Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Sidoli set for Ystalyfera celebration

Neath are helping Ystalyfera celebrate their 125th anniversary with a special fixture at the Swansea Valley club's ground this evening (kick off 6.15pm).

The Welsh All Blacks include Saturday's 22-point hero Gareth McCarthy who is paired with Tom James while young talents Eli Walker (Gorseinon), Ben Powell (Glynneath) and Luke Myatt (Bonymaen) debut.

Transfer formalities have been concluded to allow lock Peter Sidoli to make his long-awaited return alongside Haydn Pugh. Long-term injury victims Stephen Thomas and Lee Evans return to the bench.

Over the years, Ystalyfera has supplied Neath with several players - the most recent Ystalyfera product to play for Neath was outside-half Gareth James who hails from a famous rugby family in the village and who is now playing for Ebbw Vale.

Neath's last visit to Ystalyfera was to mark their centenary in 1984/85, the Welsh All Blacks running out 34-9 winners in their final game of the season.

The Welsh All Blacks fielded one capped player in Barry Clegg but four others - Alan Edmunds, Jeremy Pugh, Phil Pugh and Rowland Phillips - would subsequently play for Wales. Robbie James, Mike Richards and Alun Hopkins won Wales ‘A'/'B' honours.

Neath Director of Rugby Patrick Horgan said, "This will be an ideal fixture for us. We will be able to take an early-season look at some of our squad options and at the same time help the Ystalyfera club celebrate a significant landmark occasion."

Neath chairman Geraint Hawkes added, "As a leading club, Neath have long been conscious of our responsibility to develop and grow the Game and we are always more than pleased to help the smaller clubs who over the years have helped us. Ystalyfera is a strong rugby community and we congratulate them on reaching the 125-year milestone."

Neath - E.Walker; K.James, B.Powell, W.Mitchell, R.Smith; G.McCarthy, T.James; L.Myatt, A.N.Other, J.Reeves; H.Pugh, P.Sidoli; C.Price, A.N.Other, T.Mabbutt , Andy Littlehales, Stuart Leach (formally from Glynneath).


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