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Llanelli set champions back on track

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jackcondyPontypridd 38
Llanelli 6

SARDIS ROAD was a ‘House of Pain’ for Llanelli once again on Saturday (5 Dec) as they emerged from the encounter with nothing to show for their efforts, despite being well in the game with fifty minutes played, trailing by just eight points to six. Pontypridd had lost their last three games in the league, and this run (unprecedented in recent years) had seen them drop to fourth in the table, but Llanelli duly obliged to set the reigning champions back on the right track, as they were torn apart in a thirty minute second half blitz which saw the hosts run in four unanswered tries.

In a tight and nervy first half, the hosts wasted a good opportunity to go into the lead on the quarter of an hour mark, as fullback Geraint Walsh through wildly over winger Alex Webber’s head when he was in the clear to score, after an overlap was created through good phase play. Just over five minutes later though they were over, as Webber, who will have good memories of playing Llanelli as he became the historic first scorer of a 6-point try at the Parc in September, crossed for the opening score.

The winger chased down his own kick to gather and dive over the line, to the delight and relief of the large home crowd. With confidence understandably low, Ponty were far from their best but having been so dominant they wouldn’t of expected Llanelli to get back into the game on the stroke of half time. Josh Lewis kicked for the corner when the visitors were awarded a penalty, and with everyone predicting what has now become a routine catch and drive in the Premiership, they instead went through a number of phases, before centre Steffan Hughes, in only his second game back after injury, chipped a delightful ball through the home defence, which Lewis gathered to score.

He failed to convert his own try, meaning the hosts were two points to the good at the interval. Llanelli took the confidence gained from this try into the second half, and were enjoying a great deal of possession, when, against the run of play, Ponty did what champions do, and crossed the line themselves. When Webber caught an interception pass in his own 22 he raced clear, and although he was held up short, the ball was worked wide for Godfrey, who dived over for another converted score.

This proved to be the turning point in the game and with the black and whites now firmly in control, they crossed again as flanker Jake Thomas converted a simple opportunity with twenty-five minutes to play. With credit to Llanelli they kept battling, and didn’t concede again until the 77th minute, when the diminutive Webber grabbed his second try, to secure the bonus point for the home side, with Lewis Williams notching the conversion.

With just minutes remaining, Godfrey made a miserable half hour even worse for the reds as he crossed for his second to round off what on paper seems a much easier win for the hosts than it actually was.

Speaking on the loss, Llanelli coach Dai Flanagan said: “We were on top at the start of the second half; our style of play challenged Ponty in the wider areas and we were able look threatening. “We fronted up for long periods against the champions and no doubt we threatened them. “It was a massive step up performance wise from the last game against Newport, even though the scoreline doesn’t reflect it.” A two week break from league action will see Llanelli focus on the Fosters Challenge Cup, before they return on Boxing Day with a tough trip to Bridgend.

Teams: Pontypridd: 15.Geraint Walsh. 14.Alex Webber. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Dafydd Lockyer 11.Chris Clayton. 10.Lewis K Williams. 9.Tom Williams: 8.Dan Godfrey 7.Rhys Shellard 6.Jake Thomas 5.Chris Dicomidis. 4.Shaun O’Rourke. 3.Mitchell Auger. 2.Ashleigh James. 1.Bradley Thyer. Replacements: 16.Lloyd Williams. 17.Harri Millard. 18.Dale Stuckey. 19.Huw Dowden. 20.Wayne O’Connor. 21.Hemi Barnes. 22.Corey Domachowski.

Llanelli: 15.Dion Jones 14.Andrew Spowart 13.Nathan Edwards 12.Steffan Hughes 11.Gareth Walters 10.Josh Lewis 9.Josh Guy: 8.Jack Condy 7.Trystan Lloyd 6.Tom Phillips 5.Jack Jones 4.Adam Powell 3.Ben Leung 2.Taylor Davies 1.Rhys Thomas Replacements: 16.Rhys Fawcett 17.Torin Myhill 18.Tom Kaijaks 19.Christian Long 20.Liam Puckett 21.Justin James 22.Billy McByde 23.Paul Davies

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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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Sport

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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Sport

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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