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‘European qualification vitally important’ – Rhys Priestland



Rhys Priestland: On the importance of European qualification

Rhys Priestland: On the importance of European qualification

SCARLETS outside half Rhys Priestland believes passionately that European qualification is a must for the Scarlets despite his departure to Bath Rugby at the end of the current season.

The international outside half who has spent his entire professional career with the Scarlets, and has made 155 appearances for the region since his debut over Exeter Chiefs in August 2007, is hoping to finish his tenure in West Wales on a high.

Speaking at the Millennium Stadium earlier this week, ahead of the region’s clash against Newport Gwent Dragons in Judgement Day, Priestland said: “We can’t afford to slip up now. People have said we have an easy run-in but we have two away games and it’s taken until the last game (against Zebre) to get our first away win of the season. The results are by no way given eventhough the teams are below us in the league.”

A top six spot will ensure Scarlets remain in the top flight of European Rugby next season, a feat that the Region have done since their, and the competition’s, inception.

The Scarlets are currently in seventh place, tied on 44 points with sixth placed Connacht, and Priestland believes making the top six in the Guinness PRO12 is crucial for the West Wales Region; he said: “It’s vitally important. I’ve been fortunate to be involved in the top tier of European rugby since I’ve been with the Region. Nobody wants to be a part of the first squad not to be involved in the competition. We’re treating this as if it’s the be all and end all now.”

With his time at the Scarlets coming to end, as he prepares to make a move to Bath ahead of the new season, Priestland says a strong finish to the season with the Scarlets would be a fitting end; he said: “It’s a strange part of the season now. We have weeks off and it’s hard to keep the rhythm going. There are a few boys leaving but we all want to finish the season strongly. I want to do well for the Scarlets in the last three games. We’ll try and win the last three games, they are games we can win. It would be nice to sign off with three wins now at the end and really leave on a high.” JUST when its General Election campaign was making a faltering recovery from a shambolic start, a UKIP candidate has revealed that she is considering whether to take legal action against her own party.

Norma Woodward, UKIP’s candidate in Carmarthen East & Dinefwr claimed to BBC Wales that she had been ‘intimidated, harassed and libelled by the UKIP Wales committee’.

UKIP’s organization in Wales, which is headed by MEP Nathan Gill, attempted to remove Ms Woodward as its candidate for the Carmarthenshire constituency after making public allegations of financial impropriety.

The farce originally extended to an ‘oh no she isn’t, oh yes she is’ tussle about Ms Woodward’s status as UKIP’s Westminster election candidate. At one point UKIP Wales’ website showed no candidate as being selected for Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, while the UK website did.

In the end, UKIP’s UK leadership prevailed in the dispute, determining that its Wales office lacked the requisite power to deselect Ms Woodward as its candidate.

A statement at the time from UKIP said UKIP’s Welsh committee had ‘misunderstood its constitutional position’.

Ms Woodward claimed: “Right from the beginning I’ve had a tremendous lot of intimidation and harassment, libel and slander and sexual discrimination against me as a female.”

She continued: “The campaigning itself is straightforward, the work is easy.”

“It’s been the bullying that’s been very hard to cope with so I would like the opportunity to clear my name because I haven’t committed any of these things I’ve been accused of.”

Ms Woodward went on to state that UKIP’s central office had been ‘extremely supportive’ of her.

UKIP Wales responded to the allegations by claiming they were unaware of their candidate’s concerns: “These comments have only now been brought to our attention. Had they been raised with the committee previously we would have immediately investigated them.”

UKIP’s campaign in Wales has been a hit and miss affair, with a dispute in Brecon & Radnor resulting in a stand-off between party activists and UKIP Wales’ officers.

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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.”

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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.”
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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



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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