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Dr Thomas appointed Chair of Sport Wales

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Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport: With the newly appointed Chair of Sport Wales, Dr Paul Thomas.

DR PAUL THOMAS has been appointed as the new Chair of Sport Wales, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates has announced.

Having spent more than 30 years working across a range of community development, strategic leadership and sport inclusion roles, often in socially disadvantaged areas, Dr Thomas brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience to this important role.

As well as leading on major projects for UK Sport and Sport England, his recent achievements include setting up a community fitness gym in Ebbw Vale to offer local people an opportunity to improve their physical fitness and wellbeing and, in 2015; he was shortlisted for Sir Alex Ferguson’s ‘Most Influential Leader’ of the year award.

Building on the excellent work of Professor Laura McAllister, the new Chair, Dr Paul Thomas, will be responsible for leading Sport Wales into an exciting period for Welsh Sport. One of his key priorities will be to drive and facilitate a new approach to community sport that creates a clear line of sight between Welsh Government goals and investment decisions and the needs and challenges of clubs, communities, coaches, athletes and volunteers.

Dr Thomas will be expected to galvanise the sport sector in Wales to deliver against the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and to do that by maximising the collective effort and investment of Sport Wales and their partners in National Governing Bodies, Local Authorities and the Third and private sectors.

The Deputy Minister said: “The calibre of talent applying for this role was very high but I am delighted to announce Dr Paul Thomas will be the new Chair of Sport Wales. His vision, passion and commitment, along with his knowledge and experience in leadership and management made him the right person for this important role.

“We want to break down the barriers to participation in sport and physical activity and create opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to become hooked on sport for life. I am confident Paul’s qualities, experience and commitment will help the Welsh Government deliver a more physically active and successful sporting nation.”

Dr Paul Thomas said: “Having grown up in the South Wales valleys and played sport most of my life I am certain of the benefits sport and physical activity can have on people’s health and wellbeing. Sport has provided me with great opportunities and skills so to be appointed to this role by the Deputy Minister is a privilege.

“I particularly look forward to meeting all those involved in grassroots sport and to help in some way to create a new future for the generations of communities throughout Wales; making us even stronger, more active and resilient.

“I am also looking forward to working with the Board and everyone involved at Sport Wales to help it deliver the vision of ‘Uniting a Proud Sporting Nation’ but one in which everyone in Wales is active, fit and enjoying life through the benefits of sport.

“Over the past decade I have worked in regions all over the world, making a difference to the health and wellbeing of people, leaders and organisations. It’s such a privilege to be able to use that experience to play a part in the future of Welsh sport.”

Dr Paul Thomas’ term of appointment will begin in April, for a period of three years, until 31 March 2019. He succeeds Professor Laura McAllister who has served as the Chair of Sport Wales for six years.

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Sport

Raiders seal first ever win

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West Wales Raiders 44

Coventry Bears 16

Lucas Marshall, Stebonheath Park,

A LATE rally by Coventry Bears was not enough to deny a jubilant West Wales Raiders their first-ever win at the 45th time of asking.

The old South Wales Ironmen tasted victory against Gloucestershire All Golds in the first match played at Stebonheath Park back in July 2017, but never before have the side won under the Raiders banner. And it was certainly worth the wait as the Raiders dominated much of the game against a Bears side that doesn’t have the best record when travelling to South Wales. The other game the Ironmen won in 2017 was against Coventry, whilst the Bears only won by 10 points at Llanelli last season.

Dewi Billingham made his Coventry debut while trialist Zak Williams made his first appearance since returning to the Bears. But both former Raiders stars were unable to come back to haunt their former employers.

Try time: Raiders celebrate another try. Photo by Darren Harries

Much of the damage was done in the first half with the Raiders taking control from the kick-off and eventually going in 20-0 up at the break.

It took only six minutes for Raiders to break the Bears defence when good work down the left put Dalton Desmond-Walker in for the opener. Phil Cowburn added the extras but was off target just moments later after Ash Bateman was on the end of some quick passing to go in on the right.

When Morgan Evans went in for the Raiders third, again converted by Cowburn, their loyal band of supporters started to believe they were on course for victory.

It could have been even worse for the Bears, but strong defence saw them hold the visitors up over the line on three occasions mid-way through the half. Although there was no denying Archie Snook with one of the final plays of the half after Welsh International Steve Parry had split the Bears defence to put the centre through. Cowburn once again failed with the conversion but the Raiders still celebrated their most positive 40 minutes in almost two years.

After the break, it was the Bears who struck first through Reece Rance, but any hopes of a comeback were soon extinguished by three quick-fire tries.

First, former Bears player Mitch Shaw scooted over, before Bateman and Snook both got their second try of the afternoon to all but secure the victory for the Llanelli-based outfit.

Parry then went in for the Raiders’ eighth try of the day to put the icing on a long-awaited cake.

But the Bears were by no means done and added two further tries of their own to make the scoreline look a little less dominate than the game suggested.

Tries from Errol Carter and South Wales youth system graduate Cobi Green, along with two Joe Sanderson conversions rounded off the scoring for the visitors.

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Sport

Dafen see off Porthcawl

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DAFEN Seconds earned their sixth win of the season on Saturday (Jul 6) as they beat Porthcawl by 75 runs.

Porthcawl won the toss and elected to field and they were able to bowl Dafen out for 182.

Opener Oliver Evans made a score of 19 and Chris Randell scored 25 as a number of Dafen batsmen made good starts.

Jonathan Griffiths scored 22 and there were also scores of 15 from Tom Lavender and 16 from Luke Dunning.

Matthew Thomas made a late score of 18 while Andrew Randell top scored with 43 runs.

Nicholas Morgan was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for the loss of 30 runs from his 6.3 overs.

Mark Bevan also bowled well to finish with figures of 3-37.

Photos by Darren Harries

That set Porthcawl 138 to win but they lost a number of batsmen for single figure scores as they struggled to put runs on the board.

Andrew Randell had Nicholas Morgan caught by Jac Morgan and Matthew Thomas had Rhodri Phillips caught by Chris Randell.

Chris Richards made a score of 13 before he was bowled by Rhys Marchant who then also bowled Rob Warren and had David Lewis caught by Chris Randell, both for ducks.

Tim Richards also fell for a duck when he was caught off the bowling of Matthew Thomas.

Mark Lewis had scored 25 but he also fell to the bowling of Marchant.

Steffan Flood also scored 25 before he was bowled by Chris Randell and Joshua Aubrey added 20 late on before he also fell to the bowling of Randell.

That meant that Porthcawl were all out for 107, giving Dafen seconds an excellent win.

On Saturday (Jul 13), Dafen seconds are away to local rivals Llanelli seconds.

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Rees century sees Llanelli to win

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LLANELLI’s Iwan Rees scored a century on Saturday (Jul 6) to help his side to victory over Briton Ferry Steel.

Briton Ferry won the toss and elected to bat but they were restricted to 186-8 in their innings.

Steven Devonald struck early on to remove Evan Hynes but Lloyd Clement and Jamie Griffiths shared 44 runs for the second wicket.

Jac Rees had Griffiths caught by Craig Howells on a score of 24 and soon after Craig Evans was bowled by Aled Gilley for a duck.

Clement had made a score of 41 but when he was bowled by Rees, the Steel found themselves on 81-4.

That soon became 88-5 as Steve Maddock was caught by Marcus Leaf off the bowling of Gilley.

Photo by Darren Harries

Iwan Rees then had Steffan Evans caught by Howells and Rhys Norgrove fell in similar fashion.

Jason Hughes and Thomas Williams shared 56 runs for the eighth wicket as they looked to give their side a total to defend.

On the last ball Williams was caught by Rees off the bowling of Gilley on a score of 24 which left Hughes not out on 67.

Llanelli openers Iwan Rees and Ioan Phillips shared 42 runs for the first wicket before Phillips was caught by Rhys Norgrove off the bowling of Jay Webb.

That was as good as it got for the Steel though as they were unable to claim any further wickets.

Craig Howells hit seven fours as he finished unbeaten on 53 while Rees starred with 14 fours to finish unbeaten on 104.

The win gives Llanelli 19 points and keeps them third in the table. On Saturday (Jul 13), they travel to local rivals Dafen.

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