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Warriors head for Betws and Fiji

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Llanelli Warriors: In Whongamomona, New Zealand

Llanelli Warriors: In Whongamomona, New Zealand

THE LLANELLI WARRIORS are looking to celebrate their 20th anniversary with one of the most ambitious trips ever undertaken by a club that includes players with disabilities. The club begin their season in Betws on Sunday (Sept 4) 

After 20 seasons of including players with learning disabilities in rugby, the club wanted something spectacular to celebrate.

For their 10th anniversary, the club followed the Lions to New Zealand, playing three matches of their own.

Although the Lions are again in New Zealand this summer, the Warriors were keen to do something different and go even further.

So rather than return to Wellington and Auckland, they will follow the Welsh team’s tour of the Pacific Islands by travelling to Fiji.

When the Warriors were formed, it was to give people with learning disabilities the chance to play rugby.

Growing up in one of the great rugby towns of the world, the players were perhaps the only people excluded from taking part.

But, as the club developed, the aim was not only to give them the chance to experience rugby and be part of what their friends and family did, but to have experiences that would raise their status and standing as rugby players again.

The club have found that apart from the fitness and social factors you would expect from be part of a rugby team, it has been a massive confidence boost.

Parents have regularly told the club that they can’t believe the difference in their sons. They have had social workers tell them that it’s transformed people’s self-esteem, even the way they walk and hold their head.

The club often have players come to them, introverted and quiet, but they find friends, support, at least one part of rugby they are good at, they travel and take on able bodied athletes, they socialise, they do things and some of these players go on to give speeches, captain the team or lead a singsong.

The players who went to New Zealand came back with experiences few of their peers could match and memories that will last a lifetime.

For probably the first time ever, they had other local players jealous of them and what they had achieved. It changed the players’ attitude and it changed people’s attitude to them.

That’s something which the club are are trying to create again by heading for Fiji. People talk about the rugby culture of Wales and New Zealand, but the Pacific Islands manage so much with tiny resources.

Anyone interested in rugby can relate to the dream of going out there, an exotic location and some of the best rugby players in the world, as proved by their Olympic champions 7s team. Whilst the team are there, they hope to liaise with local disability groups, sharing some of their good practise and no doubt learning some things themselves.

Obviously the tour is going to be expensive and so there will be a whole series of fundraising activities across the season and the team are looking for help and sponsorship wherever they can find it.

This will invigorate a whole community of families and again highlight the concept of mixed ability rugby, and that a disability shouldn’t be a barrier to playing the game.

The team aim to show people around the world, from Furnace to Fiji, what inclusive rugby means and they are going to give some local players the trip of a lifetime.

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Community

‘Seaside Kicks’ off to great start in Glanymor Ward!‬

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A new project has been launched which is completely free for young people from across the Llanelli area.‬


‭‘Premier League Kicks’ run by Swansea City Community Trust started last Tuesday (14th January) and is already proving to be a success with both children and their parents. ‬


‭Boys and Girls of all abilities are welcome to take part with sessions taking place on the brand new 3G pitch at Ysgol PenRhos. ‬


‭Ages 8-12 take place on every Tuesday evening between 5.00pm and 6.00pm with ages 13-16 on every Wednesday between 8.00 and 9.00pm. ‬
‭As well as the football sessions, activities will also include informative, educational workshops covering a wide range of issues including knife crime, county lines and online safety. ‬


Craig Richards from the Swans Community Trust said:‬
‭“Nationally, ‘Premier League Kicks’ is one of the Premier League’s flagship community programmes. It has a long history of using the power of football and the value of sports participation to help youngsters in some of the most-high need areas. ‬


‭“By engaging young people in constructive activities including football, coaching, educational and personal development sessions, communities up and down the country have been transformed with impressive football and sports participation rates, and authorities reporting significant reductions in anti-social behaviour in the areas in which it is delivered.”‬


Sean Rees, Llanelli Town Councillor for the Glanymor Ward added:‬
‭“It is a pleasure to link up with the Swans Community Trust, Police and Crime Commissioner, our PCSO’s, Llanelli Town Council and the Community Safety Partnership in bringing forward such an exciting project. ‬


‭“Engagement has taken place with both local schools at Ysgol PenRhos and Ysgol Maes Y Morfa as well as strong partnership work with our existing sports clubs in the area at Seaside AFC and Bwlch Rangers too all of whom have been very supportive.‬


‭“It is fantastic to see so many youngsters turning out in great numbers with more expected next week. It gives them somewhere to go in the area and have fun with others within a safe environment.‬


‭“I now look forward to seeing this project go from strength to strength.”‬

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Old Gold snatch vital draw

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JD Cymru Premier League
Penybont 1 – Carmarthen Town 1

AFTER an impressive performance to defeat Penybont at Richmond Park on Boxing Day, expectations among the Town supporters who travelled along the M4 for this Cymru Premier League return fixture. Glad tidings of great joy were, however, in short supply this time around.


An uneventful opening period saw play confined to the pitch’s middle third, neither side threatening much in the way of attacking threat.
In the 11th minute, Penybont carved open the Old Gold defence in clinical fashion.


Nathan Wood fired a dangerous cross towards the far post where Daniel Griffiths rose high above Alaric Jones to head the ball back into the goalmouth. Kostya Georgievsky reacted quicker than any defender and planted his close-range header past ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the net.
As Town appeared laboured and uncertain, on 31 minutes Penybont went close to stretching their lead when Wood released a fierce long-range drive that Idzi, with a flying full-length dive, turned narrowly wide of the post.
Carmarthen’s only significant goal threat during the entire first-half came in the 36th minute when a rasping effort from Luke Bowen was well-parried by home keeper Rhys Wilson.


The second half’s opening was no better than the quality of play in much of the first period. Both sides gave the ball away too easily, with careless misplaced passes a constant feature of their exchanges.


Midway through the second-half, Town gradually began to exert notable pressure on the Penybont defence.


On 77 minutes Declan Carroll fired a free-kick into the crowded penalty area where Jay Woodford, from 15 yards, curled a delightful shot over several defenders but saw Wilson produce a smart save to claim the ball.
Penybont defended deep in their own half while the Old Gold turned on the afterburners in search of an equaliser. Several powerful attempts on the Penybont goal were saved by the impressive Wilson. Against the run of play, Penybont squandered a late opportunity to make the game safe.


Having survived that scare, the Old Gold resumed their sustained assault on the Penybont goal – and they were duly rewarded.


Three minutes into added time Carroll sent a searching corner-kick into the packed goalmouth where Bowen saw his close-range header blocked on the goal-line by Wilson – but the experienced striker reacted immediately and positively by driving the loose ball past the ‘keeper and into the back of the net.


Once the Carmarthen players’ delirious celebrations had subsided the game restarted and then very soon afterwards the referee blew the final whistle, probably much to the relief of Town’s supporters!


Town’s next fixture, against Airbus UK at Richmond Park on Saturday, January 11 (k/o 2.30 pm) will be an important fixture if the Old Gold are to retain their Premier League status

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County cling to win

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JD Cymru League Division One (South)
Friday, January 3
Llanelli Town 0 – Haverfordwest County 1


A 5th-minute goal by the visitors` Nicky Palmer ultimately proved to be the difference between the sides at the close, a result which extended the home side`s winless streak to seven league matches. During this dismal run, they have picked up only two points, while their goal tally is equally depressing, scoring just 10 and conceding 21.


The strain showed in the reverse fixture, when despite a spirited performance, Llanelli were well-beaten in the end.


Again, Llanelli fielded a depleted side and included no fewer than five Academy members, with William Wang and Liam Thomas making their debuts, along with Liam Griffiths and Morgan and Jack Cutler.


With the Bluebirds heading the league table, the home team approached the game with hope but little expectation. However, the makeshift hosts pit up a decent showing and were not unduly overawed or outplayed.


The early opener by Palmer resulted from some slack defending when he met a cross from Marcus Griffiths to drive it past Scott Coughlan in the Reds’ goal.


The home keeper then did well to parry to safety a dangerous ball across the face of goal by Jack Wilson, before the home side came close to an equaliser following a James Loveridge delivery to the far post which was met by a header from Nathan Logan which came back off the upright.


The visitors were winning the majority of the second ball, and when a long throw into the goalmouth by Wilson caused problems for Coughlan and his defenders, Griffiths reacted first but was denied from close range by a block which resulted in a corner.


Despite determined defence, Llanelli struggled to establish a foothold in proceedings, and when a corner was partially cleared only as far as Ben Fawcett, he might have done better when he drove his finish wide from a promising position.


The home team were certainly more pro-active from the restart. The Bluebirds’ goal came under threat on several occasions, with a Loveridge back-heel setting up Logan for a strike which was diverted for a corner.
Logan then turned provider when he played a pass into Tim Parker in the area, but his effort on the turn lacked power and gave County goalie Kyle Stuart few problems.


The home team came agonisingly close again to an equaliser when Logan met a Liam Samuel ball but again could only find the upright, and when the ball ran loose, it was scrambled clear off the line.


The Bluebirds retaliated through Fawcett who drilled a free-kick inches off target, and then just failed to connect with a ball driven across the face of goal when the Reds made a complete hash of a short goal kick and conceded possession.


A minute from time, the problems for the hosts became even more acute when Loveridge and Kurtis Rees were involved in a flare-up, leading to the dismissal of both players by referee Daniel Richardson.


While the Bluebirds ran out deserved winners, there will be tougher games ahead and they will want to improve significantly on this showing to cement their place at the summit.

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