Llanelli Town AFC 4
AFC Porth 0
IT WAS touch and go as to whether the Reds’ game against AFC Porth got underway on Saturday (Jan 21), following an evening of heavy frost.
Eddie Donne and his team did a remarkable job of heating up the pitch with Heath Robinson materials and just before 2pm, the officials gave the thumbs up for the game. It was still bitterly cold despite the beautiful sunshine and blue sky over Stebonheath as the Reds took on AFC Porth in what looked on paper to be a tough match for the Reds.
As most visiting teams have found out this season, what it looks like on paper and what it looks like on the beautifully green Stebonheath turf is a completely different story. New signing James Loveridge was on the bench and that man Lee Trundle was in the starting 11. It didn’t take long for Trundle to bring some warmth to the Stebo crowd.
Despite being marked by at least three men wherever he went and after being bundled over a couple of times, he was gifted a free kick on the edge of the box. He curled the ball around a few players and although it looked like it may have taken a slight deflection off a Porth player, Trundle was credited with the goal.
Jordan Follows looked a little more comfortable and confident on the ball with the return of his more physical partner in crime and just before half time, Follows found plenty of space down the left running at pace to belt the ball past the Porth keeper to make it 2-0 to Llanelli AFC at half time. The unbeaten run didn’t really look to be in much danger and despite Porth sitting close to the top of League Division 2, they really looked to be the underdogs and lacked the bark and bite to worry the in-form Reds side.
Following a welcome cup of tea and a cheeky garibaldi, the supporters and the teams ventured back out into the cold but sunny stadium for the second half. James Loveridge came on as substitute and it was easy to see why he had been signed. He showed plenty of pace and made some blistering runs in front of the stand, much to the approval of the home fans. He combined with Trundle on a couple of occasions and came close to scoring and if it weren’t for the skills of the Porth keeper, he could have had at least two goals. ‘Coulda shoulda woulda’, as my deputy editor says, is not good enough. It was Lee Bevan who put his head to a beautiful cross, sending the ball past a grasping Porth keeper for the third goal of the match. The Reds ‘coulda’ been forgiven for taking their feet off the gas with a 3-0 lead but this team wanted to totally defrost the crowd as they turned up the heat another notch as gas mark number 10 Lee Trundle slotted home the final goal to make the final score Llanelli Town AFC 4 – AFC Porth 0.
Following the game, The Herald spoke to some of the people involved at Stebo, including Director David Craddock. We asked him what the prospects for the Reds were, given their unbeaten run. He said: “It was an excellent win against tough opposition. They were very physical but we played exceptionally well.
“Next week, we will have to run and run against a good professional outfit, The New Saints. James Loveridge is a new signing and he has pace. I have known him and his family for a number of years. He is a Llanelli boy and that is important for us.
“The club is very buoyant and everything is going well. We have some great staff in the background. This is our best ever season. We are hoping to get the academy going next year and we hope to incorporate 15 teams next year – boys and girls.”
Speaking after the game, Llanelli manager Andy Hill said: “There was a bit of doubt about the pitch this morning but Eddie did a great job in getting it ready.
“It was a good win and we are really pleased. We have had three clean sheets on the bounce but the game against New Saints will be a massive task. James Loveridge looked sharp today and hopefully he can get more game time.
“We are training twice this week to prepare for the cup match. We have a full strength squad and that is a great position to be in.”
Lee Trundle is available for Llanelli duty next week. Speaking to The Herald after the game, he said: “We expected a tough game from one of the top league clubs but we dominated from start to finish.
“James Loveridge showed some presence when he came on. He hasn’t had any games and he hasn’t had much training time but with a couple of games under his belt, he will be a great signing.
“I am available to play next week because the Swans are playing on Sunday. We will go to the Saints believing that we can win the game. “
Llanelli are now unbeaten in the league and in the cup. They sit at the top of League Division 2 with 37 points.
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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