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.
Scarlets make five changes for European quarter-final
Johnny Williams and Sione Kalamafoni have been handed their Scarlets’ European debuts for Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Toulon at the Stade Felix Mayol (8.15pm UK time).
Both summer signings are included in a side showing five changes to the line-up that took the field against the Dragons in the Scarlets last match of the Guinness PRO14 season.
Wales and British & Irish Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny returns to face his former side, linking up with Johnny McNicholl and Steff Evans in an all-international back three.
Williams and Steff Hughes continue their midfield combination, while Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies has recovered from injury to partner Dan Jones at half-back.
Skipper Ken Owens, Wyn Jones and Samson Lee pack down in the front row and behind them Tongan international Sam Lousi starts at lock alongside Jake Ball.
In a reshuffled back-row, the PRO14’s turnover king Josh Macleod gets the nod at openside; Kalamafoni, who featured for Leicester Tigers in the pool stages of the tournament, wears the No. 8 jersey and Scotland international Blade Thomson has recovered from an Achilles issue to start at blindside.
On the bench, Ryan Elias, Phil Price and Javan Sebastian provide front-row cover with Lewis Rawlins and James Davies the other forward replacements. Kieran Hardy, Angus O’Brien and Tyler Morgan cover the backs. Morgan is set to make his first Scarlets appearance since joining from the Dragons.
The Scarlets and Toulon faced each other twice during the pool stages. A last-gasp converted try grabbed a 17-16 victory for the French side in November. The three-times European champions then claimed a crucial 27-15 win at Parc y Scarlets in January to ensure they topped the group.
Head coach Glenn Delaney said: “It is a final for us. If you win three finals in a row you win a trophy. We are that far away from achieving the objective we all set out upon 12 to 13 months ago. It would be lovely to finish it off the right way. Whenever you get the opportunity to play for a trophy you have got to be very respectful and take it deadly serious, which is exactly what our boys have been doing.”
Scarlets team v RC Toulon (Saturday, September 19, 2020; kick-off 8.15pm UK)
15 Leigh Halfpenny; 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Steff Evans; 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens (capt), 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Sam Lousi, 6 Blade Thomson, 7 Josh Macleod, 8 Sione Kalamafoni.
Reps: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Phil Price, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 James Davies, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Tyler Morgan.
Unavailable because of injury
Rob Evans (neck), Rhys Patchell (calf), Liam Williams (foot), Daf Hughes (knee), Steff Thomas (knee), Alex Jeffries (elbow), Tomi Lewis (knee), Aaron Shingler.
Pembrey Country Park to host one of first post-lockdown events
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Pembrey Country Park has been chosen to host one of the first outdoor sports events in Wales since the Covid-19 lockdown.
Welsh Government has given the go ahead for three trial sport and culture events as part of its continued easing of restrictions.
Pembrey Country Park will host a duathlon on Sunday, September 6, with a limited number of competitors, although there will be no spectators.
The event will be monitored and will help inform Welsh Government policy on future sporting events as the country continues its recovery from Covid-19.
The council is working with Welsh Triathlon to ensure athletes can compete safely, with strict risk assessments and protocols being put into place.
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We’re delighted to host this trial event here in Carmarthenshire, and hope this signals a return of more sporting events in the future. Our teams are working alongside Welsh Government and Welsh Triathlon to ensure that the event is safe and secure whilst providing an exciting and challenging duathlon course for competitors.”
Trundle and Robinson are back for another season with Ammanford AFC
Ammanford AFC are pleased to announce that the Ex Swans legends Lee Trundle and Andy Robinson are back for a second season with the club
The pair helped Ammanford AFC to achieve a respectable seventh place finish in the JD Cymru South league last season.
The Supporters of Ammanford will welcome the news and will be hoping that they can go and watch their team once clearance has been given.
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