FIFTEEN of rugby’s best volunteers have earned their share of the spotlight this weekend, as part of a WRU campaign to recognise and reward contributions to the national game.
As Wales prepared to face the world champions in New Zealand, a new team of rugby stalwarts unite under the title of the WRU’s official ‘FABXV’ of grassroots volunteers.
The stars of the community game were crowned as members of the FABXV as part of a campaign to shine a light on the volunteers at the heart of Welsh rugby.
The initiative invited rugby communities to hail the men and women of all ages who give up their spare time for the good of their club, via @WRU_ Community using the hashtag #FABXV or by contacting the Club Operations team directly.
As well as recognition across WRU’s digital channels, the winners get an invite to watch Wales play Japan in the Under Armour Series on Saturday 19th November, along with a guest, in recognition of their vital support of the grassroots game.
More than 60 candidates representing the range of volunteer roles at rugby clubs were nominated; from the parent-coaches boosting participation across the minis and juniors sectors to those in the medical profession working evenings and weekends to ensure a high-standard of player welfare.
The FABXV campaign also identified rugby administrators with more than 50 years’ service to their club and highlighted the link between club and country when Ken Owens made a personal nomination as part of national Volunteers’ week (ending this weekend).
With the weight of an international hooker behind him, Carmarthen Athletic’s volunteer Brian Powell made it into the FABXV for his services to the club which include coaching the team to success as well as the upkeep and running of the club.
Also in the mix is former Principality Stadium volunteer Weldon Davies. The 75-year old from Bedwas helped to launch the FABXV campaign when Wales beat Italy in the RBS 6 Nations and he called time on his role as WRU Ball Team Manager, with 206 international matches and 50 years’ service to rugby to his name.
Further West, Ystradgynlais’ club president Glyndwr Rees is hailed as the ‘ultimate volunteer’ for 55 years’ service at the club. The former fixture secretary and club secretary joins the likes of RTB’s longest-serving administrator for a spot in the FABXV. He is not afraid to roll up his sleeves, according to the nomination: “You won’t see him in a blazer on a Saturday because he is happier marking fields, cleaning changing rooms and collecting jerseys. No job is too big or too small for Glyn. He is a leader and example to us all.”
At Ammanford, Richard Williams puts player welfare on the top of his agenda providing first aid support as well as being the club’s ‘go-to man’ who ‘can’t do enough’, according to the nomination. Alongside looking after the health and safety of the players, Richard’s contribution extends to kit man, cook, junior’s tea man, cleaner and committee member.
Jennie Davies gets the plaudits at Carmarthen RFC. In her role as Volunteer Coordinator, she is a role model and motivator to all aspiring volunteers in the area. Her enthusiasm and passion is a boost for the successful West Wales Female Rugby Hub, which encourages women and girls to get involved in alternative forms of the game.
According the nomination, Jennie is also the club auditor, funding coordinator, junior secretary and team manager: “Her enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication to the junior rugby of Carmarthen is second to none.”
The FABXV will meet as guests of the WRU to support Wales against Japan in the autumn, which also brings Australia, Argentina and South Africa to Principality Stadium.
The WRU is grateful to everyone who got in touch to celebrate volunteers on social media or via the Club Operations department. For information on the recruitment, retention and rewarding of rugby club volunteers, contact Club Operations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Foel’s Championship dream halted
FELINFOEL’s hopes of promotion to the WRU Championship were brought to an end on Sunday (May 12) as they were beaten in the play-offs by Ystalyfera.
Ystalyfera had won the first leg 34-28 on their home soil but Felinfoel were still very much in the tie and they had the backing of an 800-strong home crowd in the reverse fixture. Fans packed in to the ground and they witnessed an epic encounter.
Felinfoel held the lead at one time but their opponents hit back to seal a 20-30 win to win overall by 64 points to 48.
Felinfoel played some attractive rugby during the first half with wingers Eray Wilson and Elliot Dawe scoring tries wide out one of which was converted by Aled Roberts. Ystalyfera scored a penalty and a converted try making the half time score 12 points to 10.
The second half opened brightly for Felinfoel with Roberts kicking a penalty and Wilson scoring a further try. With the score at 20 points to 10, matters were looking favourable for the home team.
It was at this stage that the Ystalyfera forwards took complete control of the match denying Felinfoel of any possession for the final 20mins of the match. With a strong scrummage and dynamic driving maul they continued to exert pressure onto the home team.
Ystalyfera were rewarded with a further two converted tries, penalty goal and drop goal and deserved their victory 20 points to 30, and promotion to the championship.
Both teams are to be congratulated in the way in which the game was played. Both sides gave their all and provided an entertaining encounter.
Both sets of supporters gave loud vocal support to each team and were sporting throughout the match.
At the end of the match Felinfoel coach Mike King who is leaving after two years in charge was given a rousing send off by players and supporters alike.
After the game Felinfoel took to twitter saying: “After another successful season, it’s time to say thank you. Thank you to all sponsors for supporting the club throughout the season once again. Without you we would not exist. Thank you to all the supporters who have been with us through thick and thin.
“Lastly, thank you to head coach Mike King who will be leaving us. He has set the foundations of the club and has turned this club around for the better. All at Felinfoel RFC can’t thank you enough. We wish you all the best in the future.”
Morgan marches seconds home
DAFEN Seconds earned the bragging rights over Llanelli Seconds on Saturday (May 11) as they cruised to an eight wicket win.
Dafen won the toss but elected to field and that looked to be a good decision as they bowled their opponents out for just 118 inside 22 overs.
Aadil Mukhtar finished with excellent figures of 5-21 while Oliver Evans supported well taking four wickets for the loss of 40 runs.
Needing just thirty overs of their reply, Dafen Seconds eased to victory as Jac Morgan finished not out on 64 to see his side over the line.
The win for Dafen keeps them joint top of the table with Briton Ferry Town after two games while Llanelli sit bottom of Division 3 and are still searching for their first win.
On Saturday (May 18), Dafen Seconds are at home against Dyffryn while Llanelli Seconds are away to Neath thirds.
Jones duo sink Bronwydd
LLANGENNECH earned their first win of the season on Saturday (May 11) as they beat Bronwydd by 14 runs in a low scoring game.
Llangennech won the toss and elected to bat but they lost Chris Hickey early on when he was caught by Jacob Jenkinson off the bowling of Colin Tucker.
Matthew Jones scored 11 before he was caught and bowled by Tucker before David Williams was caught by Tom Gleeson off the bowling of Matthew Vaughan for a score of 14.
James Taube made the same score but was then caught by Phillip Howell off the bowling of Dafydd Morgan. Morgan also bowled Martin Gregory to leave Llangennech on 83-5.
Opener Scott Lloyd’s score of 30 had come off 127 balls and he was eventually caught by Vaughan off the bowling of Callum Collins-Davies.
Richard Clement was the third Llangennech batsman to make a score of 14 before getting out as he was caught by Jenkinson off the bowling of Gleeson.
Michael Jones was then run out before Gleeson claimed his second wicket as he had Simon Clement caught by Oliver Furneaux.
Vaughan then wrapped up the innings as he had Bav Patel caught by James Cale to leave Llangennech all out on 124. Photo by Darren Harries
Bronwydd’s opening pair of James Cale and Philip Howell shared 15 runs but Howell was out for a score of 8 to the bowling of Michael Jones.
Oliver Furneaux was next to fall when he was trapped leg before by Matthew Jones on a score of 11.
Chris Hickey then gave Owain Phillips his first wicket as he caught Jacob Jenkinson and the bowler then claimed his second as he had Cale caught by David Williams on a score of 17.
That left Bronwydd on 44-4 but Iwan Davies and Dafydd Morgan shared 40 runs for the fifth wicket to keep their side in the game.
Davies hit three fours and a six in his knock of 33 but he was then trapped leg before by Michael Jones. He then also bowled Callum Collins-Davies for a duck to reduce Bronwydd to 84-6.
Matthew Jones then had Dafydd Morgan caught on a score of 8 before then trapping Tom Gleeson leg before.
Hickey then took two more catches of Matthew Vaughan and Colin Tucker to give Matthew Jones his five-wicket haul and Bronwydd were all out for 110.
Gareth John had finished not out on 18 but it wasn’t enough for victory for the visitors.
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