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Town slip up in title bid

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LLISWERRY 3

LLANELLI TOWN 1

A WEEK can be a long time in football, Llanelli Town will be the first team to tell you this. Rewind seven days to an important home win against Tredegar and all was looking rosy. Especially as all their promotion rivals were dropping points.

Fast forward seven days and following a poor display at Spytty Park on March 7, it`s squeaky bum time again. Town’s third away defeat of the season was compounded by second placed Ammanford thumping Cardiff Grange Harlequins 5-1 on their home patch and Cardiff Corinthians inflicting a similar scoreline at Treharris Athletic Western.

With Ammanford also racking up a 3-1 win at today’s opponents Lliswerry in midweek, the gap between them and the Reds has now been reduced to five points and Ammanford still have three games in hand. The meeting between the sides at Stebonheath on Wednesday is now a massive fixture for both teams, and could well have a crucial bearing on the ultimate destination of the league title.

The Lizards were reduced to eight players during their clash with Ammanford following three red cards, and the Reds might have taken heart from this, but instead failed to display any flair or imagination in their overall play and can have few complaints at the final outcome. They barely tested Ross Davies in the home goal, their only success stemming from the penalty spot in the second half.

By that stage they were already three down, with the first home goal arriving after just 8 minutes when a far post cross by Dan Edwards found an unmarked Joe Gibson who directed his header past keeper Craig Richards.

Seven minutes later the lead was doubled. A cross-field ball which was not dealt with by the visitors defence found its way into the path of Edwards, and he unleashed a 30 yard rocket into the bottom corner.

Little had been seen of the Reds as an attacking force, their nearest effort stemming from captain and central defender, Lee Bevan, whose shot from distance rebounded off the crossbar.

Luke Jones saw an effort deflect off a home defender for a corner when Mark Napieralla found him in the box, before Lliswerry stretched the lead further six minutes from the break when Joe Howells did well to keep the ball alive before crossing into the middle, where some more slack marking allowed Safian Skupinski a free header beyond Richards.

In an attempt to inject some urgency into their play, the visitors introduced Rhys Powell and Bartome Bauza in place of Napieralla and Ross Jones at the start of the second half, and there were signs of improvement with Robert Thomas just failing to connect with an Anthony Owens delivery across the goalmouth.

When the Lizards countered, Kazeem Kareen might have done better when put clear by Howells but directed his finish off target.

The Reds did manage to reduce the deficit on 62 minutes through the award of a penalty when Owens was pulled back in the area, and it was duly converted by Richard Lewis.

At the other end, Howells somehow contrived to strike the underside of the bar when it seemed easier to score, while Richards did well to push clear a strike on goal by Skupinski.

This was about the end of any further meaningful action by either side, but the Reds well be bitterly disappointed with this lacklustre performance, and will certainly have to pull out all the stops for the crucial visit of Ammanford on Wednesday evening, kick off 7.45 p.m.

Next Saturday, Treowen Stars are their opponents at Stebonheath with a 2.30 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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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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