Wrexham Rugby Football Club
Bryn Estyn Road, Wrexham, LL13 9TY (UK)
by Chris Kilfoyle
30th August 2001
21st August 2001
Toronto Pictures 2001
13th July 2001
6th July 2001
6th June 2001
25th May 2001
28th April 2001
21st & 22nd April 2001
5th April 2001
29th March 2001
Old News for Season 2000 - 2001
Wrexham's credentials for the new rugby season will be fully tested tomorrow
afternoon when Kidwelly visit Bryn Estyn Road for a preliminary round game in the prestigious Welsh Rugby Union Cup Competition (kick-off at 2.30pm).
The Carmarthenshire side play in Division Four West of the Welsh National Leagues against familiar sounding clubs like Tumble, Pontyberem, Aberystwyth and Haverfordwest and have expressed that they are keen to make a winning start to this season and avenge a 19-10 cup defeat which they suffered at Wrexham in 1987.
Wrexham possess a rich Welsh Cup history and are still the only North Wales club to have reached the last 16 of the competition, losing to Newport at Rodney Parade in 1986. They have played memorable matches against the best clubs in Wales including Cardiff, Neath (3 times), Swansea and Ebbw Vale.
The North Walians enjoyed a good cup run in 1997 when they reached the fourth round after defeating Caldicot, BP Llandarcy and Tonmawr, but last year's 6-23 preliminary round mauling at lowly Pontarddulais is a game which most players would prefer to forget.
Club Coach Ross Roberts, a veteran of many cup battles in the past and a key member of the Wrexham threequarter line in that memorable match against Newport, is confident that his new side has the strength of character to compete successfully against the highly rated Kidwelly outfit.
Alex Crewe and Iwan Roberts will form a formidable second-row pairing and the back-row should be strong and mobile with Dean Griffiths and Llyr Williams looking to be the men in form so far this season. Rob Pierce is expected to be his usual tower of strength in the front row of the pack alongside his old Youth Team colleague Gareth Perrin, who will have the crucial responsibility of providing an accurate throw-in for the line-out jumpers.
The backs will miss their outstanding college winger Matthew Cox, who is not available until the start of the league season next week, but will be boosted at full-back by the return from Canada of James Plant who is fully match-fit after playing for the Toronto Lions during the summer.
Robbie James is expected to partner Richard Lloyd at outside-half while the experienced John Roberts will strengthen the centre with Peter Dougan returning to the club to add pace on the left wing. Lloyd will be handed the goal kicking responsibilities with Plant waiting in the wings to take over if necessary.
On last season's form, Kidwelly should have the extra power and pace to secure a comfortable victory. However, the arrival of Ross Roberts as Club Coach, with two very useful assistants in Graham Williams and Matt Arnold, has altered the approach of the players to rugby at Bryn Estyn Road and the change could be enough to give Wrexham the winning edge.
A mixture of Seconds and Thirds will travel to Oswestry to open the season with a friendly fixture (k.o. 2.30pm) while the Under 19 Youth Team will launch their new challenge in the Dragons Trust National Youth League with a visit to Rhyl tomorrow afternoon (k.o.3.00pm).
They won the corresponding game last season by 33-15 and have high hopes of repeating that success tomorrow. Alastair Pearce, Ben Cheesbrough and James Jess, several of the leading players in last season' s squad will be on duty at Rhyl but the majority of the side will be made up of players from last year's successful Under 16 side, coached by Kevin Powell.
Powell has decided to carry on his good work by becoming assistant coach to Youth Coach John Thomas this season and the pair have already outlined their plans to win one of the two promotion places available in Division Two of their league this season.
Because there is a constant change in personnel as young players make the transition from junior to senior rugby over a short period of time, there is a high level of unpredictability surrounding the success of youth teams from one year to another. This season's Wrexham Youth Team looks set to improve on the foundations laid last year and could be a force to be reckoned with in the following season.
Wrexham Firsts were outclassed in the first session of their trial game against Whitchurch at Bryn Estyn Road last week but came back strongly against powerful opponents to win the final session with a late try scored by
prop Rob Pierce.
Missing several key members who were suffering from the after-effects of full-back Darrell Hughes' wedding party held on the previous evening, Wrexham lacked the resources to make any improvement in their line-out work but performed strongly in the scrums and shook the visitors when Jason Munro returned from his recently announced retirement to make a big impression in the home back line.
Coach Ross Roberts was pleased with his squad's overall performance and said, " We were badly beaten in the early stages but the performance in the final session was the best I have seen from a Wrexham side for a long time" . " Whitchurch were a very confident and committed side and gave us just the sort of test we needed before Saturday's big cup game" , he added.
The recent rugby summer school, organised by North Wales Rugby Union Development Officer Marc Roberts, was an outstanding success with over fifty young enthusiasts from local schools attending the event which was held over two days at Bryn Estyn Road. Several junior rugby coaches assisted Marc Roberts and their work is expected to generate a surge in interest in the game of rugby in this area.
The Wrexham and Junior and Mini Rugby Section, which provides rugby for youngsters of all abilities in the Under 8 to Under 16 age groups, has announced that pre-season training will start on Sunday 9th September at their Bryn Estyn Road headquarters at 10.00am. All new players and their parents will be made very welcome.
After a constant battle to find new players in the Wrexham area to maintain a competitive side, the Wrexham Ladies Rugby Team has decided to leave Bryn Estyn Road and combine with players from Llanrwst and Rhyl to form a new team at Mold Rugby Club. Captain Elaine Roberts explained, "The decision was made
with some reluctance but Mold was considered the best mid point for all players to reach and we now have enough players to compete strongly as Mold Ladies in the North Wales Women's Rugby Championship". 21/08/01
Local rugby supporters will be given their first opportunity to watch the
new-look Wrexham side in action when the Welshmen take on Whitchurch in a cross-border practice encounter at Bryn Estyn Road tomorrow afternoon
(kick-off at 3.00pm).
Lock Iwan Roberts, a late withdrawal from last week's practice match at Lymm due to work commitments, comes in to strengthen the pack against a top-notch Whitchurch side which is used to taking on strong clubs like New Brighton and Aspatria in Division Three North of the English National Leagues.
Centre John Roberts is in splendid form after working hard to improve his fitness during the summer and will be a key player in the Wrexham backline against a talented Whitchurch unit. Last seasonâ€™s skipper Richard Lloyd returns from holiday to challenge Owain Thomas for the outside-half berth and tall centre James Bellis will be given another chance to show his strength in
Club Coach Ross Roberts was impressed with his team's performance in their first practice game at Lymm last Saturday and worked hard again in training this week to improve areas of play which showed some deficiency, such as the line-out and close quarter support work.
He is set to introduce several newcomers in tomorrow's game and is confident that several of his players who stayed on in Canada following their May tour of Toronto will return in time to play against Whitchurch tomorrow afternoon. One player not participating in tomorrow's encounter will be full-back Darrell Hughes who is getting married in Holt to-day.
All thoughts are being directed towards next week's season opener at Bryn Estyn Road when Kidwelly will provide formidable opposition in a Welsh Cup preliminary round game which could launch the North Walians on a successful title challenge in the ensuing Division Five North Championship.
The practice game at Lymm last week turned out to be far more successful than anticipated for the Wrexham squad which lacked a number of top players due to holidays and work commitments. The game, split into four sessions, ended up all square after both sides had won two sessions and scored the same number of tries.
Wrexham took time to settle in the first quarter and conceded two scores as the talented home backs cut through a slack defence. It all changed in the second quarter when Roberts encouraged his side to play a tight game and prop Rob Pierce and number eight Dean Griffiths drove into the Lymm forwards after smart work by scrum-half Robbie James.
Tries by centre John Roberts and flanker Ian Sanger followed and Wrexham were soon in control in the third session as Owain Thomas orchestrated play at outside-half and grabbed an excellent try. Pierce crashed over for another score before Roberts rounded off the session with his second try of the match.
The original plan communicated to Ross Roberts was to play three sessions only, but such was the disappointment in the Lymm camp at not securing an expected overall victory that they asked for another session to be played. Fresh players then made the difference for the Cheshire side and they
snatched a 3-0 victory which leveled the match.
Roberts and his assistant coaches Graham Williams and Matthew Arnold drew plenty of satisfaction from their squad's performance in this first practice game and were particularly with the displays by Dean Griffiths and John Roberts. There were also good performances by First XV newcomer James Bellis in the centre, Nick Perrin at prop and Owain Thomas at outside-half.
Training continues every Tuesday and Thursday evening for all of the senior teams and the Under 19 Youth Team Squad trains every Thursday at 7.00pm. Coach John Thomas is keen to build a strong side this season and welcomes new players between the ages of 16 and 18 to join his regular training sessions. 13/07/01
Wrexham Rugby Club's first training session for the new season coincided with the announcement by the Welsh Rugby Union that the club has been drawn at home against Kidwelly in the preliminary round of the Welsh Cup on Saturday 1st September.
Kidwelly are a very competitive side from Division Four West of the Welsh National League and take on the likes of Aberystwyth, Tumble, Haverfordwest and Pontyberem in their regular league fixtures.
They visited Bryn Estyn Road for a Welsh Cup Second Round encounter in 1987 and lost by 19-10 to a determined home side skippered by Ross Roberts, the new Wrexham Club Coach. Their return to the same venue should prove to be an attractive draw and will be a great incentive for the First Team squad to prepare thoroughly for this season opener.
Roberts, helped by assistant coaches Graham Williams and Matthew Arnold, launched the club's new pre-season training programme on Tuesday evening with a low-key session which attracted players from all of the four senior sides as well as a sprinkling from the ladies and youth teams.
Williams, the former Ruthin and North Wales back-row player, impressed with his good organisation on his first outing and received a good response from First XV regulars Rob Pierce, Richard Lloyd, Gareth Perrin and Geoff Lang who looked reasonably sharp in their first session.
Arnold, who was an excellent coach of the Ladies Team last season, shaped up well alongside Roberts and introduced several new innovations in his training sessions which were well received. Jason Parry, Second Team Player of the Year last season, performed strongly in all of the sequences and could feature in the First Team Squad by September.
Pre-season training continues on Tuesday and Thursday evenings every week at Bryn Estyn Road with a 7.00pm start time. Ross Roberts and his assistants are keen to attract new rugby talent to supplement their existing resources and strengthen the club for its new challenge in the Division Five North Championship.
The five senior players who are spending the summer in Canada before returning home for the new rugby season are said to be enjoying their spell with the Toronto Lions. James Plant, Simon Williams, Richard Williams, Matthew Cox and Scott Evans have helped the Lions to win a couple of their pre-season games and are now set to experience the cut and thrust of the Ontario League programme which has just started
George Showell, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers and Wrexham footballer who has provided medical assistance for Wrexham Rugby First Teams since completing his career as a physiotherapist at the Racecourse, has recovered from a recent knee operation and confirmed on Tuesday evening that he will be able to resume his activities in the new season.
The Welsh Rhythm and Blues Festival will start this evening at Bryn Estyn Road with a performance by the Otis Grand Big Band and will continue until Sunday afternoon. Amongst the variety of entertainment available at the festival, there will be a Blues Art Exhibition and a video link from the main performance room to the bars.
Former First XV skipper Ross Roberts switches to a new rugby career as Club Coach at Wrexham when pre-season training starts on Tuesday evening 10th July at Bryn Estyn Road (7.00pm).
Roberts takes over from Rob Thomas who resigned last month after successfully completing a one year assignment which involved helping Chairman Peter Evans to covert the club from its semi-professional status to a strictly amateur one, and establishing Wrexham as a force in Division Five North.
A new coaching set-up has been announced by Roberts with former Ruthin and North Wales flanker Graham Williams coming in to join his old team mate Russell Penrhyn-Jones and Matthew Arnold on a new coaching panel. Williams played for Wrexham during the end of season tour in Canada and his wealth of experience should prove to be a great asset.
Coaching assistance will be directed towards all of the senior teams, their number being increased in the new season by the introduction of a Veterans XV. New Fixture Secretary Paul Roberts has already arranged 12 new fixtures for the veterans and more are in the pipeline.
The Under 19 Youth Team will continue to be coached by John Thomas but he will receive extra assistance for the new season from last year's Under 16 coach Kevin Powell who will move up to a new level with most of his highly successful squad.
Ross Roberts is relishing his new challenge and is keen to involve as many current, new and old players in his training sessions which will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays until the season starts. We're going back to basics and concentrating on getting our ball handling and scrummaging right, he stressed.
Trial games have been arranged at Lymm and Oswestry on Saturday 18th August and 1st September respectively, while Whitchurch will visit Bryn Estyn Road on 25th August for what promises to be a very testing workout.
The Welsh Rugby Union have published the Division Five North fixtures for the new season and they present Roberts and his First XV squad with a stiff challenge as the opening game is at Caernarfon on 8th September, followed by a home derby encounter against Ruthin on the following Saturday.
Wrexham officials have announced that the club's Annual General Meeting will be held on Monday 30th July at 7.30pm at Bryn Estyn Road. As well as electing new officials to replace those resigning or retiring, members will have to consider three separate years of financial accounts and their impact on the future direction of the club.
Club Chairman Peter Evans has confirmed that arrangements are now complete for the annual Welsh Blues Festival which will be held at Bryn Estyn Road next week on Saturday and Sunday 14th and 15th July. Many top international blues bands will be performing, and this year the event will be held in the 250 seater function room instead of outside as in previous years.
Former skipper Ross Roberts was named as the new Wrexham Rugby Club player-coach following the resignation this week of Rob Thomas on his completion of a 12 month coaching appointment.
Roberts, now 39 and in the twilight of his rugby playing career, has long been held in high regard by the faithful at Bryn Estyn Road for his outstanding commitment to the game and his jovial personality. He is also a leading cricketer for Brymbo and Denbighshire.
Playing in the centre, he was the leading points scorer in the record breaking Wrexham side of 1986/87 which won 34 games including victories over Manchester, Preston Grasshoppers and Rugby. Roberts notched a personal tally of 13 tries as Rob Jones's side went on to complete a North Wales League and Cup double and claimed a British Team of the Month award.
Less treasured moments for Roberts were his two year ban for pushing over a referee in a Second Team match in the late Nineties and then further punishment from the English Rugby Union for playing while still banned under the assumed name of Terry Smith at Oswestry.
On his return to Wrexham, Roberts was set to become a Youth Team coach as a way of easing his way into a coaching career. The RFU ban put paid to that until his suspension was finally lifted at the start of January this season and Roberts was quickly installed in the First Team squad. He has worked hard to recover lost form and enjoyed a good end-of-season tour in Canada.
His coaching predecessor Rob Thomas was also an outstanding Wrexham First XV player who went on to achieve a considerable reputation in North Wales by coaching Bala to a string of Gwynedd County Championships and the final of the Welsh Districts Cup Competition.
Thomas was recruited by Club Chairman Peter Evans last summer to take on the unenviable task of stabilising a club which was in turmoil following its committee's decision to discontinue the semi-professional Northern Counties flagship side and revert to playing amateur club rugby in North Wales only.
Faced with the prospect of most of the talented senior players leaving the club for nearby semi-professional English clubs, Thomas pulled off a remarkable achievement in creating a new team which briefly made a real challenge for the Division Five North Championship before settling for a mid-table position.
He also made sure that emerging players like James Plant and Scott Davies received recognition and were brought through from the lower ranks to represent the club at the top level. The additional task of reintroducing Youth Team Rugby at Wrexham after a gap of two years was achieved in
conjunction with the newly appointed Under 19 Coach John Thomas.
His task complete, Thomas expressed his desire to move on to other challenges and left on amicable terms following discussions with Club Vice-Chairman Stan Edwards. Chairman Peter Evans praised Thomas when he said, heI was delighted that Rob stepped in to help us when needed. I'm eternally grateful for his help and wish him well in the future.
Roberts faces a difficult challenge in trying to produce a side which is capable of mounting a serious challenge for next season's Championship. The retirement of number eight Jason Munro and the likely departure of flanker Steffan Woodhead will pose serious problems in the pack which will only be resolved by attracting new players from other clubs and promoting former Youth XV players at the earliest opportunity.
General training for senior players continues to take place at Bryn Estyn Road every Tuesday and Thursday at 7.00pm with Roberts set to announce the start of his full programme of pre-season training in the next couple of weeks.
The Under 11 and Under 12 mini rugby sides are also training on
Wednesday evenings between 6.30pm and 8.00pm.
The Mini and Junior Rugby Section will hold its Annual General Meeting to elect new officers and set out plans for the new season next Tuesday 12th June at 8.00pm in the clubhouse.
Rob Pierce collected the prestigious Harry Hollywell First XV Player of the Year Award at Wrexham Rugby Club's Annual Dinner and Awards Presentation Evening at Bryn Estyn Road on Friday.
The young prop forward, who emerged from the Under 19 Youth Team ranks several years ago to work his way up to the highest level of North Wales rugby, added the top award to the Bernard Malley Award for making the most senior appearances in a season. He played in every game and gave his side some much needed stability in its first year in Division Five North.
The Adrian Hill Players Player of the Year Award went to number eight forward Jason Munro who moved up from the Second Team this season to become the top try scorer with 12 touchdowns to his credit. Munro also received a colours tie for playing in 75% of senior games during the season, Rob Pierce, Steffan Woodhead, Danny Munro, Matthew Cox, Llyr Williams and Robbie James being other tie recipients.
James Plant, the young full-back who is spending the summer in Canada whilst playing for the Toronto Lions, was voted the Most Improved Player having risen quickly from the ranks of the Fourth Team to claim a regular senior berth once his excellent footballing skills had been recognised. He also became the first choice goal kicker when skipper Richard Lloyd lost form.
Lloyd presented the players with their awards and thanked them for their contributions during a difficult season. He also expressed his pleasure at the number of young players such as Matthew Cox, Simon Williams, Scott Davies and James Plant who came through the lower teams during the season to establish themselves in the First Team squad.
The Delwyn Griffiths Award for outstanding service to the club, off the field of play, was presented to retiring Fixture Secretary Geoff Sanger who had to pull out all the stops to provide replacement games for players during a season afflicted by foot and mouth disease, floods and frozen pitches.
The Frank Chapman Award for hard work and personality was placed in the hands of Vice-Chairman Stan Edwards who was also presented with a British Lions rugby shirt by Wrexham players for keeping the club running during some difficult times.
Second XV skipper Kevin Davies presented the magnificent Pat's Coaches Second Team Player of the Year Trophy to prop forward Chris Phillips who was hugely influential in his teams success in winning the North East Wales Division One Championship this season. The league trophy was then presented to Davies by team member Steve Jarvis.
Another major award, the Fairway Care Trophy for the most improved Youth XV player, was presented to James Jess, and the magnificent new John Bowen Memorial Trophy, in memory of the popular club supporter who died last year, was presented with the assistance of John's mother, Mrs. Gladys Bowen, to Ian Moss who was chosen as the most promising Under 19 player.
Team Awards were then presented to the club sides including the Ladies XV who were represented at the Annual Dinner for the first time. Number eight Dean Griffiths picked up the Second XV Players Player of the Year Award and flanker Nick Johnson collected the Personality Award.
In the Youth Team, Dave Nicholas was voted Coach's Player of the Year, Craig Roberts was named as Player's Player by his team mates and Lee Fisher scooped the Personality Award.
Lock Jason Parry walked away with two awards after being voted Third XV Captain's and Players Player of the Year following an outstanding season, while lock Malcolm Bostock, sidelined by injury towards the end of the season, received the Personality Award.
The Ladies Rugby Team enjoyed their first appearance at the Dinner and named their top player as flanker Maria Larsson. Skipper Elaine Roberts was a popular Players Player winner and lock Sarah Pugh took the Personality Award. They will stage their own Oscar Awards Evening at the clubhouse tomorrow evening with their loyal band of followers.
In perhaps a first for North Wales Rugby, Wrexham Ladies will join with Nant Conwy Ladies to form a Nant Exiles side which will take part in an end of season Tense Tournament at Llangefni on Saturday 2nd June. Elaine Roberts will lead a powerful Wrexham contingent.
The Wrexham Mini and Junior Section has announced that it will hold its annual general meeting at the Bryn Estyn Road clubhouse on Tuesday 12th June at 8.00pm. Officers will be elected for the new season and plans intended to improve the quality of their childrens sporting future will be discussed.
No date has been set for the Senior Sections annual general meeting which will be presented with the club accounts for the last three years. Work on preparing those accounts is well advanced, however, and it is anticipated that they will be presented to members by mid July at the latest.
Apart from Wrexham Ladies visit to Llangefni tomorrow, the rugby season has now been completed and players will be able to enjoy a short rest before training starts for the new season at the beginning of July. It is likely that a Players Meeting will be held in the meantime to elect new captains and discuss coaching requirements.
As the domestic rugby season draws to a close, a 40 strong touring party will leave Wrexham this morning for a ten day tour of Canada where they will play three senior games and one veterans match against clubs from the Toronto area.
Although it is not a top level tour in the true sense, the party will include at least seven First Team regulars led by skipper Richard Lloyd whose teacher brother Robert invited the Welshmen to Toronto and is expected to be included in the Toronto Scottish XV which will play Wrexham on the final day of the tour.
Missing from the touring party will be First XV prop Rob Pierce who has become the first player to be named as an award winner this season. The only player to take part in all 22 games played by the senior side, having shaken off several niggling injuries, he will be presented with the Bernard Malley Trophy at the club's Annual Dinner next month.
Pierce looks set to be included in the Wrexham Second Team which will take on Llandudno Seconds in an end of season friendly game at Bryn Estyn Road tomorrow afternoon. Skipper Kevin Davies has lost some of his top players to
the Toronto touring party but has also managed to gain some strength by adding the likes of Pierce and lock Alex Crewe to his squad (kick-off at 3.00pm).
Wrexham Thirds have arranged a friendly home fixture against Christleton to replace their scheduled game against Oswestry Seconds which was cancelled at the beginning of the week. With two league games still to be played by 12th May, skipper Sean Williams and his team need to maintain their match fitness.
A Wrexham squad will take part in the Annual Veterans Rugby Tournament at Chester rugby Club on Sunday where they are likely to come up against some of the leading sides in the North West of England.
At Bryn Estyn Road, the Mini and Junior Rugby section will round off their season and prepare for the new one by staging a Fun and Presentation Day which is open to all present and future mini and junior rugby players and their parents in the area. All competitors in the recently held schools tournament have also been invited to this event which starts at 10.30am. on Sunday.
ABERGELE 0 WREXHAM SECONDS 17
Wrexham Seconds wrapped up the North East Wales Division One Championship and claimed their 20th victory of the season with an outstanding success at Abergele on Saturday. Close rivals Flint finished only two points behind in the Championship after doing all that they could to try to overtake Wrexham by defeating Ruthin Seconds at Cae Ddol.
The first-half was a close even contest with Wrexham full-back Ian Connell's penalty being the only difference between the two sides. A pushover try by number eight Dean Griffiths and a conversion by Connell put the visitors clear after the break and, with flanker Mark Lloyd having a storming game, Wrexham continued to pile on the pressure.
When the Abergele outside-half dropped the ball as he made a brave move to counter-attack from his goal line in the final quarter, his opposite number Geoff Lang seized on the opportunity and picked up the loose ball to score near the posts. A conversion by the excellent Connell sealed the victory and Wrexham claimed their first silverware of the season.
Wrexham Thirds had their hopes of retaining their Division Two Championship dashed when they lost by 16-17 at Bryn Estyn Road to current leaders Abergele Seconds who moved a step closer to winning the title for the first time. Only Ruthin Thirds, who have taken over from Wrexham in second place, now have a chance of overhauling Abergele.
Wrexham were leading by 11-5 and looking secure in the second-half thanks to
a try by Ian Sanger and two penalties by Neil Route. The game turned in the visitors favour when Abergele won a turnover in midfield and, despite a
knock-on infringement which went unpunished by the match referee, broke away to score a converted try.
A missed tackle in the final quarter led to another try for Abergele before Wrexham stormed back with a powerful performance in the second-row by skipper Sean Williams and a late try in the corner for Man of the Match Sanger. Route's difficult conversion attempt was close but drifted wide in the windy conditions to leave Abergele as winners by one point.
Although most of the Wrexham senior players had originally decided not to play a game due to the proximity of their Toronto Tour, they changed their minds and teamed up with several emerging players from the Youth Team to play Chester Veterans at Hare Lane.
The veterans in command for the first half hour but they ran out of steam and were eventually given a 75-20 mauling by the visitors for whom Ross Roberts and Scott Davies were in fine form as they notched a hat-trick of tries apiece. Alex Crewe, Rob Pierce, Kerry Jones, Jason Munro and Mike Ward added single touchdowns while James Plant kicked 8 conversions and Ward managed two more.
Wrexham Under 15's, the only junior side in action on Sunday, played some sparkling rugby at Bryn Estyn Road but were pipped at the post 27-24 by the touring Stratford Upon Avon club. Mike Blackwell, Gareth Jones, Richard Jarvis and Joe Blackburn grabbed a try apiece and Ian Hawkins slotted two conversions.
All of the mini rugby sides took part in a Spring Tournament against teams from Whitchurch, Shrewsbury, Rochdale and Northwich at Wrexham.
The Under 12's overcame the wet and windy conditions to defeat Shrewsbury by 42-0 and
Whitchurch by 21-12 thanks to tries by Enion Edwards (6), Richard Spencer, Danny Lee, and Tony Martin. Robert Moore kicked all 9 conversions.
The Under 11's defeated Whitchurch by 33-5 and Rochdale by 19-0 with tries from Kenny Simms (4), Jamie Morris (2) Kieron Morris (2) and Jack Evans. Simms added 3 conversions and Kieron Morris kicked 2 more.
Wrexham Under 10's
lost to a strong Northwich side by 1-4 but bounced back to whitewash Shrewsbury by 6-0. Tries came from Ethan Bishop (3), Phil Edwards (2),
Richard Platt and Robert Bishop.
Pipped at the post 2-3 by Whitchurch and whitewashed 0-4 by Rochdale, Wrexham Under 9's stormed back to defeat Whitchurch by 2-1. Josh Francis (2), Dwayne Jones and Josh Francis scored tries.
The Under 8's drew their game against Northwich by 4-4 with a brace of tries apiece from Andrew Gale and Ieuan Keenan but were then edged out 1-3 by Whitchurch, Adam Williams notching a try for the home side.
With only a week to go before they fly from Manchester to Canada to start a club tour of Toronto, most of the Wrexham senior players have opted not to play this weekend, leaving the limelight to the Second and Third XV's which are involved in important league matches.
Wrexham Seconds can become Champions of North East Wales Division One if they can defeat Abergele Firsts at their seaside stronghold tomorrow afternoon (kick-off at 3.00pm). They currently lead the Championship by two points ahead of Flint Firsts who have the onerous task of visiting Ruthin for their final game tomorrow.
It should prove to be a very close game at Abergele who played well at Bryn Estyn Road last December but were eventually defeated by 8-6. In pursuit of their 20th victory of the season, Wrexham will have to show the same spirit which they displayed in their last game at Flint three weeks ago when they led all the way to finish as 26-13 victors.
The Thirds face a titanic struggle against Abergele Seconds in a top of the table Division Two game at Bryn Estyn Road tomorrow afternoon where they are aiming to achieve their 20th win of the season. The verdict went in favour of the Seasiders by 5-0 when the two sides met at Abergele last December.
Wrexham are the current Champions but are 6 points adrift of leaders Abergele with a game in hand and, even if they defeat the leaders tomorrow, will have to rely on another side defeating their arch rivals over the next couple of weeks if they are to retain the Championship. Ruthin Thirds, meanwhile, are making up lost ground in the title race and could pip both leading clubs at the post (k.o.3.00pm).
Wrexham mini rugby sides are in action for the last time this season when they play in a Spring Tournament against Northwich, Rochdale and Shrewsbury at Bryn Estyn Road on Sunday morning. The juniors also play their last matches of the season with the Under 13's and 16's visiting Northwich and the Under 14's and 15's training at Wrexham.
Plans for the senior players Toronto Tour, organised by Ian Gallagher and Carl Hansen, have been finalised with a First XV game and a Veterans match organised for Saturday 28th April, the day after the 40 strong Wrexham party arrives in Canada.
They will be playing against the Toronto Lions and will probably take a trip to see the Niagara Falls before they play Toronto Welsh in a midweek game on Wednesday 2nd May. Their final game will follow on a stag party for the soon-to-be-married tourists Darrell Hughes and Iwan Roberts and will be played against Toronto Scottish on Saturday 5th May.
The touring party returns to Manchester on Monday 7th May when the rugby season is in its last week. All that will remain before the short summer break will be the Annual Dinner and Presentation of Awards evening which will take place on Friday 18th May at the Bryn Estyn Road clubhouse. The popular local after dinner speaker Alan Tudor was named this week as the Guest of Honour.
WREXHAM 24 RHOS 8
A fierce derby battle, which revived a spirit of competitive rugby that has been missing since last month's abandonment of the major North Wales leagues, ended in Wrexham's favour at Bryn Estyn Road and enabled them to claim their 10th win of the season.
Number eight Jason Munro was in terrific form and grabbed a brace of tries while lock Iwan Roberts performed at his best and crowned his return to the senior side by claiming a try and setting up one for Munro. There was also an excellent debut by 18 year old Huw Thomas who came on as a replacement full-back and dramatically improved Wrexham's attacking ability.
The home side made a bright start and opened the scoring after only five minutes when Iwan Roberts rolled off a maul and crashed over for a thundering try. Winger James Plant failed with his conversion attempt but made no mistake soon afterwards after Roberts popped up again to feed Munro for his first try of the game.
Then Rhos tightened up their defence and showed what a well drilled side they can be by forcing Wrexham into a series of errors which effectively ended their scoring spree. There were fine performances from former Wrexham players Mike Shone and Carl Zolman who contested well in the forward exchanges and helped to contain Wrexham's best efforts.
Trailing by 0-12 at the break, the visitors used a stiff breeze at their backs to secure a foothold in Wrexham's 22 at the start of the second-half. They chose to run a stream of penalties awarded to them but settled for a successful kick by outside-half Alan Andrews in the 10th minute after they were unable to break through a resolute home defence.
When Andrews missed a second penalty kick at the start of the final quarter, Wrexham forced their way into Rhos territory and started to play with some style again. With prop Rob Pierce and Iwan Roberts showing up prominently in the loose exchanges and skipper Richard Lloyd improving his passing to initiate a series of attacks, Wrexham were back in business.
The introduction of the current Welsh Exiles half-back Huw Thomas at full-back provided an injection of pace and width into a Wrexham threequarter line and Munro joined in to blast over for his second try in the 68th minute.
Another attack, inspired by Lloyd and then fuelled by Ross Roberts in midfield, was carried on by Plant and Thomas and then finished off in grand style by centre John Roberts who made his way behind the posts for Plant to add a simple conversion.
Rhos persevered, however, and gained their due reward in the last minute of the game when number eight Mike Hamer broke smartly down the right hand side and released winger Paul Vassell on a 30 metre run which produced a magnificent consolation score.
Wrexham Seconds were not in action over the Easter weekend but the Thirds produced a stunning performance at Bryn Estyn Road to whitewash Afon Dee Thirds by 50-0 in an important North East Wales Division One contest. They became the first Wrexham side to score over 700 points this season and they increased the pressure on current Championship leaders Abergele Seconds who visit them tomorrow.
Neil Route led the way with a brace of tries and 4 conversions while Paul Parbury (2), Jason Parry, Dave Leadbetter, Mark Jones and Andy Godwin notched the other tries. Prop Dave Beckett added a late conversion to bring up the
05/04/01 To read old news please copy and paste into a word document to enlarge text.
International rugby returns to Wrexham tomorrow afternoon 7th April when
Wales take on Spain at Bryn Estyn Road in the first Women's Rugby match to be played between the two counties in North Wales (kick-off at 2.30pm).
The ground has been the venue for several international games in the past, the most memorable being the Wales v. England Youth International in 1990 when a young Scott Gibbs, assisted by an unknown Neil Jenkins, captained Wales to a convincing victory in front of a capacity crowd.
Women's Rugby has established itself since then and is attracting increasing support. Richard Hodges, the Cardiff based Director of Rugby for Women and Girls in Wales, has been working closely with Wrexham's North Wales representative Paul Roberts and his assistant Matthew Arnold to ensure that preparations are completed for this prestigious encounter.
The Welsh squad is mainly drawn from the South Wales clubs but they will be strengthened by the inclusion of Bangor University's Kylie Wilson who was born in New Zealand of Welsh parents and is a powerful back-row player.
Prior to the main game there will be a demonstration of rugby as played in North Wales by Under 16 sides from Ruthin and Rhyl (k.o.1.00pm). Wales possess a very experienced and long established side and should win comfortably, but Spain can move the ball if given the opportunity and could spring one or two surprises.
Wrexham coach Rob Thomas is sending an A team to play a Warrington Select at Appleton, the Seconds visit Liverpool St.Helens to play their Veterans side and Wrexham Thirds also travel along the M56 to play Warrington Thirds. The Youth Team set off on their Blackpool tour tonight, playing Preston Grasshoppers tomorrow and Widnes on Sunday.
In Mini Rugby, Wrexham teams are due to visit Shrewsbury on Sunday for a full programme of games, but there is a strong possibility that the fixture will be called off due to foot and mouth precautions. Most of the junior rugby teams have a training morning at Bryn Estyn Road while the Under 15's are expected to travel to Prenton for a challenging match.
Wrexham born Andy Moore will combine once again with former Mold and Menai Bridge hooker Robin McBryde in Graham Henry's Welsh team which will play Italy in a Six Nations Championship game in Rome on Sunday afternoon (k.o.2.00pm). A likely victory will give Wales the chance to move into second place behind current champions England.
The members of the Hooker Blues Club, based at Wrexham Rugby Club, are excited at the prospect of a special guest appearance this evening by the famous Nightporters blues band, who enjoyed sell-out appearances in Boston and New York. The performance starts at 8.00pm.
Wrexham Firsts failed to arrange a suitable friendly fixture to replace last Saturday's sponsored home game against Bethesda, cancelled due to the abandonment of National League competition in North Wales, but the Seconds visited Flint and pulled off a crucial 26-13 victory which put them back at the top of the North East Wales Division One Championship.
In a tense hard fought first-half, full-back Ian Connell kicked Wrexham ahead with a brace of penalties but Flint countered with a penalty of their own to trail by only 3-6 at the break.
The visitors increased their pace in the second-half and used their big forwards to punch holes in a committed Flint defensive line. Number eight Dean Griffiths maintained his current excellent form by forcing his way over for the game's first try, converted by Connell, and centre Darrell Hughes landed a smart drop goal to strengthen Wrexham's grip on the game.
Back came Flint with a goal and another penalty but, with John Roberts influencing play in the centre on his return to rugby following the completion of a 12 week ban, Wrexham piled on the pressure in the final quarter and put the issue beyond doubt with tries from their dynamic second-row pairing of Iwan Roberts and Alex Crewe.
This outstanding success has resulted in Wrexham opening up a three point advantage over Flint at the top of the table, but they still have to complete two demanding away games against Afon Dee and Abergele before they can claim this season's title.
Wrexham Thirds, the reigning Division Two Champions, trounced Flint Seconds by 64-5 at Bryn Estyn Road to maintain the pressure on current leaders Abergele Seconds. Matthew Cox and Jason Parry notched a brace of tries apiece while Matthew Arnold, Mark Jones, Stan Hughes, Paul Parbury and Gerry Darbyshire supplied single touchdowns. The scoring was completed by a penalty try and conversions from Ross Roberts (3), Ian Bostock (2), Paul Parbury and
Wrexham Under 19's pulled off a deserved 19-14 victory over Whitchurch Colts to avenge a previous defeat and boost their hopes for this week's tour of Blackpool and the Fylde. John Gill finished off a sparkling threequarter movement to grab Wrexham's only try and Dave Anderson supplied the rest of the points with 4 penalties and a conversion.
Wrexham Ladies visited Ruthin on Sunday and followed up last year's success in a friendly game by defeating the home side by 19-10 in a Women's North Wales League match. Mary Walsh switched from centre to full-back and scythed through the opposition to grab a hat-trick of tries while Janet Lycth added two conversions.
In junior rugby, the Wrexham Under 15's survived a second-half comeback by the home side at Ruthin to win their game by 19-17. Tries came from Mike Blackwell (2) and Rob Wood with a conversion apiece for Lee Roberts and Ian Hawkins.
The other teams trained at Wrexham on Sunday morning with the exception of the Under 13's who travelled to Denbigh, only to be heavily defeated by a strong combined Under 13/14 side.
The mini rugby sides played a full programme of matches against Widnes at Bryn Estyn Road, the Under 11's performing at their best to defeat the visitors by 45-5. Tries came from Kenny Simms (2), Gawain Rogers, Jack Evans, David Blackwell, Kieron Morris and Will Gregory with conversions from Simms (3), Kieron Morris and Jamie Morris.
The Under 10's played well against a strong Widnes side but still lost by 0-5, and the Under 9's managed to avoid a similar whitewash when Dwayne Jones notched a try in their 1-10 defeat. Having lost the first of the two games that they played against Widnes by 1-7, the Under 8's showed a marked improvement before being pipped at the post by 2-4 in their second encounter. Andrew Gale (2) and Sam Roberts grabbed their tries.
29/03/01 To read old news please copy and paste into a word document to enlarge text.
All competitive rugby in the top two divisions in North Wales came to an end
on Monday evening 27th March, when a decision was taken at the Welsh Rugby Union's
general committee meeting in Cardiff to abandon further competition this season due to a fixture pile-up caused by the worsening foot and mouth
The ruling body accepted the recommendations from the leading North Wales clubs that there should be no relegation from Division Five North and no promotion from Division Six. This decision rescued Mold from threatened relegation but must have been a blow to Division Six leaders Bala who were set to join the leading clubs after many years of success in the lower leagues.
For Wrexham Firsts, rugby will continue but only in the form of friendly matches which Fixture Secretary Geoff Sanger will strive to organise in conjunction with the local fixture pool. The only Welsh clubs likely to be available are the ones from the East, such as Ruthin and Mold, as the clubs in the West are mostly shut as a precaution against the spread of foot and mouth disease.
This Saturday's home game against Bethesda has been cancelled and a replacement fixture at Bryn Estyn Road is being sought. There is, however, a full programme of matches for the lower sides, the most important being the top of the table clash in North East Wales Division One between Flint Firsts
and Wrexham Seconds on Deeside.
Flint have a slight points advantage at the top of the table but second
placed Wrexham will take over if they win on Saturday the 1st. Victory went to Wrexham by a slender 20-17 margin when the sides met at Bryn Estyn Road on
the first day of the season, and this return encounter promises to be an absolute thriller with the Championship at stake.
John Roberts returns to the centre after serving a lengthy ban and should combine well with winger Andy Perrin who has been making a big impression on the wing in recent games. The man who could make the difference, however, is full-back Ian Connell who will punish any indiscipline from Flint with his accurate goal kicking.
Wrexham Thirds, who equaled the Seconds by reaching the 600 points scored landmark last week, have home advantage tomorrow when they take on Flint Seconds in a Division Two game. They defeated Flint by 69-28 last September and, with Jason Parry in fine form in the second-row, should complete their 5th double of the season to maintain the pressure on current Championship leaders Abergele.
Wrexham Under 19's take on Whitchurch Colts in a cross-border friendly at Bryn Estyn Road and hope to make up for the 17-24 reverse which they suffered in Shropshire last December. A victory would give them a good send-off for their tour to Blackpool and the Fylde next weekend.
Although Wrexham Ladies are not in action this weekend, they are helping to prepare for next week's Women's International between Wales and Spain which will be played at Bryn Estyn Road on Saturday 7th April at 2.30pm. It is a great honour for Wrexham to stage this prestigious game and support from
townsfolk will be warmly appreciated.
In Mini and Junior Rugby, the minis have a full range of fixtures at Bryn Estyn Road against Widnes while the juniors travel to Denbigh.
CHESTER 2ND's.. 39 WREXHAM 1st XV.. 10
Wrexham 1st XV hane not played a game of rugby or trained as a team for four weeks and oh how it showed as they were humbled by a workmanlike Chester Second XV at Hare Lane.
The visitors managed to put the home side under pressure in the opening minutes and released centre Simon Williams on a couple of penetrating runs, but their support work was too slow and passes too wayward, allowing Chester to block the danger and recover.
Wrexham fell behind in the 17th minute when it looked as though they were harshly penalised by an inconsistent referee and full-back Matt Anwyl kicked a penalty. Minutes later they suffered a damaging blow when top try scorer Jason Munro was trampled in a melee and taken to hospital to have 13 stitches inserted in a head wound.
Dean Griffiths replaced Munro at number eight but was soon dispatched to the sin bin along with flanker Steffan Woodhead and a Chester forward as tempers flared. The home side took full advantage of their numerical superiority and increased their advantage when prop Dave Bowman ploughed his way over for an
Only two minutes into the second-half, the Chester forwards broke from a scrum and created a flowing movement which resulted in a try under the posts for scrum-half Duncan Cupphey with Anwyl adding the extra points.
Wrexham seemed to disintegrate and became mere bystanders as the confident Chester threequarters clicked into gear and breezed through to add tries by centre Stuart Ellis, winger Brendan Topp (2) and outside-half Guy Newell with Anwyl adding two more conversions.
Wrexham lock Alex Crewe continued to show some resistance throughout, however, and it was perhaps his example which helped the Welshmen to recover in the last ten minutes of the game. Having spurned a penalty in front of the posts, they pinned Chester in their 22 and drove prop Rob Pierce over the line for a deserved try in the 76th minute.
There was still time for another attack down the right and this time winger
Matthew Cox managed to brush off several defenders and scored another unconverted try in the corner.
Wrexham showed what they were capable of doing if they really tried, but were left to examine their consciences to discover why they played so far below
Wrexham Seconds stormed to their 18th victory of the season as they hammered Helsby Seconds, who were reinforced by a rare appearance from veteran Wrexham lock Alan Tudor, by 50-7 at Bryn Estyn Road. Mark Lloyd and Andy Perrin led the rout with a brace of tries apiece and there were single touchdowns from Kevin Davies, Carl Turner, Tom Wright and Scott Evans as well as 5 conversions from Ian Connell.
Wrexham Under 19's played well after a four week layoff in their North Wales Youth League game at Denbigh but still lost by 7-22, despite a try by Elliott Rowe and a conversion by Dave Anderson.
In the other league game of the day, Wrexham Thirds completed their fourth double success of the season by whitewashing Rhos Seconds 22-0 at their village stronghold, thanks to a try by Nick Clare and 5 penalties and a conversion by Neil Route. There was a rare appearance by Eighties star Adrian Lee who helped his side to hang on to second place in the Championship.
In Women's Rugby, Wrexham Ladies were beaten 20-27 in a topsy turvy game by tourists Alcester who recovered well from camping overnight at a chilly Bryn Estyn Road ground. Cath Roberts (2), Lisa Caveney and Sarah Pugh scored tries for a plucky Wrexham side.
The Under 15's were the only mini and junior rugby side to play on Sunday but they were whitewashed at home 0-71 by Llandudno whose try scorers were John O'Shea (plus 1 conversion), Peter Rees (2)(plus 1 conversion), Rhodri Carlton Jones (plus 1 conversion), Kelvin Davies, Gareth Davies (3), Gareth Williams and David Davis.
Chris Kilfoyle 29/03/01
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