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Wales Women building cohesion at start of big year

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Cohesion was the focus for new Wales Women head coach Warren Abrahams during his first training camp of 2021.

Having been in post just over a month, Abrahams has spent time watching the Welsh performances in the Allianz Premier 15s and getting to know players and staff but the two-day camp was a welcome opportunity for quality face to face time with an enlarged training squad.

“We achieved our key aims on the weekend. The main thing was to learn more about the players. The more we understand them as individuals and as a team, that’s where we can make them better as players.

“The ultimate goal at the moment is to develop cohesion. We have to have the right people and make sure we work incredibly hard on those relationships between players and with management. Everything is tailored to making the team better and we also had some meaningful conversations around the legacy this team wants to leave for the next generation of Welsh women’s rugby and this team has to be the role model for that. That is a long-term goal.”

Abrahams is buoyed by what he’s seen so far. The vast majority of this training squad play in the Allianz Premiership and our players aren’t just making up the numbers. They’re putting down some big markers – just look at Kayleigh Powell and Hannah Jones who both earned a Player of the Match recently and Jaz Joyce who was Player of the Month for December. We’re really proud of how well our players are doing, it’s great for the programme and those experiences are just going to make them better.”

Siwan Lillicrap added, “It’s been nice to get together so soon in the New Year – the first step in a huge year ahead. The focus this weekend was on building a foundation and exploring what we’ve got as a squad.

“I think we absolutely achieved that, the relationships are developing along with a confidence in the squad . It’s been a tough, challenging camp but that’s what you want as we build towards the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup.”

Lillicrap welcomed the input of the new-look coaching team, former Wales captain and Colwyn Bay head coach Rachel Taylor coming in as national skills coach and former Ireland international and Penclawdd forwards coach Sophie Spence joining the set-up as Wales’ World Rugby coaching intern.

“Warren has been very inspirational for us already. It feels like he’s been in post much longer as we’ve done a lot of work on zoom already. It’s great to have Rachel on board. She’s a role model for many of us with what’s she’s done on the field as Wales captain and off it as a coach and Sophie too with her international experience and coaching knowledge.”

Training squad:
Forwards: Abbie Fleming, Alisha Butchers, Gwen Crabb, Georgia Evans, Cerys Hale, Cara Hope, Molly Kelly, Natalia John, Manon Johnes, Kelsey Jones, Beth Lewis, Siwan Lillicrap, Robyn Lock, Shona Powell-Hughes, Donna Rose, Caryl Thomas, Meg Webb, Teleri Wyn Davies
Backs: Alecs Donovan, Beth Huntley, Bryonie King, Courtney Keight, Jade Knight, Caitlin Lewis, Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Kayleigh Powell, Paige Randall, Jess Roberts, Gemma Rowland, Lauren Smyth, Elinor Snowsill, Robyn Wilkins, Flo Williams

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Praise for seamless services provided to Ukranian families in Ceredigion

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THE USE of the Urdd centre at Llangrannog as a welcome centre for Ukrainian refugees has been praised.

Following the surge in refugees fleeing war in Ukraine in early 2022, the first Welcome Centre of its kind was quickly set up in Ceredigion.

The Urdd Gobaith Cymru Gwersyll at Llangrannog was selected as a location by the Welsh Government and it was opened on 28 March.

During the next four months, up until 31 August when the centre was officially closed, 72 Ukranian families were supported through a multiagency delivery group.

A paper compiling Ceredigion County Council’s contribution to the Welcome Centre was presented to cabinet members on 4 October, as well a letter of appreciation by the First Minister of Wales.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Together with partners, you have played a critical role in ensuring Wales has lived up to our ambition of being a Nation of Sanctuary. The Llangrannog Welcome Centre was a real example of the extraordinary warm Welsh welcome we have been able to offer to our new Ukrainian friends.

“Your efforts have demonstrated the Team Wales approach so characteristic of our joint effort to support people seeking sanctuary.”

‘Tears when they left’

Councillor Bryan Davies, leader of Ceredigion County Council praised the “integrated and seamless way” that agencies worked together to support the 72 Ukrainian families.

“Most were worried about their families in Ukraine, their future, how they would be able to find a job in this country and secure permanent accommodation. They were also very concerned about getting their children into school.

“We received consistent feedback that the Urdd and Council staff at the Welcome Centre were helpful, friendly, and always there to help. They valued the quality of the accommodation, felt safe and that the help with obtaining key UK documents was invaluable to them.

“Some stated that they were in tears when they arrived from Ukraine, and were in tears when they left Llangrannog, having received such excellent care and support.”

Lowri Jones, director of the Llangrannog Urdd Gobaith Cymru Centre, added: “Humanitarian support has been at the core of the Urdd’s work since our establishment in 1922. The Welcome Centre at Llangrannog would not have been possible without the support of Urdd members and schools enabling us to open our doors to families from Ukraine.

“The partnership working with Ceredigion Council, Public Health Wales and Hywel Dda University Health Board meant that the multiagency team allowed us to offer the best support for the families in their time of need.”

Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt has thanked Wales households who have come forward to offer their homes for Ukrainians fleeing the war and has encouraged more households to provide this vital support.

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Ammanford suffer narrow loss against Newport

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AMMANFORD suffered their third successive defeat at home to second placed Newport by the narrowest of margins, just three runs separating the sides in a 500 run thriller at the Park.

Newport won the toss and elected to take first knock. Their innings was defined by a 148 run middle order partnership between Imran Hassan (112no) and Mujahid Ilyas (57).

Ammanford were looking down the barrel of another 300+ target until the return of Saihaj Jaspal (3-26) and Dan Roberts (1-32) to the attack slowed down the run rate. Owen Davies and Josef Davies also picked up a wicket each as Newport closed on a hefty 259 for 6.

Ammanford’s response began perfectly with a 131 run opening partnership between Kurtis Marsh (78) and Andrew Salter (44).

Dan Roberts continued the good work but four wickets fell in quick succession before the arrival of skipper Alun Evans at the crease.

The match was well within Ammanford’s grasp had these two managed to stay together but the departure of Roberts (39) left the burden firmly on Evans’s experienced shoulders.

An unbeaten 43 from the captain wasn’t quite sufficient and Ammanford fell an agonising three runs short of their target on 256 for 8.

Ammanford have now lost against the top three clubs in Premier 1, but in each case have shown an
eagerness to challenge and the talent to support that eagerness.

The rest of the summer beckons encouragingly, beginning with a visit to Port Talbot Town next Saturday, May 28.

Ammanford seconds earn six wicket win

AMMANFORD seconds returned from Stradey Park with a straightforward 6 wicket victory over Llanelli.

Having put Llanelli in to bat, the Ammanford bowlers made short work of dismissing the Llanelli batters for 100 in 27 overs.

Sara Phillips (22) provided Llanelli’s main resistance. Chief wicket taker for Ammanford was Matthew Davies with 4 for 37, whilst Fin Jeffries, Sam Potter and Iwan Matthews picked up a couple each.

Ammanford overtook the Llanelli total within 23 overs for the loss of four wickets, thanks in the main to opener Eirian Morgan (25), with support from Fraser Benjamin (17) and Tiaan Evans (16no).

Player of the match was undoubtedly Llanelli’s Sara Phillips who crowned a fine all-round performance
with figures of 3 for 29.

Thirds suffer heavy defeat

AMMANFORD thirds suffered a heavy 135 run defeat at the hands of visiting Dyffryn at the Rec.

Dyffryn scored a formidable 245 from their 40 overs, due to fine knocks from Phil Paisey (95) and Rhodri Morgan (47).

Toby Davies took 3 wickets for Ammanford, whilst Jac Davies and Dafydd Evans picked up a couple
each.

Ammanford’s reply never really got off the ground, and they collapsed to 110 all out in 27 overs, thanks to impressive bowling from Lloyd Jones with 7 for 22. Opener David Lumb top scored with 20.

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JON COURTENAY: Live in Carmarthen

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The funniest show with a piano

Jon Courtenay’s 2021 UK Tour “WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT” which is coming to The Lyric Theatre, Carmarthen on Monday 1st November.

“WONDERFUL…YOU ARE SOMEONE WHO HAS WORKED HARD FOR YEARS AND NEEDS A BREAK AND I’M SURE YOU WILL GET A HUGE REACTION FROM THIS, I PROMISE YOU.” Simon Cowell

Following his enormous success as the first Golden Buzzer act ever to win Britain’s Got Talent, Jon Courtenay is delighted to announce that he will be setting out on his debut tour of the UK in 2021.

“ONE OF THE BEST GOLDEN BUZZERS WE’VE EVER HAD ON THE SHOW.” Amanda Holden

Long before triumphing in the 2020 final, Jon was a powerhouse live performer with decades of experience touring the world. Become part of Jon’s journey of a lifetime where you will roar with laughter, maybe shed a few tears and definitely be inspired by his music and the hilarious tales of his family, relationships and life on tour. With a soundtrack including all his Britain’s Got Talent songs and music spanning the classics to rock n roll, Jon’s side-splitting show will leave you with a happy heart and a huge smile on your face.

This will definitely be a rip-roaring night of music and comedy that you’ll never forget!

“IT’S FUNNY, IT’S TOUCHING, IT’S UNIQUE TO YOU…THAT WAS UNBELIEVABLE.” David Walliams

Jon Courtenay originally hails from Ipswich but now lives in Mossley, Greater Manchester with his wife Emmah and two sons Nathan and Alfie. He started his stage career as a comedy magician but gradually the magic made way for the piano. Even before he won Britain’s Got Talent, Jon was already a powerhouse live performer with decades of experience touring the world. He is also one of the rare British performers to be asked time and time again to perform in America. His originality and remarkable stage presence have led to hugely successful shows in the corporate market as well as on all the major luxury cruise lines.

Although Jon’s show is continually evolving, his sense of humour remains the same and he has now created a truly original experience for every audience.

“MAGICAL…YOU NAILED IT MY FRIEND. YOU TICKED EVERY SINGLE BOX.” Alesha Dixon

For more information go to theatrausirgar.co.uk or call 0345 226 3510

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