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Mike hangs up his boots

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Last game: Mike Phillips played his last game for the Sale Sharks

AFTER a professional career spanning 14 years, Mike Phillips brought his time as a rugby player to a close as he played his final game for his team, Sale Sharks.

After 99 international caps, 10 international tries, 2 Lions’ tours and 3 Grand Slams, the time has come for Mike to hang up his boots.

On Saturday night (May 20) S4C will be showing an hour-long documentary entitled Mike Phillips: Y Gêm Olaf, offering a unique glimpse into the last 24 hours of the former Wales and Lions scrum-half’s career.

The AJ Bell Stadium in Manchester was the location for his final farewell, and despite helping his side to a memorable win over Bath, the day proved to be a bittersweet occasion for Wales’ most-capped scrum half.

Mike said: “It was a very emotional day and it went by quite quickly. My family and friends came up to watch me and it was great. The game went well too so I was very happy with how the day went.

“My body’s been telling me for I while to stop and now is the right time. I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do; I’ve played for Wales and the Lions. I’ve had a great send off by the Sale Sharks and I’m very happy with that. But now I’m looking forward to the future.”

The farmer’s son from Bancyfelin has enjoyed a colourful career and has the subject of headlines on the front pages of newspapers as well as the back. But what aspects of his life as one of Wales’ finest and best loved sports stars will he miss the most in retirement?

“Rugby players have a very privileged lifestyle and it’s something that I’m sure I’ll miss,” added Mike.

“The laughs and the craic you have every day in training and as part of the team. You go to work every day but it doesn’t really feel like work. Of course you work hard but you have a lot of fun and you go to the training pitch and matches with your friends.

“But it has been very intense over the years. The seasons are so long and every summer I was away on tour to a different part of the world. I won’t miss the tough training sessions. You have to push yourself to the limit every day and I’ve been doing it for years. Now I’m looking forward to relaxing and enjoying my life.”

At 34 years of age and looking for a ‘regular’ job, which direction will Mike’s career take him in the future – to the modelling world perhaps?

“No, I don’t think so, not at all. I’m speaking to a lot of people about the options I have. I’d definitely like to stay in the game in some capacity. I’m sure I’ll be doing a bit of coaching and work with the media, but there’s no concrete plan in place yet. The first thing I’m going to do is relax and spend some time with my family and friends.”

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Canolfan Carwyn Sports Centre and Brynamman Lido to be transferred to a community groups

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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.”

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Latest recruit to Llandeilo’s Ashmole & Co team ‘converts’ his spare time into being a rugby referee

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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.”
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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.”

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Llangennech prove too strong for Penclawdd

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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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