It was a weekend to remember at Welshpool Rugby Club who, for the first time on Sunday, hosted three consecutive junior age groups.
But that was only a part of a hectic weekend which got underway on Friday with its first ever Mixed Ability event, as a Welshpool side took on the Newtown Dragons and the Shropshire Stags.
Mixed ability rugby combines touch and contact rugby, giving an opportunity to play the game to those who would otherwise be unable to compete, and providing a platform for players with Learning Disabilities to get involved.
Welshpool fielded a mix of Second Teamers, Ladies and a few returning Veterans (pictured), for a fantastic night so another is planned soon.
On Saturday, the first team travelled to Newtown but couldn’t quite match their hosts, going down 29-7.
A Ryan Goodwin try from a line-out, converted by Tom Williams, put the visitors ahead in the 22nd minute but with second row Sam Ward yellow carded soon after 'Pool were up against it. Newtown only scored a penalty with the extra man but it gave them momentum with a converted try putting them 10-7 ahead at the break.
It took until the 57th minute for Newtown to find their way over the Welshpool line to take a 17-7 lead, and a further 15 minutes until they scored again. Welshpool were not willing to give in and continued to pressurise the Newtown line, but the hosts held firm and after a mis-directed kick, they were able to take advantage of a massive overlap to score their bonus point try with the game deep into extra time and secure a 29-7 win.
Despite the defeat, Welshpool showed that they have developed as a side since the 8-49 defeat they suffered at Maesydre, and they now look forward to the visit of high-flying Shotton Steel on Saturday, followed by the visit of Division 2 West's Dolgellau on Wednesday in the North Wales Intermediate Cup.
Welshpool: Tom Manuel, Ally Evans, Ryan Manuel, Harry Trow, Sam Ward, Tom Holloway, Ben Gutteridge, Ryan Goodwin, Joe Stranks (C), Dylan Walton, Paul Davies, Tom Davies, Callum Richardson, Dan Earle, Tom Williams
Replacements: Lee Richards, Rhys Williams, Declan Price, Tom Worthy, Dai Roberts
Sunday was another busy day, with a total of five sides taking part of fixtures. Starting with the little ones, the Under 10s took part in a festival at Dolgellau, and in horrendous conditions, they came away with two wins, a draw and one defeat.
At home, the Under 12s earned a narrow 17-15 victory over a combined Llandrindod Wells and Trefyclawdd side in an entertaining game.
After having their past two fixtures called off, the Under 13s got in their first game since mid-December and suffered a last minute defeat to Newtown, with the visitors winning 19-24. Try-scorers for Welshpool were Lewis Thomas, Will Taylor and Lewis Wilde, with Thomas adding two conversions. This coming Sunday, they take on Mold at home as they gear up to their Easter tour.
After losing 36-40 to Oswestry a fortnight ago, the Under 14s made the journey to a cold and snowy Bala and came away with a 19-38 victory. Try scorers were Zac Jenkins, Flynn Shuker, Aled Jones, Mitchell Hunt and Iwan Bartley-Morris (2), with Bartley-Morris adding four conversions.
This was the first time the club has ever fielded sides at three consecutive junior (15-a-side) age groups on the same day, which is a sign of how far they’ve come in the past few years, and is a testament to the hard work of the coaches involved in those sides.
The final piece of action for the weekend saw a combined Welshpool and Llanidloes Girls U18s side take on an Oswestry and Bishop's Castle side, with the spoils going to the side from the Welsh side of the border in a 40-15 win.
At the same time as this game was taking place, Welshpool’s Sophie Licence-Law, was representing RGC U18s against the Blues. Whilst the Blues ran out 0-20 winners, this was the first ever competitive game for RGC and the club is very proud to say they have a player in that squad.
Change to Ladies and Girls Training Times
To continue to build links between the girls and ladies sides, the club is altering the training times to allow the girls to stay on and train with the women, and to enable the women to get more involved with coaching the girls. Training for all high school aged girls will now take place at 6pm on Thursday nights, with the women now starting at 7pm. New players are always very welcome, regardless of experience.
After losing the Women's side for a couple of seasons, numbers are now looking good again (as the picture shows), and after enjoying their first run-out in the Mixed Ability game, they are looking to get a game arranged in the near future.
Under 13s Prize Draw
As part of their tour fundraising, the Under 13s have been selling tickets for the opportunity to win a pair of Wales v England tickets. The draw took place Tuesday, with the winners as follows:
Wales v England tickets: Meinir Wigley
Bottle of Prosecco: L Muir
Rugby Ball: S Davies
Rugby Ball: Barbara Chapman
Serendipity Voucher: Rob Powell
Saturday, February 4
Welshpool Youth v Mold Youth (2pm)
Welshpool 1sts v Shotton Steel (2.30pm)
Sunday, February 5
Welshpool Under 13s v Mold Under 13s (11am)
Welshpool & Llanidloes Girls U15s v Nelson Belles U15s (Llanidloes, 12 noon)
Welshpool & Llanidloes Girls U18s v Nelson Belles U18s (Llanidloes, 12 noon)