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Town slip up in promotion push

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Alex Ramsey: Made his debut in the Reds goal

Welsh League Division Two

Pontardawe Town 3

Llanelli Town 0 

THE REDS have had better away days than that endured at Parc Ynysderw against opponents who prior to kick-off were just three points ahead of them in the table having played five more games. 

A below-par performance by the visitors saw them struggle to breach a resolute home defence resulting in Steve Reeve in the Ponty goal seldom being called into action, particularly in the first half.

After the interval, the Reds did at least show some attacking intent which had been woefully lacking, but the nearest they came to a goal was a Bruno Forkuoh header which struck the top of the bar.

Alex Ramsay made his debut in the Reds` goal in place of Craig Richards, and with Liam Samuel serving a three match suspension following his red card versus AFC Porth, Steve Berry was named in the starting line-up with Luke Jones on the bench.

Perhaps an early indication of how events were to unfold for the visitors came when the influential Richard Lewis was forced off injured after just 15 minutes following a tackle in midfield with Forkuoh coming on, and leading to a reshuffle in the back four.

Despite their ineffective start, the Reds were thrown a lifeline after 26 minutes with the award of a penalty following the flooring of Declan John in the box when he pursued a ball by Forkuoh, but Matthew Hughes drove his kick wide and a golden opportunity was lost – one which they would come to regret.

If this had been taken the outcome could well have been different, but as it was their opponents were the ones who took heart from the let off with Kieron Howells heading just wide from a Mark Jones corner.

Reeve at the other end easily held a scuffed shot by Forkuoh following a John free kick, but two minutes from the break the hosts took the lead when another Jones corner led to a melee in front of goal before Rob Shannon got the final connection to force the ball home.

The home striker threatened to increase the lead early in the second period, being stopped only by a saving tackle from Robert Thomas, and he was presented with another chance following a long downfield clearance set him up, but his finish rebounded off Ian Evans before the danger was cleared.

The Reds were showing some more attacking options than they had in the first half with Reeve making a couple of important blocks on target, while Nathan Logan drove his attempt at the keeper following a turn in the box.

However this more attacking approach were leaving gaps at the back which the home side almost exploited, and a run down the left by Dan Williams culminated in Ramsay getting down to divert his shot on to the bar where it dropped for Shannon but once again he failed to take advantage to put his side further ahead.

With time running out, some indecisive defending by the visitors allowed Liam Griffiths to volley his finish past Ramsay from the edge of the area in the 88th minute, and the same player might well have scored again when he was clean through but somehow managed to steer the ball wide of a gaping goal.

In stoppage time, a miserable afternoon for the Reds was compounded when Ponty grabbed a third, with Williams getting past Evans before crossing into the middle where Josh Roberts was in acres of space to slot beyond a helpless Ramsay.

Teams: Pontardawe Town: Reeve; Jeffries; L. Roberts; J. Roberts; E. Thomas; M. Jones (N. Thomas, 90+3); Williams; Howells; Shannon (I. Jones, 87); Griffiths; Dorward; Subs. not used; Harries; Blizzard; Huischmidt.

Llanelli Town: Ramsay; I. Evans; Lewis (Forkuoh, 15); Berry (Zola, 77); J. Evans; Bevan; Thomas; John; Logan; Wade (Jones, 55); Hughes; Subs. not used; Harries; Owens.

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Scarlets make five changes for European quarter-final

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Johnny Williams and Sione Kalamafoni have been handed their Scarlets’ European debuts for Saturday’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Toulon at the Stade Felix Mayol (8.15pm UK time).

Both summer signings are included in a side showing five changes to the line-up that took the field against the Dragons in the Scarlets last match of the Guinness PRO14 season.

Wales and British & Irish Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny returns to face his former side, linking up with Johnny McNicholl and Steff Evans in an all-international back three.

Williams and Steff Hughes continue their midfield combination, while Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies has recovered from injury to partner Dan Jones at half-back.

Skipper Ken Owens, Wyn Jones and Samson Lee pack down in the front row and behind them Tongan international Sam Lousi starts at lock alongside Jake Ball.

In a reshuffled back-row, the PRO14’s turnover king Josh Macleod gets the nod at openside;  Kalamafoni, who featured for Leicester Tigers in the pool stages of the tournament, wears the No. 8 jersey and Scotland international Blade Thomson has recovered from an Achilles issue to start at blindside.

On the bench, Ryan Elias, Phil Price and Javan Sebastian provide front-row cover with Lewis Rawlins and James Davies the other forward replacements. Kieran Hardy, Angus O’Brien and Tyler Morgan cover the backs. Morgan is set to make his first Scarlets appearance since joining from the Dragons.

The Scarlets and Toulon faced each other twice during the pool stages. A last-gasp converted try grabbed a 17-16 victory for the French side in November. The three-times European champions then claimed a crucial 27-15 win at Parc y Scarlets in January to ensure they topped the group. 

Head coach Glenn Delaney said: “It is a final for us. If you win three finals in a row you win a trophy. We are that far away from achieving the objective we all set out upon 12 to 13 months ago. It would be lovely to finish it off the right way. Whenever you get the opportunity to play for a trophy you have got to be very respectful and take it deadly serious, which is exactly what our boys have been doing.”

Scarlets team v RC Toulon (Saturday, September 19, 2020; kick-off 8.15pm UK)

15 Leigh Halfpenny; 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Steff Hughes, 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Steff Evans; 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Wyn Jones, 2 Ken Owens (capt), 3 Samson Lee, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Sam Lousi, 6 Blade Thomson, 7 Josh Macleod, 8 Sione Kalamafoni.

Reps: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Phil Price, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 James Davies, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Tyler Morgan.

Unavailable because of injury

Rob Evans (neck), Rhys Patchell (calf), Liam Williams (foot), Daf Hughes (knee), Steff Thomas (knee), Alex Jeffries (elbow), Tomi Lewis (knee), Aaron Shingler.

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Pembrey Country Park to host one of first post-lockdown events

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CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council’s Pembrey Country Park has been chosen to host one of the first outdoor sports events in Wales since the Covid-19 lockdown.

Welsh Government has given the go ahead for three trial sport and culture events as part of its continued easing of restrictions.

Pembrey Country Park will host a duathlon on Sunday, September 6, with a limited number of competitors, although there will be no spectators.

The event will be monitored and will help inform Welsh Government policy on future sporting events as the country continues its recovery from Covid-19.

The council is working with Welsh Triathlon to ensure athletes can compete safely, with strict risk assessments and protocols being put into place.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We’re delighted to host this trial event here in Carmarthenshire, and hope this signals a return of more sporting events in the future. Our teams are working alongside Welsh Government and Welsh Triathlon to ensure that the event is safe and secure whilst providing an exciting and challenging duathlon course for competitors.”

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Trundle and Robinson are back for another season with Ammanford AFC

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Ammanford AFC are pleased to announce that the Ex Swans legends Lee Trundle and Andy Robinson are back for a second season with the club

The pair helped Ammanford AFC to achieve a respectable seventh place finish in the JD Cymru South league last season.

The Supporters of Ammanford will welcome the news and will be hoping that they can go and watch their team once clearance has been given.

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