg

DEBATE rages in Wales at present, where rugby has infiltrated the summer domain of cricket, which has held unparalleled dominance of the summer sunshine.

There has been a culture change, whereby summer tours and early season fixtures of the traditional winter sports means earlier starts.

Look no further than next seasons football league championship season for Swansea City, starting on Saturday (Aug 5) until Sunday (May 26) 2019.

The outcry from the boundary ropes comes more about how mini ruby has become a summer sport, bulldozered through, as opposed to negotiated.

WRU figurehead in this Ryan Jones, former Wales captain and British Lion parading the paraphernalia, Cricket Wales Development Officer Keri Chahal, having face to face meetings to form common ground.

The winner, undoubtedly now rugby as their mini game is happening in front of our eyes, but has cricket lost?

Jason Roy: In action for England against Australia

Not looking at the participation statistics in the new ‘All Stars’ programme, where children bestowed in blue attire are bouncing around cricket fields in the sunshine, the magic there to entice the next generation.

What sells it to parents, who undoubtedly influence their siblings?  The paradox of ‘I played the game, so you must do also’ may live in both sports, but it’s more than that.

Attendances at international matches, in cricket’s case by supporting England, well the England and Wales Cricket Board side, the pathway? Saturday (Jun 16) saw them rock up in Cardiff, rugby capital of Wales, the Swalec Stadium to be precise, skirting the River Taff through Bute Park, the hosts leading a five match series against Australia 1-0.

Sell out you would think? Far from it; the Principality Stadium, bestowed with a retractable roof, unequivocally is, if Australia are the visitors, the Swalec attracted around 13,000, a fifth of their rugby rivals capacity.

Does cricket lack that panache to attract the floating spectator, often then with the family in tow?  The game has stand out stars, opening batsman Jason Roy pulverising the Aussie attack, the Richardson’s, Jhye and Kane, of no blood synchronisation, a rarity in this sport for two with the same name to be sharing the new ball. Root 66, the featured face of the cricketing market, Joe, England Captain present, alongside former Glamorgan opening bowler Alex Wharf, making his ODI debut, as an umpire.

Coloured clothing, blue against yellow for the 11am start, the Aussie public back home having a choice of watching cricket, World Cup football against France, or rugby as the Wallabies welcomed Ireland to Melbourne.

Cricket is sensational down under, the viewing figures from Saturday would make an interesting comparative, lifting some of the ‘doom and gloom’ emanating from our ‘middle England’ type dulcet tones of the cricketing ‘I know best brigade’.

Food for thought, or is it time for the Blazers and prawn sandwiches to be confined to the attic, relics of periods passed? 100 ball ‘City’ cricket is another gurus dream, not welcomed by the current ‘Blazers’, where Saturday’s game produced 102 runs for one wicket, from just a third of the games total deliveries.

Believe me, there was a following of supporters, some perhaps beer monsters, in fancy dress but the majority of paying punters here, at £65 were from a generation brought up on John Arlott, a commentator remembered with fondness, his soupy‑thick Hampshire vowels drawling “we take life too lightly and sport too seriously.”

‘Wise up or weep’ is the cry for cricket, as this game on paper had everything, including the proverbial rain, which has so impacted the winter sports programme to influence the thinking of the WRU game management board.

England’s batsman rattled up for the first time in history five consecutive 50 plus run partnerships with stand in skipper Josh Butler ‘ramping’ sixes over the wicket keepers head; text book they are not but part of the modern game as he brought up his own 50 in the forty first over, with 17 runs in five balls!

What are the indicators for success? Tactical understanding from a blooded skipper Tim Paine, Jason Roy 120, Josh Butler 91 not out and Johnny Bairstow 42, in England’s highest ever ODI total of 342-8, where the expectation nowadays is 300 plus. Certainly, making sunshine on a rainy day sings Zoe, although those in the know were drumming Mambo number 5 with a cucumber sandwich during the interval.

Australia, looking to save some grace on a day when their rugby and football comrades were dispensed made a fist of it, Maxwell striking 31 alongside Glamorgan star Shaun Marsh.

Marsh handled the pressure but the crowd sensed the game slipping into the memory bank, in the lowering sunlight, buoyed by the beach ball antics of amongst others, Baywatch, tennis players and the Smurfs who embraced the evening’s ambiance, before the jobsworth lumbered in.

Marsh passed 2000 white ball runs on his way to 131, the end coming through Roy’s match winning catch to secure the star player award as over 600 runs were chalked in the scorebook. Something was missing, no pyrotechnics from which to salivate. Down to the pitch maybe, a slow burner typifying middle England in the centre of Wales, or is the product label just too predictable.  Maybe a famous son of Yorkshire can answer that, after all he was called upon to ring the five minute ‘bell’ to signal the start of play.

That Yorkshireman; Neil Warnock; the irony, Manager of the newest Premier League football team, Cardiff City, promoted last season from the Championship, brought in for ‘iconic value’. Can the traditional sports share the space before time is called one wonders, with no frills, no fuss, depicted serenely by Arlott.

That memory is worth a toast, of his favourite Beaujolais tipple, for this is cricket as we know it, but for how much longer?

Sport

Insport award for Rowing Club

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WISEMANS Bridge Rowing Club has gained the Insport Bronze award.

The insport programme – designed by Disability Sport Wales – supports clubs in developing inclusive provision, opportunity and practices which ensure that disabled people gain access to the level of participation and performance they require.

The club offers sea rowing and began its insport journey in 2015 by completing numerous Community Chest applications.

The club formed a link to a community disability sports group run by the local Rotary club and, after discussions with Angela Miles at Pembrokeshire County Council, it was decided to contribute to the sessions by offering indoor rowing.

Members have truly bought in to the insport vision and the community ethos it has produced.

The work with insport has also allowed the club to develop its in-house training with three members now fully qualified British Rowing coaches.

It has resulted in the formation of the Tenderfoot insport rowing crew, a group aged 18 to 60 with varying levels of physical and intellectual impairments.

The Tenderfoot crew utilise an indoor rowing machine to establish their techniques and improve fitness while also striving to improve their ‘personal bests’ each week.

They have already undertaken their first water-based session in a rowing boat thanks to the work of rowing club volunteers.

The club’s advice to any other organisation looking to begin their insport journey is: “Be open minded. Ask questions to the participants as they are the experts of what they can and cannot do. Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to safely run a session. Most of all enjoy it.”

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Sport

Wisemans Bridge: Insport award for rowing club

Published

on

WISEMANS BRIDGE ROWING CLUB has gained the Insport Bronze Award.

The insport programme – designed by Disability Sport Wales – supports clubs in developing inclusive provision, opportunity and practices which ensure that disabled people gain access to the level of participation and performance they require.

The club offers sea rowing and began its insport journey in 2015 by completing numerous Community Chest applications.

The club formed a link to a community disability sports group run by the local Rotary club and, after discussions with Angela Miles at Pembrokeshire County Council, it was decided to contribute to the sessions by offering indoor rowing.

Members have truly bought in to the insport vision and the community ethos it has produced.

The work with insport has also allowed the club to develop its in-house training with three members now fully qualified British Rowing coaches.

It has resulted in the formation of the Tenderfoot insport rowing crew, a group aged 18 to 60 with varying levels of physical and intellectual impairments.

The Tenderfoot crew utilise an indoor rowing machine to establish their techniques and improve fitness while also striving to improve their ‘personal bests’ each week.

They have already undertaken their first water-based session in a rowing boat thanks to the work of rowing club volunteers.

The club’s advice to any other organisation looking to begin their insport journey is:

‘Be open minded. Ask questions to the participants as they are the experts of what they can and cannot do. Sometimes you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to safely run a session. Most of all enjoy it …’
I

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Sport

62 medals for Dyfed

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OVER 500 of Wales’ top school pupils headed to the Cardiff International Sports Stadium in Leckwith on Saturday, July 6, for the 72nd edition of the Welsh Schools National Track & Field Championships.

All those taking part were selected to represent one of the eight districts from Afan Nedd Tawe, Cardiff & Vale, Dyfed, Eryri, Glamorgan Valleys, North East Wales, Powys and South East Wales. The age groups were junior (year 8 & 9); middle (year 10 & 11) and senior (year 12 & 13).

For the eighth successive year, the championships made up part of the Urdd’s “Gemau Cymru” bilingual event for hundreds of young people in the Welsh sporting calendar. It provided an opportunity for talented young athletes to compete in a high-profile multi-sport event across Cardiff, Swansea and Y Bala.

SIAB Schools International call ups were at stake as the annual fixture between Welsh schools, English schools, Scottish schools and Irish schools arrives at Swansea University Athletics Track and hosted by Welsh Schools this weekend and will feature several of the West Wales regional athletes. A WSAA under 20 team have also been chosen ahead of the Welsh Athletics Outdoor International in Swansea at the end of this month.

The first three finishers in each individual event were awarded with association medals presented throughout the day.

At Cardiff under senior team manager Hedydd Davies, Dyfed schools saw sixty-seven of its athletes make the journey up the M4 to Cardiff to compete for the West Wales based district (made up of the Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire & Ceredigion counties).

They won a total tally of sixty-two medals: 29 gold, 15 silver and 18 bronze rounded off with four out of six relay teams making the podium.

Senior Girls: Nieve Jenkins (Dyffryn Taf), Chloe Butterworth (Emlyn), Lisa Cowdy (Penweddig), Thea Jenkins (Pembrokeshire College), Alice Evans (Haverfordwest High)

Middle Girls: Lili Church (Aberaeron), Nia Williams (Bro Dinefwr), Flavia Jenkins (Dyffryn Taf), Kasia Cook (Llandovery College), Beca Roberts (Bro Pedr), Ffion Smith (Llandovery College), Ellie Loweth (QE High), Tanwen Moon (Maes Y Gwendraeth), Ellen Delaney (Bro Gwaun)

Junior Girls: Lleucu Lloyd (Y Preseli), Megan Cole (Y Preseli), Cordelia Walker (Aberaeron), Amy White (Haverfordwest High), Hannah Carpenter (Bryngwyn), Gracie Griffiths (Haverfordwest High), Ella Wintle (Y Preseli), Jessica Lee (Dyffryn Taf), Ffion Ouseley (Y Preseli), Hannah Forkuoh (Coedcae), Robyn Lewis (Haverfordwest High), Zara Evans (Henry Richard), Lucy Wintle (Y Preseli), Chloe Simmonite (Coedcae), Sophia Reid-Thomas (Bro Myrddin)

Senior Boys: Andrew Salmon (Coleg Sir Gar), William Lloyd (Y Preseli), Oliver Wheeler (Pembrokeshire College), Dafydd Lewis (Coleg Sir Gar), Ben Thomas (Y Strade), Joshua Thomas (QE High), Eli Oneyewu (Dyffryn Aman), Kyle Cook (Llandovery College), Callum Campion (Coleg Sir Gar)

Middle Boys: Meirion Lloyd (Bro Pedr), Grufydd Morgan (Aberaeron), Joshua Hathaway (Penglais), Connor Handford (Llandovery College), Dylan Phillips (Bro Gwaun), Harry Davies (St Michaels), Dafydd Jones (Bro Myrddin), Iwan Glynn (Bro Myrddin), Joseph Reynolds (Milford), Liam Edwards (Bro Myrddin), Tyree Thompson (Haverfordwest High), Harley Lewis (Haverfordwest High), Alistair Donnison (Penglais), Adam Beer (Glan Y Môr), Dylan Morgan (Greenhill), Jac Williams (Bro Pedr)

Junior Boys: Sion O’Keefe (Bro Pedr), Dafydd Pawlett (Haverfordwest High), Jack Thomas (QE High), Rogan Cox (Bro Myrddin), Liam Topp (Harri Tudur), Frank Morgan (Bro Myrddin), Max Morgan (Greenhill), Osian Roberts (Bro Pedr), Michael Jenkins (Y Preseli), Iolo Griffiths (Y Preseli), Timothy Pena (Dyffryn Aman), Harry Fuller (Dyffryn Taf), Iestyn Comey (Dyffryn Taf)

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