SPORTS ROUNDUP | FEBRUARY
No getting away from the big sporting tournament this month. Unless you’re a darts or snooker head, in which case it’s probably pretty easy. Owen Scourfield considers all angles anyway.
WALES SIX NATIONS
Yes, it’s that time of year again. The World Cup came and went; the players have slowly made their way back to feature for their club teams just in time for the 2020 Six Nations Championship. This year, it’s all the blues at home for Wales: Italy (Sat 1 Feb) is followed by France (Sat 22 Feb) while Scotland will be our Super Saturday finale opponents next month (Sat 14 Mar).
Wayne Pivac has ambitiously taken over the reins from Warren Gatland, a decision that I’m sure will see him scrutinised from the off as he begins to fill the void left behind by the last coaching team. From a squad point of view, the majority of the World Cup team will be there in numbers, yet some young up-and-coming players are more than putting their hands up for selection. Across the bridge, winger Louis Rees-Zammit has been in scorching form for Gloucester. Do not be surprised to see him included.
PREMIER LEAGUE DARTS
The Professional Darts Corporation’s (PDC) popularity within the sport continues to rise. Bumper crowds, to-the-wire competition, and some top-notch rivalries – the World Championship tournament over the Christmas period a prime example of the level of product currently on offer. The Premier League tournament returns to Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena on Thurs 20 Feb as part of the 16-week tour of arenas across Europe.
Newly crowned World Champion Peter Wright and runner-up Michael van Gerwen are joined by Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price and World Matchplay and European Championship winner Rob Cross. Two-time Premier League champion Gary Anderson is among the invited players, alongside 2018 runner-up Michael Smith, 2019 semi-finalist Daryl Gurney, and new additions Nathan Aspinall and Glen Durrant.
WELSH OPEN SNOOKER
Other than the World and UK Championships, the Welsh Open tournament is snooker’s longest running world ranking event – having been an ever-present fixture on the calendar since 1992. The event this year sees 128 of the world’s leading players at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena, battling for the £70,000 winning prize and the coveted Ray Reardon Trophy. Past winners of the trophy include snooker legends Stephen Hendry, Mark Williams, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Steve Davis; last year’s champion Neil Robertson will be keen to defend his title after disposing of Stuart Bingham 9-7 in last year’s final.
CELTIC DRAGONS NETBALL TRI-TOURNAMENT
On Sat 8 Feb at Ebbw Vale Leisure Centre, Celtic Dragons netball team will be hosting a pre-season tri-tournament, featuring Team Bath and London Pulse. This meeting will be one of the final chances to prepare for the teams involved ahead of the new Vitality Netball Superleague season starting on Sat 22 Feb at the ‘Big Season Opener’. The tri-tournament will feature three matches, each consisting of four 10-minute quarters and beginning at 2pm, 3.30pm and 5pm.
Celtic Dragons recently welcomed back Rebekah Robinson and Latanya Wilson from Jamaica; the team’s two import players for the season have already made a huge impression in the trademark green dress, helping the Dragons to the semi-final of the 2019 British Fast 5 All-Stars tournament.
SWANSEA CITY AND CARDIFF CITY RACE TO THE PLAYOFFS
As the New Year is in full swing, in the Championship the race for promotion is typically unpredictable. At the time of writing, Swansea City and Cardiff City both sit within four points of the play-off positions in the league. January’s derby game saw the Swans miss out on a chance to claim the first league double over the Bluebirds in 108 years of the fixture. The face-off at the Cardiff City Stadium lacklustre to say the least; a draw and a share of the points was a fair result, but some goals wouldn’t have gone amiss.
February sees both Welsh outfits play six games in four weeks, and on paper neither team have a comfortable run of games. Swansea travel to Preston, Hull, Blackburn and Fulham, while entertaining Derby, QPR and Huddersfield at home. Cardiff have just as tricky a run of fixtures: trips to Luton, Huddersfield and Stoke, while welcoming Wigan, Nottingham Forest and Brentford to the capital.