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Touch Association announce six new patrons

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New Patrons: Welsh sporting legends unite

FIVE Welsh sporting legends and the leader of the Wales Commonwealth Games Squad are the new patrons of Wales Touch.

Former Wales rugby stars Shane Williams, Jonathan ‘Jiffy’ Davies and Tom Shanklin will be lending their support to the growing sport along with Olympic athlete Jamie Baulch and Non Evans, who has represented Wales at rugby, judo, wrestling and weightlifting.

Professor Nicola Phillips, recently announced as Wales’ chef de mission for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia and currently supporting former Wales rugby union international Richard Parks’ latest expedition to Everest, is also on board.

All patrons have played or been involved with t ouch rugby and are big fans of the game. So much so that former Welsh rugby union international and Ospreys wing Shane Williams is tempted to come out of retirement to play again for the Wales Touch side.

He said: “Touch rugby was always an important part of my training and rugby growing up and I don’t think we see enough people playing it in the northern hemisphere.

“I used to play a lot of touch as a warm up for Wales and the Ospreys and it’s such a great sport. Anyone can play it, it’s for men, women and children, it’s not physical and it doesn’t matter what standard of rugby you are, you can all play together.

“I love the game and as patron I really want to get involved both on and off the field, so may be dusting my boots off as time goes on.”

Touch is a fast, six-a-side, noncontact sport that can be played by men and women of all ages from juniors to veterans, including uniquely mixed teams of men and women. There are five regions currently run by Wales Touch Association, which have individual clubs and leagues;

  • Cyclones and Warriors (Cardiff, Caerphilly, Merthyr, Rhondda, south Powys and Vale of Glamorgan)
  • Rangers (Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flint, Gwynedd, north Powys and Wrexham)
  • Rebels (Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea)
  • Red Kites (Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion)
  • Titans (Monmouth, Newport, Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent)

It is a good way to stay fit and is particularly popular with rugby union and league players to keep fitness and skills levels up in the summer months. It’s also ideal for total novices and can be played by anyone.

Patron and former Wales and Cardiff Blues outside centre, Tom Shanklin, said: “Touch is incredible and I used to play it loads to warm up, develop my skills, keep fit and have fun. It’s based on the basic principles of rugby, it’s all about creating space, attacking, catching, passing, handling and agility but without the physicality of tackling.

“I love that it’s a mixed sport that can be played by all ages, shapes and abilities and I would encourage everyone to give it a go, it’s just a top sport.”

Former Wales rugby union and league star and broadcaster Jonathan Davies believes that playing touch rugby at a young age, like they do in the southern hemisphere, has a big impact on improving rugby players’ core skills.

He said: “If you look at players in the Southern and North hemisphere it’s like European and British football. They look comfortable on the ball, they try things they wouldn’t normally do, it’s just in their nature and that’s because they play Touch.

“It’s about assessing situations, looking for opportunities and space, and having the core skills to finish it off. That’s what the difference was between Australia and New Zealand in the World Cup and it’s down to playing Touch from a young age.”

Wales has a good standing in Touch and are currently European Champions in the over 40s and junior categories.

Wales Touch Association Managing Director John Francis said : “We are delighted to have secured the support and enthusiasm of six such great patrons.

“Their profile and genuine love for the game will help us to encourage more people to get involved with Wales Touch Association.

“Clubs across Wales are always on the look out for new players and I would encourage anyone interested in sport to get involved. It’s a fun to way meet new people, develop new skills and even play for your country.”

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Sport

Boxer set to compete in Germany

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Return: Ben Rees-Davies returns to Germany this weekend

CARDIGAN light-welterweight boxer Ben Rees-Davies returns to the scene of his greatest performance this week (Oct 19-22) when he competes in the prestigious Eindhoven Box Cup in Germany.

Seventeen months ago, the talented 25-year-old acquitted himself superbly by winning a bronze medal in a tournament which invariably draws some of the finest amateurs in Europe and the world.

Rees-Davies – a lance corporal in the Royal Welsh Regiment – eventually lost in the semi-finals to Russian number one Arman Zakaryan, the 2015 European champion and an Olympic qualifier.

A series of injuries mean that the former Cardigan ABC man has not boxed since losing in the Welsh Championships quarter-finals in March.

But Rees-Davies says he is now fully fit, fuelled by the nagging belief he has never quite fulfilled his potential – and by the fact he may soon have to hang up his gloves.

“I’m entered into an 18-man strong group with boxers from all over the world, it’s a Commonwealth Games qualifying tournament so there will be a fantastic pedigree of boxers,” he told the Herald.

“I’ve had a few frustrating injuries since the Welsh Championships so I haven’t been active, but if anything it’s made me more hungry to get back in the ring and achieve big things this year.

“For me it’s a massive season, and it could be my last so I’m aiming to achieve as much as I can and show my true potential once and for all.”

Rees-Davies said the time was approaching when he would have to focus wholeheartedly on his Army career.

He explained: “I want to progress with promotion. I love boxing with all my heart, but I have to think of my career also.”

He said he was ‘eternally grateful’ to long-time friend Anthony Studley, of Hair Lounge 4 Men in Cardigan – himself a former Cardigan ABC boxer – for helping him with funding.

“I massively appreciate help from him and he’s a credit to the town,” he said.

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Sport

Aber knocked out by Reds

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Battle: Aberaeron and Llanelli players go for the ball​

Aberaeron • 1
Llanelli Town • 6
JD Welsh Cup

LLANELLI T​OWN proved too strong for Aberaeron ​last Saturday (Oct 7), as they were knocked out of the JD Welsh Cup by their Welsh League Division 1 opponents.

With the pitch looking immaculate the scene was set for a memorable cup tie but unfortunately that dream only lasted five minutes.

Aberaeron, who have regularly conceded easy goals from lost possession​,​ were left in no doubt that it should be safety first.

A cleared defensive header from an early corner for Llanelli should have been dealt with but possession was lost and a quick cross was easily headed in to the net.

Before Aberaeron could settle, Llanelli’s star player Lee Trundle beat three players to give himself a sight on goal and he thundered an unstoppable shot in off the underside of the bar.

Aberaeron woke up and Matty Davies was twice through on goal but no end product. Llanelli were passing well and Lee Trundle found himself one on one against Sion Clark. He turned cleverly leaving the defender in his wake and was unceremoniously upended for a clear penalty. Trundle drove it hard to the keeper’s left for number three.

Once more Aberaeron came in to the game, but passes were awry and often intercepted. A long clearance from Llanelli was not caught by Edwards, the Aberaeron keeper and the ball was easily tapped in to an empty net​.​

The second half was an attempt at a pride salvaging operation and Aberaeron gave a good account of themselves without finding the opponents net.

Trundle was kept at bay for the majority of the half but his trickery once more led to him being fouled in the box and he, once more, slammed the ball to the keeper’s left for five nil.

Aberaeron did get a consolation goal from the penalty spot from Matty Davies before another calamitous defending error gave Llanelli a sixth.

The score did not truly reflect the game but it reflects the ruthlessness of an ex professional striker who, clearly writes his own headlines- quite deservedly.

For Aberaeron, these are worrying times and the next three fixtures are ‘must wins’.

If Aberaeron cannot eradicate the problem of losing simple possession then it’s going to a long and very difficult season.

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Sport

Aber climb off the bottom

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Chance: Ryan Wade comes close with a chance for Aber

Aberystwyth Town • 0
Barry Town • 0

ABERYSTWYTH TOWN earned themselves a point to climb off the bottom of the JD Welsh Premier League table last Saturday afternoon (Oct 7), as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Barry Town United at Park Avenue.

Both sides missed good opportunities to win the game in the second half, but the game ended in stalemate as both managers settled for a point apiece.

Aber manager Nev Powell made one change to the starting line-up from Tuesday’s Nathaniel MG Cup defeat to Airbus UK Broughton, with John Owen replacing Cledan Davies, which meant Mathew Jones started at left back for the first time in his Black and Greens’ career.

Both sides started the game cautiously, with the game lacking any real rhythm through the first 15 minutes. Barry came closest to opening the scoring on 16 minutes, as Chris Mullock somehow pulled off an instinctive point-blank save from Kayne Mclaggon’s close range shot.

Mclaggon was forced off through injury shortly afterwards, and Macauley Southam fired a long-range effort over the bar for the visitors.

Aber continued to struggle to get any threatening attacking play going, with Ryan Wade shooting well wide of the post on separate occasions.

The half time whistle could not come soon enough for the 233 spectators at Park Avenue.

The first 15 minutes of the second half again proved to be rather uninspiring for the neutrals, as both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances.

On 60 minutes, Aber’s midfield maestro Malcolm Melvin, and soon after striker Craig Hobson were introduced in place of Ryan Wollacott and Joe Phillips, with manager Nev Powell looking for some fresh impetus from his side.

Aber began to slowly crank up the pressure on the visitors’ rear guard, as Ryan Wade shot straight at Barry keeper Mike Lewis, before Hobson almost converted an in-swinging Ashley Young free kick.

Barry themselves continues to look dangerous on the counter attack with the pace of wide men Tyrrell Webbe and Drew Fahiya, but on 87 minutes Aber again came close to the breakthrough as Hobson headed Wade’s cross into the side-netting.

Aber looked for one last chance as the game headed into three minutes of added time, and they very nearly found the winner in the dying seconds as right back Declan Walker brought the ball down from the sky and fired a low shot towards goal, only for it to hit the outside of the post.

This was another occasion where Aber have to settle for a point when it could so easily have been three, but manager Nev Powell will take encouragement from the organisation and defensive qualities his side showed today, keeping their first clean sheet in the league this season.

Town now turn their attentions to their next JD Welsh Premier League fixture away to Llandudno, on Saturday (Oct 14).

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