LLANDOVERY RFC Head Coach Euros Evans and star flyhalf Jack Maynard both picked up major awards at the 11th Principality Premiership Awards Evening at the Principality Stadium.
Ebbw Vale captain Damien Hudd picked up the biggest accolade of the night – Player of the Season – after leading his side to the title for the first time.
“It’s been an amazing year, especially considering where we were five or six years ago. It’s nice to pick up an award towards the end of my career but it’s a club award really – I wouldn’t have had it without my teammates.
“We’ve come a long way together as a club, both off the field thanks to Jonathan Jones in large part, and on the field, led by Jason Strange for five years with some good forwards coaches and Nigel (Davies) coming in last year and adding his own stamp too to steer us to the title.
“When I joined the club after relegation, I knew the ethos of the club having been with Ebbw Vale at Under 21 level, it was clear what it meant for the whole of the valley. We weren’t where we wanted to be.
“We dug in deep, especially in Division One East, losing in the league play-offs that year but I don’t think we were ready to go up anyway. The three years of ringfencing put us in a good position to go up last year and be competitive.
“Last year was fantastic to exceed most people’s expectations and reach the final but this year, although we had a dip in form, our last three games were some of the best we’ve played and I think we deservedly won the title in the end.”
Llandovery coach Euros Evans was presented with the Coach of the Season award, while Aberavon’s Jay Baker won Best Newcomer.
The try of the season was won by Ebbw Vale’s Ryan Gardner who finished off an impressive team try against Cross Keys at Eugene Cross Park in October.
Awards were presented to Llandovery’s Jack Maynard for ending the normal league season as top points scorer with 148, while, unusually for a forward, Ronny ‘Catch n’ Kynes finished as top try scorer with 16 – before the added three he claimed in the Principality Premiership Play-Off and Final.
Ben Whitehouse was awarded Principality Premiership Referee of the Year, and Cross Keys received the Fair Play award for the best discipline record in the league.
Volunteers in the semiprofessional game were recognised too, Cross Keys assistant secretary Angie Prangell winning the Unsung Hero award as an acknowledgement of her commitment and especially her efforts to grow the club’s fan base with new ideas and initiatives.
Martyn Phillips said: “The Principality Premiership is a vital cog in the player, coach and referee pathway deserving of continued recognition and exposure, and the Principality Premiership Awards Evening is a celebration of some of the best attributes of Welsh semiprofessional rugby.
“We are grateful to the Premiership clubs for their continued hard work to maintain and drive standards on and off the field to cater for players, coaches and supporters, to the players and coaches for producing an entertaining and competitive brand of rugby to underpin professional rugby in Wales, not forgetting the important role of referees in this aim.
“We are delighted with the continued support from Principality and from our broadcast partners S4C and BBC.”
Phillips is determined to build on the Principality Premiership’s success so far with the expansion of the league to 16 clubs next season.
“It’s one of our key competitions and we will be working with the broadcasters over the summer to ensure we retain and grow the profile of the newly expanded Premiership. We will also explore new digital opportunities.
“We also plan to invest considerably more in coach development over the next few years to ensure our players are getting the very best coaching, the latest thinking and the benefits of sports science that the professional tier enjoys.
“We are united in our belief that our teams can take their game to a new level.
“Whilst we recognise some concerns that have been rightly expressed about ring-fencing the league, having met with the clubs recently, we are unanimous in our ambition for the Premiership and excited about the opportunities in front of us.
“We all agree that we want a league that rewards supporters with fiercely contested games week in week out and one that bloods and develops emerging talent while maintaining a strong element of experienced club players.
“Uniquely in Wales have a rich heritage at club level that we all feel proud of. It’s more than a game.”
Principality CEO Graeme Yorston said: “These awards are all about celebrating success and in common with the WRU and its member clubs, Principality Building Society strives for excellence. We like to support what is excellent in Wales and that’s why we are proud to continue to support the Premiership which has established its position as the breeding ground of Welsh rugby talent.”
Canolfan Carwyn Sports Centre and Brynamman Lido to be transferred to a community groups
A MULTI- SPORTS facility, at the heart of the Gwendraeth Valley, has been taken over by a local sports group, the Baton Twirlers.
The management of Canolfan Carwyn Sports Centre, which is owned by Carmarthenshire County, has been transferred to the Baton Twirlers Association Cymru (BTAC) via a lease agreement and will allow the public to continue to use the facilities at the centre.
Whilst Canolfan Carwyn Sports Centre is now the official home of BTAC its facilities are available for the local community and sports groups to be used.
An official reopening of the Centre, which bears the name of one of the Gwendraeth Valley’s most famous sons, under the new management of the BTAC was held on Sunday, October 2.
Speaking at the event, Jessica Shore Director of the Baton Twirlers Association Cymru (BTAC) said:
“We are thrilled to have worked with Carmarthenshire County Council to secure this sports centre on behalf of the local community and it’s a pleasure to welcome the public here today. We are looking forward to working with and hosting various community and sports groups at the Carwyn James Sports Centre.
“It also was very important to us to provide a home for baton twirling in Wales, and we will make great use of the excellent facilities here.”
Cllr. Gareth John, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism said “This is a great success story for the BTAC, the Gwendraeth Valley and the council as we have secured the future of the Carwyn James Sports Centre for the local community.
I would like to thank Baton Twirlers Association Cymru for their work and enthusiasm during the process of transferring management of the Sports Centre to them, as a community group, and I wish them the very best for the future.”
Plans approved to transfer management of Brynamman Lido
On Monday, October 3, the council’s Cabinet approved plans to lease the Brynamman Lido, which is held in trust by the Carmarthenshire County Council, to Brynamman Lido Limited under its asset transfer programme.
Under the proposed lease, Brynamman Lido Limited will take over the management of the lido with the intention to reopen the swimming pool for sporting, recreational and leisure activities.
Following the approval of the plans by the Cabinet, Cllr. Gareth John commented:
“We are pleased to be working with the local group in Brynamman to transfer the management and maintenance of the lido to the community.
“The transfer of this asset will allow Brynamman Lido Ltd to apply for funding via grants that would not be available to the County Council, and we will continue to work with them and provide support along the journey to reopening the lido to the community.”
Latest recruit to Llandeilo’s Ashmole & Co team ‘converts’ his spare time into being a rugby referee
Ashmole & Co have scored a try with their newest Trainee Accountant. The firm is delighted to announce that Aled Jones has recently started working for the successful accountancy team in the Llandeilo office.
Aled, who lives in Pontyberem, is a community rugby referee in his spare time. He referees senior rugby games on Saturdays and Junior rugby games on Sundays including cup matches. He is also involved in the Scarlets Cup Final at Parc y Scarlets and the Carmarthenshire cup finals.
Before joining Ashmole & Co Aled was a Personal Banker with Barclays Bank for five years. He studied AAT Level three at Coleg Sir Gar. Aled went to primary school in Pontyberem and secondary school in Ysgol y Gwendraeth.
Day to day with Ashmole & Co, Aled prepares and inputs clients’ sales and purchase invoices onto the accounting software; completes clients’ VAT returns and assists senior members of the team with the preparation of accounts. The most rewarding part of the job for Aled is hearing that the clients are happy.
Welcoming Aled to the team, Ceri Llwyd, Partner in the Llandeilo Ashmole & Co office, said, “We are delighted that Aled has joined our team in Carmarthenshire. He has fitted in well and is a pleasure to work with. I’ve told my rugby mad sons that they have to behave now when they play rugby on a Sunday in case Aled is their referee! It is great that he gives up his spare time to help local rugby clubs in this way.”
Aled said, “I am grateful to Ashmole and Co, who are one of the most established and largest teams of chartered, certified accountants and auditors in south and west Wales, to give me this opportunity.”
Ashmole & Co offer financial support to a significant number of junior and professional sports teams across south Wales. The Llandeilo office has recently shown its support to Llandeilo RFC by contributing towards new tops for the juniors.
Ceri added, “As a rural firm that works with businesses in the area it is a pleasure for us to be able to lend our support to local sports teams.”
Llangennech prove too strong for Penclawdd
LLANGENNECH earned their fourth win in as many matches on Saturday (Oct 22) as they beat Penclawdd 38-10.
Jordan Saunders got the scoring underway with the first try of the game and Thomas Davies added the extras.
Penclawdd then levelled the scoring with a try from Daniel John Guarneri and Marcus Brown added the extras.
It remained 7-7 until half time with conditions proving tricky for both sides.
In the second half, Aaron Howles got the try to put Llangennech ahead but the conversion was missed.
Joseph Hutchings then extended the visitors’ lead with their third try and Davies added the extras to take the score to 7-19.
Penclawdd then responded with a penalty from Brown as the home side looked to get back into the game.
However, Llangennech soon had their fourth try and a bonus point as Howles touched down for his second try of the game and Davies added the extras.
Louis Rees then scored an unconverted try before replacement Hefin Jones went over for Llangennech’s sixth try, converted by Davies.
On Saturday, October 29, Penclawdd travel to Aberystwyth for their second game in the Division 1 Cup.
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