Thursday, 27 February 2014

Scorpions coach will be a proud man on Sunday

South Wales Scorpions coach Mike Grady says that he will be a proud man this Sunday when his side run out at Maesteg RFC for the opening Kingstone Press Championship 1 game of the season against Oldham Roughyeds (kick-off 3pm).

Following founder and original chairman Phil Davies’ departure from the club late last year, the Scorpions were in limbo for a short period of time before Wales Rugby League were able to take the club over.

Because of this, the Scorpions didn’t start training until late in January so Grady says that win, lose or draw on Sunday, getting to the starting line has been a big achievement.

“It's been a short pre-season,” he said. “I've not been shouting from the rooftops but my players have had to fit a four month pre-season into around five weeks and I know it’s been the same with all the off-field and office staff too.

“I’m pleased with the progress so far and was delighted to have a ten-try outing in our only pre-season friendly last week.

“I was first spoken to about the job on January 6th due to the nature of the takeover but then still couldn't be officially announced for a few weeks later. Our first session commenced on the 29th January at a venue where we couldn't even get the ball out due to the surroundings.

“I'm more than happy with the way the lads have responded and trained throughout February. We have come a long way since that first session. The pleasing aspect is that they are all proud Welsh players and all have been signed by myself and Paul as no-one was signed when I arrived.

“All the players want to be here and I want them to be here. I've had 100% support from the players and also the club staff who have worked around the clock ensuring to mine and the team’s every need.

“I'll be a proud man the day we take the field against Oldham because I know what it's took to get us to the starting line. I'll back my lads 100% and assure you that there won't be a lack of effort from anyone come Sunday.”

Scorpions have just one injury worry in Osian Phillips, while Alan Pope, Shaun Owens and Jack Pring are also unavailable.

Three Oldham backs are having treatment as the Roughyeds prepare for the game. Centre David Cookson has a groin problem, while two men who could be vying for the full-back spot, Steven Nield and Tom Whitehead, have hamstring and Achilles tendon problems respectively.

Naylor said: "We expect all three to be available for selection. We are taking precautions with them, but I think they'll be okay.

“By the time I pick the side on Saturday I expect everybody to be in the frame, with the exception of Phil Joy.”

South Wales Scorpions season tickets start at just £5 for juniors and go up to £70 for adults, and can be bought by going Match tickets for their first game of the season when they entertain Oldham Roughyeds on Sunday 2nd March, can also be bought.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

BUCS Rugby: Swansea Uni Women 12-24 Bristol Uni Women

Two late tries from Bristol University Women's RFC ensured they snatched a 24-12 victory over Swansea University at a sun-drenched Sketty Lane.

In an open but scrappy match, it was ultimately the visitors’ pacey backline that proved the difference in the end.

It was the Green and Whites, however, that got off to the better start with full-back Meg Griffiths touching down early on.

Swansea continue to have the upper hand in the opening quarter, with Chante Lee and Morgan Simpson each making inroads with powerful forays.

But a lapse in concentration saw Bristol fly-half Izzy Day take a quick-tap penalty in midfield and with the Swansea defence in disarray, Day sent wing Sally McConchie into space to see the speedster out-pace the cover defence and dab down.

With the scores level again at 5-5, there was little to choose between the teams and neither side could assert their authority over proceedings before the break.

The second half continued in a frantic fashion as both teams looked to run at every opportunity with Peita McAlister and impressing for the hosts.

However, some more slack defending once again hurt the Welsh side, with full-back with Rai-Lee Pham capitalising to touchdown as the visitors took the lead for the first time.

Almost immediately, they surrendered their advantage after a penetrating attack from Griffiths saw Swansea camped on the opposition line, and Chante Lee to dart over from close range. Griffiths added the extras to take a slender lead.

Swansea were in the ascendancy and with better game management could have seen the game out, but lazy defending and missed tackles cost them dear, with Pham and the excellent Day both going over in the final minutes to put the game to bed.

With Welsh Varsity less than two months away, the Green and Whites will have a lot to work on if they are to record their first ever win over Cardiff.

Star Player: Izzy Day (Bristol University).

Division One West: Weekend Review

Kidwelly continued their recent run of fine form to cut Glynneath’s lead at the summit to seven points as they recorded their first ever win at Builth Wells, with a hard-fought 32-22 victory at the Groe.
The Black and Ambers boasted eight youth team members from last season in their starting line-up, and the youngsters didn’t disappoint as they bagged their ninth success of the season.
Kidwelly quickly got over their loss in the Plate last weekend as they crossed four times through Jonathan Williams, Luke Thomas, Andy Francis and Callum Williams, while Jamie Evans notched up 12 points from the tee.
Meanwhile, Llangennech notched up their fifth straight win in the league as they edged out Cwmllynfell 18-17.
Llangennech outscored their rivals two tries to one thanks to a penalty try and an Ashley Banfield touchdown. Daniel Griffiths added five points from the tee while Ricky Jones fired over a crucial penalty to seal the win.
Cwmllynfell had to make do with a losing bonus point - Peter Thomas touched down for their solitary try while Rory Williams was on target with four penalties.
At the bottom of the table, Crymych claimed only the third win of their campaign as they battled to a 19-3 home success over Carmarthen Athletic.
Nick Bevan, Carwyn Rees and Elgan Vittle all went over for the hosts, while Rhys Davies and Dyfan Dafydd added a conversion each.
In the day’s other fixture Whitland inflicted Ammanford’s 13th defeat of the season as they cantered to a 28-18 win at Parc Llwyntygwyn.
The Borderers’ Zac France-Miller was the star of the show for the hosts, as the back row was rewarded for an industrious afternoon’s work with a brace, while Lee Glanville and Mike Gorgio also went over for the home side. The victory sees Whitland move up to seventh in the table.

Rhiwbina back on top

Grant Fitzgerald crosses for Rhiwbina’s opening try at Mountain Ash

In the top of the table Two East showdown, it was Rhiwbina who claimed victory as they ran out 36-8 winners at Mountain Ash

The Old Firm had no answer to the powerful Squirrels scrum and scrum half Harry Trelawney had a commanding game.
Josh Davies opened the Squirrels’ account with a drop goal, and first half tries came from Grant Fitzgerald, Dave Smith and Joe Cassella, with Gareth McCarthy converting two.
The hosts got on the scoreboard with a Matthew Parfit penalty and Ross Davies try each side of half time.
In the second half the Rhiwbina scrum forced a penalty try to clinch the bonus point, and prop Dan Evans crossed for the fifth try, both converted by McCarthy.
Two East Results: 
Abertillery B G 7 - 20 Dowlais
Fleur De Lys 18 - 8 Abercynon
Llanishen 16 - 17 Llantrisant
Mountain Ash 8 - 36 Rhiwbina
Senghenydd 29 - 26 Garndiffaith

Division One East: Weekend Review

High-fliers Heol y Cyw got their One East title challenge back on track with a try bonus 29-22 victory over Treorchy at the Oval.

The recent inclement weather has seen no fixtures played in the Division since the end of January and it showed in a number of matches, with teams taking a while to kick in to gear. 
After suffering a disappointing loss against Penallta last time out, the Cockerels produced a determined second half show to fight back from a 15-10 half-time deficit. 
Stuart Nation bagged a brace of tries as the Cockerels crossed five times in all, with Paul Songhurst, Rhys Griffiths and Ian Callaghan also going over.
The win sees the Cockerels move up to second and cut leaders Merthyr’s advantage to seven points.
The Zebras claimed a losing bonus point thanks to 17 points from the boot of Jordan Lloyd and a touchdown from Garyn Daniel.
Meanwhile, Ynysybwl leapt up to fourth in the league as they turned on the style to defeat Penallta 40-11.
Bwl hit the visitors for six with tries from Dale Stuckey (2), Sean Ireland, Alan Thomas, Daniel Watts and Dewi Voyle. In breezy conditions Nathan Ellis converted just one, but also slotted two penalties.
The Pitmen never really got into the clash, despite having a strong wind behind them after the break. All they could muster was a touchdown from Josh Evans and two Andre Soroco penalties.
Elsewhere, basement boys Bedlinog notched up just their second victory of the season as they dispatched Nelson 14-6.
Ben Grzescia crossed for the only try of the match for the Foxes, while Bleddyn Corns was on target with three penalties to seal the narrow success.
The day’s other scheduled fixture between Rumney and Gilfach Goch was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Fardre clinch quarter-final place

Llantwit Fardre’s dreams of a day out at the Millennium Stadium continue after the Two East side dumped first division Glamorgan Wanderers out of the competition to book a quarter-final berth against Llangennech.
Fardre fly-half and ex Wanderers player, Jason Pocock, came back to haunt his old club, producing an excellent individual performance at stand-off that saw him claim 16 of his side's points, including a brace, in their 26-18 win at the Memorial Ground. Karl Thomas and Lloyd Morgan also crossed as the visitors outscored their rivals four tries to two.
Club Secretary Jeff Lewis was delighted by his team’s performance at the weekend, the second time they have taken the scalp of Division One opposition in the competition.
“I think they probably underestimated us a bit. We were well worth our win and perhaps even the score flatters them a little as we conceded two soft tries late on.”
Fardre now travel to One West outfit Llangennech on March 22 and Lewis says his team are relishing the chance.
“The boys have shown great desire and determination so far, and we have definitely surprised a few people.
“We are looking forward to the test Llangennech pose but we have a great team spirit at the moment with the lads giving their all for one another, and we will have to be at our best to beat Llangennech who are a good side,” added Lewis.
Another side celebrating a ‘cupset' were Maesteg Quins, who battled past Kenfig Hill 12-3.
Andrew Healey was the toast of the Llynfi Valley with the back row bagging two tries for Quins, while Gareth Lewis added the extras to one to book a spot in the last eight.
 And in the quarter-final, they will face One West leaders Glynneath after they edged past Waunarlwydd 13-12.

The Neath Valley outfit crossed twice through Josh Jones and Shaun Tennent with centre Jack O’Riley firing home a penalty.
 Elsewhere, One East pacemakers Merthyr comfortably comfortably made progress with a 55-13 home win over Three East’s Risca and will now host Two West’s Amman United in the next round.
The Ironmen. who hadn’t played for five weeks before the fourth round Plate match, blew off the cobwebs to race in eight tries, with Aaron Howard and Steve James both bagging braces while Josh Flye, Chris Davies, Aaron Harris and Martin Luckwell also crossed the whitewash.
Team Manager Paul Lewis was satisfied with his team’s performance on Saturday.
“Both sides were a bit rusty- I don’t think either team had played for a few weeks, but the boys were delighted to get out on the pitch and play some rugby again.
“They gave us a bit of a fright early on, going into a 10-3 lead, but after that it was one way traffic- we scored eight tries but it could have been more,” added Lewis.
Despite being delighted to book a quarter-final spot, Lewis admitted the club’s main priority this season is claiming the league title and with it promotion to the Championship.
“No doubt there is a buzz about the club now that we’re only a couple of games away from the final, but ultimately our goal is to win the league and that’s definitely the club’s main priority.”
Merthyr return to league action this Saturday when they host Rumney at the Wern.
Completing the quarter-final line-up are 2012 runners up Nant Conwy, who  kept their dream of a return to the Millennium Stadium alive with a comfortable 22-3 win over One North rivals Caernarfon. The North Walians will now face a long trip south to face Two East leaders Rhiwbina.

Scorpions skipper looking forward to Sunday's big kick-off

South Wales Scorpions captain Phil Carleton can’t wait for the big kick off on Sunday when his side take on Kingstone Press Championship 1 favourites Oldham Roughyeds at Maesteg RFC (kick-off 3pm).

The northern side missed out on promotion last year after losing in the play-off final to local rivals Rochdale Hornets and the 29-year old forward knows that this will make a tough game even tougher for him and his Welsh team-mates.

“We see Oldham as one of the league favourites and with that obviously see this as a real test,” Carelton said. “But we play this sport to test ourselves against the best, so all the squad are really looking forward to it and we’re hoping for a big support at The Old Parish to cheer us on.

“For some of the boys it will be their first professional game of Rugby League and I know they are really excited to get going. The aim is to get into the arm wrestle and stay in there till someone cracks and makes a mistake. And when it comes, that mistake will hopefully be made by Oldham.

“I know that they’re a tough side. They’ll have wanted to have got promoted last season and were unfortunate not to be. I've played Oldham many times over the years and think I’m about 50/50 on wins and losses. But every time I've played them it has always been a real physical encounter and I know I've been in a fight.”

The big difference in the Scorpions squad this year compared to previous years is that all the players have turned out for Wales at one level or another. With two full Welsh internationals in Jack Pring and Ashley Bateman, complemented by a whole host of Wales Dragonhearts, Student and youth internationals, it has made for a close and united squad in pre-season training.

“To my knowledge, everyone is Welsh qualified,” said Carleton, a Welsh Student international who, being born in North-East England is one of only three non Welsh born players in the entire squad.

“Although Chris Vitalini, while born in Newport and played for Wales under 19s, now tends to go for his Italian connections and I’m sure in looking forward to his trip to Ukraine in July to play for them again!

“The fact we are all Welsh based means we are all at training and close. We will hopefully see the difference when times get hard on the field as it will be a tough season. As a squad we know this doesn't guarantee us a victory or faultless performances every week but if it means we play for one another and for the fans, giving 100%, then we'll settle for that and I hope the fans will too.”

South Wales Scorpions season tickets start at just £5 for juniors and go up to £70 for adults, and can be bought by going Match tickets for their first game of the season when they entertain Oldham Roughyeds on Sunday 2nd March, can also be bought.

Swalec Bowl Weekend Review

Llantwit Major continue to rewrite their club’s history books as the Four South East side booked their place in the last eight of the Swalec Bowl with a 25-13 home win over Beaufort.
The prolific boot of Ryan Evans was once again on song for Llantwit, as Evans bagged 20 of his side’s points through six penalties and also added the extras to Laurence Howley’s second half touchdown.
Darren Joy’s team will now face Pyle in the next round after the Four South West side won a thrilling encounter with league rivals Cwmgors 31-28.
Jamie Johns bagged a brace for Pyle while Dave Woods also went over, but it was the clinical goal kicking of Joe Gallifant that saw them through as the fly-half fired home four penalties and two conversions to seal the victory.
Two North’s Llandudno were the most emphatic winners of the day as they shrugged off the long journey to defeat Tredegar Ironsides 47-5.

Llandudno helped themselves to seven tries through Josh Williams (2), Dave Davies, Nick Eavlam, Nick Maxwell, Ameron Davies and Bobby Davies.
In an all Four East clash Old Illtydians ground out a 16-7 home win over Abertysswg.
Tom Wheeler bagged the hosts' only try while Adam Staniforth added eleven points from the tee.
Old Illtydians will now travel to Six South East pacemakers Hartridge in the last eight of the competition.
Finally, Cowbridge and Nantymoel will be hoping it’s a case of third time lucky this Saturday when they will again attempt to play their last 16 encounter.

Lions centre to return for Scarlets this weekend

Scarlets' backline will be bolstered this weekend as they take on table-toppers Munster at Parc y Scarlets with the return of Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies.
Sidelined through injury since November, apart from 40 minutes of regional action in the LV= Cup earlier this month, Davies will make a welcome return to Scarlets action against table-toppers Munster on Saturday evening.
A welcome boost for coaches and supporters alike, Davies returns at a crucial time for the Scarlets with the campaign to reach the top four and the play-offs in its ascendancy.
Scarlets Head Coach Simon Easterby said: "Jon's contributed really well in training this week. It's good to have him around, he adds quality into the playing squad but he's also a very experienced player in terms of what he's done in the game.”
At only 25 years of age Davies is not only one of the most experienced players in the backline but is one of the squad's most senior players bringing invaluable leadership qualities to the group, Easterby went on to say: "I think other players are starting to accept some responsibility within the group but Jon clearly has the right now to voice his opinion and when he does it makes players respond.”
As Wales prepare to take on England at Twickenham Davies will be hoping to get some game time and match fitness under his belt. Easterby added: "He worked really hard to get himself fit to potentially make the start of the 6 Nations tournament.
"Following medical advice we were happy to play him against London Irish and despite coming through that initial forty minutes of rugby it's good that he took a break and didn't try to keep on going.
"Jon accepted that you've got to get it right before coming back and he's in a better place now.”
Scarlets take on Munster at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday 1st March, kick-off 6.30pm in the RaboDirect PRO12.
Emyr Phillips, Samson Lee and Rhodri Williams have also been released back to the Scarlets ahead of this weekend's clash.

Friday, 21 February 2014

We have to turn the Parc into a fortress says Barclay

Scarlets' very own flower of Scotland John Barclay says the Scarlets have it all still to play for as they head towards the business end of the 2013-14 RaboDirect PRO12 season.
Having made the move from Scotland to West Wales last summer the 27 year old Scottish flanker, a former career Glasgow Warrior player, has made a positive impact at the Scarlets and is looking forward to securing a great run in to the end of the season.
Barclay said: "There are 45 points left in the season so we have plenty to focus on. There have been pleasing performances and results this season but equally frustrating as we've been in every game.
"Edinburgh are a pretty different side now and they have a lot of guys out with Scotland at the moment. You're always conscious that other teams are on your tail if you lose on a weekend.”
Barclay went on to say that he's enjoying his rugby at Parc y Scarlets but admits that the team still have some work to do: "It's a great environment here at Parc y Scarlets from the facilities to the atmosphere in the squad, a lot of hard work goes in from the players and everyone is very committed and passionate about the Scarlets.
"We have to turn this great place into something of a fortress. It's a bit of a catch 22, the supporters will come down here if we're winning but it also helps us win if there's a great crowd here cheering us on!”
Currently out of favour with the Scottish selectors Barclay added: "I'm enjoying my rugby here, I want to play for Scotland of course I do but I have to concentrate on things here at Parc y Scarlets. We have a great run in to the end of the season.”

Scarlets take on Edinburgh at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday 22nd February, kick-off 2.30pm.

Principality Premiership and Swalec Cup Weekend Preview

Carmarthen Quins will be hoping to extend their advantage at the summit of the Principality Premiership tomorrow when they host Bedwas at Carmarthen Park.
With title rivals Pontypridd having to play their re-arranged Cup match against Newport, Quins’ Team Manager Steff Thomas sees this as an important opportunity to stretch their lead.
“If we can get the win, it will be nice to steal a march on Ponty and get the points on the board.”

However, Thomas admits that Bedwas will pose more of a test to the team the Quins comfortably beat at the start of the season.

“We are expecting a very tough game, they had bit of a slow start to the season but they’re going well now and looking to make a push themselves for a play-off spot. It will definitely be a test of the strength of our squad with a few players missing.”

Despite the fact that Quins are leading the way in the Premiership and are safely through to the quarter-finals of the Swalec Cup, Thomas is adamant that no one at Carmarthen Park are thinking about claiming a historic League and Cup double.

“There is a long way to go till the end of the season but we are obviously delighted by where we are at present, though we definitely aren’t getting ahead of ourselves and just concentrating on one match at a time,” added Thomas.

In what looks like the clash of the day, third takes on fourth at the top of the table as Llandovery welcome Cross Keys to Church Bank.

When the sides met back in September the Keys were comfortable winners, but on their home patch the Drovers will pose a more stringent test. With both sides chasing a top three play-off position, the outcome of this clash could prove crucial come the end of the season.

Meanwhile, former Aberavon and Pontypridd coach Simon King has been chosen as the man to take Cardiff forward, after a big shake-up of the coaching staff at the capital side this week that saw Director of Rugby Martyn Fowler resign and backs coach Mark Ring dismissed.

Speaking about his new position, King said:

"It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’m absolutely delighted to be given this role.

"I have experience at this level and now look forward to working at a club with such a rich heritage and proud history."

King’s reign begins at the Arms Park tomorrow when the Blue and Blacks entertain visitors Neath, who have only claimed two wins so far this season and have not played a competitive fixture since January 18.

"We have a good opportunity at home against Neath on Saturday, and then seven more games in the Principality Premiership season and a home quarter-final in the Swalec Cup to look forward to.

"There is a lot of rugby for us to get stuck into this season and I look forward to what we can achieve,” added King.
Elsewhere, Ben Rose’s Bridgend will be aiming to build on their good win over Cardiff last time out when they host Llanelli at the Brewery Field.

The reverse saw plenty of try scoring action, with 13 tries in all, as the Parc y Scarlets outfit ran out 46-36 winners with both sides going all out in attack.

But Rose admits the only thing that matters to the Ravens, who are still in a fight for survival at the bottom, is recording a victory.

“The game we played earlier in the season shows what both sides are capable of in attack. This should be an entertaining game for the neutral but only a win matters for the Bridgend players, supporters and club.”

After the wet weather put title holders Pontypridd Swalec Cup defence on ice, the Sardis Road side will be looking to book their spot in the last eight when they host Newport.

In the other rearranged second round match, Championship outfits Ebbw Vale and RGC 1404 will be vying for a home quarter-final draw against Llandovery.

The Steelmen have already completed the league double over the North Walian region and will be odds-on to make the quarter-final stage for the second year running.

Bridgend v Llanelli- Llanelli by 7 points
Cardiff v Neath- Cardiff by 10 points
Carmarthen Quins v Bedwas- Quins by 7 points
Llandovery v Cross Keys- Llandovery by 3 points

Ebbw Vale v Rgc 1404- Ebbw by 20 points
Pontypridd v Newport- Pontypridd by 12 points 

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Joining golf clubs is what friends are for

The friendliness of a golf club is the main reason for bucking the current trends and boosting membership numbers in Wales, according to a new survey.

The Golf Development Wales study emphasises the importance of clubs providing a friendly welcome to new members and the contribution of existing friend/family relationships to new member recruitment.

Those two factors were named as the main reasons for joining the club in a survey open to nearly 2,000 people who have been through the GDW's New2Golf scheme. They were even more important reasons for those renewing their membership.

Around two out of every three people to have taken part in the New2Golf scheme went on to join a golf club, according to those who responded to the online survey, with the majority being women.

As they joined a wide range of Welsh golf clubs, it showed the friendly reception is available at plenty of different clubs, with around 90 per cent saying they were 'very satisfied' or 'satisfied' by the welcome they received.

This is really important feedback and helps to remind clubs there is plenty they can do to encourage people to join,” said Golf Union of Wales development director Hannah Fitzpatrick.

The range of clubs joined by respondents indicates that many clubs are providing this welcome, and the findings also provide strong support for “Member get member” type schemes.

The survey also indicates that even if new golfers do not join a club immediately, they may do so in the future when they have more time, become more confident in playing golf, or feel that they can get value from membership.

As well as the new types of membership, such as points membership, that many clubs have instigated to cater to the golfer with less time to play, it could be useful for clubs to keep in touch with previous New2Golf members once or twice a year, so that they will naturally come to that club when they are ready to play more golf.”

Those surveyed who had not gone on to join a club cited lack of time and cost as the main reasons. However two thirds said they planned to carry on playing golf and only one ruled out joining a club in the future.

The club's social programme was particularly important to women, while the opportunities to get a handicap and play in competitions were more important to men – however competitions were still important to a third of the new women members.

All these stories are good for the golf clubs that are changing, good for the sport, but also good for the people taking up a game that will keep them active for the rest of their lives,” added Fitzpatrick.

New2Golf is a promotional scheme for clubs and professionals which encourages participants to get hooked on golf quicker through the use of coaching vouchers, insurance and much more.

Each New2Golf member will receive a pack that includes a rules and etiquette pocket reminders and welcome book, 50% off a lesson voucher, 6 for the price of 5 lesson voucher, friend or family lesson voucher, £1 million public liability insurance (adults only), 25% off golfers insurance through CCV, amongst other benefits.

In the two years since New2Golf was launched, including the initial pilot period, 1796 people have taken up the membership, 776 ladies, 429 boys, 290 men and 301 girls. 
Thanks to Wales hosting the Ryder Cup 200,000 people have had the chance to give golf a try, over 5,000 newly trained volunteers are having an effect at clubs week in, week out, while 38 new facilities all around Wales continue to thrive in developing the game.

For details on New2Golf, please go to and click on Beginners and Golfers.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Carmarthen Quins 61 Bridgend Athletic 6

After a slow start the rampant Quins exposed the huge gulf in class as they swept aside the gallant Athletic to march into the Swalec Cup quarter-finals.

Flanker Ellis Lloyd bagged a hat-trick for the Premiership leaders.
 Athletic, raced into a 6-0 lead at Carmarthen Park thanks to two Steven Lewis penalties, but any hopes of a famous victory were quashed as the Premiership leaders turned on the style.

Sitting proudly at the summit of the Premiership, Quins slipped behind to two early Steve Lewis penalties but soon took charge with the outgunned Championship visitors blitzed by a nine-try spree.

Although the Athletic were competitive, they were no match for the big pre-match favourites who ensured the form book held true with a devastating display of forward power and clinical finishing.

Winger Ellis Phillips tests the Athletic defence
The Quins have a mission to go one better than last year’s semi -final stage and clinch the top prize of a cup and championship double. On the evidence of this powerful performance it will take a good side to deny the West Wales outfit who coasted after building a 26-6 interval lead.

Flanker Ellis Lloyd led the way with a fine hat-trick of tries, including a second half brace with fellow back rower Luke Joseph and hooker Ryan Elias also crossing for first half touchdowns.

Athletic attempted to run the ball at every opportunity
Craig Evans pulled the strings from fly half and converted eight of the nine touchdowns as Connor Lloyd, Gareth Thomas, Jason Harries and Rhys Williams also crossed to complete the Athletic’s misery.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

BUCS: Swansea University RFC 16 - 11 Bath University RFC

Swansea University moved out of the BUCS Premier South A relegation zone thanks to a gritty and determined victory over Bath at a windswept Sketty Lane.

Conditions were atrocious with a severe gale hampering any efforts of expansive rugby. However, it was the hosts that handled the weather better with Swansea fly half Jack Shields firing home two pressure kicks late on in proceedings.

With the wind in their faces, the Green and Whites put in the hard graft before the break and limited the visitors to a 6-5 advantage, despite being pinned in their own territory for the majority of the half.

From kick-off, Bath almost immediately captured the lead when Swansea infringed in their own 22 and full-back George Drury fired over the resultant penalty.

Early on, Bath looked dangerous but a quick-tap penalty from Swansea scrum-half, Josh Guy, was the catalyst for a quick response from the hosts.

Guy broke the initial line of defence and set winger Andrew Claypole free, although the flyer still had work to do to outpace the cover defence.

However, there was no hope for Shields to add the extras from out right with the wind in his face.

Richard Lancaster’s troops were now in the ascendancy and although they struggled to drive out of their own half the forwards kept it tight, maintaining possession for several minutes at a time as they starved the life out of Bath’s attack.

However, as the half drew to a close, the visitors were once again on top but saw a couple of penalty attempts go begging before Marcus Beer was successful with his third attempt on the stroke of half time to edge them ahead heading into the break.

If Swansea thought that in riding the first half storm they were set for a breeze of a half, then they got a rude awakening.

After several missed tackles Bath advanced up the left flank with Drury finishing the incisive move to stretch their lead.

And now Bath, without the wind behind them, looked a much more dangerous adversary as they set-out to run the ball at every opportunity, with replacement Adam Anker going on several barnstorming charges.

Cheered on by a throng of passionate, yet wind-blown supporters, Swansea regained their composure after some harsh words from influential back row Reuben Tucker.

An Elliot Jones attack sent the hosts driving into the opposition 22 and a resultant scrum V to Swansea provided the platform for the Green and Whites to strike.

After several pick-and-gos, the hosts crossed the whitewash with Tucker emerging with the ball from under a pile of bodies.

Shields missed the conversion but the hosts were once again on the front foot.

However, they did make hard work of it, initially inviting pressure from the visitors, but with ten minutes remaining, good work at the breakdown saw the hosts rewarded with a penalty 30 metres out.

Shields stepped up and fired Swansea into a 13-11 lead, and straight from the restart the process was replicated with Shields knocking over another penalty, essentially putting the must-win game to bed.

Overall, Swansea deserved the victory due in large part to their physicality and tenacious spirit.

The win sees the Green and Whites move off the bottom of the BUCS table which is now occupied by Varisty rivals, Cardiff. Swansea play their last league fixture next Wednesday against Cardiff Met at Cyncoed.

Star Man: Reuben Tucker (Swansea University).

Ladies at the double in taking up golf

Ladies are taking up golf at a rate of almost two to one compared to men, through one of the new schemes set up in Wales thanks to the Ryder Cup.

The Golf Development Wales New2Golf results shows that as some golf clubs experience the tough economic times, they have to adapt, promote new opportunities to the community and change in line with different circumstances.

In the two years New2Golf has been running, around 1800 new people tried the game and have gone on to become New2Golf members, with more than 1,000 of those being women and girls. From the sample surveyed, over 60% joined the club as members.

It shows how the impact of hosting the Ryder Cup – and in particular setting up Golf Development Wales – continues to help Welsh golf clubs through difficult times, as long as they are prepared to change in line with new trends.

The most important thing about the decision to join a golf club was the friendliness of that club, as well as friends and family already being members.

While golf club membership is declining across the UK, clubs working closely with Golf Development Wales through the Business Support Scheme have increased membership by just under 10%, improved turnover by 5% and visitors by 17% in the first year.

“These new figures for New2Golf are just a start, but they show an interesting trend,” explained Golf Union of Wales director of development, Hannah Fitzpatrick.

“Across the board in the UK membership of golf clubs is down slightly as people become more nomadic in the way they play, but there are huge benefits in golf club membership and it is a question of getting that message across as well as attracting new people to the game.

“In particular there are great benefits for clubs who work closely with us to develop golf in their areas, because it is such a great sport for life that people can take up and experience all the benefits for so many years.

“New2Golf is aimed at Men, Ladies, Boys and Girls, but it was not set up to target any one particular group – which is what makes these results so interesting.

“Clubs who are prepared to embrace the changing face of the sport who are doing well.
“We also work closely with many clubs through the Business Support Scheme which is having a positive impact as well.

“All these stories are good for the golf clubs that are changing, good for the sport, but also good for the people taking up a game that will keep them active for the rest of their lives.”

New2Golf is a promotional scheme for clubs and professionals which encourages participants to get hooked on golf quicker through the use of coaching vouchers, insurance and much more.

Each New2Golf member will receive a pack that includes a rules and etiquette pocket reminders and welcome book, 50% off a lesson voucher, 6 for the price of 5 lesson voucher, friend or family lesson voucher, £1 million public liability insurance (adults only), 25% off golfers insurance through CCV, amongst other benefits.

In the 2 years since New2Golf was launched, including the initial pilot period, 1796 people have taken up the membership, 776 ladies, 429 boys, 290 men and 301 girls.

Thanks to Wales hosting the Ryder Cup 200,000 people have had the chance to give golf a try, over 5,000 newly trained volunteers are having an effect at clubs week in, week out, while 38 new facilities all around Wales continue to thrive in developing the game.

For details on New2Golf, please go to and click on Beginners and Golfers.

Scorpions sign four new players

South Wales Scorpions have boosted their squad with four new signings in preparation for the big kick off on Sunday 2nd March when they host Oldham Roughyeds at The Old Parish in Maesteg (kick-off 3pm).

Experienced dual code winger Ian Newbury signs after a strong campaign with the Valley Cougars and Wales Dragonhearts Rugby League sides last year.

The 27-year old started playing League with Cardiff Demons in 2007, going on to play for former Scorpions feeder side South Wales Hornets before ending up with the Cougars in 2013.

Brought up in Rugby Union, he’s played for Cross Keys, Glamorgan Wanderers, Caerphilly and Blackwood in Wales, in addition to spending the 2008-09 season in Italy playing for ASD Amatori Palermo.

Powerful forward Scott Britton also joins the club from Valley Cougars.

The 23-year old started playing League five years ago with Cardiff Demons and played for Wales under 18s that same year in the Home Nations Championship in Scotland. Switching back to the 15-man code, he played for Glamorgan Wanderers, Beddau and also represented Crawshays at under 19 level.

He went back to League in 2012, playing for the Cougars and making the Wales Dragonhearts side last year playing under new Scorpions coach Mike Grady.

Skilful young Colwyn Bay born full-back Jordan Sheridan joins the club from Conwy Celts.

The 19-year old was the lynchpin in Conwy’s two North Wales Conference Grand Final wins in 2012 and 2013. He has also caps for Wales at under 18s, 20s and Dragonhearts last year.

In rugby union, he has represented Rygbi Gogledd Cymru at under 18 level playing against all four South Wales regions. Now Cardiff based, he has recently been turning out for Cardiff Metropolitan RFC.

Finally, exciting 21-year old prop Alex Randall becomes the club’s second only non-Welsh born player in the squad this season.

Kings Lynn born, he has been playing rugby union all his life and has been at Folkstone RFC for the past eight seasons, also representing South-East England.

He began playing Rugby League at the University of Glamorgan (now USW) and was vice captain of the team as they reached two successive BUCS Shield finals, winning in 2013. He is a Wales Student international.

Scorpions coach Mike Grady said: “Ian, Scott and Jordan have earned this chance after a great Four Nations campaign with myself and Wales Dragonhearts last season. Ian is an exciting winger who can certainly finish a try, Scott is a no nonsense forward who will take the ball up all day while Jordan is a young exciting full back, who can also play half-back, with a good future ahead of him. I'm pleased for all three and it shows that there is a pathway from the domestic game "

“Alex is another exciting player who has earned his contract. Since I've been here he has put nothing less than 100% effort in all round. He trains hard and is pushing hard for that jersey against Oldham.”

South Wales Scorpions season tickets start at just £5 for juniors and go up to £70 for adults, and can be bought by going Match tickets for their first game of the season when they entertain Oldham Roughyeds on Sunday 2nd March, can also be bought.