Friday, 29 May 2015

Bargoed win Worthington Mid District Cup

Bargoed gained revenge for their only league loss of the season 25 days earlier by Merthyr as they added the Worthington Mid District Cup at Sardis Road, Pontypridd, to their earlier Championship success.

It has been the best-ever season by both the Bargoed and Merthyr clubs, who had finished first and third respectively in league play but it was the Blues of Bargoed who were clear and deserved winners over the Ironmen of Merthyr.

The opening quarter saw Bargoed lead 14-0 but Merthyr were still in it as the interval was reached with Merthyr ahead at 20-10. Though Merthyr closed it to seven points, Bargoed then used their powerful pack and the scrummage in particular to wear their opponents down as they led 39-13 until the final seconds.

It was goodbye to both fly halves as the talented Josh Prosser of Bargoed has now signed for Cross Keys and Josh Flye is leaving Merthyr to play for Swansea. Prosser was luckier to have a powerful eight and a lively partner in scrum half Craig Morgan in front of him.

Both clubs are determined to fight their way upwards in Welsh rugby but on this occasion Bargoed, even without James Pizey and Lewis Protheroe, were stronger than Merthyr, who missed skipper Matthew Rees (holiday) and Dean Gunter (cuptied).

No 8 Ross Coombs, brother of Wales international Andrew, opened the scoring after just five minutes and Prosser converted before hooker and captain Leigh Meades surged over from a lineout ploy and again Prosser added the extras.

Merthyr suddenly woke up and luck was with full back Dan Parry for a kick and chase try that somehow he did not convert as Prosser struck back with a penalty four minutes later.

Again Merthyr hit back as wing Aaron Howard nipped in at the corner but again the boot of Prosser struck a penalty over just before the break.

Though Parry kicked a good penalty after 45 minutes it was Bargoed’s pack who took over with flanker Adam Coupe, then a penalty try and finally a second touchdown by Coombs bringing the five-pointers, plus two conversions by Prosser, to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Merthyr had the final say as they flung the ball around and teenage replacement prop Sam Evans did well to score with Parry drop-kicking the conversion.

It was a deserved win for Bargoed and crowned a season they will never forget while young North Walian referee Owain Griffiths gave another excellent display in allowing the game to flow.

Once again the partnership of Worthington and the Mid District committee had joined to help provide a fitting end to the season.


Bargoed – Tries: R Coombs 2, L Meades, A Coupe, pen try. Cons: J Prosser 4. Pens: J Prosser 2.

Merthyr – Tries: D Parry, A Howard, S Evans. Con: D Parry. Pen: D Parry.

Falcons win the Worthington Cup

Abertysswg Falcons gained the Worthington Gwent and District (Cyrus Davies) Cup for the third successive year when they saw off a depleted, but brave, Hafodyrynys side at Glan Yr Afon Park, Blackwood.
The Falcons gave their departing coaches a great send off as both head coach Leigh Meddlicott and his assistant Gareth Richards are both moving onto new ventures to join the coaching set-ups at the under 16 sides of the Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons respectively.
Meddlicott said “This is my last game at Abertysswg and I am proud and thrilled to be part of a journey that has taken us from Division Six to Division Two.”
Despite being two divisions below Abertysswg, it was Hafodyrynys who took an early lead via a penalty from outside half Kris Moses as both sides tried to settle into a rhythm. From a lineout Hafod attacked again and a clever inside switch put full back Rob Smith, one of the small band of players who have scored over 100 league tries,  in for a try converted by Moses for a 10-0 advantage after 18 minutes.
Abertysswg reduced the arrears with a 35 metre penalty from their outside half and captain Jamie Howells, the former Wales Districts cap, before play was held up for several minutes whilst an injured Hafodyrynys forward was treated for injury.
Play switched from end to end but defences held firm before Moses added a long range penalty to increase the Hafod lead, though from the restart Abertysswg earned another penalty slotted by Howells immediately followed by the half time whistle at 13-6.
The Falcons were quickly out of the blocks in the second half and soon wiped out the seven-point interval deficit with a try by Rhys Davies converted by Howells to tie the scores.
Both sides continued to accrue injuries but Hafodyrynys, with only two replacements named, gamely battled on as both Moses and Howells had unsuccessful penalty goal attempts and the sides sparred for an opening before Moses found his range to put his side ahead at 16-13.
Fresh legs in the Aberytsswg ranks then paid dividends as following a scrum the ball was put through several pairs of hands before replacement Joey Buckley crossed for a try converted by Howells to put his side ahead for the first time in the game and a Howells penalty two minutes from time finally broke the resistance of brave Hafodyrynys.
Tina Tew, on behalf of sponsors Molson Coors, presented Howells and his happy Falcons squad with the famous old cup.
Abertysswg – Tries: R Davies, J Buckley. Cons: J Howells 2. Pens: J Howells 3.
Hafodyrynys – Tries: R Smith. Con: K Moses. Pens: K Moses 3.

by Howard Evans

Worthington Newport and District Cup Final: Hartridge 34-10 Caldicot Athletic

Hartridge RFC became the Worthington Newport and District Cup winners after defeating Caldicot Athletic in the final at the Whiteheads Ground in Rogerstone.

Though Hartridge scored 4-2 on the try-count and dominated the game territorially, the Caldicot side scored the first and last tries and tackled manfully throughout.

As it was, Hartridge had too much weight up front and their charging forward rushes were hard to stop, yet Caldicot managed to do so for much of the 80 minutes, but they suffered a cruel blow just on the interval when a totally accidental collision saw the Athletic full back Kyle Deakin laid out and he departed the field.

Hartridge had a livewire wing in Dexter Lewis, who not only scored scored a brace of tries, but seemed to pop up everywhere and was like a rubber ball at times.

Fly half Gareth Hopkins scored 12 points and Mitch Williams was strong at centre with Rob Jones standing out in the pack for the winners, while Caldicot had a splendid scrum half replacement in young James Taylor when Matt Burton was forced to drop back to full back.

Hartridge almost scored in the first minute before Hopkins kicked them in front after 14 minutes but Caldicot centre Charlie Deacon hacked on, gathered and sped clear for a fine try.

The lead lasted until just on half-time as Hartridge captain Mike Wrench went over for a solo try that Hopkins converted and after 48 minutes he also goaled a Dex Lewis try.

Hopkins then placed a penalty and full back Richard Torjenson intercepted to run almost the length of the pitch with Hopkins converting.

Hartridge were now on to and the pacy Lewis pounced for his second try with Hopkins converting but much of the last ten minutes belonged to brave Caldicot and they deservedly scored a try through hooker Scott Baker.

Skipper Wrench accepted the cup from Joanne Hurley, Accounts Manager of Molson Coors in front of the delighted Hartridge supporters.  

by Howard Evans

Worthington Mid-District Bowl Final: Porth Quins 29-23 Caerphilly

The aptly-named Will Worthington scored the first and last tries of a splendid Worthington Mid-District Bowl final at Mount Pleasant, Beddau, but he still finished on the losing side.


Porth came from 10-9 down at the interval to lead 26-10 with their pack going strongly but the Cheesemen plugged away gallantly and shaded the final quarter of the game.


It was an excellent try by Porth captain and No 8 Gareth Lewis that took them ahead after 47 minutes and it was a lead they never lost. Lewis tore for the corner going left, was somehow halted, but when scrum half Dafydd Morris went right, he reverse-passed and Lewis was first there to crash over.


Centre Josh Wauthington had kicked Porth ahead but then centre Will Worthington finished a fine break from Vaughan Thomas and fly half Luke Williams converted. Wauthington kicked two penalties but Williams landed one in the final minute of the half.


Then, Lewis scored his try with Wauthington converting and he also goaled  a try by replacement  hooker Marvin Bailey before placing a penalty.


Smart work by Caerphilly halves Williams and Joe Bray kept them going forward and Williams placed two good penalties and just missed a third.


With six minutes to go, Lewis and the tireless former Beddau skipper Rob Downes helped Porth back downfield and Wauthington kicked his fifth penalty but Caerphilly were still not finished and smart running ended with a Will Worthington try that Williams goaled with the last kick of an entertaining match.

by Howard Evans

Wales Students to take on Aber Valley Wolves on Tuesday

Wales Students take on Aber Valley Wolves at Senghenydd RFC on Tuesday 2nd June in their final warm up game before their Four Nations campaign (kick-off 7.15pm).
The Students have already beaten Cardiff City RL and a North Wales Select XIII in their preparations but this, a game against last season’s Welsh Conference league leaders, will be their toughest test yet.
Wales coach Latham Tawhai will use this game to see who makes the squad for the games in Ireland where the Welsh will take on England and Scotland as well as the hosts in three games between June 14-19.
“The Aber Valley Wolves game is definitely the final chance for players to prove themselves,” Tawhai said: “After this final game we’ll then name our 20 man squad.
“The players recently had a weekend camp in North Wales and responded well to everything we asked of them from 7am starts plus classroom sessions. The squad we will pick will be a strong and dedicated one.”
The new issue of South Wales Rugby League Magazine, which features this match, will be on sale at the ground priced £2.
WALES STUDENTS (from): Morgan Evans, James Exley, Louie Ford, Fraser Robinson (all University Of Bath), Alex King, Marcus Webb (both Bridgend College), Jordan Sheridan (Cardiff University), Jordan Howells (Cardiff Metropolitan University), James Gahan, George Giles, Nathan Rainer, Josh Williams (all University Of Gloucestershire), Rhys Davies (Coleg Gwent), Matt Davies (Hartpury College), Harry Boots, Jordan Thomas (both Maesteg Comprehensive School), Tom Davies (Newcastle University), Joe Bridger, Kurt Greatorex, Osian Phillips, Yousif Sulliman (all University Of South Wales), Alec Wheatley (Swansea University), Efan Ellis, Owen Thomas (University Of Wales Trinity St David), Connor Davies, Curtis Davies (Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera).

Death of Wales Rugby Cap- Anthony O'Connor

Former Wales and Lions scrum-half Anthony O’Connor has died, aged 81.
Tony O’Connor won his first of five Welsh caps against South Africa in 1960. He also toured with the British & Irish Lions to South Africa in 1962, playing in ten matches, although he did not appear in a Test.
O’Connor played his club rugby for Aberavon, who he skippered during the 1957/58 season. He played for the combined Neath-Aberavon side against Australia in 1957, South Africa in 1961 and New Zealand in 1963.
Born in Neath, O’Connor attended Duffryn Grammar School and Bristol University before joining St Edmund Hall, Oxford-where he gained an Oxford Blue-partnering Australian international Ross Shiel in the Varsity match of 1958.
He worked for ICI, then British Steel Company, living in Porthcawl, where in 2005 he became captain of the famous Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.

WALES CAP NUMBER - 656 -   Anthony O’Connor.  
Caps: 5.    Position: Scrum half.     
Games Played: 1960 v South Africa; 1961 v England,Scotland; 1962 v France, Ireland.
Born: 24 APRIL 1934 Neath.    Died: 22 May 2015 (aged 81). 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Rugby Development at Bedwas RFC

For 125 years rugby football has been played at the former mining village of Bedwas. Currently the club is unique in the Welsh Premiership Division. It is playing to a highly competitive standard in Wales’ top league while remaining true to its roots as a “community club”, owned and run by its members and serving the whole rugby community from Under 7s upwards and can even boast a newly formed girls Under 15 side. 

According to Club Chairman, Mark Lewis, the club is now embarking on an exciting new phase in its rugby development. “For many years” he explains, “there was a natural rugby progression in our villages. Basic skills were learned pre school on streets and in welfare grounds. Secondary schools often had a rugby, “ethos,” and an enthusiastic, “rugby master,” who provided a natural pathway, developing players so the school had a 1st XV playing locally and up to County competition standard”. 

“These were the players,” says Mark, “who came to clubs such as Bedwas to form a strong Youth XV and moved seamlessly through their rugby career to First team rugby and beyond” 

The changes brought about from educational reform through to the advent of professional and semi professional rugby has, unfortunately, undermined this successful natural transition. The ambition in Bedwas RFC is not to recreate the conditions of a now by- gone age but to respond to the challenges the game currently faces in today’s social and economic climate. 

“If a Club like Bedwas is to succeed” says Mark “it isn’t good enough just to play competitive Premiership rugby – even though that is important both for players and spectators and to provide role models for aspiring youngsters”. 

“We have to be more hands on” he says “in promoting the game at all levels and encouraging the local talent through our own Club’s pathway so that local players can compete to play at their own local Clubs highest levels” 

The strategy developed by Bedwas relies heavily on forging strong partnerships with the games’ natural allies. The WRU’s new emphasis on structured pathways for new players and the re establishment of a vigorous rugby tradition at school level, through the programme of schools rugby officers, provided an excellent opportunity. The Club itself has strong “community” credentials, an excellent and highly motivated coaching team at all levels and an open and progressive management culture, willing and able to respond to the new challenge. Finally, at Bedwas High School, there was a further willing ally in the shape of Head teacher, Peter Ward, himself a former Premiership standard player who was anxious to re build Bedwas as “rugby school” 

“This summer” says Mark,” we will be celebrating our 125 year anniversary, but perhaps more importantly helping to put in place 3 key building blocks which will help us to meet our ambition of securing our future by nurturing our local talent”. 

“With the help of WRU and school funding, a new School Rugby Officer will be appointed at Bedwas High charged with promoting rugby in school and strengthening the flow to Bedwas RFC, of players of all ages up to and including Under 18s” 

“Secondly the very well respected and knowledgeable former Head of PE at Bedwas High, Mr Jimmy Stokes, will be joining the team at Bedwas with a mandate to support the development of coaching and playing at all Under 18 levels.” 

“Thirdly, the Club with the generous support of a regeneration grant from Caerphilly County will be investing in a state of the art fitness suite at Bedwas High for the benefit of players, school and community.” Mark concludes, “ the physical demands of the modern game require higher standards of fitness and strength than ever before” 

“If we are to compete with the best, we must be as prepared as the best and these new developments will help to bring that about,”

Friday, 1 May 2015

Glamorgan Wanderers 2nds 43 St Joseph's (Cardiff) 2nds 20

Glamorgan Wanderers captured the Worthington East District Seconds Cup by defeating St Joseph's 43-20 in a spirited match at Taffs Well RFC.

The Wanderers took full advantage of a strong wind and slight slope in the first half to build up a 29-3 lead scoring five tries in the process.

It was one-way traffic as their powerful pack denied their opponents any good ball and No 8 Owain Thomas, lock Aaron Canter, prop Joe Russell, scrum half Rhys Griffiths and flanker Evan Phillips scored tries and centre Mike Hurley converted two against a Scott Taylor penalty. 

St Joseph's flanker Jason Cox then scored a solo try but the Wanderers added further tries by Lewis Wilkie and Rhys Force with Hurley converting both, though brave St Joseph's rallied and wing Will Rowlands and centre Aiden O'Dare touched down plus a conversion by Taylor.

Wanderers skipper Liam Mackay received the cup from former Cardiff centre Steve Crandon, now an accounts manager with Molson Coors.

Merthyr face Bargoed in the Worthington Mid District Cup Final

The WORTHINGTON Mid District Cup Final will be played between Merthyr and Bargoed at Sardis Road, Pontypridd on Wednesday, May 20 and promises to be one of the best-ever matches in this fine competition's history.

In the semi-finals Merthyr defeated Nelson by 49-21 at Abercynon, while Bargoed beat Division One East champions Penallta by 31-0 at Caerphilly.

The final will be more exciting following Merthyr's shock win at Bargoed in the Championship that was the only league loss of the season thus far by Bargoed, who have already won that title.

Pembrokeshire goes “Off the Beaten Track” with new cycling CX Sportive

Cyclists from throughout the UK will descend on Pembrokeshire this autumn for one of Wales’ most exciting cycling CX Sportive events.

Off The Beaten Track Pembrokeshire will provide top flight and cycling enthusiasts with an unrivalled route, scenery and challenges on its 40 miles in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park on the 4th October 2015.
Organisers expect over 500 entries for the event which will be based at Bluestone National Park Resort, a luxury short break destination near Narberth, and will include a time trial a day earlier on 3rd October.

The route will take riders on and off road through the surrounding countryside already favoured by both enthusiast and pro-cyclists for its range of terrain and home to the Tour of Pembrokeshire which was staged in the county last month.

"Off The Beaten Track Pembrokeshire is a true crossover sportive in every way," said event organiser, Peter Walker.

"Riders will be heading down hard-packed surfaces one minute, hitting asphalt sections, some of which will be closed, the next and then diving off road to tackle hard climbs. It's a perfect CX Sportive event that will test all abilities."

The 45 mile circular route will start and finish at Bluestone National Park Resort and circumnavigate Llys y Fran Reservoir.

A time trial will be held the day before to categorise riders for the main event. The TT will take place around Bluestone which is acting as the event HQ as well as offering accommodation to competitors, family and supporters over the weekend.

Bluestone is no stranger to cycling events, having hosted several training camps for Olympic gold medal cyclist, Geraint Thomas.

County Council has already backed the event which has attracted sponsors including Brooks England, Sabbath Bicycles, Cyclist Magazine and Bluestone National Park Resort.

"Pembrokeshire has already proved itself as a cycling destination for sporting events and for leisure, so it's great to be involved in Off The Beaten Track," said James McNamara, Leisure Services Manager at Bluestone. 

"We're anticipating a lot of interest locally and from throughout the UK as events such as CX Sportives continue to grow in popularity. It'll attract a large number of visitors to the area, helping boost the local economy, while promoting the area as a superb destination for cycling and the great outdoors."

He added: "We're perfectly positioned to host such an event in Pembrokeshire and particularly here at Bluestone with the facilities and accommodation we can offer competitors and their supporters.

"These include the Well Spa Retreat which is perfect for the pre and post event treatments, sauna and steam rooms and hydrotherapy pool, in addition to the restaurants, Blue Lagoon water park and Adventure Centre."

Details and applications for the Off The Beaten Track CX Sportive can be found at Information for competitors, family and friends about accommodation and facilities at Bluestone can be found at

Only those booked into Bluestone will have access to its all-weather facilities, including the Blue Lagoon water park, Adventure Centre, Well Spa Retreat, restaurants, pub and activities.