West Wales Raiders 38
London Chargers 36
WEST WALES RAIDERS ended the three year undefeated reign of London Chargers with a stunning two point victory at Stebonheath Park on Saturday (May 14).
The Chargers boasted a wealth of experience with a internationally assembled squad full of seasoned New Zealand and Australian players, and headed into the game on the back of a mammoth 80 points to nil victory over Coventry Bears in their previous outing, but the endeavour of the Raiders proved to be too much for the English side.
The game started as it meant to go on at a frantic pace and a brutal defensive encounter but it was the Raiders who drew first blood with mercurial pivot Luke Williams scoring under the posts and converting his own try.
London responded quickly and with a well worked move went over in the corner but missed the conversion, again the Raiders answered and pivot Williams put a great cross field kick for Curtis Ford to leap and take to score in the corner, Luke Williams failed to convert.
With the score at 10 points to 4 the Londoners turned on the style that they are renowned for and scored three converted tries in quick succession leaving the Raiders and their supporters very quiet.
It was a change in positional play that then saw Raiders hooker Dafydd Phillips find a gap, wrong foot the defence and pass to supporting prop Kyle Bryan to score, the half time score saw West Wales Raiders behind by four, at 18-22..
The second half talk from the London coach must have been inspirational as they came into the second half showing great attacking flair and proving a handful.
As a result the Chargers were first to score as some tired defence allowed them in under the posts for a converted try making the scores 18-28 after 50 minutes.
The Raiders then began to find their rhythm and a change in tactics allowed dummy half Liam Johnson to find a gap and go over at short range, the fight back had begun and aggressive defence forced the Londoners to be tackled twice over their try line and giving Raiders repeat sets the pressure paid off and winger Curtis Ford worked hard to squeeze in at the corner.
With the scores poised at 28-28 another positional change allowed the Raiders to apply further pressure around the Chargers ruck and hooker Dafydd Phillips sniped his way around three defenders to go a full sixty meters and score under the posts with the try converted the score was then 34-28 to the Raiders.
London then found themselves with a scrum on the Raiders ten-metre line after a mistake from a looping pass. The scrum gave the Londoners the building block to choose whether to go left or right and with the choice that they had, they went in to score in the corner, with the kick being a difficult one London couldn’t add the 2 points.
With only four minutes remaining on the clock when the Chargers probed the Raiders tiring defence and scored out wide in the corner with what seemed to be the winning try.
However the Raiders would not give up and after London where forced to drop out under the sticks again the Raiders put on a last gasp attack, captain Nathan Beck putting up a huge up and under and second rower Morgan Jefferies leaping to claim the spoils and go over the line as the referees whistle blew to end the game Raiders 38 London Chargers 36
Raiders coach Jon Ellis was ecstatic after the game, and commented: “What an unbelievable game that was, it was none stop for eighty minutes and our players showed some great tenacity and a never say die attitude west Wales is renowned for, a great spectacle for rugby league and it will be good to see our fan base grow and grow.
“London Chargers are a class act, a great set of blokes, Raiders play an attractive free flowing style of rugby league which is great to watch so get down to Stebo and watch us.”
Scarlets make five changes for European quarter-final
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.
Pembrey Country Park to host one of first post-lockdown events
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.”
Trundle and Robinson are back for another season with Ammanford AFC
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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