Ebbw Vale 18
SIX months ago to the day, the two sides met at Parc-y-Scarlets and Ebbw were convincing winners, 51-0 in a victory that sealed a play-off place.
It was a different story this time, though, with a vastly improved Llanelli edging out the Steelmen who, temporarily at least, seem to have lost their way.
As new Head Coach Dai Flanagan was getting his ideas and training methods across to his new squad, including a host of new signings, Llanelli struggled in the opening month of the season, losing their first four games.
However fast forward to Saturday evening and his young Llanelli sided have now won three on the bounce, with this being the most memorable of them, as they downed last seasons play-off finalists in a fine performance at the Parc y Scarlets. If this result is anything to go by, the home crowd can look forward to many other exciting displays as Flanagan’s players begin to buy into his philosophy.
The visitors looked more of a threat in the early stages, but were met with some resolute home resistance, with Matthew Owens and Ben Leung both producing brilliant last-ditch tackles to prevent what looked certain Ebbw tries.
However the resolute defence couldn’t hold out forever, and it was a perfect start for Ebbw Vale, as they built a 10-0 lead. David Williams pounced for the first try, capitalising on a rolling maul from a line out. Iain Smerdon converted superbly, and later added a penalty.
Other chances came: a five metre attacking scrum in which the ball never appeared to enter the tunnel, letting Llanelli off the hook; a Ronny Kynes touchdown ruled out for a foot in touch; and another turned down for alleged crossing. On another day, and with a little more luck, Ebbw could have gone in well ahead… but it wasn’t another day, and Llanelli pounced twice late in the half, as that old cliché, the bouncing ball catching the defence off guard, came true. Former Ebbw favourite Josh Lewis scored and converted, then Justin James made it 14-10, which was how it stayed at the interval.
The second half saw Ebbw winning the lion’s share of possession, through a strong scrum and a lineout functioning much better than against Cross Keys last week. There were several clean breaks that could – and perhaps should – have led to scores, but all the possession and territory couldn’t be turned into points and Llanelli, who always looked threatening when they moved the ball, stretched their lead with a well-made try by Dion Jones, who also converted.
At 22-10, Ebbw had it all to do, but the pressure paid off as Mathew Williams crossed and Smerdon goaled to make it 22-18. More chances came: it looked as if a try had been scored, only for the assistant referee to rule a foot in touch. “Send it upstairs!” advised one Ebbw supporter, but such luxuries don’t exist at this level, and the game ended with Ebbw pressing hard for the score that wouldn’t come as the home defence stood firm as the Steelmen had to make do with a losing bonus point – as Llanelli held out to seal a fine victory.
15.Jordan Williams 14.Harry Robinson 13.Matthew Owens 12.Mathew Pearce 11.Dion Jones 10.Josh Lewis 9.Justin James: 8.Trystan Lloyd 7.Owain Morgan 6.Jack Jones 5.Rhydian Gierat 4. Adam Powell (capt) 3.Ben Leung 2.Taylor Davies 1.Rhys Thomas
16.Dylan Evans 17.Torin Myhill 18.Gareth Havard 19.Christian Long 20.Elliot Rees 21.Josh Guy 22.Shaun Pearce 23.Gareth Walters 24. Andrew Spowart
15.Chris Levesley 14.David Williams, 13.Dominic Franchi, 12.Adam Jones, 11.Ryan Gardner; 10.Iain Smerdon, 9.Tom Edwards; 1.Ross Jones, 2.Mathew Williams, 3.Gethin Robinson; 4.Damien Hudd (capt), 5.Ashley Sweet; 6.Cameron Regan, 7.Ronny Kynes, 8.Ethan Doyle.
16.Joseph Franchi, 17.Ian George, 18.Robert Sevenoaks, 19.Harrison Keddie, 20.Luke Crocker, 21.Chris Thomas, 22.Steffan Jones, 23.Dan Haymond.
LLANELLI TOWN AFC VS PENRHYNCOCH FC
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.
Llanelli Town 1 Cwmammam United 0
A second meeting between the sides in just over a week brought a further win for the Reds following their success against the same opponents in the first round of the JD Welsh Cup, but once again they made heavy weather over visitors languishing at the foot of the table with just two wins all season.
The home side have some talented players in their ranks, but many of them are playing far below their potential, resulting in results being ground out rather than achieved in a manner pleasing to the eye, and the latest game was typical of the way the season has so far progressed, with possession being conceded far too easily, and decisions wrongly taken when opportunities present themselves.
A strong wind and frequent rain showers sweeping across the ground did little to raise the overall play by both sides above the mediocre, and the game will not live long in the memory.
Welsh Athletics celebrate success
MORE than 200 people from all four corners of the country headed to the Vale Resort Hotel in Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan on Saturday evening (October 19) to attend the annual Welsh Athletics National Celebration Awards Dinner for 2019.
The evening celebrated all the successes and achievements that happened across the sport of athletics in Wales over the last 12 months with a large number of athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and club & group representatives in attendance.
There were twenty-eight awards up for grabs with an expert panel deciding on who the worthy winners were for each one. The awards were across a variety of categories…from clubs, groups and volunteers to officials, coaches and athletes.
Altogether, 22 individuals, 5 clubs and 1 group shared the awards on offer and were welcomed to the stage to be recognised for their contributions.
Hosts for the evening was ever-present Rob Cole and joining him on the stage this year was Mica Moore. Sam Gordon, Jeremiah Azu, Steve Perks, Matt Newman, James Williams, Dafydd Trystan and Kelly Southerton were others who spoke throughout the evening.
It was fantastic to receive confirmation a fortnight ago from the new Chair of Welsh Athletics, Steve Perks that Carmarthen & District Harriers Athletics Club had been nominated to receive the Welsh Athletics Junior Off-Track Club of the Year award at this year’s awards dinner in the Vale Resort Hotel.
Present from the athletics club on the evening and joining other deserving winners from across Wales were Jake Morgan (Club Chairman), Cressy Morgan (Club Secretary), Richard Jones (Club Treasurer), Alison Thomas (Officials Secretary), Neil Thomas, David Toogood, Carol Jones and Delyth Brown (Club Endurance Coaches), Dafydd Jones and Frank Morgan (Club under 15/17 Endurance Athletes) and Nathan Jones (Club Media Officer).
Cross Country and Road Running successes in 2018 and the start of 2019 from endurance young members contributed to the club winning this award in 2019.
The Welsh Athletics Clubs Cross Country Championships came to Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire for the first year back in February and saw the under-11 boys, under-13 boys, under-15 boys and the Female Master 40 teams come away with gold medals on home turf whilst there were bronze medals for the under-11 girls.
The under-13 boys and under-15 boys were victorious at the 2018 Welsh Athletics Road Relay Championships to match their cross-country championships titles. Back in September, the under-11 boys and under-13 boys came away with comfortably victories at the recent 2019 edition of the Road Relays Championships and have got off a great start to the 2019 winter season in October.
The under-11 boys and under-13 boys also became John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League team champions backed up by second place for under-13 girls and third for the novice girls.
Two of Carmarthen Harriers’ endurance athletes Dafydd Jones and Frank Morgan, both pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Myrddin were there to go up and collect the award on behalf of the whole club.
Another to be recognised locally in West Wales was coach Kevin Evans who continues to coach athletes at the track in Carmarthen and a great supporter of the club. After collecting the Endurance Performance Coach of the Year in 2018, Evans was the recipient of the “International Performance Coach of the Year” this time around.
President the award on stage was local Carmarthenshire athlete and one of Kevin’s training group, Dewi Griffiths who hopes to be back to full fitness soon.
International athletes in Wales voted for their “Athletes’ Athlete of the Year” and announced as the winner was Pembrokeshire Harriers’ Heather Lewis, who enjoyed a great season on the race-walking circuit. Elsewhere, James Tomlinson was the “Junior Track & Field Athlete of the Year.” It was a double success here with his coach Paul Jensen, the “Track & Field Performance Coach of the Year”.
Swansea Harriers picked up both the “Off Track Club of the Year” in the older categories whilst the juniors enjoyed success too and as a result, won the “Junior Track & Field Club of the Year”.
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