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Red-hot Reds defrost Porth

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Llanelli Town AFC 4

AFC Porth 0

IT WAS touch and go as to whether the Reds’ game against AFC Porth got underway on Saturday (Jan 21), following an evening of heavy frost.

Eddie Donne and his team did a remarkable job of heating up the pitch with Heath Robinson materials and just before 2pm, the officials gave the thumbs up for the game. It was still bitterly cold despite the beautiful sunshine and blue sky over Stebonheath as the Reds took on AFC Porth in what looked on paper to be a tough match for the Reds.

As most visiting teams have found out this season, what it looks like on paper and what it looks like on the beautifully green Stebonheath turf is a completely different story. New signing James Loveridge was on the bench and that man Lee Trundle was in the starting 11. It didn’t take long for Trundle to bring some warmth to the Stebo crowd.

Despite being marked by at least three men wherever he went and after being bundled over a couple of times, he was gifted a free kick on the edge of the box. He curled the ball around a few players and although it looked like it may have taken a slight deflection off a Porth player, Trundle was credited with the goal.

Jordan Follows looked a little more comfortable and confident on the ball with the return of his more physical partner in crime and just before half time, Follows found plenty of space down the left running at pace to belt the ball past the Porth keeper to make it 2-0 to Llanelli AFC at half time. The unbeaten run didn’t really look to be in much danger and despite Porth sitting close to the top of League Division 2, they really looked to be the underdogs and lacked the bark and bite to worry the in-form Reds side.

Following a welcome cup of tea and a cheeky garibaldi, the supporters and the teams ventured back out into the cold but sunny stadium for the second half. James Loveridge came on as substitute and it was easy to see why he had been signed. He showed plenty of pace and made some blistering runs in front of the stand, much to the approval of the home fans. He combined with Trundle on a couple of occasions and came close to scoring and if it weren’t for the skills of the Porth keeper, he could have had at least two goals. ‘Coulda shoulda woulda’, as my deputy editor says, is not good enough. It was Lee Bevan who put his head to a beautiful cross, sending the ball past a grasping Porth keeper for the third goal of the match. The Reds ‘coulda’ been forgiven for taking their feet off the gas with a 3-0 lead but this team wanted to totally defrost the crowd as they turned up the heat another notch as gas mark number 10 Lee Trundle slotted home the final goal to make the final score Llanelli Town AFC 4 – AFC Porth 0.

Following the game, The Herald spoke to some of the people involved at Stebo, including Director David Craddock. We asked him what the prospects for the Reds were, given their unbeaten run. He said: “It was an excellent win against tough opposition. They were very physical but we played exceptionally well.

“Next week, we will have to run and run against a good professional outfit, The New Saints. James Loveridge is a new signing and he has pace. I have known him and his family for a number of years. He is a Llanelli boy and that is important for us.

“The club is very buoyant and everything is going well. We have some great staff in the background. This is our best ever season. We are hoping to get the academy going next year and we hope to incorporate 15 teams next year – boys and girls.”

Speaking after the game, Llanelli manager Andy Hill said: “There was a bit of doubt about the pitch this morning but Eddie did a great job in getting it ready.

“It was a good win and we are really pleased. We have had three clean sheets on the bounce but the game against New Saints will be a massive task. James Loveridge looked sharp today and hopefully he can get more game time.

“We are training twice this week to prepare for the cup match. We have a full strength squad and that is a great position to be in.”

Lee Trundle is available for Llanelli duty next week. Speaking to The Herald after the game, he said: “We expected a tough game from one of the top league clubs but we dominated from start to finish.

“James Loveridge showed some presence when he came on. He hasn’t had any games and he hasn’t had much training time but with a couple of games under his belt, he will be a great signing.

“I am available to play next week because the Swans are playing on Sunday. We will go to the Saints believing that we can win the game. “

Llanelli are now unbeaten in the league and in the cup. They sit at the top of League Division 2 with 37 points.

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Community

Scarlets’ grassroots clubs show community spirit in delivering vital food packages

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Scarlets community clubs have been working together to help deliver vital food packages across the region.


Volunteers from grassroots clubs and WRU girls hubs across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire have been helping take the food packages to vulnerable members of society who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic.


The clubs have teamed up with the Scarlets Community Foundation — the charity arm of the Scarlets — and Carmarthen-based food wholesaler Castell Howell, while Scarlets players Osian Knott, Kieran Hardy, Ryan Conbeer and Jac Morgan have also lent their hand to the operation.


More than 300 packages were due to be delivered on Monday and Tuesday (April 6 & April 7), with the initiative highlighting that even without any action on the field, rugby clubs remain at the heart of their community.
Scarlets Community Foundation manager Caroline Newman said:  “We have been overwhelmed with the support that we have received from local clubs, the number of people prepared to volunteer to help the most vulnerable in our communities has been touching.


“People’s reasons for requesting packs have often been heart-wrenching and it really has made us appreciate what we have.


“The foundation has worked closely with Castell Howell to make sure the packages are ready to go to those whose need is greatest, managing to turn things around pretty quickly and I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in making this happen, our funder, Castell Howell, all the clubs, our helpline volunteer and the foundation members.
“Great teamwork which has made me proud to be part of the fantastic community that rugby creates.”

Here are the rugby clubs and WRU girls rugby hubs taking part in the initiative

Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Amman Utd, Ammanford, Burry Port, Betws, Bynea, Cardigan, Cefneithin, Felinfoel, Fishguard & Goodwick, Furnace Utd, Haverfordwest, Kidwelly, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Llandybie, Llanelli Wanderers, Llangennech, Llangwm, Merched Mynydd Mawr, Milford Haven, Narberth, New Dock Stars, Newcastle Emlyn, Neyland, Penybanc, Pontyates, St Clears, Stradey Sospans, Tenby Utd, Tumble, Tycroes, Whitland, Yr Hendy.

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Sport

Wales v Scotland postponed

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WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.

“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

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Sport

Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended

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THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April  4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.  

The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance. 

The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate. 

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