THREE individuals have been appointed to radically increase and improve rugby opportunities across the grassroots end of the game for women and girls.
The aptly named ‘game changers’ for North Wales, South East and South West Wales will work with all areas of the WRU rugby department, along with clubs, schools and hub officers, to increase the number of women and girls regularly involved in Welsh rugby – and improve the rugby products on offer for the Welsh female population.
UsGirls Project of the Year Award winner Lauren Thomas takes up the West Wales role, former Welsh Gymnastics South East Wales Club Development Officer Katy Evans has landed the East Wales position and former Newtown school club hub officer Dave Roberts has been appointed to make a difference for women and girls in the North Wales Development Region.
WRU Women and Girls manager Caroline Spanton said: “These three high calibre individuals will have the challenge of taking women and girls rugby participation in Wales to the next level. We know there is huge demand for rugby by women and girls from the success of the first season of cluster centres, when participation levels doubled but we also know there is massive scope to become one of, if not the top female participation sport in Wales.
“There is a blank canvas for the game changers in many ways and the sky is the limit in terms of where the roles take us as a national sport. We will need to make some brave decisions to reach our aspirations of making it the norm for women and girls to be involved in rugby but with this team now on board, I know we can do this.”
WRU Head of Rugby Participation Ryan Jones added: “It is a strategic priority for us as a Union to become more attractive to women and girls and to remove barriers to enable anyone to participate.
“Our purpose is to enable more people to be involved in rugby more often, with more enjoyment and more success and it is therefore vital to invest in people whose job and sole focus will be to make this a firm reality. We all need to work together with the game changers to ensure we offer various forms of the game and a way of delivering rugby which appeals to women and girls of all ages.”
Late goal sees Lido beat Ammanford
Report and photo courtesy of Ian Parfitt
AMMANFORD suffered the heartbreak of late defeat at Afan Lido on Friday night with an 87th minute winner from Liam Griffiths securing a 2-1 win and all three points for the hosts.
Afan Lido started the match on the front foot and Ammanford were clearly struggling with the pace on Lido’s flanks. A foul in the box led to a penalty for Lido in the 11th minute which was dispatched by Chris Jones.
Afan Lido were largely on top in the first half however were unable to add to their goal. Ammanford were restricted to half chances although Callum Silcox did hit the post with an angled shot.
Ammanford would have hoped for an early goal in the second half and that’s exactly what they got in the 48th minute, the excellent Jordan Langley spotting the keeper off his line and hitting a looping shot into the net from 30 yards.
This goal clearly settled Ammanford and spurred on by a vociferous away support went in search of a second goal.
Afan Lido rode their luck in the 63rd minute when Owyn Airey smashed a shot against the bar.
Callum Silcox then forced Lido keeper Steve Cann into an excellent save in the 74th minute with a rasping, long range effort.
Ammanford looked the most likely team to score and had several other opportunities which they failed to convert.
Ammanford were playing well with Morgan Clarke particularly influential in midfield.
Just when it looked as if a hard fought contest was heading for a draw Griffiths swept home from close range in the 87th minute following a Lido corner.
Ammanford frantically went in search of a second equaliser in the time that remained but this eluded them and the final whistle brought about feelings of what could have been for the away team.
Ammanford will look to put things right in their next match, a home encounter against Goytre Utd on Friday (Sept 30).
Williams’ wonder strike sinks Village
CWMAMMAN United came away from a hard fought match at near neighbours Garden Village in front of a large crowd with the three points following a powerful strike from Sion Dafydd Williams.
It was the second win on the trot for Cwm and manager Paul Lewis will have been especially pleased with a second consecutive clean sheet.
Cwm started well and dominated the first half that saw a Cory Saunders inswinging corner beat everyone and bounce out off the far post while Williams then later saw his shot agonisingly trickle past the post.
A high ball in to the Village box then hit the defender’s hand and Cwm had a penalty. Kyle Ashford struck it well but it was a tad too high and Wyn Walters made an excellent save. Charlie Davies then had an opportunity following a great move but fired just wide.
Ross Morgan, Ashford and Davies were dominating midfield while Grant Rees and Callum Dougal in the heart of the defence were controlling the Village attacks.
The goal was coming but not expected as spectacularly as it did when in the 39th minute a cross into the box saw Sion Dafydd Williams leaving Walters with no chance as he rocketed the ball into the net from the edge of the box as he seemed to be facing away from goal.
As the first period Garden Village will have been relieved to see half time just a goal down and will have been happy that they were still in it.
The second half saw a more even game with Walters again making excellent saves from Keiran Richards and from a Williams header. Village were now breaking more and Kai Rees who had tidied up excellently behind the Cwm defence throughout had to make a great finger tip save in the 70th minute.
Both sides then had to make changes due to injury with Cwm losing Leon Croucher, Williams and Richards to be replaced by Harrison
Thomas, Jordan Sullivan and Alex Giardelli returning to his old club.
Cwm seemed to be seeing the game out comfortably but had a late scare when Giardelli was given a red card for a reckless challenge in the 98th minute and nervously had to defend one last free kick.
An important win in the context of the season and Cwm now entertain Treharris Athletic on Saturday, October 1, at Grenig Park, 2.30pm
Amman earn first win of the season
AMMAN United claimed their first win of the season after an opening-day draw, and a cup defeat at Haverfordwest last weekend.
However, you would have been hard pushed to imagine a 50-point final-score when, just before half time, the score remained 0-0.
But two injury time scores had then given Amman an unlikely 12-0 interval lead against the Bulldogs.
A bright opening from United saw centre Gavin Lewis, on yet another comeback, show his trickery with a nice run and offload early on. Hooker George Clark had a fine game and was in the thick of everything, as were fellow forwards Iwan Davies, Dan Jones, Rhydian Jones and captain Alun Lewis.
Bynea suffered a very early blow, losing Corey Butler to an untimely injury, and they were later to also see Jamie Thomas limp off before half time.
These injuries meant a large period of added-time, and the Bulldogs’ valiant defence cracked during the injury-time as Joel Foster and Alun Lewis combined to put in flanker Rhydian Jones for the opening try, which Tom Caddell converted.
A frustrating couple of minutes for the visitors was compounded when a quick tap and go penalty from scrum half Foster saw him smuggle over the try line for a second try on the stroke of half time.
The Reds continued in good heart after the restart, and after some good play,Foster and and Dan Jones were involved before Rhydian Jones slipped a fine offload to skipper Alun Lewis who went under the posts for another converted try.
Another “vet” came on, Adrian Thomas off the bench as the home side largely dominated with their pack in the ascendency, Cian Lewis, Jason Knell and Rhys Phillips having put in a good shift throughout.
The Bulldogs then had a purple patch for a while,centre Jack Mal almost finishing off a fine move, before more calamity struck for them as Jake Sam was sadly stretchered off.
Amman capitalised and grabbed a bonus point try when the excellent George Clarke went over for another score to make it 24-0.
But the dogged visitors were always a threat, and carved out an excellent try for their efforts as wing Nathan Baker finished off a well-worked team move, which outside half Finlay Cook converted.
Amman hit back when the back row combined well before Dan Jones went over the whitewash for a try.
A very young Bynea side battled to the end,and some more excellent play was rewarded with a try for Tom Badger, converted by Cook.
However, the home side had the last word and grabbed a very late injury time try as the industrious Rhydian Jones crossed for the final score of the game.
Amman face a tough trip to Tumble on Saturday, October 1, while Bynea are home against New Dock Stars.
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