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Close win for home side

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Luke Jones: Runs the Tredegar defence

Luke Jones: Runs the Tredegar defence

Llanelli Town 1
Tredegar Town 0

PRIOR to the weekend fixtures, the Reds` dream scenario would have envisaged a home win against their highly placed visitors nearest rivals Ammanford and Lliswerry also promotion contenders, drawing and, most unlikely of all, Cwmamman United going down at Cwm Welfare.

Their expectations were realised as these results duly emerged – the only successful side in the top three being Cardiff Corinthians with an emphatic 5-1 win over Newport YMCA.

With their lead at the top of the table now extended to eleven points over Ammanford, they will be confident of going on to secure the championship title, although there are still a few tricky obstacles in the way in the shape of away matches at Lliswerry and Tredegar, while the home local derby with Ammanford could also prove crucial.

A scrappy, niggly game did not throw up much in the way of goalmouth action, with neither goalkeeper being seriously tested throughout.

The only direct effort on goal came in the opening couple of minutes when the home side attacked through Luke Jones whose infield pass picked out Robert Thomas, but his strike forced a sprawling save by goalkeeper Kris Morris at the expense of a corner.

As the home side, the Reds were the more dominant, but their opponents were content to sit back and absorb the pressure, resulting in few clear cut chances.

In fact, it was the visitors who went closest to establishing the lead when Reds` keeper, Craig Richards, made a hash of an attempted clearance, allowing Tomos Lynch to win possession before directing an effort across the face of goal before it was scrambled clear.

When the home side countered, a deep cross by Mark Napieralla found Steve Berry positioned on the edge of the area, and his first time volley flashed across the net and just wide of the far post.

A Richard Lewis corner found Luke Jones, but a defensive block denied him, but the best opportunity for the Reds to open their account came when some great wide play down the right by Bruno Forkuoh found Thomas in space, but he directed his finish wide from 20 yards.

On the stroke of half-time, Lynch did find the home net only for the effort to be ruled out for offside, but within a minute of the restart the Reds took the lead through Forkuoh with an exquisite backheel past Morris following some excellent build-up play from Anthony Owens.

Buoyed by this success, they came agonisingly close to extending the advantage with a Lewis free kick being met with a Lee Bevan header at the far post which rebounded off the underside of the crossbar before being cleared.

When the visitors were awarded a set piece, it was quickly taken by Morris who drove it down the middle where it deflected off Jamie Evans into the path of Lynch, but he took too long over his intended finish, and Evans was able to affect a clearance.

Most of the chances coming the way of Tredegar stemmed from ineptitude by their opponents, typified when a poor back pass by Napieralla was seized upon by Lynch, forcing Richards out of his goal to close down the threat.

A speculative attempt from Christopher Quinlan forced Richards to turn it over, while at the other end, persistence by Luke Jones forced Morris into a hurried clearance which only found Forkuoh, and he despatched a strike on target only for Gareth Stevens to intervene and prevent a certain goal.

Berry sent a first time attempt narrowly wide of the visitors` goal, but in stoppage time, they could well have levelled matters when another error, this time by Bevan, afforded Ian Pettit the chance, but again the finish was undecisive and Richards was able to gather safely.

A less than convincing win for the home side, but who nevertheless will be satisfied with the three points, and now face a potential tricky away game at Lliswerry on Saturday (Mar 7), kick off 2.30 p.m., before the visit of Ammanford to Stebonheath on Wednesday, 11th March, with a 7.45 p.m. kick off.

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Raiders seal first ever win

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West Wales Raiders 44

Coventry Bears 16

Lucas Marshall, Stebonheath Park,

A LATE rally by Coventry Bears was not enough to deny a jubilant West Wales Raiders their first-ever win at the 45th time of asking.

The old South Wales Ironmen tasted victory against Gloucestershire All Golds in the first match played at Stebonheath Park back in July 2017, but never before have the side won under the Raiders banner. And it was certainly worth the wait as the Raiders dominated much of the game against a Bears side that doesn’t have the best record when travelling to South Wales. The other game the Ironmen won in 2017 was against Coventry, whilst the Bears only won by 10 points at Llanelli last season.

Dewi Billingham made his Coventry debut while trialist Zak Williams made his first appearance since returning to the Bears. But both former Raiders stars were unable to come back to haunt their former employers.

Try time: Raiders celebrate another try. Photo by Darren Harries

Much of the damage was done in the first half with the Raiders taking control from the kick-off and eventually going in 20-0 up at the break.

It took only six minutes for Raiders to break the Bears defence when good work down the left put Dalton Desmond-Walker in for the opener. Phil Cowburn added the extras but was off target just moments later after Ash Bateman was on the end of some quick passing to go in on the right.

When Morgan Evans went in for the Raiders third, again converted by Cowburn, their loyal band of supporters started to believe they were on course for victory.

It could have been even worse for the Bears, but strong defence saw them hold the visitors up over the line on three occasions mid-way through the half. Although there was no denying Archie Snook with one of the final plays of the half after Welsh International Steve Parry had split the Bears defence to put the centre through. Cowburn once again failed with the conversion but the Raiders still celebrated their most positive 40 minutes in almost two years.

After the break, it was the Bears who struck first through Reece Rance, but any hopes of a comeback were soon extinguished by three quick-fire tries.

First, former Bears player Mitch Shaw scooted over, before Bateman and Snook both got their second try of the afternoon to all but secure the victory for the Llanelli-based outfit.

Parry then went in for the Raiders’ eighth try of the day to put the icing on a long-awaited cake.

But the Bears were by no means done and added two further tries of their own to make the scoreline look a little less dominate than the game suggested.

Tries from Errol Carter and South Wales youth system graduate Cobi Green, along with two Joe Sanderson conversions rounded off the scoring for the visitors.

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Sport

Dafen see off Porthcawl

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DAFEN Seconds earned their sixth win of the season on Saturday (Jul 6) as they beat Porthcawl by 75 runs.

Porthcawl won the toss and elected to field and they were able to bowl Dafen out for 182.

Opener Oliver Evans made a score of 19 and Chris Randell scored 25 as a number of Dafen batsmen made good starts.

Jonathan Griffiths scored 22 and there were also scores of 15 from Tom Lavender and 16 from Luke Dunning.

Matthew Thomas made a late score of 18 while Andrew Randell top scored with 43 runs.

Nicholas Morgan was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for the loss of 30 runs from his 6.3 overs.

Mark Bevan also bowled well to finish with figures of 3-37.

Photos by Darren Harries

That set Porthcawl 138 to win but they lost a number of batsmen for single figure scores as they struggled to put runs on the board.

Andrew Randell had Nicholas Morgan caught by Jac Morgan and Matthew Thomas had Rhodri Phillips caught by Chris Randell.

Chris Richards made a score of 13 before he was bowled by Rhys Marchant who then also bowled Rob Warren and had David Lewis caught by Chris Randell, both for ducks.

Tim Richards also fell for a duck when he was caught off the bowling of Matthew Thomas.

Mark Lewis had scored 25 but he also fell to the bowling of Marchant.

Steffan Flood also scored 25 before he was bowled by Chris Randell and Joshua Aubrey added 20 late on before he also fell to the bowling of Randell.

That meant that Porthcawl were all out for 107, giving Dafen seconds an excellent win.

On Saturday (Jul 13), Dafen seconds are away to local rivals Llanelli seconds.

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Rees century sees Llanelli to win

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LLANELLI’s Iwan Rees scored a century on Saturday (Jul 6) to help his side to victory over Briton Ferry Steel.

Briton Ferry won the toss and elected to bat but they were restricted to 186-8 in their innings.

Steven Devonald struck early on to remove Evan Hynes but Lloyd Clement and Jamie Griffiths shared 44 runs for the second wicket.

Jac Rees had Griffiths caught by Craig Howells on a score of 24 and soon after Craig Evans was bowled by Aled Gilley for a duck.

Clement had made a score of 41 but when he was bowled by Rees, the Steel found themselves on 81-4.

That soon became 88-5 as Steve Maddock was caught by Marcus Leaf off the bowling of Gilley.

Photo by Darren Harries

Iwan Rees then had Steffan Evans caught by Howells and Rhys Norgrove fell in similar fashion.

Jason Hughes and Thomas Williams shared 56 runs for the eighth wicket as they looked to give their side a total to defend.

On the last ball Williams was caught by Rees off the bowling of Gilley on a score of 24 which left Hughes not out on 67.

Llanelli openers Iwan Rees and Ioan Phillips shared 42 runs for the first wicket before Phillips was caught by Rhys Norgrove off the bowling of Jay Webb.

That was as good as it got for the Steel though as they were unable to claim any further wickets.

Craig Howells hit seven fours as he finished unbeaten on 53 while Rees starred with 14 fours to finish unbeaten on 104.

The win gives Llanelli 19 points and keeps them third in the table. On Saturday (Jul 13), they travel to local rivals Dafen.

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