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Mark Taylor steps down

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Stepping down: Mark Taylor with the U20 squad after their win over Scotland

Stepping down: Mark Taylor
with the U20 squad after their
win over Scotland

FORMER Wales Captain , Mark Taylor , has stepped down as Wales U20 Team Manager to spend more time with his family . The team’s 42-19 victory over Scotland marked his final match in the role.

The former Centre who won 52 Wales caps, scored the historic first try at the Millennium Stadium and successfully captained Wales on four occasions, has been a Wales international pathway team manager since hanging up his playing boots in 2008, first with Wales U18, and for the last six years with Wales U20.

Taylor, who also toured with the Lions in 2001, has decided to spend more time with his family and other work commitments, but admits he will certainly stay involved in rugby in some capacity.

“It’s been a massive experience for me over the past eight years . It’s been a pleasure for me to be part of the development of young players, especially when you see them go onto play for the senior Wales side.

“There have been a lot of highs and some lows in that time, which from a results point of view come down to a few heavy defeats to New Zealand, in 2011 and earlier this week.

“One of the biggest achievements was reaching the Junior World Championship final in 2013, when we probably should have beaten England in the final. Hallam Amos, Sam Davies, Steff Hughes and Jordan Williams were key to that campaign, especially in beating South Africa in the semi-final. It was the culmination of two year period under Danny Wilson as coach and the players learned a huge amount from the experience.

“One of the highlights of my career, including my playing days, was being involved with the first side to beat New Zealand U20 in 2012. Our team had gone from losing to New Zealand by 92 points the year before, with the likes of Liam Williams and Kirby Myhill in the side, to come back 12 months later and turn them over. The likes of Tom Prydie, Samson Lee and Rob Evans were in that side, the match was played in some of the worst conditions imaginable and that victory was right up there in terms of special moments.

“Despite a few results going against us during this tournament in Manchester, the current crop of Wales U20 players also created something special in winning the Six Nations Grand Slam.

“The way they came back to win in Ireland got them off to a great start, and the desire they showed to stay in the Scotland and France games showed what they are made of. The highlight of the campaign though was the big victory over England, producing excellent rugby for 80 minutes.”

The team manager role started quite small with Wales U18 , but a number of players who have gone on to become household names were in Taylor’s sights from the start.

Tom Prydie, George North, Eli Walker, Aled Davies, Matthew Morgan and Rhodri Jones were in the first Wales U18 squad Taylor was involved with in 2009, with Samson Lee, Rob Evans and Ellis Jenkins joining the party a year later.

“I was asked if I wanted to take on the role and I saw it as a good way to stay in touch with the game. I was involved with talent identification and also some of the backs coaching under Darren Edwards, who was with London Welsh at the time.

“Tom [ Prydie ] was outstanding for us in a Five Nations tournament in Italy and went on to become capped by Wales in the Six Nations the following year , before playing for us again later that season in the next Five Nations tournament. George North was the star of that tournament in Llandovery and was capped by Wales later that year.

“The day -to -day role involves a lot of organisation and coordination between the team, the rest of the Welsh Rugby Union rugby department, the other National Squads, the Regions and clubs, along with other Unions and tournament organisers. Basically everything that enables the coaches and players to get on with their job of preparing for matches. I will miss it but I owe my family some quality time after going straight into team management after ending my playing career. I will no doubt be drawn back to rugby as I still feel I owe the game a lot after everything it’s given me, but it will be more of a home -based role for the time being. I’d like to thank all the coaches and support staff I’ve worked with in my time with the 18s and 20s.”

WRU Head of Rugby Performance , Geraint John , paid tribute to Mark Taylor’s contribution to the Welsh Rugby Union over the last eight years.

He said: “It has been a pleasure working with Mark since my return to Wales and he will be a great loss. He is an excellent Team Manager, well respected by all players and staff and is well loved in the office with his professionalism, passion and humour. We totally understand the reasons why Mark is stepping down as family is very important.

“Even though he is leaving his current role I am hoping that in the future we will see Mark involved with our teams in some capacity. He is an excellent person with great values and we wish him the best but we will certainly be staying in touch.”

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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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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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