LLANDOVERY travelled to the Parc y Scarlets desperate for a victory to say goodbye to departing coach Lyndon Lewis after they had failed to secure a victory in his final home game against Ebbw Vale in the previous round of fixtures. Lewis leaves at the end of the season to take the role of assistant coach at Aberavon, a club for which he is a former captain, and will be replaced at the Towy Valley side by his Assistant Euros Evans.
Llanelli came into the game hoping to give their fans something to smile about at the end of a dismal campaign. Their end of season form until this game had been particularly poor having failed to win in their last six games, shipping over two hundred and forty points in the process. It was possible for the Reds to overtake their Scarlets’ region counterparts to finish eighth in the table before kick off, however they needed to secure a bonus point win of more than eight points.
As it was Llandovery outscored their hosts by four tries to three and also got within in seven of their score to secure two bonus points of their own (one losing and one four try) to ensure they kept eighth place, though it will be of little consolation to either side as both will have had desires on making the top half back in September.
Llandovery’s season has been blighted by regular bouts of ill-discipline on the field and today was no different. Despite having the majority of the possession and at times playing some fine running rugby, it was the award of three yellow cards, two of which came inside the same minute that cost the Drovers the full quota of points once more. Incoming coach Euros Evans will have recognised this as one of the key areas the side needs to improve for the next campaign.
To kick Llandovery when they were down it was one of their own, fullback Gareth Walters, a graduate from the Drovers academy that led Llanelli to what seemed an unlikely victory as he produced seventeen points. With one try, a one hundred percent conversion rate and two penalties he almost single handedly dragged his sorry Llanelli side to a much needed, but undeserved victory, their first since early February.
Owain Morgan also grabbed a try for Llanelli to give his side a 20-12 lead at the interval, but the game was to be turned on its head by its stand out player, winger Aaron Warren. He added to his first half score to complete a fine hat-trick in the second half and was a constant menace to the hosts with his powerful running and slight of foot. If Llandovery’s centres had noticed how much mayhem he was causing, as everyone else in the ground had, they may have given him more ball rather than squander chance after chance when the overlap beckoned.
Their failure to convert these chances into points came back to bite them in a way that is all too familiar in sport. Their ill-discipline saw two yellow cards inside a minute with two of their pack, flanker Shaun Miles and lock Matthew Harbut, being sent to the stand for continued infringing at the breakdown, the most criminal offence for a forward, on par with spilling a restart.
Llanelli looked to make their extra men count up front and with the extra power they now possessed they worked an opening for number eight Morgan to crash over and secure his second and his sides third of the game out wide in the corner. With the imperious Walters notching the conversion the Reds had secured what had seemed an unlikely win for the majority of the contest.
Both sides will welcome new faces and say goodbye to old in the close season in a bid to improve their fates for the next campaign and on this showing, they are some way off matching the levels reached by the likes of Pontypridd, Cross Keys and Ebbw Vales this campaign.
15 Gareth Walters 14 Kyle Evans 13 Andrew Rees-Spowart 12 Richard Thomas11 Elliot Dawe 10 Stuart Morris 9 Jon Rogers 1 Rhys Fawcett 2 Taylor Davies 3 Gareth Havard 4 Adam Powell © 5 Ed Price 6 Liam Puckett 7 Shaun Edwards 8 Owain Morgan
15 Mike Evans 14 Rhys Williams 13 Matthew Jacobs 12 Rhodri Jones 11 Aaron Warren 10 Steffan Marshall 9 Lee Rees: 1 Jamie Kaijaks 2 Luke Lewis 3 Greg Cunniffe 4 Bryn Griffiths 5 Matthew Harbut 6 Phil Day (captain) 7 Richard
Skilton’s half century beats Felinfoel
A HALF century from Llandarcy’s Paul Skilton helped his side to victory over Felinfoel Seconds on Saturday (May 18).
Llandarcy invited Felinfoel to bat first after winning the toss and that proved to be a good decision as they soon had them in trouble on 41-5.
Opener Nicholas Jones made 18 for Felinfoel but he was bowled by Steven Moul.
Meirion Rees and Josh Powell both fell cheaply to the bowling of Chris Harland as did Ben Williams and Shaun Caton.
Jamie Cranham and Adam Edwards then offered some resistance to the Llandarcy bowlers with a stand of 48 for the sixth wicket.
Cranham hit six fours as he scored 32 but he was then caught off the bowling of Robert Jones.
Edwards and Ian Meredith then shared 52 runs for the seventh wicket as they looked to give their side something to defend.
Meredith made 21 with five fours but was then also out to the bowling of Jones. He then also took the wicket of Steve Johns for a duck.
That left Edwards not out on 35 (six fours) as he took Felinfoel to their total of 153-8.
Steve Johns then struck twice as Llandarcy began their reply as he had Ian Davies caught by Jamie Cranham and Steven Moul caught by Josh Powell.
That left them on 12-2 but opener Chris Pickford was joined by Paul Skilton and the pair shared 65 runs for the third wicket.
Pickford hit seven fours in his knock of 35 but he was then bowled by Nicholas Jones. Josh Powell then bowled Ben Owen for a duck to reduce Llandarcy to 78-4.
Another good stand between Skilton and Paul Maunder followed as they all but secured victory. Maunder made 25 before he was caught by Cranham off the bowling of Jones.
Skilton and Anthony Fletcher went on to see Llandarcy to their target with plenty of time to spare.
Fletcher was not out on 11 while Skilton had hit ten fours and a six to finish not out on 63.
Dafen edged out by Dyffryn
DAFEN Seconds’ were denied victory on Saturday (May 18) as Dyffryn edged to a 1-wicket win after their target was revised under the Duckworth Lewis method.
Dafen had made an excellent total of 263-6 in their innings but after a break for rain, Dyffryn were given a revised target of 185 from 35 overs.
Jac Morgan scored 19 early on for Dafen but was then out to the bowling of Chris Davies. Scott Phillips made 25 with three fours and a six before he was also out to Davies.
Chris Randell also batted well for his score of 31 but he was then bowled by Kyle Green.
Green also bowled George Lavender leaving Dafen on 185-5 but opener Oliver Evans and Andrew Randell smashed their side past 250 runs.
Evans hit eight fours and two sixes as he scored 80 before he was run out.
Randell smashed six fours and three sixes as he finished not out on 51 to help set Dyffryn a challenging target.
However, rain meant that Dyffryn would need a revised target of 185 to win.
Andrew Herbert took two wickets early on for Dafen to leave them on 21-2 but scores of 31 from Alun Evans, 20 from Jon Lewis and 43 from Rhodri Morgan kept Dyffryn on target.
All three fell to the bowling of Rhys Marchant and after James McKenna was bowled by Scott Phillips, Dyffryn were 128-6.
Darren Wood made 17 before he was out to the bowling of Cieran Latham and he also had Kyle Green caught by Chris Randell.
Lewis Day had made 21 for the visitors but when he was out to the bowling of Gleb Roberts it looked as if Dafen would take the win.
However, Grant Pearce and Chris Davies had other ideas as they steered Dyffryn over the line with four balls to spare.
Llanelli too good for Llandysul
LLANELLI put in a good all-round team performance as they batted well to make a good score before bowling Llandysul out to earn a 52-run win.
Llandysul won the toss and elected to field but they could only watch as the home side racked up nearly 300 runs.
Iwan Rees and Ioan Phillips got Llanelli off to an excellent start as they shared 91 runs for the first wicket.
Rees hit five fours in a score of 41 but he was then stumped by Andrew Barrett off the bowling of Joseph Swift.
Phillips and Ryan Nicholas then shared a stand of 60 for the second wicket as they continued to put runs on the board.
Nicholas made 26 but was then caught by Luke Swift off the bowling of Steffan Jones.
More good batting followed as Phillips and Rhidian Morgan shared 59 runs for the third wicket.
Morgan smashed five fours and two sixes as his score of 40 came from 28 balls but he then found the hands of Llewelyn Hughes, giving Ashleigh Cox his first wicket.
Phillips had hit 11 fours in his knock of 96 but was unlucky to miss out on a century as he was caught by Ben Edkins off the bowling of Cox.
Marcus Leaf fell cheaply to the bowling of Luke Swift and he later had Steven Devonald caught by Cox.
Devonald had hit five fours in a score of 38 from 25 balls as Llanelli went on to set Llandysul 280 to win.
Llandysul were keen to make a good start in their reply and although they lost Bleddyn Morgan early on when he was caught by Ryan Nicholas off the bowling of Chris Thomas, a stand of 50 for the second wicket between Meurig Jones and Ashleigh Cox gave them a good platform. Jones made 26 before he was bowled by David Richards.
Cox had reached his half century but then saw Ben Edkins bowled by Steven Devonald on a score of 17.
Richards then had Llewelyn Hughes caught by Chris Thomas for a duck as Llandysul slipped to 115-4.
Cox was closing in on his century but was also losing partners as Carwyn Evans made 15 before he was trapped leg before by Iwan Rees.
Cox reached his century with nine fours and a six but was then bowled by Thomas on a score of 104.
That left Llandysul on 190-6 but when Steffan Jones departed having scored 28, trapped leg before by Thomas, their innings began to fall apart.
Devonald took the wicket of Luke Swift and then also ran out Joe Swift before Jac Rees wrapped up the innings with the wicket of Arfon Jones.
The win gives Llanelli 20 points and they remain top of Division 1.
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