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Butchers try can’t prevent Scarlets loss

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Alisha Butchers: Powers away for the last score of the game (Pic. Riley Sports)

Alisha Butchers:
Powers away for the last score of the game (Pic. Riley Sports)

THE GAME of the third round of the Women Regional Championship saw the Scarlets Ladies take on their local rivals, the Ospreys, at the BT Sports Cardiff Arms Park last Sunday, December 20th. Both teams went into the game with unbeaten records so something had to give. The two teams went on to produce an outstanding display of rugby, which was yet another great advert for Women’s Regional Rugby in Wales.

The girls in red were on the back foot from the start. The Scarlets failed to deal with the initial kick off reception adequately allowing the Ospreys a strong attacking foothold deep inside the Scarlets half. When the Scarlets infringed at the breakdown, outstanding Ospreys outside half, Robyn Wilkins was on hand to settle any Ospreys nerves with a welltaken penalty with barely 2 minutes on the clock. The Ospreys continued to dominate early possession but the resolute defence of the Scarlets held firm. The Scarlets finally gained some possession and it was their turn to show their attacking qualities and from a free flowing move the Ospreys were caught off side.

Centre, Jodie Evans stepped forward to slot an excellent penalty from near the 10m line to tie the scores. From the restart, the Scarlets once again went on the attack. A scything break by Scarlets no 10, Hannah Jones saw her cut through the Ospreys defensive line. Jones was brought down with the line at her mercy by a fantastic try saving tack by Ospreys winger Ffion Bowen. Fortunately, Jodie Evans was on hand to gather Jones’s off load to score near the posts. Uncharacteristically Evans pushed her attempt at the extras wide of the upright. The game was now ebbing and flowing, with both teams creating opportunities and neutralizing those opportunities with ferocious defensive play. For the Ospreys, Scrum Half Keira Bevan was a constant threat with her elusive running whilst Scarlets captain Sioned Harries led by example in both attack and defence.

As the half drew to a close, the Scarlets’ discipline began to let them down. A series of unforced penalties gave the Ospreys momentum and finally from yet another soft infringement at the breakdown, Wilkins was able to slot her second penalty of the day and draw the first half to a conclusion with the Scarlets holding a slender 8-6 lead. The Ospreys started the second half by far the better. Barely 3 minutes into the half the Ospreys were camped on the Scarlets line. The Ospreys scrum had been gradually gaining dominance over the Scarlets 8 and that dominance came to the fore as they powered over the line for No 8 Shona Powell-Hughes to score. Wilkins adding the extras.

The game was taken away from The Scarlets over the next 10 minutes thanks to a further three excellently taken Wilkins penalties. The Scarlets poor discipline at the breakdown was once again costing them dearly allowing the Ospreys dominance of both territory and possession, allowing Wilkins the opportunities to demonstrate her unerring accuracy with the boot. The final Ospreys score came barely 3 minutes later. A flowing move by the Ospreys outside backs resulted in centre Adi Taviner breaking through the Scarlets defensive line. Taviner fed the ever-impressive Powell-Hughes who powered over for her and the Ospreys second try of the game.

Wilkins again converting to give the Ospreys a 29-8 lead. To their credit, the Scarlets came back into the game and were rewarded by scoring their second try of the game. After a period of sustained pressure by the reds, a break by centre Elen Evans saw her release back rower Alisha Butchers to score under the posts. Jodie Evans added the extra 2 points to draw the game to its conclusion.

Speaking after the game, Scarlets Captain Sioned Harries was in positive mood despite the loss; “I’m extremely proud of all the girls’ efforts and commitment throughout the campaign so far, entering the championship as the current title holders will always bring great pressure, but I thought the girls were excellent today and showed great endeavour. Unfortunately, we didn’t start the second half as we ended the first and the Ospreys punished us.  We know what we need to work on for the next round of games and I am confident we will come back stronger for this experience. Our main focus is giving each player the best opportunity to showcase their talent on a regional and national scale whilst developing our ability as a squad.”

Scarlets Team: 15 Dyddgu Hywel 14 Angharad de Smet 13 Elen Evans 12 Jodie Evans 11 Jess Kavanagh 10 Hannah Jones 9 Ffion Lewis; 1 Emma Edwards 2 Delyth Davies 3 Danielle Jenkins 4 Ffion Jones 5 Elin Hywel 6 Alisha Butchers 7 Sioned Harries 8 Natalie Walsh Replacements: Morfudd Ifans, Rachel Norris, Gwenllian Prys, Awen Prysor, Jennie Collins, Steph Harries, Beth Jones, Brittony Price.

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Sport

Foel’s Championship dream halted

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FELINFOEL’s hopes of promotion to the WRU Championship were brought to an end on Sunday (May 12) as they were beaten in the play-offs by Ystalyfera.

Ystalyfera had won the first leg 34-28 on their home soil but Felinfoel were still very much in the tie and they had the backing of an 800-strong home crowd in the reverse fixture. Fans packed in to the ground and they witnessed an epic encounter.

Felinfoel held the lead at one time but their opponents hit back to seal a 20-30 win to win overall by 64 points to 48.

Felinfoel played some attractive rugby during the first half with wingers Eray Wilson and Elliot Dawe scoring tries wide out one of which was converted by Aled Roberts. Ystalyfera scored a penalty and a converted try making the half time score 12 points to 10.

Photos by Darren Harries

The second half opened brightly for Felinfoel with Roberts kicking a penalty and Wilson scoring a further try. With the score at 20 points to 10, matters were looking favourable for the home team.

It was at this stage that the Ystalyfera forwards took complete control of the match denying Felinfoel of any possession for the final 20mins of the match. With a strong scrummage and dynamic driving maul they continued to exert pressure onto the home team.

Ystalyfera were rewarded with a further two converted tries, penalty goal and drop goal and deserved their victory 20 points to 30, and promotion to the championship.

Both teams are to be congratulated in the way in which the game was played. Both sides gave their all and provided an entertaining encounter.

Both sets of supporters gave loud vocal support to each team and were sporting throughout the match.

At the end of the match Felinfoel coach Mike King who is leaving after two years in charge was given a rousing send off by players and supporters alike.

After the game Felinfoel took to twitter saying: “After another successful season, it’s time to say thank you. Thank you to all sponsors for supporting the club throughout the season once again. Without you we would not exist. Thank you to all the supporters who have been with us through thick and thin.

“Lastly, thank you to head coach Mike King who will be leaving us. He has set the foundations of the club and has turned this club around for the better. All at Felinfoel RFC can’t thank you enough. We wish you all the best in the future.”

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Sport

Morgan marches seconds home

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DAFEN Seconds earned the bragging rights over Llanelli Seconds on Saturday (May 11) as they cruised to an eight wicket win.

Dafen won the toss but elected to field and that looked to be a good decision as they bowled their opponents out for just 118 inside 22 overs.

Aadil Mukhtar finished with excellent figures of 5-21 while Oliver Evans supported well taking four wickets for the loss of 40 runs.

Needing just thirty overs of their reply, Dafen Seconds eased to victory as Jac Morgan finished not out on 64 to see his side over the line.

Photo by Darren Harries

The win for Dafen keeps them joint top of the table with Briton Ferry Town after two games while Llanelli sit bottom of Division 3 and are still searching for their first win.

On Saturday (May 18), Dafen Seconds are at home against Dyffryn while Llanelli Seconds are away to Neath thirds.

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Sport

Jones duo sink Bronwydd

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LLANGENNECH earned their first win of the season on Saturday (May 11) as they beat Bronwydd by 14 runs in a low scoring game.

Llangennech won the toss and elected to bat but they lost Chris Hickey early on when he was caught by Jacob Jenkinson off the bowling of Colin Tucker.

Matthew Jones scored 11 before he was caught and bowled by Tucker before David Williams was caught by Tom Gleeson off the bowling of Matthew Vaughan for a score of 14.

James Taube made the same score but was then caught by Phillip Howell off the bowling of Dafydd Morgan. Morgan also bowled Martin Gregory to leave Llangennech on 83-5.

Opener Scott Lloyd’s score of 30 had come off 127 balls and he was eventually caught by Vaughan off the bowling of Callum Collins-Davies.

Richard Clement was the third Llangennech batsman to make a score of 14 before getting out as he was caught by Jenkinson off the bowling of Gleeson.

Michael Jones was then run out before Gleeson claimed his second wicket as he had Simon Clement caught by Oliver Furneaux.

Vaughan then wrapped up the innings as he had Bav Patel caught by James Cale to leave Llangennech all out on 124. Photo by Darren Harries

Bronwydd’s opening pair of James Cale and Philip Howell shared 15 runs but Howell was out for a score of 8 to the bowling of Michael Jones.

Oliver Furneaux was next to fall when he was trapped leg before by Matthew Jones on a score of 11.

Chris Hickey then gave Owain Phillips his first wicket as he caught Jacob Jenkinson and the bowler then claimed his second as he had Cale caught by David Williams on a score of 17.

That left Bronwydd on 44-4 but Iwan Davies and Dafydd Morgan shared 40 runs for the fifth wicket to keep their side in the game.

Davies hit three fours and a six in his knock of 33 but he was then trapped leg before by Michael Jones. He then also bowled Callum Collins-Davies for a duck to reduce Bronwydd to 84-6.

Matthew Jones then had Dafydd Morgan caught on a score of 8 before then trapping Tom Gleeson leg before.

Hickey then took two more catches of Matthew Vaughan and Colin Tucker to give Matthew Jones his five-wicket haul and Bronwydd were all out for 110.

Gareth John had finished not out on 18 but it wasn’t enough for victory for the visitors.

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