Dragons Rugby Social

The Six Nations rugby is well and truly under way and we’re getting together to watch the Wales v France game.

Date: Friday 21st February

Venue: The Gatekeeper (Wetherspoons) on Westgate Street

Time: 6pm meet for an 8pm kick off – this allows time for people to have food if you wish to eat, otherwise you can come along a bit later.

See you all there!

You’re taking an LGBT football team to a prison? Are you mad?

Game day, Tuesday 18th February, and another Community 5-a-side fixture for Cardiff Dragons Football Club. Players sorted, kit sorted, transport sorted, match details sorted, post-match food sorted and away we go. It’s an away fixture this time. We normally play our Community fixtures at Fairwater astroturf on a Thursday night but the team we’re playing tonight can’t travel to away games. Why is that? Because we’re off to HMP Parc, also known as Bridgend Prison. Cue the theme tune from Crimewatch.

This would be our second visit to the prison within the space of a couple of years to play 5-a-side, and the original contact was thanks to one of our Dragons, John B. It was such a success last time that Phil Forder from the prison got in touch with us again to arrange another fixture within LGBT History month. By coincidence, Phil also represents HMP Parc on Sport Wales’ LGBT forum which we’re also involved with – this is a great opportunity for networking with local sporting partners.

Dragons squad: Jay, Dave A, Liam, Ryan Mc, Adam, John W, Jason

(it’s a men-only squad as we’d be playing against male prisoners who cannot have any contact with women)

Dragons supporters: Amy, Ali

The Dragons

The Dragons

Dave and Ryan played in the previous 5-a-side match and spoke really highly about what a great experience it was. For the rest of us there was a mixture of thoughts and feelings before we entered the prison grounds; excitement, anxiety, trepidation, fear of the unknown? Getting into the prison is the first hurdle we had to conquer – it took about half an hour for the security checks, body searches and putting everything away in lockers. Not to mention losing Dave A and Amy for a short while. All we had on our person were the clothes we were stood up in and our security ID. We weren’t even allowed to take in any water (this may have been a secret ploy to dehydrate us during the game).

HMP Parc has amazing sports facilities; a 5-a-side 3G floodlit astro, a full size sports hall, a massive gym with free weights and CV machines and an additional smaller gym. We were escorted onto the 3G astro by Prison Officer Ruth, and met the prisoners and some of the Prison Officers who work in the PE department. Barriers were immediately broken with some friendly handshakes and a bit of banter about the match. We immediately felt at ease. We had an hour of football ahead of us which was to be split into four games:

1. Dragons v Prisoners 1

2. Dragons v PE Prison Officers

3. Dragons v Prisoners 2

4. Dragons v PE Prison Officers

Game 1 went brilliantly for us with Liam and Adam working very well together up front which led to Adam scoring two amazing goals. Won 2-1.

Game 2 was a bit tougher. Those Prison Officers were pretty good. The Dragons had to do a lot of battling in defence and Dave A was outstanding in goal. Liam scored a great goal but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. Lost 2-1.

Game 3 was against another group of prisoners and Adam was still on fire with another two goals. Won 2-0.

Game 4 and the Dragons were starting to feel the pain against a very fit group of guys. Despite our best efforts the Prison Officers took advantage. Lost 4-0.

Dragons and Prison Officers

Dragons and Prison Officers

Each game was played in great spirits and all of the Dragons gave 100%. Everyone was pleased with the results and there was immediate talk about when we could come in again for some more fixtures. After the match we were escorted into the PE block where we had food together with the prisoners. This was a great opportunity for a chat about who we are as a club and what we do for the LGBT community. We talked a little about stereotypes and discrimination and how both us (LGBT) and them (prisoners) are faced with these issues in society. Not your regular everyday football fixture. What made this experience even more extraordinary was the impromptu musical rendition of a Tom Jones song and a UB40 song from one of the prisoner footballers who had auditioned for XFactor before being locked up. Amazing talent.

We’re going back to prison in March to play against a team of Female Prison Officers who have recently set up a regular Friday football session. There is already talk about going back in again for some weekend 5-a-side later on in the year. This match was an enlightening experience and goes to show yet again, that we’re more than just a football club. We’re breaking down barriers (not literally else we’d be in big trouble) with local community groups and it feels great to be a Dragon.

A big thankyou to all of the Dragons who gave up their evening to travel to Bridgend and also to Phil, Matt, Ruth and the prisoners at HMP Parc for a fantastic experience.

Maybe this bunch should be kept in?

Maybe this bunch should be kept in?

 

 

 

Birmingham Blaze FC 2 – 0 Cardiff Dragons FC (GFSN League)

Birmingham Blaze 2 Cardiff Dragons 0
Sunday 9th February 2014

The Dragons go down for a first defeat in 4 months on a day where injuries and the weather played a huge part. First of all a huge thank you to every who made the journey today as some people travelled with injuries to ensure we fullfilled the fixture.

A very warm welcome to Mehdi making is debut today. Also a welcome return to Mike after a long injury layoff and also a very welcome return to Amy after 2 years being out with an injury.

The Dragons lined up as follows:
Ryan B, Aris, Christian, Chris G(Capt), Ryan Mc, Mike, Muzz (Manager), Mehdi, Laurence, Liam, Anthony.
Subs: Amy, Adam.

Before we started today our injury problems began with Adam being unable to start due to a twisted ankle.

The Dragons started the much brighter side as Anthony was very unfortunate with 2 chances which didn’t hit the mark. The first chance came from an excellent run where he just shot over the bar. The other came from a pass from Muzz, which resulted in a shot that was just wide of the goal. There were also 2 other early chances.

On 6th minute there was break away from Birmingham which resulted in a goal that was well taken. 1-0 Birmingham. On the 25th minute Christian had to go off injured and was replaced by Adam who himself was not fully fit. Then on 30 minutes yet another body blow for the Dragons; a penalty was awarded against Ryan B who was badly injured in the collision with a Blaze striker, resulting in a suspected broken nose and a hospital visit. How the referee could award a penalty from 45m away we will never know. A huge thank you to Ali for taking Ryan to the hospital. Back to the game itself. Amy came on for Ryan and Chris G went into goal. Chris G made a fantastic save from the penalty spot kick. The Dragons were under a lot of pressure with everyone working their socks off for us today – everybody was putting in a shift. Just before the half time whistle Chris G pulled off another great save.

Half Time 1-0 to Birmingham.
Birmingham started off much the brighter and on 50 minutes a breakaway and shot in far corner of the goal made it 2-0 to Birmingham. Muzz was trying all second half to freshen us up with many tactical positional changes that in all honesty we needed. By this time we were carrying even more injuries. On 70 minutes Anthony could not continue playing outfield because of injury so replaced Chris G in goal. Anthony made a great save tipping a shot onto the cross bar. On 75 minutes Christian came back on for Amy. By this time, and playing against the wind, it was really difficult what with all our injuries. It’s testament to everyone that we were staying solid at the back. Chris G had a chance near the end that went just wide. Liam also had to go off injured with 10 minutes remaining, Amy replacing him.

It was not to be today for Dragons the final score 2-0 to Birmingham.
Man of the Match: Aris and Ryans nose!!!

Thank you Amy and Ali for driving the minibus. Also thanks to Ali, Amy and Christian for running the line. Thanks to Birmingham for their concerns about all our injuries and putting food on for us.
This a very cold Dave Amos signing off.