“300th match Sunday ”
Gala Dinner Oct 27th
This Sunday the club will play it’s 300th match. The club has continuously tried to play as much rugby as possible and in recent seasons and now become the first mixed ability team to record 300 games.
Our thanks to the many opponents, the referees, sponsors, the supporters, families and 445 players who have worn the jersey.
Good luck to all those who will be playing on Sunday against Gloucester Griffins who will help set the landmark.
Below is an article sent to the press.
The Llanelli Warriors Rugby Club who include players with disabilities are set to reach a new landmark when they take to the field on Sunday (7th October) as it will be their 300th fixture.
Although the concept on including players with and without disability has become increasingly popular in recent years it’s believed that the Warriors club are the first mixed ability club to reach this total.
The Warriors were formed in 1995 when there were only three such sides. The Bridgend team based at Waterton Cross folded soon after and it’s thought that the Warriors have overtaken their great rivals, the Swansea Gladiators, the world’s oldest mixed ability side, in terms of fixtures played.
The club has gained a reputation for playing as often as possible. “It’s testament to the attitude of the players really” said player and Chairman Gwilym Lewis, “Already this season we answered an SOS to put a team together in 3 hours and in August we played in Bath on the Friday, attended a festival on the Saturday and then faced our Cardiff rivals the Chiefs on the Sunday. The boys want to play as much as possible and so being the first mixed ability club to reach this total is down to them.”
Having disabled players included in mainstream sport is still relativity rare and so the Warriors feel they are setting both a benchmark for sport but also an example to society. Some players have conditions such as Downs Syndrome, Cerebal Palsy, Autism and learning disabilities but all participate fully.
“It’s full contact rugby union, the only rule change is passive scrums and so these players can feel fully part of the rugby family and deserve the respect that they earn. Although it’s wonderful to play at events like the WRU Mixed Ability Festival at the Principality Stadium, our bread and butter matches at places like Betws, Burry Port and Cefneithin. Here we are part of the local rugby community. We have shown that there is no limit to the rugby environment, having played in West Wales, the West of England, New Zealand and even Samoa. We have shown that distance and culture in no obstacle and now we have shown that there is real longevity to it with our 300th match. Hopefully this will show that clubs can include people with disabilities, however tough the sport and that they can thrive.”
The match on Sunday is something of a throwback to the days of the merit table when Welsh clubs had strong rivalry with their counterparts in the West of England. The Warriors will be travelling to Longlevens RFC to play the Gloucester Griffins. The Griffins are part of a growing number of teams that have sprung up in the last few seasons. For many years it was just the two Welsh sides but there are now clubs in Italy, France, Spain, Canada, Argentina, New Zealand, Ireland and across the UK.
The Warriors have played their part in this growth having played a significant role in forming the 1st sides in England and Scotland, both the WRU and RFU have used named them in guidance documents and they have played a leading role with Ability Rugby International – the federation of such clubs.
The Warriors have found that the benefits of playing rugby are multiple. As well as the obvious things like strength, speed and coordination, players have gained in social skills and confidence.
“It’s been a transformation for some of our players. It’s also been important in terms of the image of people with a learning difficulty. Instead of just seeing people on the back of a special bus or at a special sports event people have met, played against, perhaps been beaten by players with a disability. It’s been an eye opener for our non disabled players. Last season we had 50 players so we must be doing something right.”
The Warriors 3rd Gala dinner this season will be held on October 27th.
As well as the 3 course dinner including a chocolate fountain, we have 3 legends of the game as guest speakers; Kevin Ellis, John Deveraux and Alan Bateman (all of whom have played for Wales & Britain) as well as a Live band.
£30 a ticket - please see Jamie Evans for a ticket ASAP
Updated 20:35 - 1 Oct 2018 by Gwilym Lewis