Devon Sharks 10
West Wales Raiders 38
WEST WALES Raiders put themselves into a strong position in the first leg of the inaugural Heartbeat of Sport Memorial Shield as they put a less experienced Devon Sharks team to the Sword at Brixham Rugby Club.
Despite not having a game on the weekend, the Raiders decided to field a travelling squad of mostly reserves and development players to give them the opportunity to play against a team with aspirations of being a part of the Conference League South.
With an early kick off for the game scheduled, the Raiders arrived keen to get going with a fast start, and this proved to be the case as a young Raiders side put pressure on the Sharks from the off.
The first score came when some incisive play and quick handling led to the Sharks defending tight, creating space out wide for Dafydd Phillips who romped over. A difficult conversion for Daf Daniels proved to be no problem as he increased the visitors lead with the extras.
Daniels turned from convertor to scorer moments later when he crossed the line himself following a great deal of pressure from the Raiders players. Some smart handling by Rhys Davies saw the prop offload neatly from out of the tackle, catching the defence by surprise to release Daniels to gallop home. Daniels then converted his own score.
With the scoreline already looking comfortable for the Raiders at 12-0 after only 10 minutes of play, the visiting west Wales side took their foot off the gas momentarily and allowed the English side to get a foothold in the match. The lapse in concentration saw the homesters prop Josh Boaler rumble over after a smart inside pass, which caught the visitors firmly off guard. Sam Hedges knocked over the extras.
With moments of the first half remaining, the Raiders were looking like they were going to be made to rue their high number of missed opportunities, but their nerves were settled before heading back into the dressing room as mistake from the Sharks undid all their hard work in the half.
Raiders winger Liam Johnson was the beneficiary as he gobbled up a stray pass to extend his sides lead again, strolling home to stretch the lead.
This boost was countered immediately however as Marcus Phillips crossed right on the bring of half time to leave the score at 10-20, although this turned out to be the hosts last points of the match.
Throughout the game the horrendous weather had been an issue with the ball resembling a bar of soap at times, and after a period of dry and warmth at half time it was understandable that the players started the second period with little vigour or inspiration.
A slow period of 20 chanceless minute ensued as both sides called the changes in their ranks and emptied their benches.
Eventually life was breathed into the game by Raiders debutant Mathew O’Flanagan, who dived over for his first try, to his own personal delight, but also to the coaching staff, who knew the game was now all but won.
With fifteen minutes left the Raiders could’ve brought up the 50-point mark with the amount of chances they had, but they had to settle for 38 as they managed to cross just twice more, despite the Sharks being out on their feet.
It was a tough afternoon for the young Raiders at times, but ultimately they came through their test with flying colours as they triumphed in appalling conditions.
After the game Raiders owner Andrew Thorne commented: “It was great to see everyone involved enjoy the first test in the newly created link between both clubs, rugby league is growing and games like these help clubs grow.
“Devon Sharks hosted us well and it’s great to see how far rugby league is reaching. I was also pleased to see 6 under 17s players and 5 debutants who held themselves throughout the game which is great for the future of club”.
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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