Chairman Peter Rees Previews RGC1404 Game
Chairman Peter Rees previews Saturday’s home Premiership game v RGC1404
Croeso cynnes iawn i pawb o Clwb Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 i Banc Yr Eglwys heddi! It is with great pleasure that we welcome RGC 1404 to Church Bank for our first game of the second series in the 2016/17 season and indeed for the first time since they gained promotion to the Principality Premiership! I am also delighted to also welcome (back) a former Drover – Mark Jones who is now Head Coach at RGC. Mark of course played for Llandovery 43 times between 1998 and 2005 scoring 150 points (30 tries). Yet another Hen Borthmon that developed their rugby at Church Bank and progressed to regional rugby and international honours (47 caps).
For the benefit of our home supporters a short history lesson courtesy of Wikipedia – “Although an amateur North Wales rugby representative side had existed for over 50 years, Gogledd Cymru was established by the North Wales Rugby Council, in February 2007, in response to the WRU approved strategic plan for the development of rugby union in the region. This aimed to achieve a north Wales side playing in the Welsh Premier Division by 2010–11”. 1404 of course refers to the year in which Glyndwr became Prince of Wales and over its relatively short lifetime it has been used as a bit of a “test bed” for various WRU initiatives, one of which involved providing development opportunities for young Canadian rugby players!
Over recent years RGC have been coached or assisted by a number of former Welsh Internationals including Clive Griffiths, Rupert Moon and Phil Davies and promotion to the Principality Premiership was finally achieved at the end of last season. They have certainly hit the Premiership running and to date they have had a very successful season. We welcome them to Llandovery today on the back of a last minute win against fellow Premiership newcomers Merthyr Tydfil (25-24). Our away fixture “up North” at the beginning of the season ended in a similar score line (28-25) and the Drovers’ loyal supporters that made the away trip felt that we had the opportunity to win the game so I am sure with a dry day promised we can look forward to an exciting game. If the Drovers build on the form they showed away at Aberavon in the cup a couple of weeks ago we can certainly expect a positive outcome.
For those of you less immersed in the nuances of the league rules than others we start the second half of the season with all teams reset back to zero and for the Drovers we look forward to a further four home games (v. Aberavon, RGC, Ebbw Vale & Carmarthen Quins) and three away games (v. Pontypridd, Bedwas & Merthyr). Clearly, as you would expect with the new league structure, this represents a series of tough but exciting fixtures, it’s just a shame that they are so spread out with potentially ten weeks between our home fixture against RGC and the next league fixture at Church Bank against Ebbw Vale!
For those of us that went to Aberavon a couple of weeks ago or read their website it is clearly not just Llandovery that is frustrated by the structure of the season. Thankfully we now have a home cup draw against Bargoed to look forward to and to fill one of the gaps! It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain any regular “rugby offering” to our supporters at Llandovery. However we are very fortunate that we have our Second and Youth XVs and both teams are playing good rugby – the recent youth fixture against Pontyberem was a delight to watch, with all players showing great skill and a determination to play an open, attacking style of rugby. So if the 1st XV are away from home please come along and support our other teams, you will not be disappointed.
For those of you that follow the excellent “Love Llandovery” Facebook page (well done Derek!) you will know that Euros was shortlisted for the Carmarthenshire Sports Award as senior coach of the year and our 2015/16 1st XV was shortlisted as team of the year. Unfortunately both awards went in another direction (no comment!) but well done all!
There is of course today another small fixture just down the road at Cardiff and for those of us not going on to the Principality Stadium there will be a warm welcome in the clubhouse with half time refreshments so please make an afternoon of it with us at Church Bank. C’mon Wales!
Meanwhile our game today is being sponsored by Parker Plant and I would like to thank George Parker for his continued loyal support over many seasons. We also thank today our Match Ball sponsor, Mark Evans of Allington Hughes.
I am delighted to take this opportunity to welcome two new Directors to our Board – Celfyn Davies and Aled Davies. Both are local lads with long and current involvement in the Club (currently through the 2nd XV and Junior Drovers, respectively) whilst also running established businesses in the town. Thank you both for making the commitment! Finally, I have previously mentioned that our Club Director and Website Manager, Bryan Weaver has been unwell. He is currently undergoing treatment for a Brain Tumour in London and I am sure you will all join with me in wishing him our continued best wishes and a speedy recovery.
Er Gwaethaf Pawb a Phopeth Ni Yma o Hyd! Ymlaen Y Porthmyn!
Peter Rees Cadeirydd/Chairman