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New heights for Harriers

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Strong performances: Carmarthen Harriers take home a strong medal haul after competing in this year’s West Wales Indoor Championships and British Athletics Cardiff Cross Challenge

OVER 25 Carmarthen Harriers put in comprehensive performances at this year’s West Wales Indoor Championships and British Athletics Cardiff Cross Challenge, which took place last weekend (Jan 21-22).

Held at Swansea University, the Indoor Championships saw a record 315 athletes take part, with Carmarthen coming away with a total of nine medals over the two day competition.

Glen Elsdon put in winning performances for both the senior men’s hurdles (8.33) and the 60m final (7.05). Meanwhile, on the field there were further gold medal performances from Danielle Jones in the under 17 women’s shot (11.04m), Olivia Haines in the under 20 women’s triple jump (9.85m), Lili Church in the under 15 girls’ high jump (1.58m), and Zara Evans in the under 13 girls’ long jump (4.06m).

Adding to the tally, there were also three bronze medals won thanks to Haydn Davies in the under 17 men’s 60m hurdles final (9.07), Zak Daly in the under 17 men’s 60m final, and Olivia Haines who won her second medal of the day, this time in the long jump (4.52m).

In the younger age groups, Sophia Reid-Thomas made it all the way to the under 13 girls’ 60m final, where she finished sixth with a time of 9.04. Meanwhile, the upcoming and talented year six athletes Harri Howells and Owain-Hari Davies sprinted strongly to finish seventh and eighth respectively, both achieving a time of 9.30 and just missing out on a place in the final.

In the same event, Mia Lloyd, Jessica Lee, Siwan Jones-Evans, Stephen Reed and Haydn Davies all represented the club and performed well in their heats, whilst in the shot, Nia Williams – having moved up an age group – threw 8.02m to finish in seventh position.

Meanwhile, the cross country runners headed for Cardiff for the fourth series of the British Athletics series, where they tested themselves against the best in the UK.

In the primary school races, the boys won the overall trophy for the second successive year, thanks to Jack Thomas who won individual bronze and was supported by Iwan Jones in fifth, Steffan Davies in 17th, Jake Lynock in 32nd, and Brynmor Peters in 44th. In the girls’ race, Emma Brazier and Bessy Hill finished 22nd and 23rd respectively.

Ben Thomas, having been selected to represent Wales in the under 17 Celtic Cross Country International, following an impressive set of results over the past few months, finished as the third Welsh scorer in 12th. Behind him, Thomas Jones secured 36th position and competing in the women’s event, Ellie Kiff ran well to take 33rd place.

Daisy Thompson, having already competed in the previous two race series’ at Liverpool and Milton Keynes, again kept up with the leading pack, eventually coming in fifth. Also putting in a strong performance, Phoebe Williams crossed the line in 22nd.

In the corresponding boys’ age group, Liam Edwards finished in sixth and Dafydd Jones had his best race for the club to date, finishing in eighth. Dyfed teammate Iori Humphreys from Pembroke finished in between (seventh). Frank Morgan unfortunately had to pull out during the race.

First in for the Harriers in the under 15 boys’ race was Tomos Rees, who had a great run to take home sixth place. Following him was Archi Morgan in 14th and Gareth Morgan in 22nd overall. Meanwhile, the under 15 girls’ event saw Beca Roberts secure 47th position, and Siwan Jones–Evans 54th.

Finally, in the senior categories, Louise Jones-Evans won her F45 age group in a great time, while Gordon Orme continued his fine form this season to take fifth.

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Scarlets make five changes for European quarter-final

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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.

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Pembrey Country Park to host one of first post-lockdown events

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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.”

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Trundle and Robinson are back for another season with Ammanford AFC

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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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