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
Special game marks start of Trimsaran’s centenary year
TRIMSARAN took on Llanelli on Saturday (Sept 11) as they opened their centenary season and there were some special guests in attendance.
World Cup final referee Nigel Owens came out of retirement to take charge of the game while Jonathan Davies OBE also came back to his first club.
Davies presented the Trimsaran players with their new shirts before the game.
There were around 500 supporters in attendance for the match which saw Llanelli eventually running out 78-12 winners.
Trimsaran battled well but it was Llanelli who showed their class as they ran away with the game in the second half.
After the game, Trimsaran took to Twitter to thank everyone who had made their day so special.
On Twitter they wrote: “Great game played in great spirits. Llanelli showing their class and running away with it in the second half. Massive thank you for coming down to help us celebrate our centenary season yesterday.
“Huge thank you to everyone who came to support. Around 500 supporters came down and helped us celebrate and watch a great game of rugby. It was great to see so many there and to see the clubhouse bouncing all night
“Thank you to Jonathan Davies OBE for presenting the boys with their jerseys before the game and to Nigel Owens and his 2 assistant referees for coming down.
“Thank you to all our sponsors yesterday, to all the hard working committee, volunteers and everyone involved with Trimsaran Rugby, without you the game wouldn’t have been possible.
“Thanks to Ricky King and Chris Wilds for all their hard work in getting the field looking superb Trimsaran Rugby
“And a final thanks to the Trimsaran Rugby players who put their bodies on the line and showed how much playing for this team meant to them against a Welsh Prem outfit, the boys certainly done themselves proud and could have scored another 1 or 2 themselves.”
The club had been due to celebrate their centenary season a year ago but that was delayed because of the covid-19 pandemic.
Llangennech bowl Gowerton out to end chase and seal fifth win
LLANGENNECH finished the season off with a win on Saturday (Aug 28) as they prevented Gowerton from reaching their target.
Llangennech won the toss and chose to bat first and they made a good total of 276-7 from their 50 overs with runs throughout the order.
James Taube and Nathan Richards made an excellent start as they shared 91 runs for the first wicket.
Gowerton finally made the breakthrough when Richards was trapped leg before by Matthew Mason on a score of 39.
Taube made his way to a score of 43 but he was then stumped by David Gascoyne off the bowling of Tom Clarke.
That left the score on 94-2 but Aaron Wood and Nathan Jones added 55 runs for the third wicket.
Wood made his way to a score of 20 but he was then caught by Callum Eakins off the bowling of Matthew Mason.
Jones and David Williams then shared 83 runs for the fourth wicket as they took Llangennech over 200 runs.
Jones hit four fours and a six in his score of 61 but he was then run out by Lee Nicholas.
Williams had smashed seven fours and three sixes in a score of 57 from 29 balls but he was then caught by Nicholas off the bowling of James Cable.
Richard Clement made a late score of 13 before he was run out by Daniel Allen and Hedd-Wyn Jones scored 14 before being bowled by Cable.
Those wickets halted Llangennech’s momentum but they were still able to finish their innings on 276-7, with 25 from Mr Extras.
Gowerton were soon in trouble in their reply as they slipped to 8-2. Michael Jones had Lee Nicholas caught by Jack Page and Bevan Daniels caught by Hedd-Wyn Jones.
That soon became 18-3 as Michael Jones bowled Luke Evans.
David Gascoyne and Matthew Mason looked to lead the recovery as they shared 37 runs for the fourth wicket.
Gascoyne made his way to a score of 27 but he was also caught by Hedd-Wyn Jones off the bowling of Michael Jones to leave Gowerton on 55-4.
Daniel Allen hit a four and a six in his quick fire score of 11 but he fell the same way as Gascoyne as Gowerton fell into further trouble on 88-5.
However, Mason and Callum Eakins shared 90 runs for the sixth wicket to keep their side in the game.
Mason hit nine fours and three sixes on his way to a score of 95 but he was unlucky to miss out on a century when he was caught and bowled by James Taube.
Tom Barrett added 10 before falling to the bowling of Jack Page before Eakins and Will Collinson added 40 runs for the eighth wicket.
Eakins hit six fours in his score of 45 but he was then trapped leg before by Page as Gowerton’s hopes of victory began to fade.
Page then had Collinson caught by Nathan Richards on a score of 20.
That left Gowerton nine down and still needing 38 runs for victory.
They were unable to get those runs though as Owain Phillips had James Cable caught by Page to bowl Gowerton out for 243.
It gave Llangennech victory by 33 runs and their fifth win of the season.
Champions Llanelli finish season in style
LLANELLI Cricket Club finished the season in style on Saturday (Aug 28) as they beat Bronwydd 103 runs.
They were presented with the South Wales Cricket Association trophy prior to their match and after winning the toss and electing to bat, they went on to make a score of 287-7 from their 50 overs.
They lost Craig Howells for a score of 19 early on before Iwan Rees and Steven Devonald shared 146 runs for the second wicket.
It was an excellent stand between the pair with Rees hitting eight fours on his way to a score of 75.
He was then caught by Tom Gleeson off the bowling of Rhufon Phillips as Bronwydd finally made the breakthrough.
Devonald and Rhys Harris continued to put runs on the board though as they shared 59 runs for the third wicket.
It also saw Devonald reach his century but Llanelli then lost two quick wickets.
Harris was caught by Gruffudd Owen off the bowling of Gleeson on a score of 24 and then bowled Rhydian Morgan for a duck, leaving the hosts on 247-4.
Devonald and Matthew Roberts added a further 38 runs for the fifth wicket before Devonald’s excellent innings came to an end.
He had hit fifteen fours and a six in his knock of 131 from 126 balls but he was then bowled by James Dickson.
Roberts was then run out by Owen on a score of 16 as Llanelli’s momentum stalled towards the end of their innings.
It saw them finish on a total of 287, giving Bronwydd a tough target to chase.
James Cale and Josh Rencken shared 43 runs for the first wicket but Cale was bowled by Iwan Rees on a score of 12.
Rencken and Jacob Jenkinson shared 67 runs for the second wicket as they looked to put their side in a strong position.
However, after Jenkinson was bowled by Twm Westcott on a score of 26 more wickets began to fall.
Rencken had reached a score of 47 but he was then bowled by David Richards.
Westcott then had Philip Howell caught by Rhydian Morgan before Richards bowled James Dickson to leave Bronwydd on 115-5.
Oliver Furneaux and Gruffudd Owen shared 48 runs for the sixth wicket but they were quickly running out of time.
Owen was bowled by Rees on a score of 20 to leave the visitors on 163-6 and they could only add 21 more runs to the total.
Furneaux finished unbeaten on 37 but Bronwydd ended their innings on 184-6.
It meant Llanelli could celebrate their title win in style.
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