All change – Llandovery RFC Secretary Robin Barlow still manages to raise a smile

Who would want to be a rugby club secretary, given the task of re-arranging fixtures and endlessly juggling dates on the whims and wishes of both the WRU and other Premiership clubs? writes Huw S Thomas

Such has been the work of Llandovery RFC club and fixture secretary Robin Barlow in his efforts to cut the Gordian Knot of who, what, where and when.

Postponements through bad weather, date alterations through ground unavailability, clashes between Premiership and WRU Cup dates have resulted in a redrawing of the fixture list for the rest of the season.

Saturday’s game between Llandovery and Cardiff was called off by the Cardiff club because the Arms Park was reserved for hosting the Cardiff Blues v Harlequins Champions Cup game.

After lengthy negotiations between the two clubs the Drovers will now play Cardiff in the Premiership at the Arms Park on Thursday evening February 1.

Bridgend were due to visit Church Bank on March 2 but that fixture has had to be moved to April 27 because the WRU have named March 2 as WRU Cup semi finals day when Llandovery play Ebbw Vale at Aberavon and Swansea face Merthyr at Bridgend.

Complications arise thereafter as if either or both Llandovery and Swansea win their semi final games, then they will be in the Cup final at the Principality Stadium in Sunday April 7.

That is one day after their scheduled Premiership game against the All Whites on Saturday April 6.

So, if Llandovery and Swansea both lost their semi finals on March 2 then the April 6 league game will take place as per fixture list.

If either Llandovery or Swansea get to the Principality on April 7, the league game will be re-arranged for Saturday April 20 – hope you got it?

Other confirmed changes will see the Drovers play Swansea at St Helen’s on Saturday February 10 (KO 1 00 pm), the day of the England-Wales Six Nations game at Twickenham (KO 4 45 pm)

The clubs were due to play on December 2 but a frozen St Helen’s pitch forced a postponement.

The Pontypool – Llandovery clash, originally fixed for Saturday March 9, has been brought forward a day to Friday March 8 and to be played under the Pooler lights in front of TV cameras.

The Llandovery-Bridgend game, scheduled for March 2 – WRU Cup semi finals day – has had to be moved to April 27.

There is every hope that the Drovers will make the Premiership play offs on May 4, when the top of the regular season club will entertain the fourth placed club and the second placed side will have home advantage over the third placed.

The two successful semi finalists will meet on Saturday May 11, venue dependent on semi final results ………  providing – as Dr Barlow wistfully says – “that the season is not extended because of bad weather!”

Ah, the happy life of a fixture secretary.


Revised fixture list

*Subject to change and dependant on Cup and Premiership results

Sat Jan 20 v Ebbw Vale (h) Premiership (2 30 pm)

Sat Jan 27 v RGC (a) Premiership (2 30 pm)

Thurs Feb 1 v Cardiff (a) Premiership (7 30 pm)

Sat Feb 10 v Swansea (a) Premiership (1 00 pm)

Sat Feb 17 v Neath (a) Premiership (2 30 pm)

Sat March 2 v Ebbw Vale (at Aberavon) – WRU Cup semi-final (2 30 pm)

Fri March 8 v Pontypool (a) Premiership (7 30 pm)

Sat March30 v Newport (a) Premiership (2 30 pm)

*Sat April 6 v Swansea (h) Premiership (2 30 pm)

*Sun April 7 WRU Cup Final (Principality Stadium)

Sat April 13 v Aberavon (a) Premiership (2 30 pm)

*Sat April 20 v Swansea (h) Premiership (2 30 pm)

Sat April 27 v Bridgend (h) Premiership (2 30 pm)

*Sat May 4 Premiership semi- final play offs

*Sat May 11 Premiership final play off