Saturday, 13 December 2014

Amy Boulden wins Ladies European Tour’s OMEGA Rookie of the Year Prize

Amy Boulden capped her first season as a professional by winning the Ladies European Tour’s OMEGA Rookie of the Year prize.

The 21-year-old from Llandudno in Wales led the rookie rankings heading into the OMEGA Dubai Ladies Masters, the final tournament of the 2014. With her tied 24h place finish, she held off the challenge of her nearest rivals, Sally Watson of Scotland and Nicole Broch Larsen from Denmark, to earn a beautiful OMEGA Speedmaster chronograph with a white mother-of-pearl dial, a diamond-paved bezel and a white leather strap.  

“It’s been a really great first season on the Ladies European Tour,” said Boulden, who won the Association Suisse de Golf Ladies Open on the LET Access Series in May.

“It was one of my goals from when I turned pro, to win Rookie of the Year.  I thought it was going to be quite tough this year not having a full card.  I wasn't sure how many events I was going to be playing in but starting the year well has helped me a lot. It’s a real honour to win and join the prestigious list of former winners, including Laura Davies, Annika Sorenstam and Charley Hull.”

Boulden was one of the top performers in 2014 and recorded four top 10 finishes including a second place at the Lacoste Ladies Open de France.

She finished third at the Sberbank Golf Masters in the Czech Republic, fourth at the Ladies German Open presented by Marriott and 10th at the Tenerife Open de EspaƱa Femenino.

With season’s earnings of €83,982.17, she finished 18th on the 2014 Order of Merit, five places ahead of the second placed rookie Watson.

The Ladies European Tour congratulates Amy on a fantastic start to her professional career.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

weekend predictions

All Wales Sport previews the sixth and final round of the British & Irish Cup along with the only Principality Premiership game taking place this weekend.

Pool 1 – London Scottish v Pontypridd

Having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at Bristol almost a fortnight ago, Ponty recovered from that confidence-crushing defeat with a bonus-point home win over Connacht last week that reignited their British & Irish Cup hopes.

Another five-point win guarantees qualification for the last eight as one of the three best runners-up – while four points will almost certainly do as well.

Standing before them are London Scottish, who although already out, have only been beaten once (by Bristol) on their own ground this season while Ponty also slipped up here 26-21 almost exactly a year ago.

The pressure is on Ponty for sure but, although a lot will depend on what side the English Championship side put out with nothing riding on it for them, I’m going for a Ponty win nonetheless.

Prediction: Pontypridd by 6 points

Pool 2 – Ulster Ravens v Aberavon

Aberavon's losing run was extended to eight games with last Saturday's 42-14 home defeat to Rotherham.

The Wizards also have not won in any competition since they beat Ulster 18-14 at The Talbot Athletic Ground in the reverse fixture on October 11.

Although they have at least salvaged some pride with some gutsy recent performances in defeat and I’m backing Jason Hyatt's side to complete the double over winless Ulster.

Prediction: Aberavon by 5 points

Pool 4 – Doncaster Knights v Cross Keys

Seven of the 10 matches played in Pool 4 have resulted in a winning margin of five points or less.

Cross Keys, while bottom of the pool, have more than held their own this season – although were taken apart at home by Bedford last weekend.

Their two previous away trips to English Championship clubs have ended in a one-point win (v Bedford) and a one-point loss (v Cornish Pirates).

Group winners Doncaster won 37-32 at Pandy Park in round one and I’ve got them down to finish the group with a 100 per cent record.

Prediction: Doncaster by 7 points

Pool 5 - Carmarthen Quins v Jersey

The winners of this tie – being played at Llandovery – can still go through as one of the best runners-up, if Munster A and Cornish Pirates are well beaten.

Jersey are on a four-game losing streak but won with a bonus point when the sides met back in October.

Although I think Carmarthen – a composite Scarlets A side in all but name – will win on Saturday and finish on a high, I fear it’s a big ask for all the results needs elsewhere to go their way.

Prediction: Carmarthen Quins by 10 points


Principality Premiership – Cardiff v Neath (2.30pm)

There is also one Principality Premiership clash taking place on Saturday and it’s at the Arms Park between Cardiff and Neath.

The Welsh All Blacks have undergone something of a transformation with three wins from their last four Premiership outings to revive their flagging fortunes after a tough start to the season that, for many, left them odds on for the drop.

Patrick Horgan’s re-introduction at the Gnoll has certainly helped turn things around and will hope to carry on from where they left off three weeks ago when they beat Newport at Rodney Parade – despite playing with 14 men for much of the game.

However it must also be said that, although Neath dug in, Newport were also particularly poor on the day and a better side would have capitalised on their numerical advantage.

Cardiff on their own ground will provide a much sterner test and will themselves will be looking forward to returning to action after many weeks of being stop-start, with the league taking a back seat for the British & Irish Cup.

The Blue and Blacks currently sit in fourth place in the table with five wins from seven games.

I expect a fiercely-contested battle between these two but back Cardiff to win and make it six from eight with the enforced three-week break also likely to have halted Neath’s new-found momentum just slightly.

Prediction: Cardiff by 11 points

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

PGA pros vital to clubs - GUW chief

A leading figure in Welsh golf believes PGA Professionals hold the key to the long term success of golf clubs in Wales.

John Jermine, chairman of the Golf Union of Wales (GUW), has backed the skill and expertise of PGA pros in helping clubs build and sustain strong memberships.

The former chartered accountant, who is one of Wales’ most successful amateur golfers, also insisted that clubs need a triumvirate of pro, club secretary and junior organiser working closely together.

John Jermine

“I am convinced that unless clubs grasp the nettle and put in a PGA qualified professional they will never get the club where they want it to be,” said Jermine.

“At the GUW, we have some great examples of dramatic improvements made to clubs with the help of a PGA Professional.

“The secret going forward for most clubs, and the lifeblood of the future of clubs, is bringing new people into the game and, therefore, we need PGA pros who can teach in primary and secondary schools, get out into the community and coach people of all ages, whether young or old.

“A big opportunity is to attract the older generations who tend to have more time and who might be looking for a new sport.

“We have discovered through our research that people who become reasonably competent, fairly quickly tend to keep playing golf.

“The biggest loss of members to clubs are those who have been playing for a couple of years but haven’t got much better and as a result lose momentum and interest.

“When you have a PGA pro at a club playing an active part that doesn’t happen because they are always there to help them improve, play better golf and enjoy the game more.”

It’s in the area of junior golf too that Jermine feels pros can have a particularly significant impact.

“We’ve also discovered that young girls need to start playing golf between the ages of seven to 10 so by the time they get to 13 and 14 they are playing well enough that they want to continue playing,” he added.

“If they don’t start playing until they are 13 or 14 they never get good enough to want to keep playing when other interests arrive, as they inevitably do.”

The PGA has been actively engaging with clubs throughout the UK to highlight the benefits PGA pros bring to facilities and that message was reinforced by Jermine.

“Why do people enjoy golf? Because it is a great sport, a place where they can meet friends, make new friends and enjoy the social side of the club.
It is also a sport we can play for life with every club in the local area delighted to see new faces.

“But they also enjoy playing the game as well as they can and that’s where you need the PGA Professional.

"To do that the Club Professional needs the active support of the club secretary and, similarly, a junior organiser. If you have all three elements, without exception, it works.”

British & Irish Cup round six preview

Bristol Rugby, Rotherham Titans, Worcester Warriors, Doncaster Knights and defending champions Leinster A have all qualified for the quarter-finals of the British & Irish Cup as winners of their respective pools with a round to spare.

The English Championship quartet are unbeaten after five rounds of action and are on course for a home draw in the quarter-finals while Leinster, who are bidding for a hat-trick of titles, are set to be on their travels in the last eight unless they can improve their position this weekend and qualify for the knockout stages as one of the top four seeds.

Eight sides still have a mathematical chance of grabbing one of the three quarter-final spots available to the best runners-up.

Yorkshire Carnegie are currently in the driving seat with 18 points, Pontypridd have 15 and Munster A and Cornish Pirates, who met in the inaugural B&I Cup final in 2009, are both on 14.

Bedford, Moseley, Carmarthen Quins and Jersey have slim mathematical chances of maintaining their interest beyond the weekend.


Connacht Eagles v Bristol Rugby

Top plays bottom as pool leaders Bristol go in search of the win they need to be certain of a home quarter-final. Bristol extended their winning run to 13 matches with a 22-14 victory over London Scottish in round five.

Bristol outscored Connacht eight tries to four in front of a record B&I Cup crowd when the sides met in round one. Olly Robinson, son of director of rugby Andy, scored a hat-trick on his competitive debut for the club.

London Scottish v Pontypridd

Pontypridd's destiny remains in their own hands with the Welsh Premiership side knowing that a bonus-point win at The Athletic Ground would guarantee them one of the best runners-up spots.

Welsh champions Ponty won the first match with London Scottish 23-17 at Sardis Road.


Rotherham Titans v Yorkshire Carnegie

Yorkshire Carnegie need two points from Saturday's trip to Clifton Lane to be mathematically certain of their place in the last eight as one of the three best runners-up.

If Carnegie head back up the M1 empty-handed they will have to hope that at least one of their main rivals, Pontypridd, Munster and Cornish Pirates fails to win.

Titans kept Carnegie try less in both previous meetings this season: 6-0 at Headingley in the Championship and 20-3 at Silver Royd, Scarborough RUFC in the B&I Cup.

Ulster Ravens v Aberavon

Aberavon's losing run was extended to eight games with Saturday's 42-14 home defeat to Rotherham.

The Wizards have not win in any competition since they beat Ulster 18-14 at The Talbot Athletic Ground on October 11. Ulster are winless and will exit the competition at the end of the pool stages for the third year in a row.


Moseley v Munster A

A first bonus-point win of the season would guarantee Munster a place in the last eight regardless of how Cornish Pirates fare at Bedford.

Tries have been hard to come by for Munster to date with just 10 in five matches. They beat Moseley 27-21 at Clonmel in round one.

Worcester Warriors v Nottingham Rugby

Worcester are certain of a home tie in the knockout stages if they beat Nottingham for the third time this season.

The Warriors won 55-16 when the sides met in the league at Sixways at the end of September and they prevailed 26-19 in the cup three weeks later at Meadow Lane.


Bedford Blues v Cornish Pirates

Last Saturday's agonising 31-30 defeat at home to Doncaster has left Cornish Pirates' hopes of making it out of Pool 4 hanging by a thread.

Realistically the Pirates need to win at Bedford for the first time since March 2011 – and hope Munster and Pontypridd fail to beat Moseley and London Scottish respectively – to qualify for the last eight for the fifth time in their history.

The first B&I Cup tie at the Mennaye Field was a real humdinger with Pirates winning 35-34.

However the B&I Cup Organising Committee overturned the result after Pirates wrongly introduced an additional player to the fray when the game had already gone to uncontested scrums.

Doncaster Knights v Cross Keys

Seven of the 10 matches played in Pool 4 have resulted in a winning margin of five points or less, and Cross Keys, while bottom of the pool, have more than held their own this season.

Their two previous away trips to Championship clubs have ended in a one-point win (v Bedford) and a one-point loss (v Cornish Pirates). Doncaster won 37-32 at Pandy Park in round one.


Carmarthen Quins v Jersey

The winners of this tie can still go through as one of the best runners-up if Munster A and Cornish Pirates are well beaten. Jersey are on a four-game losing streak but won with a bonus point when the sides met back in October.

Leinster A v Plymouth Albion

To qualify as one of the top four seeds Leinster A need to pick up maximum points against Plymouth and hope that Bristol and Worcester fail to make it six wins on the spin. Leinster prevailed 31-24 when the sides met at Brickfields in round one/

All round six matches kick off at 2pm on Saturday, December 13.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Unbeaten Squirrels are building for the future

SUCCESS is something that has become customary at Rhiwbina in recent years and the forward-thinking club have outlined their vision to ensure that trend continues.

Rhiwbina 1st XV 2014/15
The Squirrels have started the current campaign in some style – winning their first seven games in Division One East – which follows on from three promotions in four seasons, while they also reached a Millennium Stadium final in the Swalec Plate last season.

But, despite that success, they aren’t resting on their laurels and intend to build on their achievements – both on and off the field – by implementing a new five-year plan.

The club’s long-serving chairman, Paul Maddocks, explained: “We want to build on our success of previous years to make sure the club is going to be sustainable in the future.

“There are four aspects to our five-year plan – legal, administration, social and playing.

“We’ve done a SWOT analysis of each of those aspects and identified around 30 actions that we want to build into the plan across those four areas.”

An integral part of that plan is the club’s continued development to developing their own talent – with a thriving minis section (aged 7-12), junior sides between ages 13-16 and youth rugby at U18.

Maddocks continued: “We want to ensure that we attract players to our junior sections as well and, in our role as a community club, also working closely with Rhiwbina Primary and other local schools. 

“An illustration of that success is that our under 10s are now back playing on the Rhiwbina Primary School field.

“They’ve got a squad of 25 players – coached by Jason Gibson and Robert Morgan – and played Llandaff North recently on the school field and won three and drew one of the four games that they played.

“That emphasises our links with the community, our commitment to our junior sections as we realise the importance of our junior sections in terms of our future.”

One player to pass through the club’s youth system is a certain Sam Warburton who, whilst going on play at the highest level for Wales and the British & Irish Lions, still maintains strong links with the north Cardiff club.

“He gives of his time quite freely in terms of presentations and charity events and that is what our youngsters can aspire to,” added Maddocks.

Captain Brett Chatwin scores against Quins

Those youth sides feed into the club's three senior sides, with Rhiwbina also running successful second and third teams in the Premiere and Division Two respectively of the Cardiff & District League, with both still undefeated and flying high. 

The club also say that, although they don’t run a women’s side at present, they are trying to encourage girls at U12 level.

After winning Two East last season, things could not have started much better this term for the first team, who are coached by Gareth Lintern and Jared Lougher – in their fifth season with the club – and are skippered by Brett Chatwin.

They trail rivals Penallta – who have also made a 100 per cent start - by just two points at the top of One East.

The two clubs clash at Cae Delyn in the league on December 20, but have also been paired together in the third round of the Plate and face off at Penallta seven days earlier for a place in the last 16.

Penallta won the Plate in 2012 while the Squirrels are attempting to reach back-to-back finals having lost out 29-26 to Merthyr last season.

“The trip to Rumney on Saturday followed by the two games against Penallta really does make it a season-defining three weeks coming up for us,” said club official John Humphreys.

“We’ve been able to maintain the momentum from last year with a young team against tougher opposition.

“Our aim this season was to maintain our status as a Division One club and push for the top three and we’re on the way to achieving that.”

Saturday, 29 November 2014

British & Irish Cup - Quins and Ponty predictions

All Wales Sport's CARL FIELD predicts the outcome of this afternoon's British & Irish Cup clash between Leinster A and Carmarthen Quins - as well as tomorrow's clash at Ashton Gate between Bristol and Pontypridd.

Leinster A v Carmarthen Quins (Pool Five, 1pm)

Carmarthen Quins – a composite Scarlets A side in all but name – stunned holders Leinster A in round three, after coming back from 21-3 down at half-time to win 26-24.

A last-gasp try from replacement prop Ben Leung and Frazier Climo's brilliant touchline conversion clinched a terrific victory.

But the Welsh side – who are being overseen by coach Ioan Cunningham – have their work cut out if they are to repeat that feat this afternoon.

Prediction: Leinster A by 8 points

Bristol v Pontypridd (Pool One, Sunday 3pm)

This is arguably the pick of the fourth round ties as Principality Premiership champions Pontypridd head to English Championship leaders Bristol.

It’s do or die for Ponty, who have to win at Ashton Gate to have any realistic chance of progressing.

Bristol go into Sunday's match sitting top the table on 13 points with Pontypridd four points off the pace in second.

A brace of tries from David Lemi and one from Luke Baldwin saw Bristol win 24-13 in front of nearly 6,000 at Sardis Road five weeks ago.

Prediction: Bristol by 4 points

Friday, 28 November 2014

British & Irish Cup predictions - tonight's games

All Wales Sport's CARL FIELD looks ahead to tonight's games involving Aberavon and Cross Keys in the British & Irish Cup.

Aberavon v Yorkshire Carnegie (Pool Two, 7.15pm)

On paper, this has got another heavy win for the English Championship side written all over it – five weeks on from their 13-try 85-0 dismantling of Jason Hyatt’s side in Hull.

But the Leeds-based outfit have been winless since and scored just three tries in the process.

They failed to score a point in a home defeat to Rotherham and then went down at Bedford before drawing with winless bottom side Plymouth at home last weekend.

Aberavon, meanwhile, have lost all four of their Principality Premiership games since and are rooted to the bottom of the table – although were much-improved against Cardiff a week ago, when they lost by just a point.

Those factors might offer a crumb of comfort for the Wizards, however their opponents this evening are a full-time professional outfit and I can’t see anything other than a heavy defeat for Aberavon.

Prediction: Yorkshire Carnegie by 40 points

Cross Keys v Cornish Pirates (Pool Four, 7.45pm)

Cross Keys will be looking to avenge their narrow 34-33 defeat at Pirates in round three when the sides clash again at Pandy Park this evening.

However, having lost two of their first three group games, Keys are unlikely to be repeating their run to the final of this competition back in 2011/12 – which included a semi-final win over the Pirates.

Pirates have been involved in three high-scoring matches so far with an average of 63 points scored per game – while also put 65 points on the board at home against Bedford in the league last weekend.

Keys’ last two games in this group have been decided by a single point, while they also sent Carmarthen Quins crashing to their first defeat of the league season last week.

This one has all the makings of a cracker - and I'm going for a Keys win, just.

Prediction: Cross Keys by 4 points

Senior Open to return to Wales in 2017

The Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex will return to Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in 2017 following the huge success of Wales’s first Senior Major Championship this summer.

More than 43,000 spectators lined the fairways of the revered Bridgend links in July to witness Bernhard Langer produce one of the stand-out performances in the history of senior golf to win the title for a second time, finishing 13 shots clear of 2010 Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie.

Four years on from Wales hosting the 2010 Ryder Cup at The Celtic Manor Resort, The Senior Open Championship once again showcased the country to a global audience, following an agreement for the country to host the Championship made between the Welsh Government, the European Senior Tour and The R&A. 

As part of that agreement, which aimed to build on the legacy of The 2010 Ryder Cup, The Senior Open Championship will now go back to Royal Porthcawl in three years’ time, following next year’s Championship at Sunningdale Golf Club in England, and the 2016 edition at Carnoustie in Scotland.

Welsh Government, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: “I'm delighted with the confirmation that we'll be welcoming The Senior Open Championship back to Wales and to Royal Porthcawl in 2017.

“This was the first Major Championship to be held in Wales and the successful hosting of the tournament, and confirmation of its return, reinforces Wales’s reputation as a world-class events destination and as a golf destination with big ambitions. We look forward to working with our partners to make The 2017 Senior Open Championship another success.”

Huw Jenkins, Captain of Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, said: “The Club is delighted to be hosting the Championship for the second time in 2017. The feedback received from all those involved at this year’s event has been superb. It is not only great news for Royal Porthcawl, but also for Wales to be hosting a Major golf championship following the Amateur Championship which takes place at the Club in 2016.”   

Andy Stubbs, Managing Director of the European Senior Tour, said on behalf of The Senior Open Championship: “This year’s Senior Open Championship Presented by Rolex at Royal Porthcawl was blessed by glorious sunshine and superb crowds, making it a magnificent spectacle which Wales was rightly proud of. Indeed, it was one of the best Senior Open’s in the Championship’s proud history.

“We are therefore delighted to confirm that The Senior Open Championship will be returning to Royal Porthcawl in 2017, and hopefully the Welsh public will embrace it just like they did this summer.”

Prior to hosting The Senior Open Championship, Royal Porthcawl hosted the Coral Welsh Classic on The European Tour three times between 1980-1982, and the Wales Senior Open in 2009, 2010 and 2013, as well as the 1995 Walker Cup, featuring Tiger Woods, when Great Britain and Ireland beat the USA by 14-10. Royal Porthcawl will also host the Amateur Championship in 2016.

BUCS: Swansea WRFC 22-31 Nottingham Trent WRFC

Swansea University Women's RFC suffered late heartbreak in the BUCS Trophy as they fell at the first hurdle to Nottingham Trent University at Sketty Lane.
Swansea Coach Siwan Lillicrap will be wondering how her team lost as they dominated all facets of the game, but it was the visitors that were ultimately far more clinical when it really mattered.
Trent’s flying winger Carys Williams and hooker Becky Noone both bagged braces with Noone particularly standing out for the visitors.
For Swansea it was a case of what might have been with their indiscipline at the end proving costly, while losing influential captain Rhian Perry didn’t help their cause either. There were many positives for the Welsh outfit who have improved vastly under Lillicrap’s direction since September - fly-half Meg Griffiths was excellent in both attack and defence while flanker Kate Jones and No. 8 Lydia Shelton worked tirelessly all afternoon.
Despite both sides having chances early on, it was the visitors that found themselves with a 12-0 advantage - Williams helped herself to a quick fire brace, the first of which was a scintillating display of pace. Scrum-half Hannah Priest added the extras to one.
The shock of going two tries down kicked Swansea into life and their defensive play improved, Rebecca Pratchett, Jones and Shelton making the hard yard around the fringes.
It didn’t take long before they had closed the deficit with a superb driving maul from the hosts illegally brought down yards from the line. From the resultant penalty the ball was spread wide - a pre-planned move saw Griffiths offload to Nicola Jones with her centre partner Becca Cottam hitting a lovely line to crash over.
The Green and Whites were soon celebrating another try as another penalty close to the whitewash saw Perry cut inside for Shelton to bulldoze over.
A mistake by Cottam in midfield gifted Trent one last chance before the break with Williams and Noone both being denied by some superb last ditch defending by Griffiths.
The second 40 minutes was a tale of two halves with Swansea comfortably on top for the first 20, only to fall away in the closing stages of the game.
Swansea were quick out of the blocks with Kate Jones and full back Charmaine Cooke touching down and Griffiths converting Cooke’s, but when Perry was forced off with a dislocated finger the hosts looked a little lost.
Trent sensed their opportunity and it was their forwards that were now dictating play with props Jess Parayitou and Holly Hazel causing all sorts of problems in the loose. A tired Swansea, meanwhile, began to give away penalty after penalty, surrendering territory and possession.
Noone was popping up all over the park and she deservedly crossed for her double, showing great speed and a nice step to send her team back into the lead.
And with seven minutes to go, Trent’s Sophie Slade sealed the win with a well-taken touchdown.
Swansea return to league action on Wednesday when they travel to Plymouth for their last clash before Christmas.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Enoch targets strong finish in the Sunshine

FORMER Welsh amateur international Rhys Enoch is targeting a strong end to the year in order to hit the ground running in 2015, WRITES CARL FIELD.

Rhys Enoch

Enoch, 26, who gained his eligibility to play for Wales because his father hailed from the Gower, is currently in South Africa competing on the Sunshine Tour.

He warmed up for the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open – which started today (Thursday) – with victory in Monday’s pre-qualifier.

Three straight birdies ahead of the turn paved the way for his four-under par 68 and left him two shots clear of nearest challenger Mervyn Galant.

Enoch, who plays out of Celtic Manor, is starting to find form again after an injury-plagued last few months as he aims to end 2014 – a year that saw him qualify for his first major – with a flourish.

In what has been an up and down year for Enoch, he qualified for the Open Championship at Hoylake in July with a stunning performance in a dramatic three-way play-off at Woburn.

And, while he didn’t make the cut at Hoylake, it was still an emotional week for Enoch, who was spurred on by the memory of younger brother Ben – also a talented golfer – who was tragically killed in a car crash on his way to the Lytham Trophy in 2009.

The connection to Hoylake and the Enoch brothers all stemmed back to 2006 when Ben – two years Rhys’ junior - went to witness the Open and, after sharing his experience with his older brother, the pair would often say ‘this putt is for the Claret Jugg’ while playing golf with one another.

“Obviously the highlight of my year was qualifying for the Open, it’s what everyone dreams of,” said Rhys.

“The first tee shot at the Open was incredible. I had been mentally rehearsing it all week before I went to bed, and I got there and I felt so calm.

“It was a special week for me – what with the Hoylake connection to my little brother – and it was an experience that will stand me in good stead in the future.”

Having been hampered by a shoulder injury since the end of July, Enoch has been stepping up his recovery with some decent performances in the South Wales PGA events.

After finishing fourth at Newport on October 22, Enoch followed that up with an excellent victory at Pennard a week later, carding a four-under par 68 to win by three shots.

He said: “Those two events were a great way for me to compete and test my shoulder out against some good local pros.

“Pennard was very nice – I played great and it’s always nice to pick up little wins wherever possible.”

On the challenges that lie ahead, Enoch said: “I feel my game is getting back to where it was and I’m looking to play well this week and get another four rounds under my belt.

“I then head up to Turkey for the Beko Pro-Am (Dec 4-6), where I have done well the previous two years.

“Then it’s back to Pretoria for the Alfred Dunhill Championship qualifier (Dec 9) and, if all goes to plan, playing in that (Dec 11-14) before heading home for Christmas.

“I’m already high enough in the Sunshine Tour Order Of Merit to keep my card for 2015, so it’s about playing the minimum number of events (seven) so that I stay there at the end of the year.

“Playing this week and then at the Alfred Dunhill qualifier will mean I’ll achieve that.

“I’m mid-70s on the OOM and It would be really nice to have a couple of good weeks and get myself into the top 50.

“My ultimate goal in 2015 will be gaining a European Tour card through the qualifying school – while I also aim to win on either the Challenge Tour or Sunshine Tour.

“I am due a win and my game is more than good enough. If I can stay fit and healthy, I feel I will get over the line, sooner rather than later.”

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Scorpions appoint new chairman and management committee

A new management committee has been set up at South Wales Scorpions Rugby League Football Club to ensure the smooth running of the club in 2015 and beyond.

Ian Curzon was appointed as the new chairman of the club, and Andy Birchall has taken up the position of vice-chair.

Curzon, a popular referee in South Wales, has an extensive knowledge of Rugby League and is already on the Wales Rugby League board of directors. Meanwhile, Birchall has been involved with the South Wales Scorpions Supporters Club since inception and this appointment means that he is handing in his notice as Supporters Club chairman.

When the Scorpions was set up in 2010, it was with a full strength board of directors but following the death of original director John Brennan and the resignations of founder Phil Davies and original financial director Rob Buckley, this board disbanded, and in 2014, the club was administered by Wales Rugby League.

Curzon said: “I am very proud and honoured to be appointed chairman of South Wales Scorpions. After the trials and tribulations off the field last year, the new management group is a major step forward to help stabilise the club and lay foundations for the future. We now need to start the hard work and get everything in place for the forthcoming season, and hopefully attract some new investors to the club.”

Mountain Ash RFC will also be represented on the Scorpions board with Martyn Ham, David O’Mahony and Mark Bennett all in attendance and they have agreed to assist where they can on matchdays while hoping to attend board meetings to provide a link from the Scorpions to their host club.

The finalised structure of the management committee will be published in due course, but it is envisaged that there will be a minimum of 14 volunteers, all contributing to the future success of Scorpions.

Curzon adds: “We’re delighted to have such fantastic hosts in Mountain Ash RFC and we’re pleased that they’re taking such a big interest. They really want the club to succeed and I think they were pleased with the steps that we’ve made off the field.”

Tickets for the biggest day of South Wales Scorpions’ 2015 season are already available. The Scorpions take on North Wales Crusaders in the Big Welsh Derby at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 10th May, part of a triple header of Rugby League. To buy, go to

Friday, 21 November 2014

Carl Field's Principality Premiership predictions

All Wales Sport's CARL FIELD looks ahead to tonight's action in the Principality Premiership, as well as tomorrow afternoon’s game at Rodney Parade…

Aberavon v Cardiff (7.30pm)

On paper, Cardiff should pick up a win at the Talbot Athletic Ground tonight, although the fact they haven’t played competitively since November 1 might work against them.

It’s up to Aberavon to exploit any rustiness and Jason Hyatt will be demanding a performance from his side after – by their own admission – some poor performances in recent weeks.

Prediction: Aberavon by 4 points

Bedwas v Llandovery (7.30pm)

Bedwas will be buoyed from their win at Bridgend last Sunday when they came from behind to steal the spoils late on – and I’m backing them to follow that up with another win against the Drovers at the Bridge Field this evening.

Prediction: Bedwas by 6 points

Bridgend v Ebbw Vale (7.30pm)

The Ravens undid the good work they’d done at Aberavon by surrendering a 16-6 half time lead on their way to defeat at home against Bedwas last time out – and they are likely to be in for a tough evening against the Gwent side this evening.

The Steelmen have lost their last two outings – albeit against the likely top two come the end of the season in Pontypridd and Carmarthen Quins.

Jason Strange’s men have won five out of eight since returning to the top flight and I expect that to be six from nine come full time at the Bridge Field.

Prediction: Ebbw Vale by 15 points

Cross Keys v Carmarthen Quins (7.30pm)

With seven wins out of seven, Carmarthen Quins have put an early marker down as the main challengers to champions Pontypridd.

Louie Tonkin’s side certainly had to dig deep at the Gnoll last Friday in order to see off a determined effort from struggling Neath with defeat staring them in the face.

And it’s that ability to dig deep that sets teams on their way to winning championships.

Quins face another tough game at Pandy Park against Cross Keys, who have been a bit hit and miss in the early part of the season and I predict another win for Quins, as they look to keep hold of Pontypridd’s coat-tails heading into another break for the British & Irish Cup.

Prediction: Carmarthen Quins by 8 points

Newport v Neath (Saturday, 1.30pm)

Having not played since November 1, a break should have given Newport time to regroup and get some of their depleted squad back and build on their home victory over Llanelli last time out.

Although standing in their way tomorrow will be a Neath side with renewed confidence having beaten Cross Keys and taken Carmarthen Quins to the wire in their last two games.

I’m going for a narrow away win here…

Prediction: Neath by 3 points

BUCS Match Report: Swansea University 3-37 Cardiff Met

Cardiff Met recorded just the second win of their BUCS Premier South A campaign as they ran out comfortable winners over basement boys Swansea University at Sketty Lane.
The foundation for the visitors' seven try demolition of an understrength Swansea side was built upon a totally dominant scrum, with referee Martyn Lewis forced to penalise the visitors at the set piece on numerous occasions.
Openside Jake Smith was a star performer for Met and provided the visitors with a number of turnovers, while fly half Owen Thomas also stood out on a day where the conditions made handling a tricky business.
For Swansea, despite being exposed up front, they were in the game until the last quarter when the hosts’ heads dropped but full back Josh Hammett and No. 8 Ollie Young still stood out for the Green and Whites.
The hosts had the wind advantage for the first 40 but it was Chris Davey’s outfit that found themselves ten points to the good after as many minutes.
Prop Thomas Concu opened the scoring after a powerful maul drove the visitors to within inches of the line before the tighthead burrowed over, with winger Tim Thompson doubling their lead after some incisive running from the backline.
At this stage the game looked like running away from the Green and Whites, but they regrouped and did well to exert some pressure of their own, coming away with three points thanks to the boot of Liam Crandon.
Both teams wasted further chances before the break and with hostilities threatening to spill over, official Lewis did well to keep a lid on the fraying tempers as the score remained 3-10 heading into the interval.
Swansea would have been delighted to be just a converted try away from their opponents at the break, but any hopes of a home comeback were quickly quashed by the capital based outfit.
The one-sided showing at scrum time continued and when Met packed down five metres out there was only going to be one outcome with No. 8 Oliver Bilton touching down for the simplest of tries. Thomas missed the extras but slotted a penalty moments later to stretch Met’s lead to 18-3.
The Green and Whites nearly hit back after a great break from Young saw them make a rare foray inside the opposition 22, but white line fever hit and the ball was lost forward.
 And there was to be no way back for the hosts-Met lock Charlie Hewitt drove over before great support play from Pierre Tucker saw the winger race beneath the posts, with replacement fly-half Tyler Williams adding the extras to the latter.
It was fast becoming a rout and Mike Sole completed the seven try haul as the inside centre ghosted through a number of weak tackles to cross unopposed, Williams once again added the extras.
 The hosts did press for a late consolation score but there was no way through the determined Met defence.
Star Man: Jake Smith (Cardiff Met)

Anscombe to start against Edinburgh

New recruit Gareth Anscombe will make his Cardiff Blues debut after being named at full back for the Guinness PRO12 clash with Edinburgh Rugby at BT Murrayfield on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 4pm).

The former Super Rugby star is one of five changes to the Cardiff Blues team that started the last league fixture with Munster Rugby at the start of November. Dan Fish is the other change in the back division as he is named on the left wing.

Macauley Cook comes in to partner Jarrad Hoeata in the second row while Ellis Jenkins is rewarded for his outstanding form in the LV=Cup with the number seven jersey in Scotland.

Kristian Dacey is named in the starting line-up at hooker, with Matthew Rees ruled out with injury, and Adam Jones will captain the region for the very first time.

Hot prospect Garyn Smith could also make his league debut for Blues with the Academy product named among the replacements after also impressing in the LV=Cup.

Director of Rugby Mark Hammett said: "We've enjoyed a good period of results in both cup competitions and now look forward to the resumption of the Guinness PRO12 for a crucial period of fixtures up until Christmas.

"We're well aware of the challenge we face up in Scotland against Edinburgh. They're well coached by South African Head Coach Alan Solomans and, from what I've seen of them, they have a strong territorial game and if you get that right it is hard to stop.

"We're keen to get Gareth (Anscombe) involved and so he will start the game at full back. A number of other players will be keen to step up, continue the good form of recent weeks and impress while others are away during the autumn international window.”

Cardiff Blues: 

15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Adam Thomas, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Dan Fish, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lloyd Williams; 1 Sam Hobbs, 2 Kristian Dacey, 3 Adam Jones (c), 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Macauley Cook, 6 Josh Turnbull, 7 Ellis Jenkins, 8 Manoa Vosawai


16 Rhys Williams, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Chris Dicomidis, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Garyn Smith, 23 Geraint Walsh

Friday, 14 November 2014

Principality Premiership predictions

All Wales Sport's Carl Field looks ahead to tonight's action in the Principality Premiership, as well as Sunday's game at the Brewery Field...

Llanelli v Aberavon

Aberavon head coach Jason Hyatt will demand a reaction from his side after last Friday’s poor display at Bridgend – which he labelled the "worst" under his stewardship. Anthony Buchanan’s Llanelli play their first home for six weeks buoyed by their performance – albeit ultimately in defeat – at Cross Keys seven days ago.

Prediction: Llanelli by 12 points

Ebbw Vale v Pontypridd

The Steelmen have been a revelation since returning to the top flight and were only narrowly beaten at Carmarthen Quins last Friday. Champions Pontypridd, meanwhile, haven’t been at their brilliant best in recent games and, although once again hampered by players off on regional duty, should just edge this one to remain top of the pile.

Prediction: Pontypridd by 3 points

Llandovery v Cross Keys 

Both these side have been a little bit Jekyll and Hyde so far this season with three wins and three defeats from their respective six games. It’s a difficult one to predict but I’ll just give it to the Drovers who will be looking to make full use of home advantage.

Prediction: Llandovery by 6 points

Neath v Carmarthen Quins

Neath will be looking for a repeat of their last outing a fortnight ago when they came from behind to record a stunning win over Cross Keys, which turned out to be Rowland Phillips’ last game at the Gnoll. Patrick Horgan will be looking for another positive result having taken on team affairs, although standing in their way are the mighty Quins - and it would take a brave punter to back against them maintaining their 100 per cent record.

Prediction: Carmarthen Quins by 16 points

Bridgend v Bedwas (Sunday)

Bridgend recorded a morale-boosting win at Aberavon last Friday and showed they have the ability to hurt teams, particularly when they get the ball out wide. Bedwas are likely to provide much stiffer opposition head coach Steve Law felt his side were unfortunate not to pick up a win at Pontypridd in their last game two weeks ago.

Prediction: Bedwas by 4 points

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Maesteg to face Tondu in inaugural Austen Howells Memorial Cup match

THE inaugural Austen Howells Memorial Cup match takes place tomorrow evening (Friday) between Maesteg and Tondu.

Austen Howells, a rugby player who died in August. Picture: Wales News Service 

The game is a tribute to the late Howells, who died aged just 40 while on a stag weekend in Manchester back in August.

Howells, who had just taken a coaching role at his hometown side Maesteg before his death, also represented Tondu during a distinguished career.

The game, which will be played annually between the two clubs, will also help support the respective junior sections.

Tomorrow night's fixture – which is being played at the Old Parish – kicks off at 7.15pm.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Principality Premiership predictions

All Wales Sport's Carl Field looks ahead to tonight's action in the Principality Premiership...

Aberavon v Bridgend (7.15pm)

It looks like it could be a long hard winter for the Ravens, who are up against it after a tough start that has seen them lose four out of five while the Wizards, who have the same record, have targeted this game and home advantage should pay dividends for Jason Hyatt’s side tonight.

Prediction: Aberavon by 15 points

Carmarthen Quins v Ebbw Vale (7.30pm)

This is the pick of this evening’s games with Ebbw Vale – with five wins out of six so far – the surprising front runners in the Principality Premiership. The Steelmen have won all three of their games on the road so far and another win here would be the biggest scalp of the lot. However I expect the Quins to record another win against the Gwent side and maintain their 100 per cent record.

Prediction: Carmarthen Quins by 7 points

Cross Keys v Llanelli (7.30pm)

Cross Keys will be looking for a reaction after their shock defeat at Neath where they tossed away a 19-7 half time lead before eventually going down 32-19 at the Gnoll. Llanelli head coach Anthony Buchanan admits his side looked rusty in their defeat at Newport – their first game for nearly a month – having started to look as if they were clicking into gear before the break for the British & Irish Cup.

Prediction: Cross Keys by 5 points

Llandovery v Pontypridd (7.30pm)

The champions haven’t been in rip roaring form of late – and only squeezed past Bedwas at Sardis Road last time out. I predict their 100 per cent record will go at Church Bank tonight – where they also lost in pre-season. Wing Richard Williams – who bagged a brace that day – will be looking to inspire the Drovers once again.

Prediction: Llandovery by 3 points

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Kidwelly blitz Carmarthen to extend lead

Kidwelly extended their advantage to two points at the summit of One West as the Black and Ambers blitzed past Carmarthen Athletic 51-10.
Hat-trick hero Luke Marshall in action for Kidwelly
The league leaders helped themselves to nine tries in all with efforts from Luke Marshall (3), Dafydd Lewis (2), Richard Rees (2), Andy Francis and Jason Smith.
Kidwelly's Jason Smith breaks through the Athletic defence
Hot on the pacemakers' heels are Newcastle Emlyn, who also picked up their sixth win of the season with an 18-12 success at Loughor.
Emlyn had three yellow cards in the match but came through thanks to tries from Sean Leonard and Alun Howells, while Dan Davies added eight points from the tee.
At the other end of the table, Amman United recorded the maiden win of their campaign as they defeated Gorseinon 20-17 at Cwmamman Park.
Amman’s tries came courtesy of a Liam Mangan touchdown and a penalty try, while Rhys Thomas converted both and slotted two penalties.
Luke Cross got Gorseinon’s only try while Andrew Steele fired over four penalties from the tee.
Trebanos moved to within three points of the One West Central leaders Kenfig Hill as 'Banws dispatched Dunvant, while the pacemakers slumped to a 19-22 home defeat to Skewen.
'Banws crossed twice through Matthew Edwards and Richard Davies while Christian Jones fired home a solitary penalty.
Skewen inflicted leaders Kenfig Hill’s second defeat of the season as they edged a close battle 22-19 at Croft Goch Playing Fields.
The visitors went over three times through Tom Kingdom, Jamie Kirkhouse and a penalty try, while Ricky Buselli added the extras to two and also slotted a penalty.
For the Mules, Lewis David, Alex Cunnick and Matthew Staniel went over, with Nicky Giles adding two conversions.

Elsewhere, Bonymaen, who were relegated from the Championship last season, recorded their fifth win with a 17-5 triumph at Seven Sisters. Bony’s only try of the match came through Jacob Clement while Mark Simons landed four penalties.