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Reds back with a bang

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Cut up: The Stebonheath surface suffered during the game

Welsh League Division Two

Llanelli Town 4

AFC Porth 0

LLANELLI exploded back on to the Welsh League Division Two scene after an enforced absence of over a month due to waterlogged pitches, dispatching of a mid-table AFC Porth team to reignite their promotion challenge.

Both sides were back in action after a long period of inactivity due to the atrocious weather with the Reds playing their first game since early December, while their opponents` last outing was in late October. Again, conditions were far from ideal, with heavy, blustery showers sweeping across the ground, combined with a gusty, swirling wind, and the playing surface at the close had cut up badly.

The home side included new signings Anton Owens and Jandir Zola on their bench, with Owens coming on as a replacement for Nathan Logan at the start of the second half, and they were soon on the offensive with Richard Lewis forcing Porth keeper Chris Golton to divert his effort from distance around the post after the initial pass from Declan John set up the chance. The visitors then created an opportunity when Nathan Doe latched on to a through ball and advanced on the goal, but Reds` keeper Craig Richards got down to grasp his finish at full stretch. Liam Samuel then had a great chance of putting the hosts ahead when he was played in ten yards out, but he dragged his shot wide of the far post. He made amends, however, when he was involved in the opening goal after 11 minutes, finding John whose cross to the back post was met by Logan who directed his header beyond Gorton.

This success spurred on the home side who were in complete control of proceedings with Samuel again prominent in a build-up which culminated in Matthew Hughes forcing the Porth keeper to direct his shot for a corner. From this, taken by Lewis, Logan rose to meet it but headed over from point blank range, and when Lewis delivered a ball into the goalmouth, Sam Wade narrowly failed to make a connection. Wade was then heavily involved in the Reds` second goal on 32 minutes, carving open the Porth defence with a great pass which enabled Hughes to run on to before slotting his finish beyond Gorton. Three minutes later, the lead was stretched further with Lewis providing a cross into the crowded goalmouth, which seemingly evaded everyone, before Samuel arrived to force the ball home on the line.

A fourth success arrived within a further two minutes with Hughes being found in space before crossing into the middle where Wade was on hand to net from close in. The visitors briefly rallied, with Doe again being denied by Richards who kept out his shot with an outstretched foot. Four up at the break and with the match virtually won, the second half turned out to be something of a non-event for the home side, and with their opponents woefully bereft of any attacking options, the only event of note was the dismissal after 53 minutes of Samuel following a clash with Brad Williams who escaped with a caution.

Despite the introduction of Steve Berry and Bruno Forkuoh for Wade and Hughes respectively, the Reds failed to add to their lead, while Porth won their solitary corner of the contest after 73 minutes. Nevertheless, it was good to see the Reds back in action and secure the three points and a clean sheet in their goal of possible promotion at the end of the season.

Teams:

Llanelli Town: Richards; I. Evans; Lewis; Thomas; J. Evans; Bevan; Wade (Berry, 69); John; Logan (Owens, 46); Samuel; Hughes (Forkuoh, 71). Subs. not used; Harries; Zola.

AFC Porth: Golton; Williams (Heycock, 75); Parsons (Bullock, 64); Bird; Dwyer; Luck; Taylor (Price, 70); Davies; Doe; Vivers; Flynn. Sub not used; Smith.

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Raiders seal first ever win

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West Wales Raiders 44

Coventry Bears 16

Lucas Marshall, Stebonheath Park,

A LATE rally by Coventry Bears was not enough to deny a jubilant West Wales Raiders their first-ever win at the 45th time of asking.

The old South Wales Ironmen tasted victory against Gloucestershire All Golds in the first match played at Stebonheath Park back in July 2017, but never before have the side won under the Raiders banner. And it was certainly worth the wait as the Raiders dominated much of the game against a Bears side that doesn’t have the best record when travelling to South Wales. The other game the Ironmen won in 2017 was against Coventry, whilst the Bears only won by 10 points at Llanelli last season.

Dewi Billingham made his Coventry debut while trialist Zak Williams made his first appearance since returning to the Bears. But both former Raiders stars were unable to come back to haunt their former employers.

Try time: Raiders celebrate another try. Photo by Darren Harries

Much of the damage was done in the first half with the Raiders taking control from the kick-off and eventually going in 20-0 up at the break.

It took only six minutes for Raiders to break the Bears defence when good work down the left put Dalton Desmond-Walker in for the opener. Phil Cowburn added the extras but was off target just moments later after Ash Bateman was on the end of some quick passing to go in on the right.

When Morgan Evans went in for the Raiders third, again converted by Cowburn, their loyal band of supporters started to believe they were on course for victory.

It could have been even worse for the Bears, but strong defence saw them hold the visitors up over the line on three occasions mid-way through the half. Although there was no denying Archie Snook with one of the final plays of the half after Welsh International Steve Parry had split the Bears defence to put the centre through. Cowburn once again failed with the conversion but the Raiders still celebrated their most positive 40 minutes in almost two years.

After the break, it was the Bears who struck first through Reece Rance, but any hopes of a comeback were soon extinguished by three quick-fire tries.

First, former Bears player Mitch Shaw scooted over, before Bateman and Snook both got their second try of the afternoon to all but secure the victory for the Llanelli-based outfit.

Parry then went in for the Raiders’ eighth try of the day to put the icing on a long-awaited cake.

But the Bears were by no means done and added two further tries of their own to make the scoreline look a little less dominate than the game suggested.

Tries from Errol Carter and South Wales youth system graduate Cobi Green, along with two Joe Sanderson conversions rounded off the scoring for the visitors.

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Dafen see off Porthcawl

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DAFEN Seconds earned their sixth win of the season on Saturday (Jul 6) as they beat Porthcawl by 75 runs.

Porthcawl won the toss and elected to field and they were able to bowl Dafen out for 182.

Opener Oliver Evans made a score of 19 and Chris Randell scored 25 as a number of Dafen batsmen made good starts.

Jonathan Griffiths scored 22 and there were also scores of 15 from Tom Lavender and 16 from Luke Dunning.

Matthew Thomas made a late score of 18 while Andrew Randell top scored with 43 runs.

Nicholas Morgan was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for the loss of 30 runs from his 6.3 overs.

Mark Bevan also bowled well to finish with figures of 3-37.

Photos by Darren Harries

That set Porthcawl 138 to win but they lost a number of batsmen for single figure scores as they struggled to put runs on the board.

Andrew Randell had Nicholas Morgan caught by Jac Morgan and Matthew Thomas had Rhodri Phillips caught by Chris Randell.

Chris Richards made a score of 13 before he was bowled by Rhys Marchant who then also bowled Rob Warren and had David Lewis caught by Chris Randell, both for ducks.

Tim Richards also fell for a duck when he was caught off the bowling of Matthew Thomas.

Mark Lewis had scored 25 but he also fell to the bowling of Marchant.

Steffan Flood also scored 25 before he was bowled by Chris Randell and Joshua Aubrey added 20 late on before he also fell to the bowling of Randell.

That meant that Porthcawl were all out for 107, giving Dafen seconds an excellent win.

On Saturday (Jul 13), Dafen seconds are away to local rivals Llanelli seconds.

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Rees century sees Llanelli to win

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LLANELLI’s Iwan Rees scored a century on Saturday (Jul 6) to help his side to victory over Briton Ferry Steel.

Briton Ferry won the toss and elected to bat but they were restricted to 186-8 in their innings.

Steven Devonald struck early on to remove Evan Hynes but Lloyd Clement and Jamie Griffiths shared 44 runs for the second wicket.

Jac Rees had Griffiths caught by Craig Howells on a score of 24 and soon after Craig Evans was bowled by Aled Gilley for a duck.

Clement had made a score of 41 but when he was bowled by Rees, the Steel found themselves on 81-4.

That soon became 88-5 as Steve Maddock was caught by Marcus Leaf off the bowling of Gilley.

Photo by Darren Harries

Iwan Rees then had Steffan Evans caught by Howells and Rhys Norgrove fell in similar fashion.

Jason Hughes and Thomas Williams shared 56 runs for the eighth wicket as they looked to give their side a total to defend.

On the last ball Williams was caught by Rees off the bowling of Gilley on a score of 24 which left Hughes not out on 67.

Llanelli openers Iwan Rees and Ioan Phillips shared 42 runs for the first wicket before Phillips was caught by Rhys Norgrove off the bowling of Jay Webb.

That was as good as it got for the Steel though as they were unable to claim any further wickets.

Craig Howells hit seven fours as he finished unbeaten on 53 while Rees starred with 14 fours to finish unbeaten on 104.

The win gives Llanelli 19 points and keeps them third in the table. On Saturday (Jul 13), they travel to local rivals Dafen.

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