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: email@example.com
Dafen see off Porthcawl
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.
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.
Rees century sees Llanelli to win
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.
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.
Daly makes special visit to Ashburnham
TWO time Major Champion John Daly aka the “Wild Thing” paid a visit to Ashburnham Golf Club last weekend as part of the club’s 125th anniversary celebrations.
Daly fresh from a top 5 finish on the USPGA Senior tour entertained the crowds with some extraordinary shot making during an exhibition match involving members and local businesses.
Following golf JD took part in a Q&A and rounded off the night in style by joining in with local band “The Lost Comets”.
Ian Thomas, Club Captain was thrilled with the day and said that the occasion was truly memorable and a fantastic way to celebrate the club’s 125th anniversary.
John Daly himself was full of praise for Ashburnham: “I loved the course, the people and the back 9 layout in particular was just awesome.”
Television highlights of the day were aired on S4C’s Heno programme Monday, July 1.
John Daly won the PGA Championship in 1991 and the Open Championship in 1995.
The 53-year-old also has 18 professional wins to his name.
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