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Misty Stebo Hop

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Clinton ForbesWALKIN’ in the park just the other day, baby, what do you think I saw? Crowds of people sittin’ on the grass with flowers in their hair said, hey boy do you want to score?

They were not so much sitting on the grass as in the stands on Saturday (Jan 7) as visitors from the Midsts of Aberdare visited Stebonheath Park. The 2′ o’clock kick off was fortuitous. Any later and the game would surely have been called off due to the very poor visibility as a thick mist envelped Stebo.

And you know how it is? I really don’t know what time it was oh, oh. So I asked them if I could stay awhile. In fact The Herald stayed for the full 90 minutes as usual to watch The Reds play their first game for almost three weeks on the back of all that Christmas turkey.

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Well you know they asked us to stay for tea and have some fun. Oh, oh, he said that his friends would all drop by, oh. Why don’t you take a good look at yourself and describe what you see. And baby, baby, baby, do you like it? What was there not to like? I saw a slippery surface and a full strength Llanelli Town squad lighting up the gloom with some dazzling football and two wonderful goals.

Aberdare did look threatening during the first half with some long ranging passes finding their strikers only to be hashed like a Christmas pudding left too long in the oven and the brandy still wet on Granddad’s Frosty the Snowman shirt. It was messy for quite a while until that jolly man in the red suit Lee Trundle received a gift of a pass from Joe Clarke, chested it onto his foot, lobbed it over the head of a defender and volleyed it passed the goalkeeper who up until that point had managed to keep the visitors in the game with some spectacular saves resembling a brand new limited edition Scalextric Le Mans track.

The second half aw Aberdare Clinton Forbes pulling off a number of great saves to deny some crackers on target from Jordan Follows, Joe Clarke and Jordan Davies. Unfortunately no cigars but the three wise footballers looked happy enough back at the inn toasting the goals of Lee Trundle and oh did I mention the one from Joe Clarke?

Trundle

Despite close attention similar to that glamorous aunty gets from your next door neighbour on Christmas Eve Lee Trundle managed to break the Marley like chains and send a star quality ball over the Aberdare defence to the feet of Joe Clarke who put it away like Uncle Bill downs the whisky. The keeper didn’t get a sniff and with the mist descending to a point where The Herald couldn’t even see corner flag, nothing to do with the effects of tea suspiciously tasting of Rum from the Jock Stein Lounge of course, we packed up our bags for the Misty Mountains of Pontyates. Where the spirits go now. Over the hills where the spirits fly, oh, I really don’t know. The match ended Llanelli Town AFC 2 – Aberdare Town 0

The Reds welcome Abergavenny Town to Stebonheath tomorrow (Jan 14) in the quarter final of the League Cup, kick off is at  2pm.

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Errors prove costly for Raiders

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West Wales Raiders 16

North Wales Crusaders 56

By Ian Golden at Stebonheath Park

NORTH Wales Crusaders’ play-off hopes took a boost on Saturday after taking advantage of West Wales Raiders’ many errors to earn to a large win.

The Wrexham-based side will go into their last two games full of confidence but know they’ll have a tougher outing at Newcastle Thunder in a fortnight.

Their first try came on 11 minutes when Ben Stead forced his way through, and the lead was soon doubled after Dave Eccleston dived through a gaping hole in Raiders’ back-line. Stead converted to put the score on 10-0.

West Wales were close to getting a try back midway through the first half after winning a repeat set near to the North Wales line. Ash Bateman was close following a good run from Archie Snook, but the ball was forced off him when diving for the line.

Crusaders made them pay. From the resulting scrum, a 90-metre set culminated in Warren Thompson scoring under the sticks and Stead converting.

Raiders hit back on the half-hour. Regaining the ball on halfway after Snook bravely collected a kick from close range, Phil Cowburn sneakily slipped the ball back to Mitch Shaw who dived under the sticks. Cowburn converted.

Photo by Darren Harries

Crusaders struck back when Steven Roper couldn’t believe his luck and even hesitated when he saw a gap he could easily run through to score a try. He added the extras himself.

There was controversy with the next score. The referee initially awarded a scrum to Crusaders but after consultation, he gave Crusaders a penalty and Matthew Reid scored from that set.

And it went from bad to ridiculous on the half-time hooter after Sam Baker spilled the ball inside his own goal area allowing Alex Eckley to touch down easily. Roper missed both kicks but Crusaders were 30-6 up.

They added to their lead on 47 minutes in a try they had to work hard for. Raiders were defending well but Joe Ryan finally managed to break through before Lewis Fairhurst converted.

Raiders were unlucky not to a try back on the hour when Baker was pushed into touch when diving for the line. Crusaders went straight back up-field and after winning a penalty, Dante Monte-Samuels crashed over. Fairhurst’s kick just made it through the posts despite the wind taking it wide and Crusaders were 42-6 up.

There were five full Wales internationals in the game, two of them with Crusaders, but it took until the 68th minute before one got on the scoresheet. Rob Massam, the North Wales winger was sent over in the corner. Fairhurst missed the kick.

Then, after regaining the ball from kick-off, one of the West Wales trio scored and it was typically Steve Parry, diving low from dummy half. Cowburn sliced the kick wide.

In the set after that was a rare Crusaders error. Snook did well to beat his marker to score, much to the delight of his mother on the PA system! Cowburn converted.

But it was Crusaders who ended on a high as Massam crossed for two more in the left corner. Shaw did cross for Raiders in the last move of the game but it was chalked off for a forward pass.

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Town too good for Dafen

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DAFEN Seconds suffered defeat on Saturday (Aug 17) as they were beaten by Briton Ferry Town.

The game was reduced to 40-overs a side because of earlier rain and when Dafen won the toss they elected to field.

However, Briton Ferry racked up an impressive score of 225-4 in those 40 overs.

Amar Waseem and Neil Baggridge shared 146 runs for the first wicket as both reached their half centuries.

Waseem fell for a score of 68 and Baggridge for 63 as Dafen looked to hit back and keep the runs down.

Adeel Khan made a score of 22 while Aman Tasnem made 25 from 14 balls with a four and two sixes before he was run out.

Photo by Darren Harries

Adrian Mainwaring then finished not out on 27 as Dafen were set 226 to win the game.

Dafen lost Oliver Evans early on to the bowling of Nabel Iqbal and he also claimed the wickets of Harvey Jones (12) and Jonathan Griffiths (14).

He then claimed a fourth with the wicket of Luke Dunning as Dafen’s reply faltered.

Rhys Marchant made a score of 14 before being bowled by Mumtaz Hussain and he also claimed a further three wickets.

Aadil Mukhtar hit three fours and a six in his score of 22 but he was then bowled by Adeel Khan.

Andrew Herbert finished unbeaten on 15 but it wasn’t enough as Dafen were bowled out for 133.

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Llanelli close the gap

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LLANELLI closed the gap to second placed Tata Steel on Saturday (Aug 17) as they beat them by eight wickets.

Llanelli elected to field on winning the toss and they were able to bowl Tata out for 117.

Chris Thomas trapped Kelvin Bartle leg before early on and Steven Devonald did the same to Rohan Herbert to leave the visitors on 13-2.

Morgan Jones and Martin Lewis then made a good partnership worth 57 runs.

That was brought to and end though as Lewis was caught by Rhidian Morgan off the bowling of Iwan Rees.

Jones had made a score of 38 but he was then bowled by Jac Rees as Tata slipped to 72-4.

That became 78-5 when Phillip Taylor was trapped leg before by Iwan Rees.

The same bowler then had Joseph Crocket caught by Morgan as wickets continued to fall.

The score soon read 94-7 as David Richards caught and bowled Sean Holley.

Photo by Darren Harries

Nathan Ferrell made a late score of 10 but then saw himself caught by Morgan off the bowling of Richards who then also had Adam Jardine caught by Devonald.

Richards then claimed his fourth as he had Damien Williams stumped by Morgan to finish with figures of 4-13.

That left Llanelli needing 118 for victory and although they lost Ioan Phillips early on in their reply they were never really troubled.

Iwan Rees and Craig Howells shared 87 runs for the second wicket to all but give the home side victory.

Howells hit eight fours and a six as he scored 50 but he was then caught by Morgan Jones off the bowling of Damien Williams.

Rees and Ryan Nicholas then saw their side to victory with Nicholas finishing unbeaten on 19 with two fours and a six from his 14 balls faced.

Rees finished not out on 33 as Llanelli reached their target with plenty of time to spare.

The win moves them to within 14 points of second placed Tata Steel with two games remaining.

The first of those games takes place on Saturday (Aug 24) when Llanelli travel to Bronwydd. They then finish the season at home to third placed Maesteg Celtic.

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