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Watch Wales for free in open training session

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WARREN Gatland’s Wales will train at Principality Stadium this half-term, from 2pm Monday, October 29, and the nation is invited to come and watch, for free.

Wales have hosted open sessions at their national ground ahead of the last two Rugby World Cups, with around 10,000 fans attending in 2013, before England2015, and also in both 2011 and 2012, before travelling to the tournament in New Zealand.

With 13 matches in less than 12 months to go until Japan2019 the build-up begins in earnest when head coach Gatland’s side face Scotland at home on Saturday, November 3, followed by Australia, Tonga and, finally, South Africa on consecutive weekends thereafter in this year’s Under Armour Series.

Over 200,000 tickets have already been sold across the four match campaign, with remaining tickets starting at £45 per head for adults (£15 concession) and £10 (Tonga), for the games – but supporters now have a fifth opportunity to see their heroes in action in Cardiff for free courtesy of the invitation issued by Gatland today:  visit www.wru.co.uk/tickets to register for your free ticket.

“We have some of the game’s most passionate and dedicated supporters in Wales and it’s fantastic that they are able to watch us train at the world’s best rugby stadium,” said Gatland, who is Wales’ longest serving and most successful coach, entering his final year at the helm.

“The open session kicks off our Test week ahead of the opening Under Armour Series encounter against Scotland and it should give supporters a great insight into the squad and our preparations.

“We know we will be well supported this autumn against Scotland, Australia, Tonga and South Africa, and fans will come out in force during the Six Nations, and for our warm-up matches next summer, but I can’t think of a better way to begin a huge year than by inviting everyone into the Stadium for free at the very start of it all?

“It’s not often supporters get the chance to see the players train in this way and as a squad we are looking forward to the session and hopefully training in front of a big crowd.”

Gatland will take charge of the kind of a typically intense training session he has become famous for, with fellow coaches Rob Howley, Shaun Edwards, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins all involved in various elements.

Gates open at 12.30pm and the squad is due to take the field soon after 2pm, with all of the action due to be played out live on Stadium big screens and commentary and ‘special guest’ interviews providing the backdrop to the day.

The format will evolve whilst the squad are in camp, as new formations are perhaps built and the opposition continues to be analysed, but the sessions usually last around 50 minutes.

Individuals who may not be involved and back room staff will be available to speak to the crowds via the Stadium PA system to give unique insight into the day’s proceedings and catering outlets will be fully stocked and available for supporter’s use.

Tickets are free at the point of registration online at www.wru.wales/tickets and can be printed at home right up until event day on Monday, October 29, with a six person limit applying to each registration.

When accessing tickets supporters will be given the opportunity to automatically donate to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust, although there is no obligation to do so with £0, £1, £2, £5 options available.

The Welsh Rugby Union and Scottish Rugby Union have joined together to create the Doddie Weir Cup, to be contested when Wales and Scotland meet, and are fundraising in the name of the former Scottish international at the fixture to support research into Motor Neuron Disease, donations to the charity can also be made directly online via myname5doddie.co.uk/donate

The Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust is the WRU’s permanent designated charity which supports players who have been injured through rugby.

“We are extremely grateful to our partner Ticketmaster for their help in making sure 100% of donations made will transfer over to the Doddie Weir Foundation and the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust and helping us ensure access to the training session is entirely free of charge,” added a WRU spokesperson.

Under Armour Series 2019 at Principality Stadium:

Wales’ open training session, Monday, October 29 (Gates open 12.30pm), FREE

Wales v Scotland: Sat, November 3 (KO: 2.45pm)

Wales v Australia: Sat, November 10 (KO: 5.20pm)

Wales v Tonga: Sat, November 17 (KO: 2.30pm)

Wales v South Africa: Sat, November 24 (KO: 5.20pm)

Sport

Welsh Athletics celebrate success

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MORE than 200 people from all four corners of the country headed to the Vale Resort Hotel in Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan on Saturday evening (October 19) to attend the annual Welsh Athletics National Celebration Awards Dinner for 2019.
The evening celebrated all the successes and achievements that happened across the sport of athletics in Wales over the last 12 months with a large number of athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and club & group representatives in attendance.
There were twenty-eight awards up for grabs with an expert panel deciding on who the worthy winners were for each one. The awards were across a variety of categories…from clubs, groups and volunteers to officials, coaches and athletes.
Altogether, 22 individuals, 5 clubs and 1 group shared the awards on offer and were welcomed to the stage to be recognised for their contributions.
Hosts for the evening was ever-present Rob Cole and joining him on the stage this year was Mica Moore. Sam Gordon, Jeremiah Azu, Steve Perks, Matt Newman, James Williams, Dafydd Trystan and Kelly Southerton were others who spoke throughout the evening.
It was fantastic to receive confirmation a fortnight ago from the new Chair of Welsh Athletics, Steve Perks that Carmarthen & District Harriers Athletics Club had been nominated to receive the Welsh Athletics Junior Off-Track Club of the Year award at this year’s awards dinner in the Vale Resort Hotel.
Present from the athletics club on the evening and joining other deserving winners from across Wales were Jake Morgan (Club Chairman), Cressy Morgan (Club Secretary), Richard Jones (Club Treasurer), Alison Thomas (Officials Secretary), Neil Thomas, David Toogood, Carol Jones and Delyth Brown (Club Endurance Coaches), Dafydd Jones and Frank Morgan (Club under 15/17 Endurance Athletes) and Nathan Jones (Club Media Officer).
Cross Country and Road Running successes in 2018 and the start of 2019 from endurance young members contributed to the club winning this award in 2019.
The Welsh Athletics Clubs Cross Country Championships came to Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire for the first year back in February and saw the under-11 boys, under-13 boys, under-15 boys and the Female Master 40 teams come away with gold medals on home turf whilst there were bronze medals for the under-11 girls.
The under-13 boys and under-15 boys were victorious at the 2018 Welsh Athletics Road Relay Championships to match their cross-country championships titles. Back in September, the under-11 boys and under-13 boys came away with comfortably victories at the recent 2019 edition of the Road Relays Championships and have got off a great start to the 2019 winter season in October.
The under-11 boys and under-13 boys also became John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League team champions backed up by second place for under-13 girls and third for the novice girls.
Two of Carmarthen Harriers’ endurance athletes Dafydd Jones and Frank Morgan, both pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Myrddin were there to go up and collect the award on behalf of the whole club.
Another to be recognised locally in West Wales was coach Kevin Evans who continues to coach athletes at the track in Carmarthen and a great supporter of the club. After collecting the Endurance Performance Coach of the Year in 2018, Evans was the recipient of the “International Performance Coach of the Year” this time around.
President the award on stage was local Carmarthenshire athlete and one of Kevin’s training group, Dewi Griffiths who hopes to be back to full fitness soon.
International athletes in Wales voted for their “Athletes’ Athlete of the Year” and announced as the winner was Pembrokeshire Harriers’ Heather Lewis, who enjoyed a great season on the race-walking circuit. Elsewhere, James Tomlinson was the “Junior Track & Field Athlete of the Year.” It was a double success here with his coach Paul Jensen, the “Track & Field Performance Coach of the Year”.
Swansea Harriers picked up both the “Off Track Club of the Year” in the older categories whilst the juniors enjoyed success too and as a result, won the “Junior Track & Field Club of the Year”.

 

photo credit: welshathletics.org

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Sport

Rain, rain, go away…

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LAST WEEK, two Manderwood Pembrokeshire Football League games dodged the rain.
After a week in which torrential rainfall was interrupted only by the occasional deluge, only one fixture was completed.
You have to feel for poor St Florence.
Through rain and tempest, they made the trip north to Solva, only to come away on the wrong side of a 9-1 shellacking by the home team.
Solva’s goals came courtesy of Joe Nash, Rhys Rivers, Tom Goodson, a hat-trick from Liam Thomas, two goals from Josh Bland, and one from James Griffin. Jake Webster scored the visitors’ only goal.
Every other game in Pembrokeshire was washed out. League organisers will be hoping that the weather breaks soon to allow the season to get back on track.
Solva’s victory was not the only game of football played in Pembrokeshire, however.
Once more Goodwick United defied the weather and completed a handy 3-1 win over Rockspur Fords in the West Wales FA Cup.
The visitors, who play in the Swansea League Division One, are a form team and must have fancied their chances at Phoenix Park. Goodwick are a tough team to beat, however, and they contested fiercely in appalling conditions for football.
Goals from Rhys Dalling and James Bryan gave Goodwick a 2-0 half-time lead.
On a blustery and soaking wet afternoon, Goodwick simply played the conditions better and there was more than enough niggle to go round in the slippery conditions.
Even conceding an early spot-kick midway through the second half didn’t deter Goodwick. With the score at 2-1 and time ticking down, a Jordan Griffiths free-kick snaked its way into the visitors’ net to clinch the tie 3-1 and leave Goodwick a step closer to a final at the Liberty Stadium next year.
Clarby Road were glad to have two pitches available for them. With the first team pitch unplayable, the second team one was judged fit for play for the second round WWFA Cup fixture against Llanelli’s Camford team.
While the conditions were foul, the pitch held up well.
As the halfway point in the first period approached, Ben John produced a screamer from outside the area to give Clarby the lead. One became two shortly afterwards when Matt Griffiths headed home a well-directed corner. Shortly before half-time, Ben John added another goal to give the homesters a 3-0 lead.
Undeterred, Camford scrapped hard in the second half and pulled a deserved goal back with a fine strike from Ben Bowler.
Clarbeston Road repelled another promising Camford attack before regaining a three-goal cushion, as Ben John completed a fine hat-trick.
With conditions closing in, Joules Ward added a fifth for the home team.
A final result of 5-1 in increasingly poor conditions was a fair reward for Clarby, even if it left an always striving Camford a little short-changed.

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Milford Ladies brave the elements

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Llandysul 3 – 0 Milford Haven
Saturday, October 26

ON A very wet, cold and windy day Milford ladies travelled to Ceredigion to play Llandysul this week. Both teams started well with some good hockey being played on both sides however, it was Llandysul who got the first game after 10 minutes.
Milford Haven pressed for an equaliser for the remainder of the first half but, although playing, the better hockey they had no luck finding the back of the net.
Due to the inclement weather, both teams agreed to a quick turnaround at half time.
Milford played well from the start of the second period, striving to get back into the game; however, after numerous chances and a fair share of bad luck, they ended up defending against one of the best teams in the division.
In spite of Milford Haven’s stern defence, it was only a matter of time before Llandysul forced several short corners and with ten minutes to go, they were able to score a brace of goals making it a three-nil win for the home side.
Rachel Coe Milford’s captain said: “It’s so disappointing to lose on the road once again. I cannot fault the determination in this very young Milford team. Just like Wales, they gave their all but it wasn’t to be our day. We have a free week this week, so it will give us time to get over it and look forward to our next encounter”
Milford Team
Emilie Zatac, Vicki John, Meg Bowen-Jenkins, Lucy Jayne, Kate Farr, Charlotte Davies, Em Sums, Cerys Jones, Alice Wonnacott, Rachel Coe, Cerys Dunn, Megan Owen, Cerys Dunn

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