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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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Reds open with a point

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LLANELLI Town manager Andy Hill will probably be relatively pleased with the point earned in their opening home league game in the JD Cymru League Championship South, as they were trailing as early as the 12th minute before levelling matters five minutes prior to the break.

With the Reds having brought in eleven new signings during the close season, five of them were included in Friday’s (Aug 16) opener, with Zac Brown, Jake Parry and Tim Parker starting, with Scott Smith and Nathan Logan named on the bench.

It will take a little while for the new recruits to adapt, but the early signs are promising, and hopefully augur well for a successful season.

The hosts enjoyed most of the early possession, and when a Liam Samuel cross was helped on by Jordan Davies to Parker, his effort deflected off a visitors` defender for a corner.

This set the pattern for the opening stages, with the home side forcing a number of flag kicks, but completely against the run of play it was the visitors who struck first when a clearance upfield by keeper Morgan Davies did not seem to pose any real threat, but was pursued by striker Luke Gullick who then caught Reds` right back Luke Morgan in possession, and he came away with the ball before making inroads into the box and rifling his finish low into the bottom corner on 12 minutes.

At the other end, a Parker delivery across the face of goal failed to pick out anyone, while a Davies shot lacked any power when presented with a chance, and the keeper made an easy save.

A James Loveridge free kick for the Reds from distance was arrowed towards the top corner before being diverted over the bar by Davies, and the same player had a couple of efforts sail well off target when he gained possession.

With the interval approaching it seemed as if the home side would go in at half time trailing by the solitary goal, but on 40 minutes they levelled matters when Parker notched up his first goal for the club, glancing home a header just inside the near post following good build-up play involving both Loveridge and Davies to set up the chance.

Photo by Darren Harries

After the restart, the Reds again seized the initiative, with Samuel meeting a Brown free kick on the edge of the box to volley narrowly over the goal.

A Loveridge foray down the left culminated in Parker meeting his driven ball into the middle, but a potential success was blocked by a defender at the expense of a corner.

The first substitution of the contest saw Logan replacing Morgan after 59 minutes, before it took a saving tackle by Reds` captain Lee Bevan on Gullick on the edge of the area to prevent the striker a route on goal.

Gullick was involved again shortly after, when he was put clear on a run into home territory, but he failed to make the most of a promising situation and the ball finally ran harmlessly out of play.

The home side were then dealt a devastating blow with the dismissal of Loveridge in the 71st minute by referee Alex McInch for a two-footed lunge on Louis Gerrard, and he will now face an automatic three match ban.

Despite the numerical disadvantage up to the close, the Reds were not unduly troubled by their opponents, and both sides rung the changes prior to the final whistle, with Parker being replaced by Smith, while the visitors brought on Joshua Maksemovic and Kareen Leigh for Aiden Lewis and Vaughan Fowler respectively.

In stoppage time, the home goal did survive a narrow escape when a header by Gerrard from a free kick into the box drifted just wide, but overall a point apiece was probably a fair reflection of the overall performance by both sides.

The Reds` next fixture sees them travel to Glenhafod Park on Saturday to take on Goytre United, kick off 2.30pm, while on Tuesday, August 27, they welcome Briton Ferry Llansawel to Stebonheath, with a 7.30pm start.

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Williams-duo sink Porthcawl

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LLANELLI Seconds earned victory on Saturday (Aug 10) as they beat Porthcawl by 42 runs.

Porthcawl won the toss and elected to field and they were able to bowl Llanelli out for 170.

Rhys Westcott and Lewis Jones got Llanelli off to a steady start before Westcott was caught by Steffan Flood off the bowling of Nicholas Morgan on a score of 19.

Morgan then also caught and bowled Daniel Lewis before Dafydd Daniel supported Jones with a score of 17.

Daniel also fell to the bowling of Morgan who then claimed his second caught and bowled of the match when he caught Jordan Evans.

Morgan wasn’t done there as he had Richard Williams caught by Anthony Dixon.

Jones had made his way to a score of 85 but he was then caught by Isaak Cronje off the bowling of Stephen Richmond.

Spencer Morgan then claimed the final two wickets to leave Llanelli all out on 170 after 43 overs.

Photo by Darren Harries

Richard Williams struck early on as he had Nicholas Morgan caught by Dafydd Daniel.

Richard then also had Mark Lewis caught by Harri Rees before Joshua Williams had Steven Doherty stumped by Morgan Jones.

Richard then had Chris Richards caught by Daniel to reduce Porthcawl to 45-4.

Anthony Dixon had made his way to a score of 30 but he was caught by Daniel Lewis off the bowling of Joshua Williams.

That left the visitors on 49-5 and it soon became 60-6 as Joshua had Steffan Flood caught by Harri Rees.

Joshua then also claimed the wicket of Spencer Williams before Isaak Cronje was run out by Daniel.

Joshua then bowled Matthew Pugh as Porthcawl were staring at a heavy defeat on 77-9.

Stephen Richmond and Mark Bevan did their best to keep the score ticking over with Richmond reaching a score of 44.

He was eventually caught by Owain Baxter off the bowling of Lewis Jones and although Llanelli gave away 21 runs in extras, Porthcawl were all out for 128.

It was just a second win of the season for Llanelli seconds who will now look to finish the season on a high.

On Saturday (Aug 17), they travel to Dyffryn.

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Felinfoel see off Drefach

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FELINFOEL earned their eighth win of the season on Saturday (Aug 10) as they beat Drefach by four wickets.

The game was reduced to 48 overs-a-side after earlier rain and the toss was won by Felinfoel who elected to field.

Rob Seymour got Drefach going with four fours in his score of 16 from 12 balls but he was then caught by Andrew Thomas off the bowling of Julian Griffiths.

Soon after, Griffiths had Ben Mitchell caught by Rohan Nangalia.

Anthony Mathias then bowled James Carter and trapped Neil Harris leg before as Drefach slipped to 40-4.

Dafydd Humprheys and Billy McBryde then shared 44 runs for the fifth wicket before McBryde, who hit four fours and a six in his score of 29, was caught by Nangalia off the bowling of Matthias.

Humprheys and Ciaran Llewellyn then shared 57 runs for the sixth wicket as they continued to put runs on the board.

Llewelyn hit six fours in his score of 31 but he was then caught by Rhys Jones off the bowling of Tom Jones.

Humphreys then reached his half century but then saw Leigh Davies caught by Nangalia off the bowling of Craig Richards.

Richards then also Roy Llewelyn before before Chris Bowen bowled Elis Jones.

Photo by Darren Harries

That left Humphreys not out on 63 which included four fours and a six.

Set 182 to win, Felinfoel lost Andrew Thomas early on when he was bowled by Ben Mitchell.

Craig Richards and Rhys Jones then shared an excellent second-wicket stand worth 106 runs.

Jones hit five fours on his way to a score of 43 before he was stumped by Neil Harris off the bowling of Leigh Davies.

Three balls later, Roy Llewelyn bowled Richards on a score of 73 that included 11 fours.

Drefach then picked up a third wicket as Davies bowled Julian Griffiths for a duck to reduce Felinfoel to 124-4.

Tom Jones also fell to the bowling of Llewelyn as Drefach looked to keep the pressure on.

Rhys Harries hit three fours in a score of 16 but he was then bowled by James Carter as Felinfoel were further reduced to 155-6.

Chris Bowen and Rohan Nangalia had other ideas though as they guided their side to their target.

Bowen finished not out on 16 while Nangalia was not out on 19 from 12 balls after hitting three fours.

On Saturday (Aug 17), Drefach travel to play fourth placed Aberdare while Felinfoel are away to second placed Skewen.

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