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A celebration of sport

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INSPIRATIONAL achievements in sport by were celebrated in the prestigious Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2018 on Friday evening.

Fourteen award-winners were announced in a variety of categories, together with the winners of two special awards – the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Special Achievement Award.

Now in its 12th year, the gala ceremony at Folly Farm was hosted by sports journalist Bill Carne and Cllr Huw George and organised by Sport Pembrokeshire, the sport development team at Pembrokeshire County Council.

The event was sponsored by Valero, Sport Pembrokeshire, Western Telegraph, Radio Pembrokeshire and Folly Farm.

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Peter and Karen Bowen described by Geoff Williams, Head of Sport at BBC Wales, as a couple ‘at the forefront of British horse racing’.

Presenting them with their award, he said: “Peter and Karen Bowen have transformed a bungalow and a few fields into one of the best yards in the United Kingdom. Their complex at Letterston now boasts over seventy boxes and state-of-the-art all weather facilities.

“But team Bowen is very much a family outfit. Karen was no stranger to the show ring, and is a former champion point-to-pointer. Eldest son Mickey has built a reputation as a successful point-to-point trainer; and Sean and James are both professional jockeys. James became the youngest ever winner of the Welsh Grand National this year, aged just 16.

“They achieved a clean sweep at the recent inaugural Welsh Racing Awards – when Peter won the Welsh Trainer of the Year award; Sean picked up the Welsh Jockey of the Year award and James was honoured as the Rising Star of the Year.

“Incredibly, the stable is now on the verge of achieving a thousand winners.”

The Special Achievement Award, presented by the Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, was presented to 27-year-old footballer Kristian Speake from Crundale.

“The Award is given to a sportsman or woman who has overcome great adversity – and tonight’s winner is certainly no exception,” said Cllr Aden Brinn, Chairman.

“Kristian played for Haverfordwest AFC until last February when he was grievously injured in an incident in the town which resulted in a serious injury to his skull.

“He was in a coma for 24 days in the intensive care unit at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff before being placed on a neurological ward for several weeks.

“Kristian then spent a further six weeks in a special unit in Port Talbot where he underwent extensive physical and cognitive rehabilitation. During this time, he had three eye operations as well as brain surgery in which surgeons fitted a titanium plate in the right side of his head.

“However, there is a happy ending. Though his determination and the support of his family and friends, Kristian has made a miraculous recovery and completed the Cardiff half marathon in October, raising money for the Cardiff and Vale Health Charity as a thank you to all the medical staff involved in his treatment.”

Ben Field, manager of Sport Pembrokeshire, congratulated all the winners, finalists and nominees, and said he was very grateful to the sponsors for their support.

“We received more nominations than ever before this year – 192 – which is a brilliant reflection on how sport is growing and thriving across the county,” he said.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure and Culture, added his congratulations and said: “The Sports Awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the amazing achievements of sportspeople across Pembrokeshire, and the very hard work that takes place behind the scenes.

Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2018 – Winners

Coach of the Year

Simon Roach (Weightlifting)

Female Sporting Achievement

Caryl Jones (Athletics)

Male Sporting Achievement

Seth Morris (Surfing)

Boys (U16) Sporting Achievement

Alex O’Sullivan (Boxing)

Girls (U16) Sporting Achievement

Ella Wintle (Athletics)

Disability Sport Award

Ryan Foot (Rugby)

Junior (U16) Disability Sport Award

Lily Rice (WCMX – Wheelchair Motocross)

Unsung Hero

William McGarvie (Neyland Judo Club)

Club Organiser of the Year

Kathy Hicks (Narberth Netball Club)

Team Achievement of the Year

Neyland Cricket Club 1st XI 2017/2018

Junior (U16) Team Achievement of the Year

Sir Thomas Picton Inclusive Zone Basketball Team 2018

Contribution to School Sport award

Alfie Wheeler (Haverfordwest High VC School)

Student Contribution to School Sport award

Nichola Hayton (Platinum Young Ambassador)

Club of the Year

Strength Academy Wales

Lifetime Achievement Award

Peter and Karen Bowen (Horse racing)

Chairman’s Special Achievement Award

Kristian Speake (Football)

Sport

Wales thump Ireland to seal Grand Slam

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WALES secured a historic Grand Slam on Saturday (Mar 16), as they thumped Ireland 25-7 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

Going into the game they knew that a win would see them crowned Six Nations Champions and that anything but would have opened the door for the Irish or England to snatch the title.

However, Wales were in no mood to let their Grand Slam hopes fade away and scored with just over a minute on the clock gone, and they never looked back.

It was the perfect start for Warren Gatland’s men as Ken Owens’ throw found its way to Gareth Anscombe who beautifully chipped over for Hadleigh Parkes to catch and touch down. Anscombe then added the extras.

It meant that Jonathan Sexton’s first act of the game was to restart it but they very nearly scored moments after, only for an excellent tackle.

Jacob Stockdale picked the ball up and looked as if he would run to the try line but Parkes made a try-saving tackle and Wales were able to win the ball back.

Wales increased their lead with a penalty on 18 minutes with a 49-metre penalty from Anscombe and they continued to push forward, not wanting to sit on their lead.

Two minutes later they had a penalty advantage but when the ball was kicked ahead, Gareth Davies’ over-eagerness saw him tackle the Irish player after the whistle had gone, much to the displeasure of the four Irishmen around him. The penalty was reversed.

Irish errors continued to be punished though and with five minutes of the first half remaining, Anscombe sent another penalty through the posts to make it 13-0.

On the stroke of half time, Ireland were guilty of collapsing the scrum and Anscombe again scored a penalty to give Wales a 16-0 lead at the break.

The first score in the second half would prove crucial, a Wales score would deflate Ireland while an Ireland score would give them hope.

After both sides traded penalties it was the home team who got the first points as Anscombe again punished Ireland with a 33-metre penalty which sailed just inside the posts to make it 19-0.

The Grand Slam was within Wales’ grasp and when Sexton’s restart went out of play, you got the sense that an Irish comeback seemed unlikely.

Another penalty from Anscombe made it 22-0 with just under half an hour to play but Ireland came back looking for a way into the game. However, try as they might they passed the ball out of play.

Connor Murray then came close to scoring but was held up and some excellent defending saw Wales turn the ball over.

With just over ten minutes to go Anscombe scored his sixth penalty to continue his perfect record and it was only a matter of time before Wales were crowned champions.

There was still time for Ireland to attack though and came close as Wales were penalised for being offside on three occasions but a knock on allowed Wales to clear the ball.

As the clock ticked over the 80 minutes, Wales knew they had done enough to secure the Grand Slam and a fourteenth win in a row but Ireland were not going down without a fight.

Stockdale was again halted but the ball was recycled to Jordan Larmour who dived over for a consolation try. Jack Carty added the extras but the celebrations for Wales had already begun.

It was a third Six Nations title for Warren Gatland in his final tournament, his second Grand Slam, proving that Wales were the one team to beat.

They will now look forward to preparing for the World Cup in Japan which starts in September.

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Wales name unchanged team

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WALES have named an unchanged matchday squad for their final 2019 Guinness Six Nations encounter against Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday.

Warren Gatland will oversee his 50th Six Nations match for Wales this weekend and his side goes into the game as the only unbeaten team in the tournament with four victories to their name.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones will equal Welshman Gethin Jenkins’ total test appearance record as he moves to 134 test caps (125 Wales, 9 British & Irish Lions) and to joint fifth in the overall world test appearance list.

Jones again packs down with Adam Beard in the second-row, with Rob Evans, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis continuing together in the front-row. Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty comprise the backrow.

Gareth Davies and Gareth Anscombe are named at half-backs with Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies in the centre.

Josh Adams, George North and Liam Williams once again comprise the back-three for Wales.

“We’ve named an unchanged squad and rewarded the players for the last couple of outings and the last couple of victories.

“These players are on a very good run, they are a hugely impressive group and they deserve to be going into the final weekend with everything to play for.

“It is a great reward for them for the hard work they have put in and we are all looking forward to what is going to be a huge game.

“For a number of us as coaches this is our last Six Nations game and the fact that it is in Cardiff is extra special. There is bound to be a bit of emotion on Saturday and that is something to embrace.”

Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith and Dillon Lewis provide the front row cover on the bench with Jake Ball and Aaron Wainwright completing the forward contingent. Aled Davies, Dan Biggar and Owen Watkin provide the backline cover.

Wales team to play Ireland (Saturday, March 16, KO 14.45 BBC & S4C)

15. Liam Williams (55 Caps)

14. George North (82 Caps)

13. Jonathan Davies (72 Caps)

12. Hadleigh Parkes (14 Caps)

11. Josh Adams (10 Caps)

10. Gareth Anscombe (25 Caps)

9. Gareth Davies (40 Caps)

1. Rob Evans (34 Caps)

2. Ken Owens (63 Caps)

3. Tomas Francis (39 aps)

4. Adam Beard (12 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (Capt) (124 Caps)

6. Josh Navidi (15 Caps)

7. Justin Tipuric (63 Caps)

8. Ross Moriarty (30 Caps)

REPLACEMENTS:

16. Elliot Dee (17 Caps)

17. Nicky Smith (27 Caps)

18. Dillon Lewis (11 Caps)

19. Jake Ball (31 Caps)

20. Aaron Wainwright (7 Caps)

21. Aled Davies (15 Caps)

22. Dan Biggar (69 Caps)

23. Owen Watkin (12 Caps)

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Sport

Phillips: We’ve got a big match in us

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WALES Women head coach Rowland Phillips believes his side can raise their game for their final Women’s Six Nations Test, against Ireland on Sunday (Cardiff Arms Park, 1.30).

Phillips has made two changes to the starting line-up with Elinor Snowsill starting at 10 and Alisha Butchers slotting back into the back row at blindside flanker.

Phillips said, “We want to capitalise on the confidence we’ve gained from the win over Scotland.

“We’ve shown a huge amount of character throughout this tournament – to hold Italy out at the end of that game and to come back from behind to win in Scotland showed remarkable attitude – and skill for such a young side.

“Despite that, I don’t feel we have shown how good a side we are and we’d like to do that on Sunday.

“Ireland are in a similar place as us. They played well against France last weekend. They have a strong back row and players who can make a difference. We certainly won’t be under-estimating them.

“However, we want to focus on ourselves, show what we can do with the ball and produce a better all-round performance. There’s a big game in us and hopefully we can showcase that on Sunday.”

Alisha Butchers, who earns her first start in the tournament since the opening round, is looking forward to some home comforts.

“Being at home lifts us girls massively. We’ve only had one home game this year and although England were tough opposition, we lifted our performance for our home support.

“Travelling away isn’t always accessible for our families so having them there boosts us. I love having my mum and dad and my brothers and sisters there, I can’t wait. There’s very much a family feel ethos and hopefully we can produce an entertaining game.”

“Last week’s game was really exciting and a good stepping stone for us. Moving forward I think we need to stick to our game plan, carry on working on our physicality and keep building as a team.

“Our performance was good last weekend but it can an still be better. We can use the confidence and momentum created by that victory to up our game and also spread the ball a bit more.”

Alisha is now working as a Hub Officer at Y Pant and Bryn Celynnog schools in the Pontypridd area, increasing the range of opportunities for girls to engage with rugby.

“I love it. I’ve already seen a huge increase in the number of girls playing the game and that inspires me – the thought that I’m having an impact on the next generation. They are both brilliant schools and we are getting 40 or more girls training now which is fantastic.

“Traditional 15 a side full-contact rugby isn’t for everyone so we make sure there are different formats and different opportunities all girls to enjoy taking part. A lot of them enjoyed the Rookie Rugby events we held recently, some play touch rugby, others enjoy crash mat rugby which is an introduction to contact or full contact rugby for the more established players who are keen.

“Hopefully a few of the girls – and boys – from the schools will come and support us on Sunday and bring their parents along to see what our game is all about. A few of the girls have role models within the squad, some are inspired by our captain Carys Phillips so I’ve promised they can have some photos after the match.”

Tickets available to print at home from www.cardiffblues.com/tickets and from 10am Sunday at the WRU shop, Westgate Street.

Wales Women V Ireland (Sunday, March 17, 1.30pm, Cardiff Arms Park):

Lauren Smyth (Ospreys); Jasmine Joyce (Scarlets), Hannah Jones (Scarlets), Lleucu George (Scarlets), Jess Kavanagh (RGC); Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears), Keira Bevan (Ospreys); Caryl Thomas (Dragons), Carys Phillips (capt, Ospreys), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Gwen Crabb (Ospreys), Mel Clay (Ospreys), Alisha Butchers (Scarlets), Bethan Lewis (Dragons) Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys)

Replacements:

Kelsey Jones (Ospreys), Cara Hope (Ospreys), Cerys Hale (Dragons), Alex Callender (Scarlets), Manon Johnes (Cardiff Blues), Ffion Lewis (Scarlets), Robyn Wilkins (Blues), Lisa Neumann (RGC)

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