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Blog posts

The latest Phil Evans column

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy. Website – www.philevans.co.uk



I’ve long suspected that so-called ‘inanimate objects’ are far from inanimate.

Either they’re an evil cabal conspiring against us to mess up our daily lives . . .

(Just like the Welsh Assembly!)

Or they have a wicked sense of humour . . .

(Unlike the Welsh Assembly!)

Just think about the number of times you’ve tripped over something in the house that wasn’t there the last time you looked.

How did it get there?

Conversely, how many times have you gone to pick something up that you definitely rememberleaving on a table, only to find it isn’t there – and, then, you eventually find it in a different place in a different room?

How did it get there?

If you need moreconvincing, how often have you walked past a door handle while wearing old clothes without incident.

But, the very firsttimeyou wear a brand new sweater or jacket you catch it on that same ‘innocent looking’ door handle, causing a tear in the material?

Ah! Now you’re starting to believe me!

But, the tables are turning – and not by themselves.

A number of Welsh people are plotting against one of the biggest, longest and heaviest inanimate objects in the country.

The Second Severn Crossing.

They’re so unhappy that it’s being re-named “The Prince Of Wales Bridge” they’re protesting and signing petitions.

They may march on Westminster, brandishing pitchforks and lighted torches.

It’s a day out. Bring sandwiches and a flask!

Frankly, from where I’m sitting, up here on the fence, it’s unimportant whatthis bridge is named.

It won’t answer when you speak to it or send you a Christmas card, because, being a metal structure built to convey vehicles from one side of the Severn to the other, it isn’t aware it has a name!

When all the hoo-hah has died down, we’ll still call it the Second Severn Crossing as we always have.

Mind you, “The Phil Evans Bridge” does have a nice ring to it.

How do I start a petition?



True talent:

On Sunday, The new Selwyn Samuel Event Arena in Llanelli hosted the Welsh Factor National Final talent competition to a sell-out audience of more than 1000 people.

Again, we witnessed young talent from the heart of Wales who had worked their way up through the heats, beating strong competition in order to share the final stage with some of the best new talent Wales has to offer.

What an achievement – and an occasion that many who were there will remember for years to come.

We were entertained by dancers, a choir, singer-songwriters, duos, trios and a magician.

It would be fair to say that all 54 acts who made it through to this final heat were clear winners in my eyes.

Over the years, I have witnessed the popularity and growth of this event and am yet to see a rival match its commitment to the showcasing and development of performing arts here in Wales.

This is the platform for new talent to gain confidence and exposure, in a supportive and friendly environment.

Welsh Factor was founded by the extremely hard-working Miss Anna Marie Thomas from Neath, and mentored by her dad Gareth Thomas, who has been involved in the entertainment industry for more than 50 years.

This level of experience, together with a strong technical support team, enabled the talent on display to shine and entertain to the highest standard.

Support your local performers! You know it makes sense.


You can follow Phil Evans on Twitter @philevanswales and www.philevans.co.uk

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Latest podcast from Phil Evans and Robert Lloyd

Posted By Robert Lloyd

The latest podcast from Phil Evans and Robert Lloyd has just been released.

The Big Cwtsh: Episode 12 is now on Soundcloud.

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Press releases

Computer Science department launches creative coding contest

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Aberystwyth University’s Computer Science Department is calling on primary school pupils across Wales to take part in a unique coding competition combining poetry, Welsh mythology and creative computing.

The challenge to children aged 7-11 years old includes animating a poem by Eurig Salisbury, a lecturer at Aberystwyth University’s Department of Welsh & Celtic Studes as well as an award-winning writer and former Children’s Welsh Poet Laureate.

Alternatively, contestants can also choose to animate a Welsh myth or legend – from the Mabinogion, for example.

There will be prizes for the winning teams as well as a visit to the winning entry’s school by a team of computer scientists from Aberystwyth University who will hold a day of educational coding activities.

The aim of the competition is to encourage children to give coding a go and to learn new skills for the workplace of the future.

Organiser Dr Hannah Dee, Senior Lecturer at Aberystwyth University’s Computer Science Department, said: “Coding is a digital skill which will only increase in importance. People often think that coding is just spreadsheets or numbers. This contest aims to show that it’s much than that – you can code pictures, animations, and even poetry. Creative coding is something everyone can have a go at, particularly using Scratch, a kids’ programming language.

“We have four top prizes this year with winners awarded either a Pi-top Laptop or Kano Computer Kit or and we are grateful to both companies for their sponsorship and support.”

Fellow organiser and lecturer Martin Nelmes said: “As a Department, we visit schools the length and breadth of Wales with our coding activities and find that creative coding like this really fires students’ imagination. We held our first coding competition last year and the entries were inspirational. I can’t wait to see what pupils come up with this year.”

First prize in last year’s competition went to Johnstown School in Carmarthenshire, with second place going to Ysgol Gynradd Pentrefoelas in Betws y Coed in Gwynedd, and third to Brynnau School, Pontyclun, Rhondda Cynon Taff.

Eurig Salisbury, a lecturer in Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University’s Department of Welsh and Celtic Studies, said: “It was a privilege to be part of this coding competition last year and to see young children take up the challenge of creative computing to illustrate one of my poems. It’s a fun activity but it’s also educational with coding becoming an increasingly fundamental skill to those growing up in the early part of the 21stcentury.”

Further details about the competition and how to enter can be found on the website of the Department of Computer Science: www.aber.ac.uk/en/cs/outreach/schools.

The competition was launched at a special coding session at Ysgol Plascrug Aberystwyth on Tuesday 17 April 2018.

The closing date for entries is 31 July 2018 and the winners will be announced in September 2018.

Photo:  Left to right: Ysgol Plascrug pupils (seated) Tomas Pearson, Erin Jack, Ifan Rukov and James Homer at the launch of the Scratch animation competition with Plascrug teacher Carol Macy, and Eurig Salisbury and Martin Nelmes from Aberystwyth University.

Competition Details: www.aber.ac.uk/en/cs/outreach/schools
Department of Computer Science: www.aber.ac.uk/en/cs
Department of Welsh & Celtic Studies: www.aber.ac.uk/en/cymraeg

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Blog posts

Latest Carmarthen Town AFC match report from John Collyer

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Match Report – Carmarthen Town v Llandudno (14 April 2018)

Carmarthen Town (3)  Llandudno (2)

by John Collyer

Carmarthen, with only three Welsh Premier League fixtures remaining, went into this match knowing that they needed a victory to keep alive their prospects of finishing outside the relegation zone and, thereby, securing their League place for next season.

And, after a pulsating contest against a very competitive Llandudno side during which both teams held the lead, Town, with a highly spirited and determined performance, deservedly achieved exactly that result.

Indeed, they made the best possible start with the fastest goal seen at Richmond Park for very many seasons.  Moments after the kick-off they won a free-kick which Luke Cummings fired invitingly into the goalmouth where Luke Bowen, reacting quicker than any defender, sent his close-range header past ‘keeper Patrik Rutter and into the roof of the net – just 45 seconds of the game had passed and remarkably no Llandudno player had yet touched the ball!

But the visitors responded immediately, pouring forward strongly in search of an equaliser – and in the 3rdminute they restored parity when a slick exchange of passes between Tom Dix and Marc Williams finished with Lee Thomas, from 10 yards, dispatching a crisp drive beyond the reach of ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the top corner of the net.

The game soon developed into an entertaining, fast-paced, end-to-end affair – yet while Llandudno enjoyed the greater share of possession, helped often by the hosts’ apparent willingness to give the ball away all too easily, it was Carmarthen who fashioned the better scoring opportunities with some lively counter-attacking usually prompted by the midfield inventiveness of Kieran Lewis, Clayton Green, Cummings and Aidan O’Kelly.

However, the next notable chance, on 14 minutes, stemmed from a short pass by Mark Jones that found Liam Thomas close to the by-line and he sent a searching cross to the far side of the goalmouth where Bowen produced a smart looping header that Rutter, at full-stretch, just managed to turn over the bar.

Generally though, during the remainder of the first-half both defences continued to deal quite comfortably with the intermittent pressure they faced and neither goalkeeper was again seriously tested.  And it was not until the 39thminute that another distinct opportunity arose – Cummings, from the half-way line, delivered another trademark free-kick deep into the penalty area and while the ball was cleared, it fell nicely for Bowen who instantly released a fierce 20 yard strike that flew narrowly beyond the far post.

After the interval remarkably, as before, there was another explosive start to the proceedings – but this time, the other way round.  Within 2 minutes Llandudno had taken the lead when Wes Baynes directed a corner into the packed goalmouth and from the ensuing scramble Danny Shaw emerged to stab the ball over the line from close-range.

Stung by that setback the Old Gold straightaway swept upfield and 90 seconds later they were back on level terms.  A right-wing cross from Cummings reached Dan Sheehan on the far side of the penalty area – he lifted the ball back to the goalmouth leading to a weak clearance which was pounced on by O’Kelly who struck a stunning 25 yard volley that left Rutter floundering and the net bulging.

Carmarthen, clearly inspired by that success, began pressing forward with far more pace and purpose, and abandon, than at any earlier stage of the match.  But that left them vulnerable to occasional counter-attacks which the visitors’ lively striker Williams, in particular, was keen to exploit.

And on 61 minutes he went close to regaining the lead when he broke through completely clear from the half-way line – as Idzi advanced to the edge of the penalty area Williams sweetly curled the ball around him but, agonisingly, saw it strike the base of the post before the ‘keeper was able to recover and claim possession.

Shortly afterwards a long cross-field pass out of the visitors’ defence reached Lee Thomas who raced free towards the edge of the penalty area then released a promising drive that Idzi, demonstrating impressive reactions and agility, resisted superbly leaving Jordan Knott to clear the ball safely away.

During this spell Town’s constant probing had failed to make any serious impression on the visitors’ defence – but all that changed in the 68thminute.  Midfielder Ceri Morgan, who had only just been brought on as a substitute, made an immediate impact when from the centre-circle he threaded an excellent pass through the opposition defence and set Bowen free inside the penalty area where he was brought down by the last defender James Joyce. Inevitably the referee awarded a penalty which top scorer Liam Thomas converted with his customary composure and accuracy for his 15thgoal of the season.

With the Old Gold now ahead again and close to securing those vital three League points, they found themselves forced back on defence by a Llandudno side anxious once more to draw level, at least.  However Town’s formidable central defensive partnership of Lee Surman and Knott, ably supported by Sheehan and substitute Dave Vincent, performed with immense discipline and determination – while behind them experienced ‘keeper Idzi again produced a masterful display of safe handling in dealing with a series of crosses, corners and free-kicks.  Consequently the visitors never managed another serious scoring chance.

This has concluded Carmarthen’s home League programme and they now face a particularly crucial away trip to Aberystwyth next Friday 20thApril (k/o 8.00pm) before their season finishes with a visit to Barry Town United the following Friday 27thApril (k/o 7.30pm).  To secure 10thposition in the WPL (and safeguard their place in the League next season) the Old Gold must win both matches and hope that Aberystwyth lose their final fixture at home to Newtown.

Otherwise, Carmarthen’s survival might yet depend on off-the-field considerations relating to the Licensing regulations in respect of certain other clubs who have yet to be awarded their Licences for next season.    


Lee Idzi;  Luke Cummings (sub Craig Hanford 90+1);  Lee Surman; Jordan Knott;  Dan Sheehan;  Kieran Lewis; Clayton Green (sub Ceri Morgan 66); Aidan O’Kelly;  Luke Bowen (Dave Vincent 73);  Mark Jones;  Liam Thomas;

Unused subs:  Lewis Thomas; Danny Thomas;

Cards: (Y)   Luke Bowen (72);

Goals:  Luke Bowen (1);  Aidan O’Kelly (49);  Liam Thomas (69 pen)

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Press releases

Professor Richard Wyn Jones to deliver O’Donnell Lecture in Aberystwyth

Posted By Robert Lloyd

Professor Richard Wyn Jones will deliver the University of Wales O’Donnell Lecture 2018 at Aberystwyth University on Monday 30 April 2018.

Under the title ‘Cenhedloedd, Cenedlaetholdebau a Gwleidyddiaeth y Deyrnas Gyfunol’(Nations, Nationalisms and Politics of the United Kingdom), the lecture will consider the results of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, the general Westminster election 2015, the Brexit 2016 referendum and the 2017 general election.

Professor Richard Wyn Jones will analyse current trends and ask why many commentators and scholars failed to predict how people in different political nationalities would vote.

“It’s a privilege to deliver the O’Donnell Lecture and I will be using the opportunity to scrutinise a series of political results that have shaken the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to its foundations in recent years,” said Professor Jones, Director of the Wales Governance Centre and Professor of Welsh Politics at Cardiff University.

A drinks reception will be held at 6pm, followed by the lecture at 6.30pm in the main hall of the Aberystwyth University International Politics Building on Penglais Campus on Monday 30 April 2018.

The lecture will be delivered in Welsh with simultaneous translation available. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Professor Richard Wyn Jones is Director of the Wales Governance Centre and Professor of Welsh Politics at Cardiff University.

He has written extensively on politics in today’s Wales, devolved politics in the United Kingdom and nationalism.

Before moving to Cardiff University, he was Professor of Welsh Politics and founder of the Welsh Institute of Politics at the Department of International Politics at Aberystwyth University.

Professor Jones is a broad and respected broadcaster, commenting on Welsh politics in Welsh and English to the BBC in Wales and throughout the United Kingdom and has introduced two television series.

He is also a regular columnist for the current affairs magazine, Barn, a member of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

University of Wales O’Donnell Lecture

The O’Donnell Lectures were established with a generous legacy by CJ O’Donnell to discuss issues related to Celtic studies and are regularly held in Wales, Edinburgh and Oxford. They have been held annually since 1954.

Born in Donegal in 1849, Charles James O’Donnell became an influential, yet rebellious member of the Indian Civil Service, and was highly critical of the British Government’s policy in India in the early 20th century.

He was the Member of Parliament for Newington Walworth 1906-1910, and had a keen interest in the Celtic influence on British languages ​​and people.

Useful Links

Department of International Politics www.aber.ac.uk/en/interpol

Department of Welsh & Celtic Studies www.aber.ac.uk/cy/cymraeg

Wales Governance Centre http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/wgc

University of Wales www.wales.ac.uk

About Aberystwyth University www.aber.ac.uk
Established in 1872, Aberystwyth is a leading teaching and research university. It was named University of the Year for Teaching Quality in The Times | Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. In the 2017 National Student Survey, Aberystwyth was ranked the best in Wales and one of the top five mainstream universities in the UK for overall student satisfaction. The latest Research Excellence Framework in 2014 reported that 95% of the research activity submitted by Aberystwyth was of an internationally recognised standard or higher. The University is a community of around 10,000 students and 2,000 staff committed to delivering teaching that inspires, research with excellence that makes an impact, engaging the world, working in partnership and investing in our future. Registeed charity No 1145141.

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Lights, camera action! Film festival heading to Llanelli!

Posted By Robert Lloyd

There’s just four weeks to go to the start of the prestigious Carmarthen Bay Film Festival in Llanelli.

The festival is now in its seventh year and continues to go from strength to strength.

A total of 699 entries were received for this year’s festival award categories, from film-makers worldwide.

The festival is being staged at Llanelli’s Stradey Park Hotel, from May 14-17.

All of the film-based events are free to the public.

“It is astonishing how the festival has grown in popularity from very small beginnings,” said Festival CEO and organiser Kelvin Guy.

“They say great things grow from little acorns and that is very true of the film festival.”

The Welsh fourth channel S4C will be sponsoring the awards dinner at this years’ festival.

“That just shows how much importance is being attached to the festival,” said Mr Guy.

“In recent years we’ve had added glitz and status as the event is on the approved list for BAFTA Cymru Wales.”

Mr Guy added: “The BAFTA abbreviation is pretty special in the world of film. The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is recognised as a hugely prestigious organisation worldwide. To get this recognition from BAFTA Cymru Wales is a huge honour and is a great achievement when you consider what the festival has achieved since it launched in 2011.

“Being on the list of approved BAFTA Cymru Wales festivals helps give added prestige and stardust to the festival, with entrants now being eligible for BAFTA awards as well as the ones on offer at the festival.”

Mr Guy added: “We hope the festival really catches the imagination of the public in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire and the rest of South Wales. It’s free. The only ‘pay’ part of the event is the awards dinner at the end.

“The festival will follow closely on the heels of the Celtic Media Festival at Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, so it’s clear that Llanelli and Carmarthenshire is making headway in terms of being recognised for film, television and digital media.”

Entries for this year’s festival have come from all corners of the globe, including Syria, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Taiwan, Iran, Iraq, Israel and North and South America.

Mr Guy said: “The global response has been fantastic and I’d like to think that the festival is doing its best to put Llanelli and Carmarthenshire on the world map for film-makers.”

Weblinks to the festival website and Facebook page –



Some scenes from previous film festivals held at the Stradey Park Hotel –     

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