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Fans explore feminine side with the help of the Scarlet women.

Byline: By Carolyn Hitt

The phrase Scarlet Woman takes on a whole new meaning next Friday - it's Ladies Night at Stradey.

Llanelli is already firmly in touch with its feminine side.

Have you noticed how often that ker-azy woman with the Brunhilda plaits gets a close-up on Scrum V?

As she thrusts her toy sheep towards the camera with a saucy gleam in her eye, she must be the most recognised fan in Wales since Ted Prosser donned a dragon suit and Andrew Harry wore his Jenks Jug Ears.

While the men in red take on Connacht in the Celtic League, it's girl power throughout the ground. 'Now while other clubs may be discovering female supporters for the first time, there is a long tradition of female Scarlets supporters,' explains the Llanelli Newsletter editor.

'To celebrate their support and to welcome in a new generation of Scarlet women, there will be concessionary ticket prices for all ladies; special drinks promotions; 10% discount on selected ladieswear in the club shop and pre and post-match entertainment.'

Touted as the perfect Mother's Day present, the marketing bonanza is proving so popular that there may be an outbreak of transvestism west of the Lougher.

'Scarlets fans are responding so well to the initiative that we have heard of several male supporters sneaking into M&S to stock up on frillies in order to claim the discounts!

'Chief executive Stuart Gallacher said that at the risk of being accused of moral corruption, he was inclined to reward the endeavour of those who had gone to great lengths to explore their feminine side. So expect a big influx of hirsute ladies from Cardiganshire.'

The hormone replacement doesn't stop there. They've found a lady 'Roving Reverend' to take over the spiritual duties of club chaplain Rev Eldon Phillips for the night; there will be a female comic in the Scrum Bar after the match...and I'm doing the PA announcements.

Now when the call came to step up to the mic I felt hugely honoured. It's an immense privilege to read out such an illustrious teamsheet and whip the Stradey faithful into a frenzy. And then I panicked a bit.

This could be like one of those Faking It programmes where the hapless guinea pig has a week to transform herself from clueless amateur to confident pro.

For a start, I'll have to know who's actually scored even when the only clue is a triumphant fist protruding from a writhing heap of mud-splattered bodies.

The usual appeals to my Western Mail colleagues will not be allowed. 'Oi Simon, Andy, who the hell is that under there?' would be a tad embarrassing at full volume in earshot of 6,000 fans. And then there's the question of vocal delivery.

Purely on pronunciation grounds, let's hope Connacht hooker Marnus Uijs isn't on the teamsheet. Try getting your tongue round that one. As match MC you also have to stamp your style on the proceedings. Every announcer has a distinctive approach.

There's Old School Authority: 'Ladies and gentleman will you please ensure the children do not run on the pitch at half-time. If the little tinkers do cut up the pitch with their expensive trainers the administration of Chinese Burns may be necessary as a disciplinary measure'.

Then there's Local Radio DJ: 'C'mon everybody, give it up for the hottest cheerleaders in Waaaaaaaales.' Not half!

And there's Hilariously Biased: 'Us 3, but the ref is killing us mun! Dirty cheating jammy foreigners 47.'

In some grounds, meanwhile, thanks to the dubious quality of the PA system it doesn't matter which style the match announcer adopts.

With a commentary that is translated into a series of intermittent droning noises and the occasional crackle, he could be declaring the score in Serbo-Croat for all we know.

But it will be crystal clear in Llanelli. I just hope my diction is the same. So ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, for one night only, please give a warm Stradey welcome to your guest announcer...

Read Carolyn Hitt on England v Wales in The Western Mail Magazine today
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 20, 2004
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