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Scarlets player graduates after combining part-time study with playing rugby full-time

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A Scarlets player has recently finished his University degree at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David after deciding to combine studying part-time with playing rugby full-time.

Kemsley Mathias from Haverfordwest has just completed his BSc degree in Sports and Exercise Science in UWTSD Carmarthen. Sport is something that has always been present in Kemsley’s life, and thought studying a course on a similar route would be beneficial.

Kemsley’s passion for rugby began when he was 7 years old after attending a training session with Narberth RFC, and since then he’s never looked back. Over the years he’s played with the club, and as he developed, Kemsley as a pupil from Sir Thomas Picton School was picked to play for County teams, then was invited to play for the Carmarthen Quins RFC semi-professionally before being chosen to be a part of the Scarlets squad on a professional level.

Kemsley started his University life in another University for a month, but due to rugby commitments he decided that he needed to study somewhere that was closer to home and convenient. He decided to apply for UWTSD in Carmarthen that enabled him to play rugby alongside his course.

“It’s been a big plus being able to play rugby alongside studying my course… it’s not affecting my work, and having leeway to do rugby as well is a big plus. I don’t think I would have been able to do it in any other Universities… I would have struggled.”

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During his studies at UWTSD, Kemsley has loved the variety that the course has offered. One particular aspect is Personal Training. Studying a course like Exercise and Sport Science is totally different to school life according to Kemsley, and a lot more practical which he prefers.

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“It’s never just sitting down in a classroom, writing on a piece of paper. You’re always doing something whether it’s testing or exercising… it’s not tedious.”

As Kemsley’s rugby career progressed with the Scarlets last January, he decided to study part time during his final year so that he could manage both as the workload got heavier. When programme manager David Garner first accepted Kemsley on the course, he was aware of his potential rugby career. David gave Kemsley the leeway to make it possible to miss lectures if the Scarlets had a training session or a game on the same time, and provided additional assignment support to make sure that Kemsley wouldn’t fall behind with his studies.  Kemsley found it particular hard to balance rugby with his university work.

“It’s been hard. I’d come home from training around five or six o’clock… the last thing I wanted to do was to dive in to my laptop and try to do a few thousand word assignments on a particular subject… that’s where you’ve had to crack on to work and do it. Obviously it’s not going to be easy, but once it’s done it’s under your belt, and that’s what I had in the back of my mind when I was doing it. It has been challenging, but I haven’t missed any deadlines.” Kemsley said.

Whilst Kemsley develops his career as a professional rugby player, he admits that the course has helped him in his daily life and progression with the Scarlets. The nutrition aspect of the course has certainly helped him maintain a healthy lifestyle and diet as he tries to optimise what he eats to maximise his performance. In training, the GPS testing that Kemsley has learnt during practical sessions at the University is being used, and therefore understands what’s going on, and how to use the facilities.

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Geraint Forster, Programme Director for the Sport and Exercise Science degree is very proud of Kemsley’s development said: “ As staff we want to see our students thriving and following their passions. We want the course to complement and support the students with their career aspirations, not hinder them. At times, Kemsley’s international commitments impacted on his ability to attend campus, however the experiences he has gained within a professional sport environment have complemented his studies. We will always do our best to support students to combine relevant professional or sporting experiences with their academic studies in order to produce well-rounded graduates. We are very proud of what Kemsley has achieved so far, and hope that we have helped to prepare him for his career as a professional rugby player, and whatever he chooses to do after that.”

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Scarlets team manager Sara Davies said: “It has been fantastic to see Kemsley’s progress in breaking through into the senior team this year. We know how important it is for our young players to continue their education alongside rugby and Kemsley has shown a huge amount of commitment in how he has managed to balance his studies with the demands of being a professional rugby player.”

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Kemsley’s passion for training and exercising is obvious, and after his rugby career finishes, his future goal is to own a gym, and hopefully have clients for personal training.

Completing the BSc Sports and Exercise Science degree has been an achievement for Kemsley, and he’s glad that he’s had the opportunity to be able to study part-time so that he could balance everything without putting too much pressure on himself. Kemsley would encourage other students to think about doing the same thing if they are in a similar situation: “I’ve seen a lot of boys drop out because of the workload. I’d say, the tutors are there, they want you to complete your degree… they’ll go out of their way to help you, so it’s just head down and carry on. If you’re in your second or third year, your half way there, get it done – you’ll feel so much better for it. I have no regrets.”

(All images: UWTSD / Scarlets)

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Art

National Gallery masterpiece visits Haverfordwest

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The Riverside Library, Gallery and Visitor Information in Haverfordwest is welcoming a very special exhibition this spring, thanks to the National Gallery Masterpiece Tour, sponsored by Christie’s.

Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study by Edgar Degas will form the centrepiece in an exhibition drawn from the National Welsh Portrait Collection at The National Library of Wales, which will be held at the Riverside Gallery, Haverfordwest.

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The exhibition will contextualise the painting through an exploration of the female form in art, and analyse the theory of the male gaze in portraits through the eyes of both female and male artists such as Seren Morgan Jones and Sir Kyffin Williams.

The exhibition will be open from 14 May – 3 September 2022 and will run alongside the current exhibition Pembrokeshire: Past & Present.

Mike Cavanagh, Head of Cultural, Leisure, Tourism and Registration Services for Pembrokeshire County Council, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity finally to be part of the Masterpiece Tour after the pandemic forced us to put our plans on hold. The arrival of the Degas will have a huge impact on the community and the county’s many visitors, and will inspire, illuminate and raise ambition within the county.”

Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian at the National Library of Wales added: “It is wonderful to be able to work with Pembrokeshire County Council and the National Gallery to bring the ‘Masterpiece Tour’ to this region of Wales which gives the residents of Pembrokeshire and those visiting the area the opportunity to see the Hélène Rouart in her Father’s Study by Edgar Degas.”

An exciting series of events and activities are being planned to support the exhibition, such as a special talk about the masterpiece painting by one of the National Gallery’s curators.

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Lead image: Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas. Helene Rouart in her Father’s Study. (Image: The National Gallery, London)

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Haverfordwest

Are bungalows making a comeback? National housebuilder adds 3 single storey homes to Haverfordwest development

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Bungalows may be seen as housing for older people, but they’re a popular choice across a wide spectrum of house buyers according to Persimmon Homes – and demand is growing.

Persimmon is currently working on the second phase of its Merlins Lane scheme on Scarrowscant Lane in Haverfordwest, with 91 homes being built to take the overall total to 170.

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The national housebuilder has taken the unusual step of building bungalows at Merlins Lane as it believes there is growing demand for one-storey living.

Sharon Bouhali, Sales Director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “When people talk about bungalows they tend to think of older people as there is obviously the benefit of having no stairs to climb.

“But, actually, bungalows are a popular option for a variety of reasons, not least the flexible space they offer as they tend to have a bigger footprint than a tradition two-storey house.

“Bungalows can also be convenient for young families as parents don’t have to worry about their children falling down stairs.

“Maintenance is also easier as there are no high windows to clean and it’s easier to access the guttering and roof.

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“Perhaps most pertinently in the current climate, bungalows are more eco-friendly as they use less energy to heat, producing significant cost savings.”

Persimmon is building three Madison style properties at Merlins Lane, a versatile bungalow featuring a front-aspect living room leading into the kitchen, which has access to the well-sized garden.

There are two double bedrooms, a spacious bathroom with a bath and a separate shower, and two handy storage cupboards.

Work started at Merlins Lane in mid-2020 and has proved extremely popular.

(Lead image: Persimmon Homes)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Duo jailed for assaulting and robbing man in terrifying attack

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A man and a woman have been jailed for assaulting and robbing a vulnerable man at a railway station.

Rory Barnes, aged 23, of Ash Grove, Neyland, Milford Haven, and Hayley Talman, aged 30, of St Davids Close, Hubberston, Milford Haven, approached their victim at Haverfordwest Train Station at around 9pm on Sunday, 16 January.

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Talman first asked the man, who is disabled, if he knew anyone who did drugs, before Barnes got up close and invaded his personal space.

The victim moved away but was followed by Barnes a number of times, before he grabbed hold of the victim and told him he must ‘do flake’ because of the jacket he was wearing.

The victim once again walked away, this time to the front of the train station, however, Barnes stayed with him, asking for personal details such as name and address.

The victim once again moved away and went back onto the platform. Barnes again followed and sat down next to him and asked for a cigarette.

The victim then got up and walked to the front of the train station, with Talman and Barnes following him.

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Barnes then attacked the man, throwing him to the floor before getting on top of him and punching him twice to the head, before placing his hands into his coat pocket and removing a pouch of tobacco.

The victim then managed to run away towards the town centre, however, Barnes has chased after him.

He once again threw the man to the floor, shouting and swearing at him to give him everything he had.

Barnes has then punched him at another four or five times to the head area, and while he was on the floor, Barnes and Talman have gone through his pockets, with Barnes removing a debit card.

Barnes has then stated that he had a knife. He was searching his own pockets as if he was looking for something, with Talman saying the victim needed to listen as Barnes had a knife.

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Barnes has then asked Talman for the knife before telling the victim that if he reports the matter to police then he will find him and stab him.

At this point the victim was able to run away from the area.

Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police attended and promptly arrested Barnes and Talman, before launching a thorough investigation.

Senior Investigating Officer DS Tanya Grey said: “This was a terrifying ordeal for a vulnerable victim. Barnes and Talman subjected him to threats and intimidation before launching a violent attack.

“When the victim finally managed to get away from them he was running, fearing for his life as they had threatened him with a knife.

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“I would like to commend him for his bravery throughout the investigation.

“We’re pleased with the sentences handed to Barnes and Talman and hope this offers some solace to the victim.

“I would also like to commend our officers, from the initial response officers to the investigating team. Their professionalism helped ensure Barnes and Talman were handed these sentences.”

Barnes was sentenced to four years and nine months imprisonment, as well as a further 18 months to run consecutively for an incident in Cardiff. Talman was sentenced to three years and two months.

Both appeared at Swansea Crown Court on Friday, 11th March 2022, having pleaded guilty at a previous hearing.

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(Lead image: Dyfed Powys Police)

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