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Warriors take on tough schedule

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Warriors: About to embark on a journey

WHILST many have commented on the intensity of the Lions schedule an integrated rugby team from Llanelli have put together an arguably tougher itinerary for their tour of New Zealand and Samoa.

The Llanelli Warriors are an integrated side who actively look to include players with learning disabilities and are touring to the Pacific as part of their 21st Anniversary celebrations. In just 15 days the team will play 3 matches in New Zealand and 1 in Samoa.

They will also watch both the Wales tests, the Chiefs match with the Lions and the All Blacks vs Samoa. If that wasn’t enough there is a full social schedule around the rugby as well.

The Warriors were formed in 1995 to give men with a learning disability an opportunity to play rugby. The club has come a long way in 20 years and we wanted to put something special. Through this trip these players will join a very exclusive club of players who have played in Samoa where even the likes of England, South Africa and Australia have never played.

Chairman/player Gwilym Lewis explained the importance of the trip: “Research shows that people with learning difficulties often find it harder to make friends, they tend to have smaller social circles and opportunities for further education and employment can be very limited. Rugby gives the players a chance to participate and contribute to the community.

“They play alongside and against non-disabled players, gaining confidence, respect and new friends. There are three main elements to rugby that make it a great vehicle for social inclusion; the physicality fosters respect, the team work element encourages friendship and the social aspect gives everyone a chance to mingle afterwards as equals. That awkwardness that people can feel disappears over a beer.

“The bottom line though is that rugby is a great sport, hard as it is, and as in New Zealand and Samoa its part of the culture. This tour though is about going beyond joining in with friends and family in the sport, this is going to make our players who without the club might be stuck on the sidelines, into the envy of those family and friends.

“We also want to show that a disability doesn’t have to be the barrier that some think. We are taking this to the hardest rugby environments in the world, we couldn’t travel any further and we will be playing mainstream sides. We think it’s the most ambitious sporting project ever undertaken in learning disability sport.”

Richard Evans, a veteran prop of over 150 matches who will lead the trip, said: “I’m very proud to be chosen and I’m really looking forward. I’m sure we can do really well and win our matches, but win or lose we’ll have a great time.”

Jamie Evans has organised the trip, saying: “To be out there while the Lions are touring is going to be something special in itself, that Wales are playing there and us having our own series, I don’t think there are many sides that would look to take this on.”

A tour party of 32 will be embarking on the tour with about half the players registered as disabled.

The trip has caught the imagination and fund raising has been well supported. Brecon RFC and Llansawel RFC have made significant contributions, Peter Rees, Wales oldest international took part in a Q&A session at Burry Port while Former Lion Tom David spoke at their dinner.

“The fund raising has shown us just how much the community value the Warriors and what we do” said Jamie.

“The Just Giving page raised £1,500 and we’ve had support from all our regular opponents like Cefneithin and Gwlad in Cardiff as well. We can’t thank people enough but we promise that we will make the very most of this opportunity.”

The history of the Lions has former players to a man talking about important a tour like this was to them, for some of the Warriors players this is the sort of trip that could be life changing.

Warriors Tour to New Zealand and Samoa itinerary:

Wed 14/6/17: Travel to London, Flight from London 21:25

Thu 15/6/17: Travel (via Bangkok)

Fri 16/6/17: Arrive Auckland 10:45, attend Tonga v Wales, NZ v Samoa

Sat 17/6/17: Travel to Hamilton, FairField United Yellowbellies v Llanelli Warriors (Maori v Lions 19:35 (Rotarua) on tv)

Sun 18/6/17: South Auckland Kiwis v Llanelli Warriors (Hamilton Marist RFC)

Mon 19/6/17: Travel to Te Kuiti for unveiling of Sir Colin Meads statue

Tue 20/6/17: Cycle ride and Hot Baths, Attend Chiefs v Lions (19:35)

Wed 21/6/17: Travel to Auckland, depart 16:25, Arrive Apia 21:15

Thu 22/6/17: Vaiala Ulalei Sports Club v Llanelli Warriors

Fri 23/6/17: Attend Samoa v Wales

Sat 24/6/17: Pualele Paddle Club – paddling in bay at Apia (NZ v Lions 21:35)

Sun 25/6/17: Depart Apia 21:55, Arrive Auckland 1:10

Mon 26/6/17: Tour of brewery

Tue 27/6/17: College Rifles RFC v Llanelli Warriors (Hurricanes v Lions on tv)

Wed 28/6/17: Depart Auckland 13:10

Thu 28/6/17: Arrive London

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Llanelli AC round off season

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LLANELLI Athletics Club junior members from under 11’s upwards rounded off their track and field season with the annual end-of-season Inter Club Competition at the Pemberton Athletics Track on the final Tuesday of August.

Events held were 75m, 100m, 800m, High Jump, Long Jump, Javelin and Shot.

48 hours later, it was the turn of the under 17, under 20 and senior athletes to participate in the track championships situated next to Parc Y Scarlets.

They were great evenings of friendly competition in front of family, friends and coaches as members now look forward to the cross country, road and indoor season in Wales and further afield in England.

Thirty-five under 11, under 13 and under 15 athletes took part on the first evening whilst more than a dozen of the club’s under 17, under 20 and senior were in action at the second event.

Age Group winners will be announced at the club’s annual presentation evening later this year.

Elsewhere, there was a good representation of senior and master athletes at the recent Cardiff Metropolitan University 10K in the Welsh Capital.

Out of the twenty-six running from the club, twelve recorded new personal bests over this distance in an event which saw more than 6,000 runners finish as it continues to grow year on year.

Finishing times: Dai Keenan (34:02), Nick Sheehan (34:04), Dean Summers (34:22), Jimmy Watkins (34:37), Jamie Stedman (36:29), Alan Davies (36:57), Simon Rees (38:36), Rob Davies (42:55), Mike Halsall (44:16), Jordan Chappell (45:27), Tahir Altimimi (45:47), Craig Hopkins (46:10), Roxanne Turner (47:36), Luigi Bonifacio (52:56), Vanessa Buckler (53:35), Andrew Stephens (55:02), Andrew Bowen (55:27), Emily Denmark (56:11), Heledd Jones (59:48), Hannah Gale (59:49), Rachel Evans (60:29), Zoe Jermin-Jones (63:14), Lisa Campion (67:40), Rob Campion (67:42), Vicki Turner (71:22) and Amanda de la Hey (74:29).

Carmarthen’s David Jones crossed the line as the 63rd male home, in a time of 34 minutes 45 seconds.

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Stars batter Bynea

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New Dock Stars 91-0 Bynea

NEW DOCK STARS earned their first win of the season on Saturday as they thrashed Bynea 91-0.

The home side ran in thirteen tries in an impressive display which saw Jason Baxter convert ten of those.

Jordan Evans, Josh Harris and Luke Morris all scored twice as did Joe Scott and Stu Taylor.

Luke Edwards, Kieron James and Levi Roots also bagged themselves a try each as they showed no let up against their opponents.

Baxter also added two penalties for an excellent personal haul of 26 points.

The result lifts the Stars up to third in the table while Bynea remain bottom.

On Saturday (Sept 21), Bynea will look to bounce back when they face Laugharne in the first round of the WRU Bowl.

The Stars will be full of confidence after their big win and they face Tumble in the first round of the Bowl.

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Trim too good for Furnace

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Furnace 8-21 Trimsaran

TRIMSARAN travelled the short distance to Furnace on Saturday (Sept 14) for what was an entertaining derbt clash.

This was the first meeting between the two teams for a few years as Furnace were promoted along with Penygroes last season after finishing second in League 3 West Central C last season.

The cherries won their first game last week against Bynea by 55-8 so were on a high coming into the game after also having a successful pre-season which saw them win all 3 of their games.

Trim also made a winning start to the season last week after a narrow victory over Cefneithin by 18-15.

Trimsaran were under no illusions how difficult this game would be and knew they would have to give 110% if they wanted to stop the cherries.

Trim kicked off and after a handling error Furnace had the early initiative with a scrum near halfway.

Trim showed their intention from this scrum driving Furnace back 10-15 meters and getting awarded the early penalty.

This was the start of a period of 20 minutes where Trim were pressuring the Furnace defence and in the home teams territory constantly.

Furnace did show some strong defence and had secured a couple of turnover but it wasn’t long until Trim took a well-deserved lead after second row Emyr Evans crossed the whitewash to open the scoring after some good build up work by Trim.

Furnace ill-discipline allowed Trim to get the territory and within the next 10 minutes Trim had extended their lead to 11-0 after two penalties by fly half Corey Phillips.

Photo by Darren Harries

Furnace came into the game now after a loose return kick from the kick off and had a run of possession and territory, this allowed them to break down the wing and score their first try of the game in the corner against the run of play. The score was now 5-11 to the visitors with 10 minutes of the first half left.

Trim were back pressuring the home team deep in their 22 and set up a driving maul from a lineout but some good defence from Furnace turned the ball over and allowed them to clear their lines.

However, some more ill-discipline for being offside allowed Trim to again get territory and after a few good phases of play from the forwards the ball was passed out to winger Callum McCormack who touched down for his teams second try in the corner.

The difficult conversion was nailed over by Corey Phillips and with only 5 minutes of the first half remaining the score was 5-18.

From the kick off Trim cleared their lines only to be told it was kicked out on the full so Furnace now had an ideal attacking lineout just before half time to hit back. The cherries were awarded a scrum 5 yards out after the ball became unplayable and had one more chance as the ref called last play to get some sort of points.

Furnace tried to power their way through but Trim held them out before they spread the ball wide and were tackled into touch to bring the first half to an end. Trim were happy with the outcome at half time but knew Furnace would come back at them in the second half all guns blazing.

Furnace kicked off the second half and were the team to pressure first. They were awarded a penalty of their own which they kicked at goal to reduce the deficit after 5 minutes of the second half.

Trim pushed for another score to extend their league but a pass was intercepted by the Furnace hooker and he booted the ball back down deep into the Trim 22.

A shove from the Cherries number 9 off the ball resulted in a yellow card for him as the ref had finally had enough of the penalties conceded after numerous warnings. This allowed Trim to clear their lines and retain possession from the lineout.

The game started to turn a bit scrappy now with both teams failing to retain possession for enough phases to trouble the defensive lines. Furnace did have a break down the wing but the green and blacks defence was strong enough to keep them out only for Furnace to be awarded a penalty and a shot at goal which was unsuccessful. 5 minutes later it was Trim who were extending their lead thanks to a drop goal from hooker and captain Ryan Edwards to make the score 8-21 with 20 minutes left.

Trim had a further chance through a penalty to take the game beyond the home team but the shot at goal was just missed. Furnace had more possession and territory in the final 10 minutes of the game but the green and blacks held firm in defence and managed to hold out everything the cherries threw at them. When the ref called last play of the game full back Dan Griffiths booted the ball off the field to secure an impressive win for Trimsaran and to make it two wins out of two.

On Saturday (Sept 21), Trimsaran host Amman United and Furnace travel to Cardigan in the first round of the Specsavers National Bowl.

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