CARDIGAN’s Jamie ‘Fireball’ Lewis failed in his gallant attempt on Saturday (Dec 30) to reach the Professional Darts World Championship Final at the Alexandra Palace, succumbing to the legend Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor.
Lewis spoke after losing his semi-final 6-1 stating: “I’m disappointed as it’s the first time in the tournament I didn’t play the game; I played the name Phil Taylor and in doing so I put pressure on myself. He is the best darts player and I missed opportunities at doubles which if it had been any other player or it not being potentially ‘The Powers’ last ever game, I may have capitalised on.
“I am proud of my performances in this Championship and I hope I can build on this for the future. I’m also thankful for the support I’ve received, here from my family and friends but also from across West Wales. My social media platform has just gone nuts!”
Phil Taylor continued his walk in a winter wonderland but failed in the final when he lost 7-2 to Rob ‘Voltage’ Cross but the Welsh Wizard endeared himself to the world audience with his efforts.
Lewis is the boy next door, clean cut but not clean shaven although he has shed the dreadlocks which symbolised his likeness for reggae music and Bob Marley.
At 26 years of age Lewis , to the tune of his walk-on ‘uptown funk’, strutted through the opening round against Belgium’s Kenny Neyans having come through the qualifying rounds, present only on stage after Dimitri Van den Bergh claimed a place as Youth champion.
Fellow West Walian, Pontyberem’s Johnny Clayton succumbed on the same day 3-0 before Lewis defeated number two seed Peter ‘Snakebite’ Wright 4-1 and James Richardson by the same score in the round of sixteen.
The quarter final demolition of Darren Webster 5-0 saw the pedigree of the now symbolic ‘Dragon Slayer’ come to the fore as he pinged 14 maximum 180s for a 101.26 match average.
Possibly in the genes, Dad Mark was a quarter finalist in the BDO where Lewis showed panache for three dart checkouts, including a 170 against Robertson.
Ranked number 46 in the World, Red Dragon Darts sponsored Lewis was phenomenal with an average of 107.67 against the charismatic Snakebite, his best performance since gaining his PDC card in 2012.
The opening semi-final saw Lewis first to fizz, as he took the opening set despite losing the opening leg on his own throw. Lewis had opportunities in the second set for a 2-0 lead but the difference ultimately lay with the checkout doubles by Taylor.
‘Throw for show, doubles for dough’ rings true as Lewis ended the semi-final with a three dart average of 97.35 but a checkout percentage of 34.15 [14 out of 41] compared to Taylors 52.63% checkout.
The future now seems bright for the ‘Fireball’ with Lewis finding himself on the radar of the PDC chairman Barry Hearn, as he came close to a wild card entry alongside Van Den Bergh for the prestigious Premier League which kicks off in February.
“We’re going to give them another year” said Hearn, “probably use them in a few World Series events to give them a bit more experience and look forward to them making another push with their career and knocking on the door of the Premier League next year.”
Wales v Scotland postponed
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.”
Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended
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.
Exercise Referral Scheme doing more for health intervention than ever before
A record 35,069 participants attended Exercise Referral classes during 2640 hours of health classes in 2019.
The National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) is an evidence-based health intervention scheme which incorporates physical activity and behavioural change techniques to support referred clients to make lifestyle changes to improve their health and well-being.
NERS Ceredigion has seen a dramatic increase in demand over the past year. A coordinator and four full time exercise professionals work to deliver the scheme, delivering 73 classes per week. The age of participants range from 16 years old, with the eldest participant in Ceredigion being 95.
Exercise class options include Gym, Circuit, Postural Stability (seated), Spin Bikes, Aqua Aerobics, Tai Chi and Pilates. Venues include council and community centres in Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, Lampeter, Tregaron, Cardigan and Llandysul.
Councillor Catrin Miles, Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure, highlighted the benefits of the scheme, “There are many physical, psychological and social benefits to being part of the scheme, including confidence-building, better self-esteem, meeting new people and being generally fitter and healthier. Ceredigion Actif’s highly qualified Health Intervention Team provide opportunities to exercise that are fun, rewarding and that can be incorporated into everyday life.”
NERS Ceredigion targets people with a medical condition through various pathways including generic, cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary, PSI falls, stroke rehabilitation, mental health, cancer and weight management. The 16 week tailored programme of exercise is delivered by a team of specialist Level 4 qualified exercise professionals who guide referred participants towards realising their individual goals.
A participant in Aberystwyth said, “This has been the best thing I have ever done. I have thrived from doing different activities and pushing myself out of my comfort zone which has not only helped my self-esteem but also my depression and everything else including my pain. I have also made new friends which I didn’t even consider would happen and we’re not only being social but we’re having fun too which is a bonus”.
There is ongoing monitoring from the instructors with follow up assessments at 16 weeks as well as on completion at 52 weeks. Long-term ‘maintenance’ options are available post 16 weeks which include the continuation of exercise classes as well as opportunities to join clubs such as walking basketball, walking football, golf sessions and walking rugby.
During 2018-2019 there were 913 referrals to the scheme. To gain access to the scheme, a person needs to be referred by a Health Professional, usually a GP, Practice Nurse or a condition specific Physiotherapist.
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