Interview: South Wales Samurai

The Team.

The team.

Ball hockey: Think Mighty Ducks meets Rollerball – without the skates. The ferocious, fast-paced game has been steadily increasing in popularity in the ‘diff over the past few years, attracting former ice and field hockey players alike – plus those who have never picked up a stick. I spoke to Danny Langhorn from the South Wales Samurai, one of Cardiff’s newest ball hockey sides.

When were the South Wales Samurai set-up?

Our last tournament as the Devils was in Newcastle in August – after the Cardiff Devils were taken over by Todd Kelman and a consortium of Canadian business men. Following an awful season for the organisation both on and off the ice, he decided (and rightfully so) that he was going to strip everything back so the name would only be used by the main squad. This meant that in September we became the South Wales Samurai and we debuted in our first tournament on November 8th – topping our group and missing out narrowly in the final 3-2.

Ball Hockey 1

What a save!

 

How many players do you have in total? Are you all from Wales or do you have a range of nationalities?  

We have about 25 players all together – with other people coming along to train now and again either to try the sport out or for fitness. Nationalities vary, most guys are from South Wales with a couple of North Walians mixed in, a few English folk and a Slovakian for good measure! Our captain Tom Link has been trialling for the GB team hoping to make the final squad heading to the World Championships next year!

How many competitions have you been involved in to date?

Under the Devils name we played six or seven tournaments, two of which we hosted in Cardiff. In August we went up to Newcastle to take on the Newcastle Dekstars three squads as well as the Sheffield Knights. We beat the Dekstars in the final to win the Summer Cup. This was a huge moment for our club and one we will never forget – it was a great way to end the Devils. As the Samurai we kept on rolling making the finals in our debut including beating our local rivals Cardiff Thunder 4-1 and 5-0 along the way!

And another!

And another! Credit: Danny Langhorne

Plans for the future?

The plans for the future are simple – become the biggest and best club in the UK. We want to be an organisation from top to bottom that other squads aspire to be like. A lot of us come from none hockey backgrounds so it’s great to see new faces and show people the sport. Ice hockey is restricting in the sense you need to skate to play it and it’s quite costly to do so. Here we offer a similar sport which is far more affordable and accessible to the average Joe! Samurai is a club that will never quit, we see ourselves as warriors on and off the court.

Team Welsh Air Ambulance. Credit: Danny Langhorne

Team Welsh Air Ambulance. Credit: Danny Langhorne

We are also holding an inter-club Christmas Cup on December 9th where the club has picked two captains who’ve drafted two squads that will go head to head for the cup. One is playing in support of Wales Air Ambulance, the other for the British Heart Foundation – this is a great opportunity for people to come along and watch us play and see what it’s all about!

Team British Heart Foundation. Credit: Danny Langhorne

Team British Heart Foundation. Credit: Danny Langhorne

South Wales Samurai train every Tuesday at Penarth Leisure Centre between 7 and 9pm. Training costs £6.00 and kit is provided for those wanting to trial the sport.

To find out more about South Wales Samurai, follow @SamuraiBHC or visit https://www.facebook.com/SouthWalesSamurai

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Interview: Cardiff City Rugby League

Crl team 2

Cardiff City Rugby League: The Team. Credit: Georgie Elson

 

Bonfire night in Cardiff only meant one thing this year – if you’re a rugby league fan.  Holding their first ever training session under the bright lights of Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff City Rugby League invited league-lovers from around the city to trial for their new team. I spoke to co-founder Chris True about the ambitions of the side behind the revitalisation of league in the ‘diff.

What is your exact role within Cardiff City Rugby League?

“I’ve been the facilitator of the merger between the Cardiff Spartans and the Cardiff Demons, who have joined to make Cardiff City Rugby League. We are striving to work together and represent the city of Cardiff which can only be a positive thing.”

What are your short-term goals?

“The initial plan is for the first team to play in the Welsh Conference this upcoming season. There are between eight and twelve teams in the league and the Bridgend Blue Bulls are the team to beat – the Demons and Spartans lost heavily to them last year. The second team will either play in the same league, depending on the standard we can deliver, or they will play in the Merit League. We are aiming to get at least five friendlies organised for the B team also.

Long-term aims?

“In terms of ambitions, our two-year plan is for the A team to apply for the National Conference in 2016. The Valley Cougars won that league last year and are doing fantastic things up in Treharris. We just want to follow in the footsteps of them. As for the B team we would like them to compete in the Welsh Conference while running two competitive sides. In that second year we are also hoping to set-up a women’s team.”

crl try

Try time! Credit: Georgie Elson

How about the juniors?

“The aim is to run four junior teams this year growing to between five or six in year two. There is a real desire to create an academy side similar to the South Wales Scorpions Academy. There have been some really good young Welsh players come through the ranks recently and sometimes because we don’t have teams for them to go to they’re lost to the game. We want to prevent this from happening by giving them a platform to play league.”

How will you finance the team?

“The key element of Cardiff City Rugby League is that we want to be self-sustainable. We want to get to a point where we can rely on our membership fees and our gate to fund the club. It’s going to be a tough task but there is four of us leading this merger and we hope to plant sustainable roots.”

Where will you play?

“We are teaming up with Llanishen Rugby Club to secure a home venue – in addition to training sessions at Arms Park. They have a waiting list for juniors wanting to play rugby union and we would really like to give those kids an entry into rugby, offering up league as a different avenue.”

crl hug

Friendly competition. Credit: Georgie Elson

For more information about Cardiff City Rugby League visit http://www.cardiffrugbyleague.com/ or https://twitter.com/CardiffRL or https://www.facebook.com/cardiffrl?fref=ts

For the latest news on Cardiff-based sports teams, follow @inadiffleague

Profile: Cardiff Dragons Dodgeball

‘Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and … Dodge.’ Yes these are the words of wrench-hurling master-coach Patches O’Houlihan, but they also form the tongue-in-cheek mantra of the Cardiff Dragons – South Wales’ newest dodgeball side. The Dragons, who first came together in April this year, can be further paralleled with the cult classic as their player-coach, Andrew Blower, is a modern-day Peter La Fleur (you know the character Vince Vaughan plays in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story). Formerly of the Coventry Cobras, Blower, like La Fleur, has galvanised a community, re-establishing dodgeball in the Welsh capital – all previous Cardiff clubs folded in 2010. Moreover, like La Fleur and his Average Joes, Blower places a high emphasis on inclusion and mass-participation:  “The great thing about dodgeball is that truly anyone can play! It’s so easy to pick up and there’s always an experienced hand to guide you through the finer details of the game.”

Dragons in full-flight!

Dragons in full-flight. Credit: Andrew Blower

The Dragons are, however, no Average Joes. Although only forming five months ago, they are the only Welsh team to have won a match at the UK championships – after beating the Scottish champions in July. The Dragons have also qualified for next year’s UK Dodgeball League where they will compete in Division 2 South – against teams from Oxford, Portsmouth, Southampton, London, Winchester and Leighton Buzzard. They have also secured funding from Sport Wales.

Fierce competition!

Fierce competition. Credit: Andrew Blower

Blower added: “We are going from strength to strength with new members joining every week. We’ve got such a great group of players, some of who have represented Wales internationally, helping out our newer members who are fresh to the sport.

“We are currently in pre-season training for our first competitive season which starts in November. Last season we also represented Wales at the UK Championships, finishing 15th overall.”

Down but not out

Down but not-out! Credit: Andrew Blower

The Cardiff side are based at Cantonian High School, Fairwater, and train every Wednesday from 6.30-8.30pm. Sessions cost £2.50 per week but the first session is free. Kit can also be purchased but isn’t essential for training. All over the age of 16 are welcome – even pirates called Steve!

More info: www.cardiffdodgeball.co.uk or www.facebook.com/CardiffDragonsDodgeballClub or @CardiffDodge