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Edinburgh dent Scarlets European hopes

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Scarlets 51
Edinburgh 6

EDINBURGH overtook the Scarlets in the race for the top six of the Guinness Pro12 and in the process ended their opponents superb home record in a tough, abrasive game at the Parc y Scarlets.

Unbeaten at the Parc y Scarlets since December 2013, the Scarlets missed a golden opportunity to steal a march on their rivals for an automatic place in next seasons Champions Cup. Despite this they still remain only three points behind the current occupiers of the coveted sixth spot, Connaught.

The result puts Edinburgh in a promising position as they chase a top half finish, with two games at Murrayfield to come in the next two rounds.

It didn’t take long for the hosts to get the scoreboard ticking over, as fly-half Steven Shingler, preferred to returning Wales number ten Rhys Priestland, slotted a straightforward penalty in the first minute.

But the visitors arrived at the Parc y Scarlets having won four of their last six Pro12 matches, and it was they who registered the game’s opening try with a fantastic length-of-the-field score.

Full-back Jack Cuthbert shipped the ball on after gathering his own kick, and Burleigh produced a well timed pass to returning Scotland winger Tim Visser who raced clear for his sides first try. Hidalgo-Clyne was on target with the conversion.

With both sides showing attacking intent in what was a pivotal fixture, Shingler responded with three quick-fire penalties to regain the lead for his side.

After a carbon copy of the opening penalty of the game he reduced his sides arrears to a single point and with Edinburgh’s indiscipline threatening to become an issue, they gave away another three-point opportunity from a driving maul. After notching his third successful penalty, Shingler further justified his place in the starting fifteen with a fine run that led to his sides fourth penalty. Spotting a gap he dummied his way through, bringing the Scarlets into the Edinburgh twenty-two. After a few phases the Edinburgh forwards were penalised for infringing at the ruck.

The Scarlets were boosted further when referee John Lacey finally lost his patience with the Scottish side and dismissed Greig Tonks from the field for ten minutes, after the fly-half had interfered at the breakdown. Shingler was impeccable again from the tee and extended his sides lead to leave the visitors requiring two scores.

Despite being reduced to fourteen men, the visitors were beginning to dominate proceedings and perhaps should have grabbed their second try of the game with thirty minutes gone, but Hamish Watson failed to ground the ball. The flanker was then held up for a second time from the subsequent scrum but the visitors were now really testing the Scarlets with constant sustained pressure.

This pressure took its toll as back-rower John Barclay joined Tonks in the bin. Despite the blow of losing their one man advantage, the Scarlets will have been relieved that Edinburgh only managed three points from this spell of pressure as Hidalgo-Clyne slotted a penalty.

It got worse for the Scarlets as vice-captain Scott Williams was joined by George Earle in leaving the field of play early through injury. This was compounded by Wales international Ken Owens faltering time and again at the lineout. Sensing his sides opportunity to take advantage of this, Hidalgo-Clyne was pinning the Scarlets deep in their own half with a sustained period of first-class position kicking.

From one of the ensuing lineouts, Edinburgh pounced. They went through several phases before David Denton found sufficient space to crash over. With Hidalgo-Clyne squeezing his conversion over, the visitors went in at the break leading 15-17.

The second half started at a much slower pace than the first, and as the hosts’ penalty count began to creep up, their home record looked in serious jeopardy.

Wayne Pivac introduced Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies as he looked to gain some momentum for his backline and get his side back in the game. This proved fruitless after a moment that would rival Steven Gerrard for the quickest, most senseless dismissal in sport of 2015. Davies found himself back in the dressing room after striking an opponent with his head as the indiscipline that had plagued the game since kick-off reached an ugly crescendo. Man of the Match Hidalgo-Clyne compounded the situation for the Scarlets by notching the penalty.

Andries Strauss thought he was set to clinch the game as he raced clear when the ball went loose in midfield, but play was called back for a knock-on by Denton in contact.

This mattered not as Scrum-half Hidalgo-Clyne maintained his 100 percent record with the boot to stretch Edinburgh’s lead to eight points after the Scarlets pack folded at a scrum, and a further three-pointer sealed an impressive result for the Scottish club.

In two weeks’ time, Wayne Pivac’s side travel to Zebre for their next Pro12 fixture, hunting a bonus point win to retain hope for a successful end to the season.

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Lighthouse to Lifeboat station swim a huge success

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A LLANELLI man has completed a grueling swim across the Loughor estuary from Whiteford Lighthouse to Burry Port Harbour to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI).

Matthew Jenkins completed the swim on Sunday, July 26.

Speaking on the challenge he set himself, Matthew said he set his sights on the swim to give him something positive to focus on during these unprecedented times and raise vital funds for Burry Port RNLI.

The Swim was a family effort with Matthew’s two daughters also pitching in to sell RNLI cupcakes to supporters and bystanders near the lifeboat house.

The conditions were far from ideal on the day with a 7.2 metre tide accompanied by whitecaps waves and a south to southwesterly wind behind Matthew of approximately 20 mph.

Harsh conditions on the day did not dampen spirits

However there was plenty of support from safety teams in the area to step in if needed with jet skis, kayaks and boats all keeping within safe distance.

Matthew set off on his challenge at approximately 10.45 and shortly afterwards supporters could see he was already past the halfway point.

The support shown from the beach was huge and it was obvious to all that Matthew was able to hear the chants of support and praise from those at the beach.

On completion of the challenge Matthew raised his hands as a thank you gesture for all of his support throughout the journey.

This small event has brought back a familiar feeling without the town of pre-pandemic days where events like these would be hugely supported by the community.

Community support from an array of ages where on hand to applaud the worthy challenge

It was clear to see the support for both Matthew and Burry Port RNLI throughout the day.

A grand total of £822.25 was raised through Matthew’s Just Giving page.

Matthew has praised all of those who have supported him through the journey both in the water and on land and said he feels very ‘thankful’ for the support and the opportunity to complete the challenge.

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Swans grab last gasp play-off spot

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WAYNE ROUTLEDGE’s last-gasp header saw Swansea City secure a play-off spot with a handsome away victory over 10-man Reading on a dramatic Wednesday night (July 22).

Steve Cooper’s side knew they had to win at the Madejski Stadium to have any hope of a top-six finish, and Rhian Brewster’s 10th goal of the season gave them an ideal start.

The sending off of Yakou Meite then gave the Swans a man advantage, but the Royals equalised before the half through a George Puscas penalty.

The Swans restored their lead through a classy finish from substitute Routledge, before Liam Cullen showed great composure to steer in his first goal for the club.

And when Routledge popped up at the death to complete his brace it put the Swans into the top six as Forest suffered a 4-1 defeat at home to Stoke, meaning Swansea got into the play-offs on goal difference.

The Swans started on the front foot, with centurion Connor Roberts having particular joy down the right-hand flank.

Brewster then nearly threaded Conor Gallagher in on goal after fine work by Andre Ayew, before Roberts hit a strike into the ground and over the bar after Jake Bidwell had made the overlap on the opposite flank.

The hosts responded by having a good spell of possession, probing and asking a few questions of their own.

But the visitors hit the lead in the 16th minute through Brewster. The striker picked the ball up some 30 yards out and got the ball out of his feet before smashing a long-range drive that completely deceived Rafael in the Reading goal.

John Swift curled a free-kick over at the other end, while more good work by Roberts could not quite end with Bidwell getting on the end of a deep cross before Rafael made a hash of dealing with a Gallagher cross.

Swift headed straight at Erwin Mulder from a good counter on the half-hour mark, with Ayew quickly advancing up the field to work Rafael again.

Opportunities were coming at both ends, with Mulder called into action again as Meite took aim from the left side of the area.
Swansea were riding their luck a little and had a let-off when a sliced clearance landed on top of the bar.

Matt Grimes had a free-kick pushed away by Rafael before the home side were reduced to 10 men after Meite had pushed Mike van der Hoorn in the face after a tussle for the ball.

But the hosts made light of the numerical disadvantage by levelling after Bidwell was adjudged to have fouled Andy Rinomhota, with Puscas beating Mulder – who got a hand to the strike – from the spot.

However, the Swans should have led at the break. Ben Cabango’s shot was blocked and fell to Jay Fulton, but the Scot pulled his shot wide of the target.

Rafael pushed away an Ayew drive right on half-time, with Swansea frustrated that referee Stephen Martin did not award them a penalty of their own as Fulton went down under a challenge from Omar Richards.

With Cardiff winning and Nottingham Forest losing, Cooper knew goals were needed and he made two changes at the break.

Yan Dhanda came on for Fulton, while Routledge replaced van der Hoorn, and they were immediately on the front foot.

With Swansea committing so many players forward, Reading looked to sit deep and play on the break and they proved resolute as the visitors battled to find a way through.

Grimes curled a free-kick wide of the target and Gallagher also threatened from distance, but the hour mark came and went without any clear-cut chances to show for their dominance of possession and territory.

However, when they did craft a sight of goal they took the chance clinically. Grimes produced a lovely ball, and Routledge controlled superbly to loft the ball over Rafael and into the net.

Unfortunately for the Swans, that goal went in moments after Forest had equalised against Stoke, which appeared to put a sizeable dent in their playoff aspirations.

Nevertheless, Cooper’s side continued to search for more goals in the hope events in the East Midlands would turn back in their favour.

They so nearly made it 3-1 with 17 minutes to play as lovely link play from Rutledge and Bidwell ended with Ayew steering just wide.

The situation was changing all the time, and Stoke retook the lead at Forest to leave the door ajar for the Swans.

And, when Stoke scored a third at the City Ground and Cullen coolly fired home his first senior goal for the club with six minutes remaining, they suddenly only needed a goal to finish in the play-off places.

Grimes had a deflected shot tipped over but the Swans then got the goal they needed in stoppage time as Routledge popped up to nod in at the far post, with Stoke’s fourth goal putting the matter beyond doubt a few moments later to spark delighted celebrations among Cooper, his players and his staff.

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Glamorgan launch new kit

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GLAMORGAN Cricket has unveiled its new Vitality Blast playing kit for the 2020 season.

Designed by the Club’s official kit supplier, Masuri, alongside Glamorgan’s management, players and coaches, the brand-new Vitality Blast strip contains a subtle Welsh twist.

Fitting Glamorgan’s traditional colour schemes, the top is dark navy with a tonal dragon across the front – a nod to the old Glamorgan nickname and the Welsh identity – while a sharp yellow trim on the neck and sleeves frames the top.

The famous ‘Daff’ sits on the heart of the shirt, with MiPost’s strong Welsh brand centre-stage. Appearing on the collars are the logos of ‘Official Players Car Partner’, Mon Motors and Welsh company, Philtronics Solutions, with Discover Leeks on the right sleeve and SA Group on the back.

The famous Aston Martin logo features on both side of the Glamorgan T20 cap, as they continue their ongoing support of the club.

Head of Commercial, Huw Warren, said: “We’ve enjoyed working with Masuri throughout the design process and together developed an exciting new kit we’re sure our supporters will love with its strong connections with Wales.

“Our Masuri kits have always been hugely successful with players and fans alike and we look forward to continuing our commercial partnership with them.

“We can’t wait to see our players wearing the new kit when the Blast gets underway later this summer.”

Masuri CEO, Sam Miller, said: ‘’Once again it has been a pleasure working with the team at Glamorgan to bring this year’s kit to life, and we are looking forward to seeing it in use during the much anticipated Vitality Blast this year.’’

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