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Tenby trounce Tycroes

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By Jonathan Twigg

TENBY TOURERS sponsored Tenby United completed their home fixtures on Saturday (Apr 7) with an emphatic 47-5 demolishment of relegated Tycroes, running in six tries alongside 17 points from the boot of full back Craig Barnett.

Referee Lloyd Hughes from Taibach, Port Talbot was empathetic in keeping the game flowing on an excellent surface despite the horrendous recent weather, allowing both teams the opportunity to run with ball in hand with advantage, his demeanour one of autocratic control which has seen the engineer perform at championship level this season.

The red and blacks have stumbled in recent times, perhaps due to a shortage of front row forwards since injury ruled prop out Lewis Davies, although the return of former player Andrew Evans from Loughborough has helped the home side.

They had to elect to go for a passive scrummage set piece for the final minutes of the game much to the disgruntlement of the travelling visiting support, meaning very little as the game had been comprehensively put to bed.

Hooker Joe Poole was the Heywood Butchers man of the match for his all round play which saw Tenby dominate the line out, his throwing accuracy supported by robust action on the fringes of the gain line and high tackle count, which undid the Ammanford village sides dominant start.

Poole, a student at Swansea University also had a magnetic pair of hands to offload passes before contact, a mantra which coaches Chris James and Andrew Morgan have instilled throughout the team.

Led by Johnnie Morgan at outside half it took a quarter of an hour for his side to open the scoring, weathering the black shirted visitors driving play, where they turned down three points from in front of the posts after outside half James Owen long range penalty attempt after three minutes bounced off the cross bar from the halfway line.

Man of the match: Tenby Hooker Joe Poole

Flanker Andrew Cooke, like Poole was in the thick of the defensive number 8 Darryl John was held up over the try line, the ensuing scrum set piece saw the home eight establish a game marker from which they had a platform from which to build, winger Jordan Asparrassa scooting down the touchline as he combined well with diminutive scrum half Matthew Morgan.

Both had excellent games running with ball in hand and willing to take the opposition on from the front foot, rewarded with touchdowns and without Poole’s work rate off the ball may well have tucked into the steaks from Heywoods Butchers themselves.

Skipper Luke Hansford scored the opening try just after the first quarter, as his fellow forwards controlled possession driving forward in pods, well drilled and setting the ball back on a plate for Morgan to use.

The flankers touchdown close to the posts came when he clambered through the strewn bodies to cross, full back Craig Barnett landing the conversion, which he did again four minutes later after robust centre Pat Roberts broke through some weak opposition tackling to run in from 20 metres as the ground beneath him held firm after the sterling work undertaken by Boots of Lydstep who manicure the ground.

A killer third try came two minutes before the interval, when Barnett entered the line at pace and timed his pass beautifully to draw the final man and allow winger Yannik Parker to pin back his ears and cross unopposed, Barnett completed the scoring meaning the second period was about the ‘Seasiders’ ensuring maximum points with a bonus point fourth try.

This was achieved within five minutes of the restart, centre Moritz Neuman the catalyst, working well with his skipper Morgan at outside half, Poole linking into the traffic alongside Roberts and number 8 Roy Osborne, who was credited with the all-important score.

An appreciative crowd led by the match sponsors Scaffold 2000 alongside the ‘scoreborad regulars’ minded little that Barnett’s conversion struck the left upright as Tycroes visibly tired allowing Tenby to dictate the play, at pace and with vision as the Morgan brothers, alongside Parker took opportunities to turn the opposition on their heels.

Evans and his fellow prop Ethan Morgan continue to ensure set piece parity as Luke Dedman and replacement second row Jack Clancy stood tall in the line out, Poole with a nigh on perfect throwing record and Cooke able to link play between forwards and backs superbly.

Centre Elean Griffiths was instrumental in stemming the tide for Tycroes, but neither he or his back three could stem the try count, Asparrassa showing a clear pair of heels to touchdown and scrum half Morgan breaking clear with runners either side as options, he sold a lovely dummy to full back Scott Bowen to race clear from 25 metres.

Barnett had converted before Tycores centre Matthew Lemon scrambled over wide out after some sustained driving from his forwards with number 8 John a strong ball carrier, some pride restored for the divisions bottom of the table side.

Coaches Chris James and Andrew Morgan have brought an attacking game plan to Heywood Lane over the past two seasons, encouraging the ball when possible to be kept out of contact areas and running space, Cooke and Roberts combining well which released Asparrassa once again, to score, Barnett missed the difficult conversion as Tenby had to opt for passive scrums for the final throws of the game and from a defensive set piece on their own five metre line Osborne picked up at the base and set his back division in motion.

Handling at pace with the vision to attack space they spread the ball through the hands and when play switched back across the field second row Deadman was able to race 20 metres from the half way line, drawing the cover defence and popping a pass to Osborne to round off a length of the field play which he started, Barnett adding the coup de grace before Hughes shrill blast ended the home fixtures for the season at Heywood Lane.

James on conclusion of the game said: “No negatives from the performance as we put together a complete team performance, where the players were never afraid to back their own skills set. We have been on a losing run stretching over the international period but always maintained confidence in our style of rugby and we can look forward to our final four fixtures on the road without fear.”

The first of those sees them travel to the Ranch on Saturday (Apr 21) to take on Llanelli Wanderers before heading to Parc Lloyd Thomas the week after to tackle Crymych, both sides sitting below Tenby in the league table and needing a full head of steam to overhaul them.

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St. Davids Rugby Club bids fond farewell to popular tenants

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ST DAVIDS Rugby Club has announced with great regret that Carol and Jeff Pick, beloved tenants of the club, are stepping down from their position. The couple, who moved to St. Davids primarily for this opportunity, expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the past year, which they described as an extraordinary experience.

Carol and Jeff took over the tenancy of St. Davids RFC in Pembrokeshire at the end of last summer, a significant period as the rugby season commenced. Unlike most rugby clubs that employ a steward or stewardess, Jeff and Carol owned the tenancy, meaning they managed the entire operation, making decisions that could make or break their venture. Despite the challenges posed by the seasonal influx of St. Davids’ population, which swells from 2,000 to 12,000 during the summer months, they thrived.

Their tenure has been marked by a series of successful initiatives. Jeff’s background as a former player and coach undoubtedly facilitated his integration with the club’s members. Carol’s personal touch was evident through her creative contributions, such as sewing cushions in the club’s colours for the lounge, which added a genuine club feel to the place. The club became a hub of activity with weekend entertainment, including bands, open mic nights, and Carol’s popular Sunday lunches.

In a heartfelt statement, Carol and Jeff shared their appreciation for the warm and welcoming community they have come to cherish. “We have met so many wonderful people and made countless friends; words cannot describe how fantastic this last year has been,” they said.

Although they are leaving their roles as tenants, the couple emphasised their ongoing commitment to the club. Jeff will continue his involvement with the rugby team, and Carol remains a dedicated supporter. They extended their thanks to the club’s committee for their unwavering support and for providing them with this unique opportunity.

Special acknowledgements were given to Jack, the coaches, and the players, who have contributed to the fun and camaraderie within the club. Carol and Jeff also highlighted the continuous support from the mini and juniors section, as well as the St. Davids Penknife Club, whose encouragement has been invaluable.

The couple expressed their gratitude to all the club members and patrons who have visited for a pint, noting the joy they found in these interactions. They also thanked their friends and family for visiting and sharing in the wonderful times at the club.

Concluding their message, Carol and Jeff expressed their sincere thanks to everyone who has supported them throughout the year. “It has been an absolute pleasure getting to know all the friends we’ve made,” they remarked.

The departure of Carol and Jeff marks the end of a cherished chapter at St. Davids Rugby Club, but their legacy of friendship and community spirit will undoubtedly endure. Visitors and club members alike will fondly remember their contributions and the vibrant atmosphere they helped create.

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United Airlines unveils limited-edition Wrexham AFC amenity kits and pyjamas

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UNITED AIRLINES has introduced new, limited-edition Wrexham AFC amenity kits and pyjamas to commemorate the Welsh football team’s recent promotion to League One. The launch coincides with the rising global popularity of the Emmy award-winning series “Welcome to Wrexham”, which is currently streaming on Hulu.

Starting from 1st June, passengers flying in United’s premium cabins on long-haul international routes will receive these exclusive Wrexham AFC-inspired kits. These kits will include essential travel items such as an eye mask, toothbrush, and toothpaste, along with exclusive Therabody skincare products. Additionally, United Polaris® customers on flights of 14 hours or longer will be provided with pyjamas designed to resemble the team’s uniforms, featuring a long-sleeve Wrexham red shirt and grey pants.

Co-chairmen of Wrexham AFC, Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds, revealed these new onboard amenities in a recently released video. The kits and pyjamas, designed in collaboration with United Airlines, draw inspiration from Wrexham AFC’s crest, jerseys, and overall aesthetic.

Amenity Kit Details:

  • United x Wrexham AFC Amenity Case: For United Polaris business class travellers, this reusable toiletry case features the Wrexham crest and is available in red, black, or white. It includes a top handle, wrap-around zipper, and a loop for hanging.
  • United x Wrexham AFC Amenity Pouch: For United Premium Plus® travellers, this slim, zippered pouch also features the Wrexham crest and is available in the same colour options. It is designed to fit easily into a carry-on bag.
  • United x Wrexham AFC Pyjamas: Available to United Polaris business class passengers on flights of 14 hours or more, this lightweight pyjama set includes a red, long-sleeve shirt with the Wrexham AFC and United logos on the front and grey pants with the United logo on the hip.

Each amenity kit contains a United-exclusive Therabody hand cream, lip balm, cleansing towelette, bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask, ear plugs, and socks. The Polaris kit also includes Therabody eye serum, face spray, tissues, and a United pen.

Peter Wolkowski, Director of Onboard Product Design at United, commented, “With our amenity kits, we always aim to provide customers with products that make their travel journey more comfortable as well as create one-of-a-kind keepsakes for them to enjoy well beyond their flight. Wrexham’s story is one that has been documented and celebrated these last few years, so we’re thrilled to now give United customers team-branded gear they won’t be able to find anywhere else.”

United Airlines, a prominent sponsor of Wrexham AFC, will continue to support the club throughout the 2024-2025 season. The airline is the front-of-jersey sponsor for both the men’s and women’s teams, and it will also sponsor the club’s North American summer tour, providing exclusive offerings to MileagePlus members.

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Former Wales rugby international Tonia Antoniazzi MP joins Scarlets Board

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THE Scarlets have said this week that they are delighted to announce that Gower MP and former Wales international Tonia Antoniazzi will join the Scarlets Board of Directors with immediate effect.

Tonia, who is Gower’s first female MP, has served at Westminster since June 2017. She was born and raised along with two brothers in Llanelli by her Welsh Mum and Welsh-Italian father who supported her love of sport from an early age.

With Welsh-Italian sporting heritage, she won nine caps for Wales as a prop playing internationally for three years as well as playing for Benetton Treviso’s women’s team in 1993-94 while studying in Venice. Her last cap as tighthead prop came in 1999. She participated in the first Women’s World Cup in 1998. From a rugby family, her brother Julian Antoniazzi played for Welsh Schools seven times in 1985.

Tonia is a passionate, lifelong Scarlets supporter after spending many years growing up supporting rugby on the terraces at Stradey Park. Alongside her international rugby career, Tonia is a graduate in French and Italian from Exeter University with a PGCE from Cardiff University, teaching in Wigan before returning home to West Wales as Head of Modern Foreign Languages at Ysgol Bryngwyn in Llanelli.

Since retiring from international rugby and forging a successful political career, she is now a leading light and voice championing the growth and development of women’s and girls’ rugby across Wales, campaigning for greater equality, engagement, participation and inclusion at all levels in the game.

Scarlets are building for the future which includes a fresh focus on the girls’ and women’s game, with four players in the U18s Women’s Six Nations squad, a number of girls from the region selected for the West Wales Professional Development Centre (PDC) plus 70 girls are registered with the Scarlets’ first U17s Development Squad.

Scarlets’ Academy coaches support training and development of Celtic Challenge Cup side Brython Thunder who are based at Parc y Scarlets. Two of the region’s age-grade teams Teifi Timberwolves and Taf Valley Tigers were U16s and U18s WRU National plate winners this season. Increased demand from girls to play rugby is now being supported with 32 WRU clusters supporting players from U7s to U18s across communities in Wales.

Scarlets’ Community Foundation rugby programme also continues to go from strength-to-strength delivering wide-ranging rugby inclusion events to support social benefit across its region and engaging with more than 20,000 young people this season.

Tonia Antoniazzi MP said: “It truly is an honour and privilege for me and I am very excited to be joining the Scarlets Board. Scarlets rugby has been at the heart of my family and my upbringing and it was that love and passion for this club that led me to play for Wales. Now I am continuing to support the sport that means so much to me off the pitch.

“Rugby is ours. It’s everybody’s sport and everybody matters in our game.”

“We need a plurality of voices in Welsh rugby to take the game forward. There is a new era of rugby dawning in Wales and Scarlets rugby has a bright future within it, I want to be part of that and ensure everyone connected with our game has a voice and is well-represented.”

“I am passionate about bringing more women into the game. I feel very strongly that when I was a young girl, I had to look up to my brother – and think if he can do it I can do it. Now we can see a future in the sport for young girls to aspire to – with the likes of Alex Callender (from Llanelli), who I used to teach, coming through and winning multiple caps.

“What we need now is to engage more through the women’s and girls’ programmes into clubs to ensure we have more teams and more international players playing their rugby in Wales. When you can see it as a player, you believe you can be it. We need to show our young girls that there is a future for them in rugby in Wales.”

Scarlets Executive Chairman Simon Muderack said: “Tonia will bring valued rugby expertise, a strong voice for the women’s game and great governance leadership from her experience and knowledge across international rugby, the educational sector and her parliamentary career.

“Her energy, ambition and passion for Scarlets rugby and the women’s and girl’s game in this region is undeniable. She is a positive driving force who wants to see Scarlets and Welsh rugby thrive now and in the future and is helping spearhead a culture change throughout our game. We are delighted she is joining us at a time when we are restructuring and strengthening our business operations to meet the challenges of the future and we look forward to Tonia’s input and support.”

Tonia lives in Pontarddulais and has a son Jac who is currently studying at Cardiff University.

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