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Neyland claim the title as Cresselly slip up

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NEYLAND claimed the Pembroke County Cricket Division 1 title on Saturday (Aug 25) as their win over Haverfordwest, coupled with defeat for Cresselly, saw them jump to the top of the table.

Going into the final game of the season, Cresselly led Neyland by six points with Haverfordwest 16 points behind in third and still in with a chance of taking the title.

Cresselly knew all they would need to do was win and the title would be theirs but they came up against a Lawrenny side who have already beaten them once in the league this season, and pushed them all the way in the Harrison Allen Final.

Neyland went into their game with Haverfordwest hopeful of such a repeat but faced a tough game with the side that have also held the top spot during the season.

Overnight rain had made the grounds heavy and that played a factor at the toss as Haverfordwest won the toss and elected to field while Lawrenny batted first against Cresselly.

Lawrenny were keen to how that they had not just come to make up the numbers as Brad McDermott Jenkins top scored with 97 for the visitors.

James Phillips scored 24 and Joe Kidney added 21 before Steve Lewis finished not out on 51 to take Lawrenny to a total of 252-8 from their 45 overs.

Ryan Lewis took three wickets for the loss of 51 runs while Simon Cole (1-39) also chipped in with a wicket.

Nick Koomen and Gregg Miller made a steady start to their innings sharing 39 for the first wicket before Miller was trapped leg before by Adam James on a score of 10.

Andrew Miller was then also trapped leg before by Simon Holliday on a score of 2 while Koomen, who had hit eight fours in a score of 45, was caught and bowled by Kieran O’Connor.

Ashley Sutton and Nathan Banner took Neyland past 100 runs with a good partnership but O’Connor struck again as he trapped Sutton leg before on a score of 31 that included two fours and a six.

Neyland had limped to 143-4 in the 35th over and things did not look much better when Holliday had Banner caught and bowled on a score of 18.

However, Patrick Bellerby and Scott Jones then shared an excellent stand of 76 to swing the game in their favour.

Haverfordwest’s bowlers were not helping themselves either as James bowled a second no ball and had to be taken off, the second bowler to do so. They also gave away 36 extras.

Overthrows also proved costly as Neyland took two runs off an lbw shout. Bellerby made his way to score of 37 with three fours and Scott Jones finished not out on 41 with five boundaries as Neyland finished on 224-6 from their 45 overs.

Cresselly knew they would need to bat well if they were to reach their target and claim the Division 1 title. They made a steady start as Adam Chandler and Dan Sutton shared 49 for the first wicket.

Sutton scored 31 but he was then caught by McDermott-Jenkins off the bowling of Harry Thomas.

At the same time, Haverfordwest’s openers Simon Holliday and Ben Field shared a similarly steady start sharing 43 runs for the first wicket. Andrew Miller made the breakthrough as he had danger man Simon Holliday caught and bowled on a score of 15.

Miller then turned the screw once more as he trapped Field leg before on a score of 25 and had Lee Summons caught by Nick Koomen on a score of three to leave Town reeling on 49-3.

In Cresselly, the home side were doing their best to reach their target with Iwan Izzard scoring 42 before being bowled by McDermott-Jenkins and Dan Cherry was trapped leg before leaving them on 146-3.

Miller again returned to take his fourth wicket as he had Danny Potter caught by Gregg Miller on a score of 10.

Adam James was also bowled by Andrew Miller before Jake Merry was caught by Sean Hannon off the bowling of Gary Lloyd leaving Town on 81-6.

Dai Davies had scored 26 with a four and a six but he was then caught by Scott Jones off the bowling of Lloyd and Town were suddenly staring at a heavy defeat.

Cresselly’s Adam Chandler hit some excellent shots in his score of 64 but he was then caught by Joe Kidney off the bowling of Cole as Cresselly were reduced to 187-4.

McDermott-Jenkins then had Alex Bayley caught on a score of 17 and he also bowled Ryan Lewis as the title began to slip away.

Back in Neyland, the home side were making light work of Town as Archie Thomas was out for a score of 5, caught by Gregg Miller off the bowling of Nick Koomen.

O’Connor had scored 15 for Town but he was then trapped leg before by Lloyd and moments later they had victory as Lloyd bowled Johnny White for a duck.

That meant Lloyd finished with excellent figures 4-16 from his 6.5 overs and Town were all out for 110.

With news perhaps filtering through to Cresselly, they knew they would need to win if they were to pick up the Division 1 trophy.

Simon Cole scored 22 before he was caught by Matthew Kidney off the bowling of his namesake and Dan James scored 20 before he also fell to Cole.

Cresselly were running out of options as Sam Harts was bowled by Ryan Morton and needed to score 25 off the final over.

They were unable to knock off those runs as Cole bowled Nielson Cole to bring the game to a close and also giving the title to Neyland.

It brought to a close an excellent cricket season which has seen three different teams hold the lead at the top but with Neyland deserved winners.

News

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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