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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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Felinfoel win comfortably

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FELINFOEL continued their unbeaten start to the season on Saturday (Oct 5) as they beat Gowerton 23-0.

In a game played in difficult conditions both sides contributed to an open match with Felinfoel finally ending up comfortable winners.

Felinfoel took an early lead with a try from left wing Jordan Dunne converted by full back Aled Roberts.

Roberts added a further two penalties before the break making the score at half time 13 – nil.

Photo by Darren Harries

The weather conditions deteriorated in the second half and it was not until the 20th minute that Felinfoel increased their lead with a further penalty from Roberts.

As Felinfoel added further pressure, live wire wing Dunne went in for his second try again well converted from wide out by Roberts.

Gowerton came close to scoring at the end, but strong defence by Felinfoel prevented them from scoring.

Felinfoel now look forward to round two of the WRU Plate competition when they entertain Skewen on Saturday (Oct 12).

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Cherries hold off Penygroes

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Furnace United 18-9 Penygroes

FURNACE United welcomed Penygroes to Cae Castell on Saturday (Oct 5) and after two attritional battles last season this game was highly anticipated.

The field conditions were excellent even though there was a little drizzle throughout.

The game started at a frantic pace with Furnace taking the early initiative resulting in a try from second row Andrew Evans after five minutes. Daf Green slotted the conversion from out wide to make it 7-0 to the home side.

Five minutes later, from subsequent Penygroes pressure, they were able to score their first points of the game as the trusted boot of number 10 Christopher Powell slotted a penalty between the sticks.

Straight from the restart Furnace gained good field position and were awarded a penalty in front of the sticks.

Green added the three points to make it 10-3 to the home side.

Photo by Darren Harries

The rest of the first half saw Penygroes put pressure on the Furnace line but to no avail.

The first 25 minutes of the second half saw the visitors throw the kitchen sink at the Furnace line.

However, although some stern defence meant they weren’t able to cross the line, they did manage two further penalties from the boot of Powell to bring the score to 10-9.

Having defended for much of the half, Furnace looked to increase their lead and they marched up the field before Daf Green slotted a drop goal to make it 13-9 to the Cherries.

The last ten minutes saw Penygroes pressing again but without reward.

From the last play of the game, Furnace intercepted a loose pass and Centre Scott Davies galloped 60 metres down the paddock to cross and put the game to bed.

The conversion was missed but it mattered little as the Cherries earned an 18-9 victory.

On Saturday (Oct 12), both sides take a break from league action as they take part in the second round of the WRU Bowl.

Furnace are away to Cefn Cribbwr while Penygroes are at home to Abercarn.

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Burry Port stay in touch

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Burry Port Res 3-0 Evans & Williams Res

BURRY Port Reserves kept themselves in touch with the top two as they beat Evans and Williams Reserves 3-0 on Saturday (Oct 5).

A very even first half ended with Jamie Phillips heading home from a corner to make it 1-0 to Burry Port.

In the second half the home side played much better and were on top from the start going 2-0 up through Sam Saer.

They dominated for a spell but Evans and Williams came back strong and looked as if they might get one back.

Eventually the home side got their third through Ryan Owens to seal the win and all but end any hopes Evans and Williams had of getting back into the game.

Burry Port remain level on points with the top two with all three having won four of their five games so far this season.

On Saturday (Oct 12), Evans and Williams will look to bounce back when they take on Gorseinon Reserves.

The reserves do not have a game but Burry Port’s first team are in action in the first round of the West Wales Cup as they host Cwm Albion Colts.

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