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Raiders gain edge in inaugural Heartbeat Shield

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Before kick off: Raiders line up

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”.

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Foel’s Championship dream halted

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FELINFOEL’s hopes of promotion to the WRU Championship were brought to an end on Sunday (May 12) as they were beaten in the play-offs by Ystalyfera.

Ystalyfera had won the first leg 34-28 on their home soil but Felinfoel were still very much in the tie and they had the backing of an 800-strong home crowd in the reverse fixture. Fans packed in to the ground and they witnessed an epic encounter.

Felinfoel held the lead at one time but their opponents hit back to seal a 20-30 win to win overall by 64 points to 48.

Felinfoel played some attractive rugby during the first half with wingers Eray Wilson and Elliot Dawe scoring tries wide out one of which was converted by Aled Roberts. Ystalyfera scored a penalty and a converted try making the half time score 12 points to 10.

Photos by Darren Harries

The second half opened brightly for Felinfoel with Roberts kicking a penalty and Wilson scoring a further try. With the score at 20 points to 10, matters were looking favourable for the home team.

It was at this stage that the Ystalyfera forwards took complete control of the match denying Felinfoel of any possession for the final 20mins of the match. With a strong scrummage and dynamic driving maul they continued to exert pressure onto the home team.

Ystalyfera were rewarded with a further two converted tries, penalty goal and drop goal and deserved their victory 20 points to 30, and promotion to the championship.

Both teams are to be congratulated in the way in which the game was played. Both sides gave their all and provided an entertaining encounter.

Both sets of supporters gave loud vocal support to each team and were sporting throughout the match.

At the end of the match Felinfoel coach Mike King who is leaving after two years in charge was given a rousing send off by players and supporters alike.

After the game Felinfoel took to twitter saying: “After another successful season, it’s time to say thank you. Thank you to all sponsors for supporting the club throughout the season once again. Without you we would not exist. Thank you to all the supporters who have been with us through thick and thin.

“Lastly, thank you to head coach Mike King who will be leaving us. He has set the foundations of the club and has turned this club around for the better. All at Felinfoel RFC can’t thank you enough. We wish you all the best in the future.”

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Morgan marches seconds home

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DAFEN Seconds earned the bragging rights over Llanelli Seconds on Saturday (May 11) as they cruised to an eight wicket win.

Dafen won the toss but elected to field and that looked to be a good decision as they bowled their opponents out for just 118 inside 22 overs.

Aadil Mukhtar finished with excellent figures of 5-21 while Oliver Evans supported well taking four wickets for the loss of 40 runs.

Needing just thirty overs of their reply, Dafen Seconds eased to victory as Jac Morgan finished not out on 64 to see his side over the line.

Photo by Darren Harries

The win for Dafen keeps them joint top of the table with Briton Ferry Town after two games while Llanelli sit bottom of Division 3 and are still searching for their first win.

On Saturday (May 18), Dafen Seconds are at home against Dyffryn while Llanelli Seconds are away to Neath thirds.

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Jones duo sink Bronwydd

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LLANGENNECH earned their first win of the season on Saturday (May 11) as they beat Bronwydd by 14 runs in a low scoring game.

Llangennech won the toss and elected to bat but they lost Chris Hickey early on when he was caught by Jacob Jenkinson off the bowling of Colin Tucker.

Matthew Jones scored 11 before he was caught and bowled by Tucker before David Williams was caught by Tom Gleeson off the bowling of Matthew Vaughan for a score of 14.

James Taube made the same score but was then caught by Phillip Howell off the bowling of Dafydd Morgan. Morgan also bowled Martin Gregory to leave Llangennech on 83-5.

Opener Scott Lloyd’s score of 30 had come off 127 balls and he was eventually caught by Vaughan off the bowling of Callum Collins-Davies.

Richard Clement was the third Llangennech batsman to make a score of 14 before getting out as he was caught by Jenkinson off the bowling of Gleeson.

Michael Jones was then run out before Gleeson claimed his second wicket as he had Simon Clement caught by Oliver Furneaux.

Vaughan then wrapped up the innings as he had Bav Patel caught by James Cale to leave Llangennech all out on 124. Photo by Darren Harries

Bronwydd’s opening pair of James Cale and Philip Howell shared 15 runs but Howell was out for a score of 8 to the bowling of Michael Jones.

Oliver Furneaux was next to fall when he was trapped leg before by Matthew Jones on a score of 11.

Chris Hickey then gave Owain Phillips his first wicket as he caught Jacob Jenkinson and the bowler then claimed his second as he had Cale caught by David Williams on a score of 17.

That left Bronwydd on 44-4 but Iwan Davies and Dafydd Morgan shared 40 runs for the fifth wicket to keep their side in the game.

Davies hit three fours and a six in his knock of 33 but he was then trapped leg before by Michael Jones. He then also bowled Callum Collins-Davies for a duck to reduce Bronwydd to 84-6.

Matthew Jones then had Dafydd Morgan caught on a score of 8 before then trapping Tom Gleeson leg before.

Hickey then took two more catches of Matthew Vaughan and Colin Tucker to give Matthew Jones his five-wicket haul and Bronwydd were all out for 110.

Gareth John had finished not out on 18 but it wasn’t enough for victory for the visitors.

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