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Scarlets fight back to earn bonus point

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Scarlets 22

Cardiff 28

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 14.28.07DESPITE a disappointing loss to the Cardiff side, the Scarlets remain play-off contenders after earning a losing bonus point through a late John Barclay try.

Scarlets were caught napping in the opening exchange of the game, with two of the Blues’ internationals crossing the try line to put the hosts under pressure. However, patience eventually paid dividends and Jones’ accuracy from the tee kept the Scarlets within touching distance as half time drew nearer.

It was the visitors that headed in at the break with a nine point lead and the Scarlets looking to get back into the game with yet another half to play.

The Scarlets fought back hard in the latter half of the game but the Blues secured enough points to keep the hosts at bay. A disappointing loss for the fourth placed region but their focus will nevertheless turn to Glasgow Warriors who travel to Llanelli in two weeks’ time.

With eight minutes gone, the Welsh international half back, Gareth Anscombe, gives the Blues their first points of the game and an early lead. Moments later, ripping the ball and earning themselves excellent field position from the counter attack, it’s the other Welsh international half back, Lloyd Williams, that gets an important early try. The conversion is good and the Blues find themselves ten points clear in the opening phase of the game.

Scarlets’ very own Wales U20s Grand Slam Championship winning fly half Dan Jones narrows the deficit to just seven points with a well struck penalty kick.

A penalty for tackling a player without the ball allows Jones to kick his second only moments later, and the Scarlets are back within a try!

Despite some aggressive, albeit desperate tackling from the Scarlets on their own try line, winger Tom James uses every inch of his reach to plant the ball over the line after powering through his opposite man. Anscombe’s conversion attempt is short but the Blues earn another five points and widen the gap once more.

Scarlets put the squeeze on the Blues front front row at scrum time and the visitors yield a penalty which Dan Jones converts to add another three points to the scoreboard.

Another foray into Scarlets’ territory yields more points for the visitors, with Anscombe slotting the easiest of penalties from in front of the posts.

Another defensive effort keeps the Blues out in the dying moments of the first half and the Scarlets head in at half time trailing by nine points. The hosts will be looking to come out of the changing rooms in the next period firing on all cylinders to turn the deficit around and salvage a win from this important derby game.

Scarlets get the first points of the second half through the boot of Jones once more, taking the hosts into double figures and within a converted try of the leaders!

It takes another ten minutes before the Blues get their next points, with Gareth Anscombe slotting his third penalty and taking the Blues away from the Scarlets once more.

It’s Aled Thomas, the new replacement, who takes over the kicking duties and his first action of the game is to slot the Scarlets’ fifth penalty of the day.

From the turn over, Tom James breaks the line and finds his fellow Welsh international, Anscombe, who ghosts past the final defenders with a dummy and scores beneath the posts. The Kiwi converts his own try and takes his side thirteen points clear with only seventeen minutes to go.

A scrum against the head gives Barclay the ball and a run at the line; he puts his head down and powers onwards, his fellow forwards boosting him forward! He’s carried over the try line and gets the ball down! Thomas adds the conversion and the hosts are back within a converted try!

Despite the Scarlets throwing everything at the Blues in the final thirty seconds, the Blues manage to hold on to the lead and kick the ball into touch to secure an impressive away victory. Scarlets salvage a bonus point from the loss but remain firmly in the Top 4 and in a play-off spot.

In a fortnight, Scarlets welcome last year’s champions, Glasgow Warriors to the Parc and will be looking to make amends for their defeat.

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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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