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Scarlets seal first win under Mooar

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Scarlets 18-10 Connacht

SCARLETS produced a hard-earned 18-10 victory over Connacht to give Brad Mooar a victorious Parc y Scarlets debut in the Guinness PRO14.

First-half tries from Steff Evans and Paul Asquith, combined with eight points from the boot of fly-half Dan Jones was enough to get the Championship season off to a winning start on a wet and windy West Wales evening.

The Scarlets’ victory was based on a dogged defensive effort led by back-rower and man-of-the-match Josh Macleod.

The Pembrokeshire openside also claimed some crucial turnover penalties, while full-back Johnny McNicholl provided the cutting edge from deep before a monsoon descended on Llanelli in the second half.

Missing 15 players at the Rugby World Cup, Mooar fielded 13 home-grown players in his match-day 23, including a number of the region’s emerging talent.

Ryan Conbeer looked lively out wide, Dan Jones and Kieran Hardy showed maturity beyond their years at half-back, while Tom Phillips put in a typical workaholic shift in the back-row.

Centre and captain Steff Hughes also led by example at the heart of the action.

After soaking up an early period of Connacht pressure, Scarlets struck for the game’s opening try after 19 minutes.

It was started by a break from McNicholl, Asquith went close before Evans pounced in the corner from short range.

Photos by Darren Harries

The Scarlets extended their advantage six minutes before half-time.

An arcing run from that man McNicholl caused the alarm bells to ring in the visitors’ defence and then a superb dummy kick and pass from Hughes sent centre partner Asquith sliding in at the posts.

Jones’s conversion made it 12-0 before Connacht responded with a penalty through fly-half Conor Fitzgerald just before the break.

With the rain getting heavier and conditions deteriorating, the sides were finding it easier to play without the ball than with it and the Scarlets’ defence was in resilient mood.

Jones pushed the home side 15-3 ahead shortly after the restart, but a sustained period of pressure saw Connacht hit back when flanker Eoghan Masterson found his way over after a series of punishing drives.

Fitzgerald converted, but another Jones penalty moved the lead out to eight points and the Scarlets were able to see out the rest of the game for a morale-lifting triumph.

Scarlets’ next game sees them take on Glasgow on Friday (Oct 4) and they return to Parc Y Scarlets on Saturday (Oct 12) when they host Zebre.

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Old Gold snatch vital draw

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JD Cymru Premier League
Penybont 1 – Carmarthen Town 1

AFTER an impressive performance to defeat Penybont at Richmond Park on Boxing Day, expectations among the Town supporters who travelled along the M4 for this Cymru Premier League return fixture. Glad tidings of great joy were, however, in short supply this time around.


An uneventful opening period saw play confined to the pitch’s middle third, neither side threatening much in the way of attacking threat.
In the 11th minute, Penybont carved open the Old Gold defence in clinical fashion.


Nathan Wood fired a dangerous cross towards the far post where Daniel Griffiths rose high above Alaric Jones to head the ball back into the goalmouth. Kostya Georgievsky reacted quicker than any defender and planted his close-range header past ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the net.
As Town appeared laboured and uncertain, on 31 minutes Penybont went close to stretching their lead when Wood released a fierce long-range drive that Idzi, with a flying full-length dive, turned narrowly wide of the post.
Carmarthen’s only significant goal threat during the entire first-half came in the 36th minute when a rasping effort from Luke Bowen was well-parried by home keeper Rhys Wilson.


The second half’s opening was no better than the quality of play in much of the first period. Both sides gave the ball away too easily, with careless misplaced passes a constant feature of their exchanges.


Midway through the second-half, Town gradually began to exert notable pressure on the Penybont defence.


On 77 minutes Declan Carroll fired a free-kick into the crowded penalty area where Jay Woodford, from 15 yards, curled a delightful shot over several defenders but saw Wilson produce a smart save to claim the ball.
Penybont defended deep in their own half while the Old Gold turned on the afterburners in search of an equaliser. Several powerful attempts on the Penybont goal were saved by the impressive Wilson. Against the run of play, Penybont squandered a late opportunity to make the game safe.


Having survived that scare, the Old Gold resumed their sustained assault on the Penybont goal – and they were duly rewarded.


Three minutes into added time Carroll sent a searching corner-kick into the packed goalmouth where Bowen saw his close-range header blocked on the goal-line by Wilson – but the experienced striker reacted immediately and positively by driving the loose ball past the ‘keeper and into the back of the net.


Once the Carmarthen players’ delirious celebrations had subsided the game restarted and then very soon afterwards the referee blew the final whistle, probably much to the relief of Town’s supporters!


Town’s next fixture, against Airbus UK at Richmond Park on Saturday, January 11 (k/o 2.30 pm) will be an important fixture if the Old Gold are to retain their Premier League status

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County cling to win

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JD Cymru League Division One (South)
Friday, January 3
Llanelli Town 0 – Haverfordwest County 1


A 5th-minute goal by the visitors` Nicky Palmer ultimately proved to be the difference between the sides at the close, a result which extended the home side`s winless streak to seven league matches. During this dismal run, they have picked up only two points, while their goal tally is equally depressing, scoring just 10 and conceding 21.


The strain showed in the reverse fixture, when despite a spirited performance, Llanelli were well-beaten in the end.


Again, Llanelli fielded a depleted side and included no fewer than five Academy members, with William Wang and Liam Thomas making their debuts, along with Liam Griffiths and Morgan and Jack Cutler.


With the Bluebirds heading the league table, the home team approached the game with hope but little expectation. However, the makeshift hosts pit up a decent showing and were not unduly overawed or outplayed.


The early opener by Palmer resulted from some slack defending when he met a cross from Marcus Griffiths to drive it past Scott Coughlan in the Reds’ goal.


The home keeper then did well to parry to safety a dangerous ball across the face of goal by Jack Wilson, before the home side came close to an equaliser following a James Loveridge delivery to the far post which was met by a header from Nathan Logan which came back off the upright.


The visitors were winning the majority of the second ball, and when a long throw into the goalmouth by Wilson caused problems for Coughlan and his defenders, Griffiths reacted first but was denied from close range by a block which resulted in a corner.


Despite determined defence, Llanelli struggled to establish a foothold in proceedings, and when a corner was partially cleared only as far as Ben Fawcett, he might have done better when he drove his finish wide from a promising position.


The home team were certainly more pro-active from the restart. The Bluebirds’ goal came under threat on several occasions, with a Loveridge back-heel setting up Logan for a strike which was diverted for a corner.
Logan then turned provider when he played a pass into Tim Parker in the area, but his effort on the turn lacked power and gave County goalie Kyle Stuart few problems.


The home team came agonisingly close again to an equaliser when Logan met a Liam Samuel ball but again could only find the upright, and when the ball ran loose, it was scrambled clear off the line.


The Bluebirds retaliated through Fawcett who drilled a free-kick inches off target, and then just failed to connect with a ball driven across the face of goal when the Reds made a complete hash of a short goal kick and conceded possession.


A minute from time, the problems for the hosts became even more acute when Loveridge and Kurtis Rees were involved in a flare-up, leading to the dismissal of both players by referee Daniel Richardson.


While the Bluebirds ran out deserved winners, there will be tougher games ahead and they will want to improve significantly on this showing to cement their place at the summit.

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LLANELLI TOWN AFC VS PENRHYNCOCH FC

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LLANELLI TOWN AFC VS PENRHYNCOCH FC

LLANELLI TOWN 0 PENRHYNCOCH 1

A blast from the past in the form of former Reds` favourite, Antonio Corbisiero, ended their interest in the JD Welsh Cup for another season in this second round tie.

His stunning 19th minute volley demonstrated he has lost little of the craft which he used to employ to such good effect in the more heady days of the club`s history, and how they could do with him now as he was head and shoulders above anyone on either side.

Another patched-up home outfit, once again missing several key players, were, quite frankly, abysmal, struggling to establish any meaningful pattern to their play, particularly in the first half, with far too many errors allied with some careless passing which gifted possession to their opponents.

They were reduced to firing hopeful long-range efforts which seldom looked capable of reaching the intended target, with Kyle Copp in the forefront of this tactic, to no great effect.

The visitors also seemed incapable of any worthwhile attacking ploys, and it took Corbisiero`s strike to lift the contest out of mediocrity when he met a delivery from the right by Jack Rimmer on the edge of the box to volley sweetly past the despairing clutches of Scott Coughlan in the home goal.

Even this setback did little to stir the Reds out of their lethargy, and while they continued to enjoy plenty of possession, they seldom looked capable of levelling matters.

Ryan Hurlow had a tame effort easily dealt with by the Roosters` keeper, Leigh Jenkins, while he also parried and gathered an effort from distance by James Loveridge.

With a forgettable first half over, the Reds did up the anti after the restart, and were certainly more forceful in their efforts to secure the goal which would level matters, but once again wrong decisions at the vital time proved costly, typified by Morgan Cutler opting to pass inside when he had a viable shooting opportunity.

Their best, and as it turned out, only real chance arose when Jenkins opted to come off his line to challenge for a ball on the edge of the box but instead allowed it to run loose, affording Tim Parker a clear strike on the vacant net, but he failed to connect cleanly, allowing Jonathan Foligno to scramble it off the line and away from danger.

This was about as good as it got for the hosts, and even with their opponents visibly flagging as the game progressed, they still were unable to press home the advantage.

In fact, it was the other end of the field which provided the best chances when the visitors broke, with Gwion Pugh-Jones first failing to convert a ball bobbling about in the area, while Tomos Evans missed a

good chance at the far post following a run and cross by Steffan Davies.

Parker did have an effort deflected for a corner when he was found by Zac Brown, and Liam Samuel curled his finish just wide.

The Roosters then should have put the result beyond doubt when Evans was put clear in acres of space, but with only Coughlan to beat he directed his finish at the keeper who gratefully diverted it away.

As the contest entered its closing stages, an increasingly desperate home outfit did manage a couple of efforts on target, but these were capably dealt with by Jenkins, and the final whistle signalled the end of the Reds` further involvement in the competition.

Some serious work is needed if their season is not to descend into mediocrity, and the visit of Undy Athletic on Saturday could yet provide the springboard needed for a revival in fortunes. Kick off is at 2.30 p.m.

LLANELLI TOWN; Coughlan; M. Cutler (J. Cutler, 82); Brown; Thomas; Bevan ©; Griffiths; Copp, Samuel (Rees, 90+2); Parker, Loveridge, Hurlow.

PENRHYNCOCH; Jenkins; Rimmer; Pemberthy; James ©; Foligno (Gittins, 81); Corbisiero; Jones (Morgan, 84); T. Evans; Davies; J. Evans; Pugh-Jones. Subs. not used; Rees; Burrel; Meredith.

SCORER; Penrhyncoch; Corbisiero, 19.

YELLOW CARD; Penrhyncoch; Rimmer.

REFEREE; Daniel Richardson.

ATTENDANCE; 141.

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