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Sport

Town take tenth Bowl title in thriller

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HAVERFORDWEST won the Harrison Allen Bowl on Saturday (August 31), after they beat Lawrenny in a thrilling final played in Cresselly.

Overnight and early morning rain had threatened to delay the start of the game but the sterling work of the Cresselly groundsmen ensured the game would start on time.

It was Lawrenny who batted first after Town won the toss and chose to bowl.

Kurtis Marsh and Brad McDermott-Jenkins got Lawrenny going with some fine hitting as the pair shared 93 runs for the first wicket.

Those runs came inside the first ten overs but it was Marsh who departed as he saw his shot caught by Mike Jones giving Simon Holliday his first wicket of the day.

McDermott-Jenkins then reached his half century as he and Harry Thomas continued to pile on the runs, taking Lawrenny past 150.

Brad had smashed his way to a score of 76 but then saw himself bowled by Lee Summons.

Town then began to hit back as Summons bowled James Phillips before Adam James did the same to Ryan Morton and Joe Kidney.

Harry Thomas finished unbeaten on 53 however as Lawrenny’s opening 22 overs came to a close with them on 192-5.

Town knew they would need to bat well if they were to keep the lead down, or even build a lead.

They made a blistering start too, Adam James reaching his half century in just the sixth over.

Lawrenny then made the breakthrough as Brad McDermott-Jenkins caught and bowled Simon Holliday on a score of 10.

James Buckle then took an excellent catch to dismiss Danny Potter and give McDermott-Jenkins his second wicket.

At the start of the ninth over, James smashed three big sixes in a row but then saw himself caught by McDermott-Jenkins on 84 as Marsh picked up the crucial wicket.

Marsh then bowled Dai Davies and McDermott-Jenkins then bowled Dan Field to leave the Town on 96-5.

Lee Summons and Jake Merry looked to rebuild and the pair shared 25 runs for the sixth wicket.

Merry then walked down the pitch to play a shot but missed and he couldn’t get back in time as James Phillips knocked the bails off to give Marsh his third wicket.

Mike Jones was then caught by James Buckle off the bowling of Ryan Morton and Archie Thomas was caught by Morton off the bowling of Rob Williams.

Jack Scriven then edged behind to Phillips and with the penultimate ball, Clive Tucker was run out by Buckle.

That left Summons not out on 25 but Town had been bowled out for 149, giving Lawrenny a lead of 43 at the half-way stage.

Marsh and McDermott-Jenkins began again for Lawrenny as they looked to increase their lead.

However, in the second over, Town got the early wicket they wanted as Tucker bowled McDermott-Jenkins.

Marsh was joined in the middle by Harry Thomas and the pair batted well together taking the lead past 100.

They put on 64 runs for the second wicket but Holliday made the breakthrough as he had Thomas caught by Adam James on a score of 33.

Town then struck again as James Phillips hit the ball to Mike Jones who clung on to give Holliday his second wicket.

Holliday then had another as he had Steve Lewis caught by Adam James and he soon had a fourth as he had Joe Kidney caught by Jake Merry.

That left Lawrenny on 91-5 after 14 overs and their lead was only 134.

Holliday wasn’t finished there either as he then ran out James Buckle who had set off for a run that wasn’t there.

Marsh then reached his half century but then saw Ryan Morton trapped leg before by Adam James on a score of 15.

Marsh made his way to a score of 58 but then missed as he came down the wicket for a shot and was stumped by Scriven.

That left Lawrenny on 130-8 with their lead on 173.

Skeels hit a six but a mix up with Tom Cole saw the latter run out by Archie Thomas.

Thomas then had Rob Williams caught by Jake Merry as Lawrenny were bowled out for 143.

That meant that Town would need 187 to win their tenth Bowl title and they would need to go some too to do it.

James and Holliday did indeed go some as the pair shared 104 runs off the first ten overs with some excellent hitting.

Holliday reached a score of 43 but then saw himself caught and bowled by McDermott-Jenkins.

James had smashed his way to a score of 81 from only 44 balls but he was then caught by Ryan Morton off the bowling of McDermott-Jenkins.

That left the Town on 129-2 but Danny Potter and Archie Thomas shared twenty runs for the third wicket.

Morton bowled Thomas but Danny Potter and Dai Davies continued to put runs on the board as the game went down to the wire.

Potter and Davies both cracked maximums as Town edged closer to a remarkable victory.

Potter finished not out on 37 while Davies hit the winning four to finish not out on 15 and spark scenes of celebrations amongst Town players and supporters.

It was a cracking final and a great advert for Pembrokeshire cricket and Lawrenny will feel desperately unlucky to have missed out two years in a row.

Town captain Danny Potter claimed the Bowl for the third time as Captain and for the tenth time in the club’s history.

Adam James was named man of the match shortly after for his knocks of 86 off 33 in the first innings and 81 off 44 in the second.

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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News

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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Sport

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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