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Reds win again

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THREE wins and a draw in the opening month of the league season represents a decent start for the Reds, but manager Andy Hill will be acutely aware that they are far from being the finished article and there is ample room for improvement overall.

They have, to some extent, ridden their luck in the games already played, with their opponents failing to make the most of chances created, exemplified by the latest game against the Seasiders who could well have been a couple of goals to the good in the first half, but failed to capitalise, and ultimately paid the penalty.

An eminently forgettable opening 45 minutes saw both sides struggle to put together any telling moves, with possession being conceded far too easily, with the dreaded route-one option being deployed without any significant effect.

The nearest either team came to a breakthrough saw Liam Samuel strike the Lido woodwork from distance following a Nathan Logan short corner, while the visitors went close through Noah Daley who glanced his header just wide from a Jack Hurley free kick.

Photo by Darren Harries

A further Samuel attempt was safely gathered by goalkeeper Steven Cann, before the Seasiders had a great chance of opening their account following an error by Reds central defender Lee Bevan which allowed Kaid Mohamed a free run on goal, but with only Reds` keeper Scott Coughlan to beat, his finish was straight at him and it was diverted clear.

Lucky not to be trailing, Kyle Copp fought back for the hosts by driving his free kick narrowly wide, before at the other end, it took a timely tackle by Ross Jones to halt Alex Gammond in his tracks following a run into the box.

The visitors were still causing problems for the home defenders, and Coughlan did well to block a well struck finish by Daley at his near post, while early in the second half, a glancing header by Liam McCreesh was not far off target following a Harley set-piece.

Having survived these scares, the home side then took the lead on 51 minutes when Samuel made ground down the right before crossing into the middle where Tim Parker just failed to effect a connection, but the ball instead ran through to Logan who sent his strike just inside the near post.

This somewhat unexpected success spurred on the hosts who adopted a far more positive approach, and Cann was forced to divert clear a well struck shot by Parker, while Samuel also saw his attempt deflect off a defender when Parker set up the chance.

The visitors suffered a blow on 67 minutes following a challenge by Ben Symons on Logan which led to a nasty injury necessitating lengthy treatment, and he was eventually stretchered off the field and hospitalised.

Despite this disruption, the Seasiders were still a credible threat, with Coughlan being forced into action to deny them following a move up the left, and when Mohamed made a strong run into the area he played a pass into the path of Daley, who made a complete hash of his attempted finish.

Photo by Darren Harries

Gammond blasted high over the crossbar when he met a punch out of the goalmouth by Coughlan, and Chris Thomas did well to put in a strong near post challenge to avert a potential goal with a couple of Lido attackers hovering.

Just before the close, a run by Samuel took him deep into opposition territory but with Parker in space waiting for a pass, he held on too long and was eventually crowded out.

The hosts held on to clinch the win and a further three points, but yet again rode their luck and will need greater application if they hope to challenge for honours at the end of the season.

On Saturday (Sept 7), they travel to Cardiff to meet Caerau (Ely), with a 12pm kick off.

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Llanelli seal third place

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LLANELLI finished the Division 1 season in third place after they beat Maesteg Celtic by eight wickets on Saturday (Aug 31).

Llanelli won the toss and elected to field and that proved to be a good decision as they were able to bowl Maesteg out for just 87.

Chris Thomas picked up the early wickets of Nick Poole, Matthew Davies and Ian Herbert, the latter two falling for ducks.

Gareth Hopkins made a score of 16 before he was bowled by Alex Symmons and Phil Poole scored 22 before being trapped leg before by Symmons.

Photo by Darren Harries

Thomas returned to claim his fourth wicket as he trapped John Evans leg before.

Rhodri Thomas made a late score of 24 before being bowled by Steven Devonald and Lindsay Harris scored 11 before being caught by Devonald off the bowling of Iwan Rees.

Devonald then took the final two wickets of Luke Wilson and Adam Lawler for ducks to finish with figures of 3-16 from his 8.5 overs.

Thomas was the pick of the bowlers for the home side with figures of 4-20 from his ten overs.

Photo by Darren Harries

That meant Llanelli would only need 88 to win the game and openers Iwan Rees and Ioan Phillips gave their side a good start.

Phillips made a score of 21 before falling to the bowling of Luke Wilson and he then also took the wicket of Craig Howells on a score of 11.

That was as good as it got for the Celtic as Rees and Ryan Nicholas guided Llanelli to their target inside 20 overs.

Nicholas was not out on 12 while Rees finished unbeaten on 30 as Llanelli won by eight wickets.

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Wales give England a scare

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By Ian Golden at Stebonheath Park

ENGLAND won the annual under 16 international against Wales for the second year in a row but not without surviving a scare in the first half where Wales took a 12-6 lead.

The visitors took advantage of Welsh errors in the first half as well as a second half sin-bin, to give them a slightly flattering scoreline but a deserved win in a competitive game.

The English side, who fielded 15 Super League scholarship players in their 18-man squad, had the first charge forward with Harvey Barron having an early score chalked off for a forward pass.

And in their second attacking set of the game, Wales defended well, preventing a certain try when Jake Anderson was held up over the line.

But from their third attack, Coby Nicholl scored in the corner. Joe Charnock converted well.

Photo by Darren Harries

Wales levelled on 13 minutes. Josh Atkinson, who, four years ago this weekend, was scoring for Glantaf at Wembley in the Year 7 Champion Schools final, did the same for his country. Picking up a loose ball, he played a nice one-two and grounded in the corner. Kyle Huish converted.

Then the Welsh, who had just five Super League registered players, took the lead from the next attack. Ben Mayhew scored under the posts and Huish converted.

England got their second try on 24 minutes. A nice passing move sent Kaven Rothwell over but Charnock sliced the conversion wide.

They then regained the lead four minutes later after Nichol scooted over for his second of the day with Charnock converting.

Three minutes before half-time, Patrick O’Donovan ran through for England’s fourth try of the half which Charnock again improved.

A handling error gifted England a fifth right on the hooter through Daniel Moss which went unconverted, giving the visitors a 26-12 half-time lead.

Wales could have had the first try of the second half after a good attack, but Lucas Elliott mishandled under pressure as he looked to complete the move.

Instead it was England who further extended their lead through a Tom Nichilson-Watton try that Charnock converted.

Wales hit back in the tenth minute of the half through a skilful run by winger Jermarie Chatham. Huish failed to convert.

Photo by Darren Harries

But the nail in the coffin for Wales came when Lewis Pinder was sinbinned with 15 minutes to go.

England took advantage of the extra man straight away through a Daniel Moss try under the sticks that Lewis Camden converted.

They looked another score whilst Wales were depleted but, coupled with good Welsh defence and their own handling errors, couldn’t extended the lead further.

It was from one of those English mistakes that Wales could have got a try back right at the end but the English defence held out in a solid final set.

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Smith’s super finish seals Reds win

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SOME erratic Reds defending almost cost them dear, and it took a superb finish by Peter Smith on his home debut to eventually haul them over the finish line.

Tim Parker also continued his fine start to the season, notching up a brace to take his tally to four goals in the opening three fixtures, and he is proving to be a vital cog in the home attack.

Errors from two of the more experienced Reds` players led to the Ferry successes, with an under- hit Chris Thomas pass intended for Scott Coughlan being gratefully intercepted by former Llanelli striker, Mark Jones, who slotted into an empty net on 12 minutes.

Coughlan, himself, was then involved in the second debacle, when he elected to come off his line in an attempt to gather a Robert Thomas free kick ten minutes into the second half but got nowhere near making contact, allowing Jones once again to accept the gift and head into a vacant net.

Photo by Darren Harries

Both sides created chances, with Smith snuffing out a dangerous move by the visitors by winning a challenge on Stephen Davey when he threatened to break clear, before Ferry goalkeeper Connah McFenton brilliantly turned over a fiercely struck 30 yard attempt by Lee Bevan.

From the resulting corner, Joe Clarke struck the underside of the crossbar with his header, while a careless pass by Bevan allowed Jones to seize on the loose ball before finding Cameron Harris, whose finish was inches wide of the far post.

The same scenario occurred when Davey was played in, but again the final effort across the face of goal drifted the wrong side of the upright.

It was not entirely one-way traffic, as Parker then had a great chance in the box when he won possession following some sloppy defending, but he delayed his shot with only McFenton to beat, and the keeper was able to recover and smother the ball at his feet.

The home striker made up for this lapse a minute from the interval by drawing the scores level, meeting a ball into the middle from Liam Samuel and doing just enough to squeeze his finish under McFenton.

Ten minutes into the second period, Coughlan`s rush of blood led to the second Ferry goal, and he was called into action again, this time denying Harris when he met a ball driven into the near post.

Despite the visitors looking capable of earning the win, it was their opponents who struck next when a run by Thomas from his own half culminated in his delivery into the area being met by Parker who steered it beyond the keeper in the 69th minute.

Level pegging again, worse was to follow for the Ferry when with just eight minutes remaining a free kick just outside their area came back off the wall, and when the rebound was met by Smith, he smashed a superb finish into the top corner which left McFenton helpless.

With the contest deep into stoppage time, Jones did go close again for the visitors, seeing his shot on the turn come back off the woodwork, but the Reds held on to extend their unbeaten start, but will certainly have to up their game if this record is to be maintained.

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