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Wales ready for Six Nations

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By Jonathan Twigg

THE 2018 Six Nations Rugby Championship kicks off on Saturday (Feb 3) when Wales, captained by Alun Wyn Jones, welcome Scotland to the Principality Stadium in a match to be refereed by Frenchman, Romain Poite.

Coach Warren Gatland’s squad has been hampered with many high profile injuries, the latest being former Scarlets full back Liam Williams alongside scrum half Rhys Webb and his half back partner Dan Biggar.

The Welsh nation’s attention will be focused over the next seven weeks on the rugby and local interest has been heightened due to the Scarlets progressing to the European Cup quarter finals where they play La Rochelle on Friday (Mar 31).

The opening game against a Scottish side who have revelled in attacking flair under coach Gregor Townsend in the Autumn Series will offer a test which Gatland’s charges will have to meet front on to secure a victory. Winning will set down a marker by which the side will be judged.

They travel to Twickenham a week later to take on England before crossing the Irish Sea to take on the Emerald Isle in Dublin at the end of the month.

Both England and Ireland are at the top of their game at present, where any positive result will see euphoria amongst rugby followers. Gatland has changed his blueprint of direct rugby through hard running centre partnerships now opting for a more creative player at 12 which follows the way the Scarlets have developed this season.

Rhys Patchell could well have the nod to partner Gareth Davies at half back and the back division would feature fellow Scarlets, winger Steff Evans and Leigh Halfpenny, although neither have played a lot of ruby in recent weeks.

The centre partnership may be pivotal, with Osprey bound Scott Williams linking with adopted Kiwi Hadleigh Parkes after both impressed in the Autumn Series.

Prop Rob Evans should pack down on the coal face alongside Scarlets captain Ken Owens and fellow prop Samson le has returned to full fitness and may become the third player in the front row.

Back row dynamos Aaron Shingler and newbie James ‘Cubby’ Davies, brother of injured centre Jonathan, are also probable starters for Gatland meaning the Pivac influence of ‘expect the unexpected’, albeit abstractly, could well influence how well Wales perform.

Following the two testing trips on the road, Wales return to the Principality Stadium to take on Italy on Sunday (Mar 11) when the fixture follows the Women’s international between the two countries, before the finale of the season when France take on the ‘Men of Harlech’ a week later.

Predicating any result in sport is precarious at the best of times and the Six Nations championship often depends on which country has the key fixtures at home. Wales would be looking to secure three home victories, where the toughest encounter will be the opener against our Gaelic cousins.

Travelling to Twickenham and Dublin are daunting for any side where realistically a positive result will be an outside chance at best.

England, with colourful Aussie hooker Eddie Jones in charge are hardworking and Wales may have to live off limited possession, although the Scarlets faced such a scenario when they travelled to the ‘Rec’ and comprehensively dismissed Bath in front of Jones watching eyes.

Where there is a will there is a way as veteran second row Alun Wyn Jones leads the side knowing it could present a title showdown against Ireland, possibly the toughest of opponents in their own back yard.

With some optimism the prediction is for four victories, the three home fixtures and an exhilarating performance to light up the return journey down the M4 for those die hard supporters making the trip to HQ.

England will also return with four victories, beating Scotland in the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield and France in Paris as recompense for their humbling at Wales hands.

Ireland, with a win over Wales may find the final game at Twickenham one step too far as the ‘Rose’ will find it unbearable to lose two home games meaning they also end on four victories.

Italy will pick up the wooden spoon without securing a win, ahead of France with Scotland in fourth position.

Representing Wales on the referee’s circuit will by Nigel Owens, who has a long association with Pontyberem RFC in the Gwendraeth Valley, taking centre stage when Ireland take on France.

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Sport

Junior tournament a great success

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THE highly acclaimed Bow Street Football Club Junior tournament celebrated its seventeenth year of existence in style on the weekend of July 13-14.

An excellent level of entries was again attracted this year, and large crowds came to enjoy the two-day festival, now widely recognised as one of the foremost events of its kind in Wales.

Bow Street chairman Wyn Lewis said: “It was another absolutely brilliant weekend. We were blessed with suitable weather on both days, and as a club, we are very proud to be the hosts of such a phenomenal event, and I want to thank all who contributed to the success of the tournament.

Builth: Under 11 winners

“I particularly want to thank the army of volunteers from Bow Street FC who worked extremely hard as a team to ensure that the whole event proceeded in an organised, efficient and friendly manner It is believed that there was over 1700 in attendance on the Saturday and we thank all our visitors for supporting us again this year.

“I would also like to thank our new tournament sponsors, Brian Jones and Castell Howell Foods for their magnificent support and commitment over the weekend.”

Brian Jones added: “We are delighted to support such a superbly organised event, and I was amazed at the standard of the youngsters on Sunday. The best thing was seeing all who were present thoroughly enjoying themselves.”

Penrhyn girls u12

Main organiser, Amlyn Evans added: “It is an absolute pleasure to organise such an enjoyable event. Again, as every year, the greatest pleasure is seeing the enjoyment on the faces of all the competitors and spectators. The effort put in by club officials to ensure the smooth running of the whole event is phenomenal. Not only is it enjoyable, but it does provide Bow Street youngsters and others from this area the invaluable opportunity to test their skills against a large variety of teams from away.”

There were teams participating from as far afield as Pontyclun, Cardiff, Pwllheli and Caernarfon and for the sixth consecutive year, an all-girls competition took place on the Sunday.

Bro Hedd Wyn: Winners U8

Winners and Runners up:

Under 6

Winners – Penrhyncoch

Runners Up – Llambed

Under 8

Winners –Bro Hedd Wyn

Runners Up – Lampeter

Under 10

Winners – Bow Street

Bow Street Under 10: Winners

Runners Up – Berriw

Under 11

Winners – Builth

Runners Up – Penrhyncoch

Under 12

Winners – Llanilar

Runners Up – Canton Rangers (Cardiff)

Under 14

Winners – Padarn United

Padarn United: U14 winners

Runners Up – Penrhyncoch

Under 16

Winners – Bow Street

Runners Up – Rhayader

Girls Under 12

Winners – Penrhyncoch

Runners Up – Porthmadog

Player of The Day – Keisha Swai(Porthmadog)

Mark Horwood Memorial Award

Mari Hefin: Winner of the Mark Horwood memorial award for Sunday

(Trophy for best local player of the day.)

Saturday – Stefan Gillies(Penrhyncoch)

Sunday – Mari Hefin(Bow Street)

Overall Player Of The Day

Saturday – Robin Williams (Bro Hedd Wyn)

Sunday – Cayo Carruthers (Llanilar)

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Sport

Large crowds expected for Junior tournament

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LARGE crowds are expected this coming weekend (Jul 13-14) for yet another huge occasion for Bow Street Football Club.

The club will be staging its seventeenth consecutive annual junior tournament. Since the inaugural tournament in 2003, the event has rapidly grown in to one of the most prestigious and successful in the whole of Wales.

The tournament is organised by the Spar Mid Wales League team, and games will take place on 9 different pitches at the club’s Cae Piod ground.

This year has again attracted an excellent number of entries with approximately 130 teams applying to participate in the eight different categories.

Teams from as far as Caernarfon and Cardiff will participate on the two days, and competition takes place on Saturday at under 6’s, under 8’s, under 10,s and under 11’s. On Sunday, teams compete at under 12’s, under 14’s and under 16’s.

For the sixth year running there will be a specific all girls category, which will take place on Sunday at under 12.

Bow Street FC are delighted to reveal that the tournament has a brand new sponsor. Castell Howell Foods, firmly established as one of the UK’s leading independent food wholesalers, has agreed to sponsor the extremely popular event for the next two years.

Bow Street Girls: Pictured at a previous event

Bow Street chairman Wyn Lewis said: “We are very proud that this tournament continues to go from strength to strength, and it is obvious from the entries that amazingly, its popularity is still increasing. It is incredible that many of our categories were full a couple of months in advance of the tournament. We are very grateful to the clubs from all over Wales who continue to support us.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Brian Jones and Castell Howell Foods on board as our tournament sponsors. Castell Howell are well known for their commitment to community activities especially junior sport, and we appreciate the faith they have shown in us by agreeing to become our partners. Brian Jones is a hugely respected figure in Welsh life and having been fortunate to meet him on a few occasions, it is obvious he has a huge passion for supporting youngsters playing all sports and taking part in community-based activities. The Bow Street tournament we believe is such an event as it enjoys support from all parts of Wales.”

Castell Howell’s Managing Director, Brian Jones said: “May I say how delighted, happy and proud we are to be associated with this now very well established, popular and hugely successful Junior Football Festival organised by Bow Street FC.

“We at Castell Howell are big supporters of communities and believe greatly in giving our youngsters opportunities and we are delighted to support this superb event in Bow Street.”

One of the tournament organisers, Amlyn Ifans added: “This year has attracted an exciting number of entries yet again, and we look forward to an enjoyable two days competition! It is marvellous that a small village community club continues to facilitate such a prestigious event, which gives our own junior players valuable experience of challenging players from outside the locality.’

One of the original organisers, Allan ‘Baba’ Evans said: “I am so chuffed at the way this event has developed since we started it in 2003. I am so proud of the way that the whole club and the community always embrace the annual tournament.”

Play starts at 10.00am on both days, a wide variety of refreshments are available, and, as ever, there is ample parking space.

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Sport

Old Gold opener for Aber

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ABERYSTWYTH Town will begin their 2019/20 JD Welsh Premier League season with a home game against Carmarthen Town.

The fixtures for the new season were released this week with the first fixtures taking place on Friday, August 16.

Aberystwyth, who finished eighth last season, will be looking to better that and finish in the top half of the table, something they last achieved in the 2014/15 season.

Aber make the return trip to Richmond Park on Saturday, October 19.

Their first away test of the season takes them to Jenner Park for a game against Barry Town United on Friday, August 23.

The Black and Greens welcome league newcomers Airbus UK, back in the league after a two year break, on Saturday, September 7.

Other league newcomers Penybont will look to give Aber a good test when they arrive at the KYMCO Stadium on Friday, October 4.

The Boxing Day fixture this year sees them travel to Latham Park to face rivals Newtown.

The return fixture at Park Avenue will take place on New Years Day.

Aberystwyth will end the first phase of the season when they take on Penybont at Park Avenue on Friday, January 17.

The Black and Greens recently announced that Gavin Allen would be their new Head of Coaching and Head of youth.

He will oversee the club’s academy, develop players and community links, oversee Coach development and liase with the FAW Trust to deliver on their key strategic aims.

Allen, who possesses an A-license Coaching Qualification, was appointed as First Team Assistant Manager in September 2018 and his experience was a welcome addition to the squad and coaching staff at Park Avenue.

The Black and Greens’ friendly schedule will kick off on Tuesday, July 9, when Mid Wales League big hitters Llanidloes Town visit Park Avenue for a 7.30pm kick off. Four days later Championship North outfit Gresford Athletic will follow the Daffs down the A44.

Aberystwyth Town have also confirmed that despite agreeing terms with the Club, Les Davies and Leo Riley have decided to sign elsewhere for Clubs lower down the pyramid.

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