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BT unveils new community rugby scheme

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Left to right: Lou Reed Cardiff Blues, Emyr Phillips Scarlets, Cory Hill Newport Gwent Dragons, JJEnglebrecht Ospreys

Left to right: Lou Reed Cardiff Blues, Emyr Phillips Scarlets, Cory Hill Newport Gwent Dragons, JJEnglebrecht Ospreys

BT SPORT’S charitable initiative The Supporters Club have announced a new grant for ‘TACKLE’ – a joint project between the four professional teams in Wales and Pro Rugby Wales that will bring an inspiring new rugby education engagement programme to young people in Wales’ most deprived areas.

The investment to local communities further builds upon BT’s significant sponsorship and support of all four Welsh rugby regions.

TACKLE will be The Supporters Club key sports engagement initiative in Wales as part of its aim to create a better future for young people facing incredibly tough challenges. Money raised through The Supporters Club goes to UK and international projects that change young lives.

The Supporters Club uses donations from BT Sport customers to invest in projects selected in partnership with Comic Relief. Across the last three years The Supporters Club has raised over £5.5m for both UK and worldwide projects, with over 65,000 people now signed up to The Supporters Club.

TACKLE will be delivered in partnership by the community teams at the Ospreys, Scarlets, Newport Gwent Dragons and Cardiff Blues. It will be launched in September 2016 ahead of the new rugby season taking popular inflatable ‘cage rugby’ sessions to young people in Communities First areas in Wales combining fun, actionpacked rugby sessions with education pathways and mentoring sessions.

Funding has been secured for two years and will initially focus on working with young people aged 14-16 where drop-out rates from sport are at their highest in Wales. TACKLE will link with education and careers partners to help disaffected young people with clear education and personal development options; helping improve self-confidence, school attainment and employability skills.

TACKLE will bring a format of rugby into the heart of communities that is accessible, relevant and challenging for teenagers, both male and female and of all abilities including those who have never played before. The cage rugby sessions can be held in a wide variety of locations that traditional community rugby activity can’t reach – with events on grass in parks, on housing estates, school playgrounds or car parks as well as sports and community centres.

Simon Green, Head of BT Sport said: “BT Sport and our partners recognise the positive role sport can play in the lives of young people in the UK and abroad. This announcement further strengthens BT’s relationship with Welsh rugby, providing a pathway for young people in Wales that face difficult challenges. The Supporters Club continues to build better lives for young people, thanks to the millions of pounds BT Sport viewers have raised for these good causes.”

Alwen Williams, Director BT Cymru Wales said: “This is exciting news and reflects the positive partnership we’ve developed between BT and rugby in Wales. We’re very proud to support rugby and TACKLE will be another great opportunity for BT colleagues in Wales to connect with our communities through rugby, which is at the heart of our nation.

“We look forward to helping support this inspiring project through BT volunteering and mentoring – both of which are central to BT’s philosophy and commitment as a business.”

Mark Davies, Chief Executive of Pro Rugby Wales which represents the four Welsh pro teams said: “This is an inspiring new programme which will see our four rugby regions working together collaboratively for the first time with rugby as the catalyst to engage, inspire and motivate young people in Wales helping them seize greater opportunities and a better life.

“For the majority of us in the game, this is what working in rugby is all about – linking young people to the values and enjoyment of sport; we have some remarkable rugby role models in our game hat epitomize the positive values of our game and can be an inspiration to people of all ages, genders and abilities to reach their goals in life.”

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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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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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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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