THE OLD adage ‘a game of two halves‘ can aptly describe the Reds home match against their Gwent visitors as they dominated the opening forty five minutes only to fall away after the restart, and in the final analysis were probably thankful for a point.
One small consolation was the fact the overall display by the home side was certainly a vast improvement following the horror show at AFC Porth the previous week, and when captain Lee Bevan put them ahead in the 29th minute, probably another goal would have sealed the final result, as their opponents offered little in the way of an attacking threat.
Having failed to do so, however, they then allowed the opposition to dictate matters in the second half, and their goal survived some close calls – among them a miss from the penalty spot.
Richard Lewis, who had missed the Porth fixture, was soon in the thick of the action, driving a corner across the face of the net before forcing Tom Chorley in the visitors` goal to divert his free kick on target around the post.
Chorley then just managed to beat Matthew Hughes to a back pass when he quickly closed him down, and when Mark Napieralla sent Luke Jones clear down the right flank, his final ball to the near post was diverted for a corner.
The Reds were well in control of proceedings, and went close again from a Liam Samuel free kick, which flashed just wide with Chorley beaten.
The pressure eventually paid off just before the half hour when a Lewis set piece found its way to the far edge of the area where Bevan was on hand to bring it under control before volleying his finish beyond the keeper.
The Reds continued to dictate play, with Hughes just failing to get a strike away when he collected a cross by Samuel, while the latter almost scored himself, shooting over from ten yards when Lewis set up the chance.
Comfortably in control at the break despite their slender lead, the Reds were to find their opponents a vastly different proposition in the second period, and an early warning sign came when Bevan was forced into a vital clearance in front of goal from a Luke Fernquest cross with players waiting to take advantage. Ten minutes into the play, Croesyceiliog were awarded a penalty after a corner was punched clear by Alex Ramsay before the loose ball was transferred back into the box, and in the ensuing scramble, Aaron Harris went down under a challenge, leading to referee Matthew Jones pointing to the spot.
Lewis Clare took the kick, but he drove his attempt wide, and the Reds were temporarily let off the hook.
This setback did not seem to deter the visitors too much, as they continued to pose plenty of problems, although a rare Reds attack saw Bartolome Bauza, who had a fine game in midfield considering his limited appearances, fire just off target when Hughes found him on the edge of the area.
With time running out it appeared as if the solitary goal would prove sufficient to secure a much-needed win, but the visitors had other ideas and with ten minutes remaining levelled matters when Ramsay elected to punch clear the initial free kick by Josh Hall, but the ball was recycled back into the middle where it was met by Rhys Williams whose finish found the net.
Just before the close, the Reds almost conceded again and have Jamie Evans to thank for clearing off the line when Jamie Arnold got a close range connection.
A point apiece was probably a fair result as both sides created chances but were equally culpable at not being able to cash in.
Llanelli Town: Ramsay, Napieralla (I. Evans, 85), Lewis, Thomas, J. Evans, Bevan, Samuel, Bauza, Jones (Forkuoh, 74), Logan (Stone, 74), Hughes.
Subs not used: Zola, John.
Croesyceiliog: Chorley, Hall, Evans, Morris, Griffiths (Doidge, 71), N. Williams (Fernquest, 46), Harris, R. Williams, Clare (Mason, 62), Feeley, Arnold.
Sub not used: Hodge.
Raiders seal first ever win
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.
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.
Dafen see off Porthcawl
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.
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.
Rees century sees Llanelli to win
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.
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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