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Steamy windows at Stebo

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Llanelli Town 2

Pontypridd Town 2

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-10-01-36THE COMBINATION of torrential rain and extreme body heat made photography conditions difficult at Stebonheath on Friday (Dec 9), as Llanelli Town took on Pontypridd Town in what was to be a repeat of the last niggly match the two clubs played.

There is no love lost between these two teams and before you could say ‘Turkish bath’, the steam had built up to a point where someone had to blow the whistle.

That man was referee Aled Jones and, according to the Reds’ Manager Andy Hill, he cost them the win.

Home support was boosted by the presence of Cor Meibion Llanelli as they belted out ‘Yma o Hyd’ from the covered stand.

Others observed the football through the steamy windows of the media suite, including the one and only Wales, Swansea and Spurs legend Cliff Jones and his family, who were enjoying the festive hospitality profiteroles, nibbles and some local beverages.

The Herald opted to join the Reds TV cameraman up in the media tower, which provided scant cover from the wind and rain, which was blowing in more directions than the abuse the ref was taking from the angry Stebo faithful.

Numerous handballs went unpunished, offside rulings were suspect and the numerous hospital tackles went without cards of any colour for most of the game.

The ferocity of the game itself, the red of Llanelli and the white of Pontypridd took one back to the halcyon days of football and it looked like a Liverpool v Leeds game, complete with a couple of Tommy Smiths and Billy Bremners.

Welsh legend Cliff Jones appeared to be enjoying it anyway and The Herald managed to sneak in an interview with the Swansea and Spurs veteran at half time as well as pocketing a sneaky profiterole and a glass of pop.

It was back up a wet ladder for our cameraman and that profiterole appeared to add vim and vigour to his stealth on the ascent.

Pontypridd had come to play but they had also brought a bucket of glue, the contents of which they applied to at least four men and positioned them around Lee Trundle for the entire game.

There is no doubt that the Ponty plan worked as a frustrated Reds team could not free Trundle from his markers. Luke Morgan got the first goal in the first half when he broke free down the left hand side of the field, sweeping into the box and belting the ball passed the Ponty keeper.

Not long afterwards, Trundle somehow weaved his way out of the grips of his markers and curled a belter into the left hand corner of the Ponty net.

It was Pontypridd who came out playing the better football in the second half and they used the full width of the Stebo field well on at least two occasions when their strikers showed some real pace to skin the Reds defence and secure two great goals.

The Reds continued to try and feed Trundle and Samuel but the long searching balls failed to find them.

It could have been the very slippery surface making the tackles look particularly savage but, even so, the ref reached for his yellow card a number of times and eventually his red as he sent one of the Ponty players off.

It must have been a wondrous sight for Cor Meibion Llanelli – as friendly a group of men you’d ever meet – as they watched 22 grown men pushing and shoving each other soaked to the skin, covered in mud and with steam rising from their bodies. If only they had broken into that Tina Turner number ‘Steamy Windows’, the night would have been complete.

The game ended Llanelli Town 2 – Pontypridd Town 2.

The Reds continue a 19 game unbeaten run.

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Wanderers too strong for Crymych

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LLANELLI Wanderers earned their seventh win of the season on Saturday (Apr 6) as they comfortably beat Crymych 34-7.

Rhydian Morgan put the home side ahead with an unconverted try early on and he then scored a penalty to give the home side an 8-0 lead.

Crymych were then guilty of a number of offences and the referee awarded the Wanderers a penalty try. The visitors also had a player sent off which meant they would be a man light for the rest of the game.

That gave Llanelli a 15-0 lead at the break and it didn’t take long for the home side to increased their lead in the second half.

Lewis Jones crossed for the try but the conversion was missed.

Crymych did bring themselves back into the game as Laurence Headlam went over and Gareth Davies added the extra two points.

Rhydian Morgan then crossed for his second try of the game to give his side a bonus point and he then added the extras to take the score to 27-7.

Lloyd Thomas went over for the final try of the game and Morgan again added the extras for a personal haul of 17 points from the game.

That made it 34-7 to the Wanderers and they saw the game out to close the gap on their opponents.

On Saturday (Apr 13), the Wanderers are away as they travel to Whitland while Crymych host Gowerton.

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Bont hold on for win

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PONTYBEREM kept up their push for promotion as they edged to a 15-13 win away at Carmarthen Athletic on Saturday (Apr 6).

The Bont knew they could not afford to slip up in this game as they continue to chase second placed Pembroke.

The Athletic fielded a different XV to the side they played at the Park earlier in the season and they put on an impressive display.

They were able to keep the Bont at bay as Bradley Roderick scored two penalties to give them a 6-0 lead.

The visitors though began to claw their way back into the game and Rhodri Lewis crossed in the corner for an unconverted try, leaving the score a 6-5 at half time.

Pontyberem upped their game in the second half and a tremendous burst by prop James Prosser saw him go over under the posts having begun his run on the 22-metre line. Mike Sauro then added the extras for a 6-12 lead.

The visitors still had to be alert though as the Athletic threatened to get back into it but Sauro then added a penalty to make it 6-15 to the Bont.

Roderick then intercepted the ball on his own 10-yard line before going on to score and adding the conversion to make it 13-15.

That set up a nervy final six minutes but the Bont held on to keep their promotion hopes alive.

The win means that the Bont are now three points behind second placed Pembroke who they play this weekend (Apr 13).

It is one of the biggest games for both sides and a big crowd is expected at the Park.

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Dressage rider is Festivals Champion

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GEMMA SOMERS from Nantgaredig has won the Petplan Equine Novice Silver Championship at the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships on Hallucination. The combination have spent the winter preparing for the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships held at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire from April 11-15.

Hallucination is a British bred 17.3hh, six-year-old mare owned by William Shufflebottom and ridden by Gemma.

The talented partnership clearly impressed the judges holding the lead throughout the 32-strong class despite being the first combination to trot down the centre line achieving an impressive score of 73.06%.

Nantgaredig-based rider Gemma Somers was delighted with Hallucination’s performance in an exciting atmosphere with some outstanding dressage tests and exceptional combinations competing for the Petplan Equine Novice Silver title. “It’s amazing to win,” said Gemma, “It’s her first time here so it’s been quite daunting for her! She’s been perfect all day, for the prize giving this evening she was a bit overwhelmed. I broke her in, so I’ve been her only rider, we started at unaffiliated competitions, joined BD and progressed from there.”

“She was really calm and relaxed – she can get quite tense and shoot off when she doesn’t like the look of something – but today she didn’t, she was just with me the whole time. It was a lovely test and I’m so pleased with her.”

The Petplan Equine Area Festivals, now in their 19th year, provide riders across the levels from Preliminary to Intermediate II with the chance to experience the thrill of competing in top competition style conditions. 27 Area Festivals took place all around the country in 2017 with over 4,200 horse and rider combinations taking part.

A further eight Area Festival Finals were then contested to gain qualification for the Championships at Hartpury.

Kate Hopkins, Marketing Consultant at Petplan Equine, commented; “We have been bowled over by the continued success of the Petplan Equine Area Festivals, participation has increased again, and the standard continues to rise at every Championships. We are proud and delighted to sponsor a series that has become so important to amateur and aspiring dressage riders around the country. It is an opportunity for grassroots riders to showcase the immense talent out there. We would especially like to congratulate Gemma and Hallucination on their fantastic win and wish her the very best of luck for the future.”
British Dressage’s Chief Executive Jason Brautigam said: “I am always very impressed with the dedication and commitment shown by competitors participating in the Petplan Equine Area Festivals series. The growth in the number of combinations going down the centre line continues to surpass all our expectations.

“The new format introduced last year, with the addition of the eight Area Festival Finals, has allowed even more people to experience the atmosphere of a top dressage competition – with the Championships being the icing on the cake. Petplan Equine’s support of the Area Festivals will soon be entering its 20th year, which is testament to how much they have been a loyal, committed and trusted supporter of our sport. BD really values the contribution that they make, and long may this partnership continue.”

Further information about the Petplan Equine Area Festivals and how to qualify for next year’s finals is available from the Petplan Equine website at: www.petplanequine.co.uk/area-festivals/

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