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Scarlets cement top four place

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Guinness Pro12

Ulster 20

Scarlets 21

Aled Davies: Moves across to make a tackleMICHAEL COLLINS scored a brace as the Scarlets beat Ulster 21-20 at the Kingspan Stadium to cement their place in the top four of the GUINNESS PRO12.

Collins scored two first-half tries for the Scarlets but Ulster were able to go in ahead at half-time thanks to scores from Craig Gilroy and Luke Marshall.

The second half wasn’t as open but remained just as tense, with Aled Thomas’ boot doing just enough to kick the Scarlets to victory.

The Scarlets made the perfect start with a try after just four minutes. It came after the visitors had held onto the ball for an extended period of time. Ulster held well initially but eventually the pressure told and when the Scarlets created an overlap, Hadleigh Parkes took advantage to cut inside Darren Cave before feeding Collins for the try.

Aled Thomas missed the conversion, but was on target with a penalty after Ulster were penalised for hands in the ruck.

The deficit was cut back to five points by skipper Paddy Jackson with a snap drop goal, and he gave the home side the lead with a fine conversion after an even better try by Gilroy.

The winger got the ball out on the right but still had 60 metres and a lot of work to do. He showed his pace and some silky footwork to chip over Collins and collect before outpacing Gareth Owen to the line. With Jackson’s extras, Ulster led 10-8 after 20 minutes but the lead did not last long.

A fine break from Owen got the Scarlets back on the front foot, and Thomas then sliced through after the ball had been recycled. A knock-on from Jackson gave the Scarlets an advantage and they showed great hands to ship the ball to the left for Collins to complete a double. This time Thomas was on target with his conversion to make it 15-10.

However just before half-time Ulster moved back in front with another great try. Playing with penalty advantage Paul Marshall sniped away at a ruck and then threw the wide pass to Luke Marshall for the score in the corner despite a convergence of Scarlets defenders.

Jackson again converted from the touchline, to put Ulster back in front, and that was in sharp contrast to Thomas, who hit the post with a penalty effort right on the stroke of half-time after Ulster had been caught offside at a breakdown.

The Scarlets should have had their third try right at the start of the second half but couldn’t quite finish off after wonderful hands had put Collins away. He found DTH van der Merwe inside him but the Canadian was tackled just short of the line. The ball then went right and back left but with Regan King over the line, he couldn’t touch down and the knocked on as he tried to offload.

Still, Ulster failed to clear to touch and after another series of attacks, the home side were penalised for slowing the ball, allowing Thomas to slot the penalty and put the Scarlets back in front.

Ulster’s indiscipline was proving problematic and they lost Chris Henry soon after to the sin-bin when he was penalised for handling the ball at a ruck. Thomas added another three points to stretch the Scarlets’ lead to 21-17.

Trailing by four, Ulster turned down a shot at goal soon after, instead kicking to the corner. It didn’t pay off though as the Scarlets defended well and were able to clear.

However the Scarlets couldn’t manage any more points while Henry was off, and he returned just as they went back to the corner follow an infringement in a ruck.

They couldn’t make that count but when the Scarlets were penalised for failing to roll away, Jackson slotted the simple penalty to make it a one-point game.

They couldn’t make that count but when the Scarlets were penalised for failing to roll away, Jackson slotted the simple penalty to make it a one-point game.

Ulster threw everything at the Scarlets in the last ten minutes but with five to go the visitors got hold of the ball and they were able to see out the game and secure the four points.

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Sport

Raiders well beaten by Town

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By Ian Golden at Stebonheath Park

WORKINGTON Town eased to a 58-12 over West Wales Raiders in Llanelli on Saturday (Jun 8) with their ten tries all coming from different players.

The away side did enough to win the game despite their many errors that would cost them a lot more against a higher placed side.

Town took an early lead after Gordon Maulding found a gaping hole in the Raiders’ backline and easily ran 10 metres to score. Carl Forber converted.

From kick-off, they doubled the score. No Raiders’ player had the answer to Fui Fui Moi Moi’s strength as he burst past the back-line. No issues again for Forber.

A short kick-off worked well for Raiders as they regained possession from kick-off and they nearly scored. Steve Parry was held a metre from the line on the final tackle of the set.

Photo by Darren Harries

As frustrations started to boil over, the referee stopped his watch on 25 minutes to give Raiders a team warning for persistent offending, and now was the time for Town to take advantage. Stevie Scholey was close, but from the next tackle, Sean Penkywicz dived over. Forber converted.

Town scored their fourth on the half hour. Perry Singleton was on the end of a good passing move, straight from a scrum on Raiders’ ten-metre line. Forber’s kick was just wide.

Then just before half-time, after winning a penalty on Raiders’ 40-metre line, Stevie Scholey ran through for Workington’s fifth. Forber converted again for a 28-0 lead at the break.

Town had an early second half try chalked off for a forward pass but after Raiders gave away a penalty for off-side, Ryan Fieldhouse twisted his way over the line for a try that Forber improved.

Then on 51 minutes, Raiders finally broke their duck for what was the best try of the game. Phil Cowburn broke from the half-way line, offloaded to Ashley Bateman who lost the ball under pressure, but Cowburn was on hand to pick up the loose ball, score under the sticks and convert his own try.

Photo by Darren Harries

However, following another Raiders dropped ball and a penalty from the next tackle, Workington addressed the balance as Declan O’Donnell crashed over underneath the sticks and Forber easily converted.

From kick-off, a Welshman finally got on the scoresheet after Sam Hopkins catching his own chip and run to the line for Town’s eighth try.

Forber kicked the goal, then set up the next try, opening up a gap for Oliver Wilkes to celebrate his 100th career try. Forber converted.

Raiders weren’t giving up. They won another goal-line drop out and continued to put on the pressure. Steve Parry was held up over the line and from the next tackle, Morgan Evans ran through a hole in the Town defence. Cowburn converted.

But after Town won the ball from kick-off, they went over from their tenth and final try of the afternoon as debutant Blain Marwood eased his way past the tiring home defence with his first touch of the ball for the club after another good Forber offload.

The man of the match converted to cement the win.

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Sport

Llangennech seconds beaten

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LLANGENECH Seconds were beaten by five wickets by Pontardawe on Saturday (Jun 8).

They batted first after Pontardawe elected to field but they could only manage a score of 114-8 from their 40 overs.

Llangennech soon found themselves struggling on 22-3 after Michael and Robert Lloyd and David James fell to the bowling of Jeff Hapgood (2) and Jason Rourke (1).

Iwan Hicks and Rhys Howells shared 56 runs for the fourth wicket but that came to an end when Howells was run out by Daniel McCudden on a score of 24.

Hicks and Lloyd Francis shared another 28 runs for the fifth wicket but Lloyd Jenkins struck to remove Francis on a score of 10.

Jenkins then also took the wicket of Owain Soady-Jackson for a duck as they slipped to 108-6.

Photo by Darren Harries

That soon became 109-7 as Hicks, who hit four fours in a good knock of 51, was caught by Rourke off the bowling of Jenkins.

Andy Megrath was later run out as Llangennech limped to 114-8.

Llangnnech struck early in Pontardawe’s reply as the looked to put the pressure on.

Nathan Lewis had opener Sean Harris caught by Iwan Hicks on a score of 10.

Fellow opener Daniel McCudden fell for the same score when he was also caught by Hicks off the bowling of Lloyd Francis.

Nathan Dinsley made a score of 21 but he was then bowled by Llyr Soady-Jackson.

Iwan Hicks then had Lloyd Jenkins caught by Lewis as they reduced Pontardawe to 87-4.

That became 93-5 as Richard Felton, who had scored 23, was bowled by Hicks.

That was as good as it got for Llangennech however, as Mark Williams and Jeff Hapgood saw Pontardawe home with the latter not out on 15.

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Sport

Dafen edged out by Maesteg

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DAFEN suffered defeat against Maesteg Celtic on Saturday (Jun 8), as they were bowled out 19 runs short of victory.

The home side had elected to field on winning the toss and that looked to have been a good decision as they bowled Celtic out for 118.

However, six wickets from Matthew Davies helped them bowl Dafen out for 101 to earn victory for the visitors.

Maesteg lost opener Davies early on as he was bowled by David Dunfee who then also had Nick Poole caught by Philip George on a score of 23.

Dunfee then also had James Richards caught by Matthew Evans before Paul Morris was run out by Christopher Davies.

That left the Celtic on 40-4 but a stand of 42 between Ellis Bird and Morgan Griffiths took them towards three figures.

Bird was then trapped leg before by Jonathan Randell who then also had Jordan Richards caught by Simon Davies.

That saw the visitors slip to 85-6 but Griffiths shared a stand of 25 with Glen Lawler.

Photo by Darren Harries

Griffiths had hit six fours and a six in his knock of 59 but he was then caught by Kai Rees off the bowling of Chris Hudson.

Elliot Colston was then removed in the same manner before Lawler was bowled by Matthew Donoghue on a score of 13.

Hudson then had Adam Lawler caught by Christopher Davies as Maesteg’s innings came to an end.

At the halfway stage Dafen would have been confident of victory but Maesteg bowled well as they reduced the home side to 33-5 in their reply.

Opener Jonathan Randell was out to the bowling of Matthew Davies as was Aman Gandhi for a duck.

Matthew Evans made ten before he was bowled by Adam Lawler before David Dunfee was bowled by Davies for another duck.

Christopher Davies did make 14 but he was caught by Luke Wilson off the bowling of Lawler.

Photo by Darren Harries

Matthew Donoghue and Simon Davies looked to stop the flow of wickets and they shared a good stand worth 64 runs.

Davies hit six fours in his score of 38 but he was then caught by Morgan Griffiths off the bowling of namesake Matthew.

Maesteg made light work of the tail as Phillip George was out to Davies and Donoghue was caught by Lawler off the bowling of brother Glen on a score of 24.

Davies then claimed his sixth wicket as he trapped Kai Rees leg before for a duck.

Chris Hudson was also out for a duck to the bowling of Wilson as Dafen’s inning came to a close with them all out on 101.

On Saturday (Jun 15), Dafen will look to get back to winning ways when they take on Division 1 leaders Cowbridge.

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