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Neyland through to Duggie Morris Final

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NEYLAND made it through to the final of the Duggie Morris Cup on Tuesday (Jun 26) as they beat Haverfordwest by four wickets.

The All Whites have had a close affiliation with the cup in recent years, winning the finals in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and they will be keen to get their hands on the trophy once again.

They will either play holders Whitland or Kilgetty in the final on Sunday, July 15, who play their semi-final on Thursday (Jun 28) in Cresselly.

Haverfordwest have also done well in past years, winning the tournament in 2011 and 2012 before losing to Neyland in the 2014 final.

Tuesday’s semi-final took place at Pill Parks, home of Llangwm, and it was Town who batted first after Neyland won the toss.

It proved to be a good decision as opening batsman Adam James was trapped leg before by Patrick Hannon with the very first ball.

Ben Field fell soon after as he was caught by Nick Koomen of the bowling of Henry Durrant.

Lee Summons and Simon Holliday shared 25 runs for the third wicket but Holliday was then caught by Sean Hannon off the bowling of Geraint Rees for a score of 22 which included two fours and a six.

Summons then fell for a score of 6 when he was caught by Sean Hannon off the bowling of Andrew Miller and Town were 32-4.

Dai Davies and Danny Potter then shared 27 runs for the fifth wicket before Davies, who hit a four and a six in his innings, was caught by Koomen off the bowling Andrew Miller for a score of 17.

Two runs later Potter was caught and bowled by Miller for a score of 12 and the wickets continued to fall as Huw Scriven was caught by Patrick Bellerby off the bowling of Miller and Gregg Miller then had Sanjay Gurung caught to give Henry Durrant his second wicket.

That left Town on 68-8 but Jake Merry and Kieran O’Connor shared 32 runs for the ninth wicket to give Town a total to defend.

O’Connor hit three fours and a six in his knock of 24 but he was run out by Andrew Miller on the last ball of the innings meaning Town finished on 100-9.

Neyland knew they would face a fight back from Town but they made a steady start to their reply with Paul Murray and Patrick Bellerby sharing 16 runs for the first wicket.

Bellerby was caught by Lee Summons off the bowling of Holliday for a score of 5 but another partnership of 15 followed between Murray and Scott Jones.

Murray hit two fours and two sixes in his score of 21 but he was caught by Dai Davies off the bowling of Johnny White and soon after Jones was bowled by Holliday for a duck.

With the score on 34-3, Nick Koomen and Andrew Miller shared 28 runs for the fourth wicket. Koomen hit four fours in his score of 18 but he was caught by Danny Potter off the bowling of Lee Summons.

Miller also hit four boundaries in his score of 20 but he was run out by White leaving Neyland on 77-5.

Ashley Sutton was joined at the crease by Henry Durrant and the pair shared 18 runs as they took Neyland to within touching distance of victory.

Durrant was bowled by Adam James but it did not affect the outcome of the game as Neyland reached their target with three overs to spare.

Sutton finished not out on 15 while Gregg Miller hit two fours with the two balls he face to see Neyland over the line.

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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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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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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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