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Reigning champions back on form

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Team Photo: Scarlets Ladies pictured before the game (Pic. Riley Sports)

Team Photo: Scarlets Ladies pictured before the game (Pic. Riley Sports)

Blues Ladies 7

Scarlets Ladies 46

AFTER AN UNCONVINCING, but ultimately successful display in difficult conditions against the Dragons in the last round of the Women’s Senior Regional Championship, the Scarlets Women’s Senior squad arrived at The BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park in determined mood to return to the attacking free-flowing rugby that proved to be a championship winning formula last season.

The Scarlets came out of the blocks firing, putting the capital region players under intense pressure from the off and were duly rewarded in the second minute when the Blues were guilty of holding in the ruck, and the ever reliable boot of Jodie Evans settled any nerves there may have been by slotting the kick from 35 meters out.

The opening try of the day came 8 minutes later when after some powerful inter-play between the forwards and backs, impressive full back Dyddgu Hywel slice through the Blues defensive line to score near the posts. Evans adding the extras.

From the restart, the girls in red again went on the attack. After yet another infringement at the contact area by the Blues the Scarlets were awarded a very kickable penalty, however this time captain Sioned Harries opted to take a quick tap which saw her feed centre Elen Evans to race towards the line only to be brought down just short of the white wash. The Scarlets recycled the ball quickly and scrum half Kavenagh fed blindside flanker and former under 18s captain, Alisha Butchers who drove across the line to score despite the attention of several Blues defenders. Evans once again converted the try.

The next Scarlets score came soon after. Once again the forwards created the perfect platform for the exciting Scarlets backs to exploit. The Blues were finding it difficult to handle the powerful phase play of the Scarlets eight and eventually a gap was created in the Blues line, outside half Hannah Jones needed no second invitation and raced in for the score under the posts, with Evans once again adding the extras.

To their credit, the Blues girls came back into the game and after a series of penalties found themselves camped on the Scarlets line. The attacking prowess of the Scarlets Girls had been evident throughout the game, but their defensive qualities came to the fore at this stage, showing determination and no small amount of aggression to eventually secure the turnover and make their way up field. Some fantastic interplay between all the players eventually led to Whitland No 8 Natalie Walsh being released to score the bonus point try on the stroke of half time. When Evans slotted the conversion the score was 31-0 to the Scarlets.

The Scarlets started the second half in the same way that they had finished the first with a 15-minute blitz in which they scored 3 tries. Barely 5 minutes after the break, ever impressive centre Elen Evans showed pace and power to cross for the Scarlets 5th try of the day. Less than five minutes later the Reds were at it again. Jodie Evans showing that she is more kicker when after some slick handling she cut through the Blues defence to score wide out. The next, and as it turned out final score for the Scarlets came on 55 minutes when once again the irrepressible Scarlets team interlinked to release full back Hywel for her second and the Scarlets’ 7th score of the day.

The girls in red could have scored more, but were guilty of squandering some guilt edged opportunities. To their credit the Blues kept going and were rewarded in the last play of the game when winger Rafike Taylor scored a great individual try under the posts which was duly converted.

The Scarlets next face local rivals, the Ospreys on December 20 at a venue to be confirmed, in what could be the defining game of the season so far, and based on this result the Scarlets can go into that game with confidence, but will need to raise their game further if they wish to maintain their unbeaten record going into the Christmas break.

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Sport

Skilton’s half century beats Felinfoel

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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.

Photo by Darren Harries

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.

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Dafen edged out by Dyffryn

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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.

Photo by Darren Harries

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.

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Llanelli too good for Llandysul

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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.

Photo by Darren Harries

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.

Photo by Darren Harries

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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