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On your marks, get set, go!

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Brothers in arms: Darren and Phil Gibbons both completed the course

SWANSEA Harriers dominated the Llanelli Half Marathon last Sunday (Mar 12) as they claimed all top three spots.

Josh Griffiths crossed the line in a new course record of 1:05:18 and was closely followed by team mates Matthew Rees and Ian Harris.

In the women’s field, Carys-Mai Hughes, of Cardiff Athletics Club, was first across the line with a time of 1:21:21.

Ellie Astins came second and third place went to Luticia Thomas of Amman Valley Harriers.

There were also a number of other runners from across Wales taking part in the event and a number of them achieved personal best times.

The event has been hailed an overwhelming success and set the tone for the future of the race that was taken over by Front Runner Events earlier this year.

Hundreds of spectators came out to support runners at the start line and across the entirety of the course, despite the wet weather.

The flat and fast 13.1-mile course attracted runners of all levels including first-timers, charity runners, club runners and elite athletes. The race saw the course record smashed and hundreds of PBs achieved on a day that held perfect running conditions, with little to no wind.

The half marathon set off from Parc Y Scarlets then proceeded on the fully closed roads onto the Llanelli Wetlands Centre and along the magnificent stretch of the Millennium Coastal Path towards Festival Fields and back.

The race offered runners a rare chance to be part of a closed road race, where the route is as flat as you’ll find anywhere in the beautiful region of West Wales. Athletes were cheered over the finish line at the stadium by a very supportive crowd that contributed tremendously to the atmosphere of the event.

Runners were able to benefit from a team of race pacers at the event helping many runners achieve their PB and hitting their target time on the day. The fully marshalled race on closed roads, waters stops (thanks to hydration partners Brecon Carreg), energy gels, bespoke medal, finishers t-shirt and goody bag delighted the race participants.

Results (provisional) – Llanelli Half Marathon 2017

Male:

Josh Griffiths (Swansea Harriers), 01:05:18

Matthew Rees (Swansea Harriers), 01:11:45

Ian Harris (Swansea Harriers), 01:11:55

Female:

Carys-Mai Hughes (Cardiff Athletics Club), 01:21:21

Ellie Astins, 01:27:21

Luticia Thomas (Amman Valley Harriers), 01:27:43

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Davies to captain Scarlets for 2021/22 season

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WALES international and British & Irish Lion Jonathan ‘Fox’ Davies will captain the Scarlets for the 2021-22 season.

Former Ysgol Dyffryn Taf pupil Davies has played 170 matches for the Scarlets since making his debut in 2006 and is one of the most decorated centres in international rugby having won 91 caps for Wales and represented the Lions in the Test series in Australia 2013 and New Zealand in 2017.

It will be his second stint wearing the Scarlets armband having been a co-captain along with Rob McCusker in 2013.

‘Foxy’ takes the reins from hooker Ken Owens who led the Scarlets for a record-equalling seven successive seasons.

“Jon is one of the most respected players in the game, someone with a huge amount of experience at all levels,” said Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel

“He has been a leader amongst our group for a number of years now and certainly since I have been here his leadership qualities have been there for all to see, on and off the training field.

“Foxy is the ultimate professional – when he speaks people listen. The way he conducts himself is an example to every player in the squad.

“He has been a big part of this club for a long time; he has grown up in the region, played his junior rugby here and it is clear that wearing the Scarlets jersey means a huge amount to him.”

Paying tribute to Davies’s predecessor Owens, Peel added: “Ken has been a fantastic leader for us over the last seven years and will continue to have a huge part to play in the leadership of this group.”

Davies, who captained Wales during the recent summer internationals in Cardiff, said: “It is a massive honour to be handed the Scarlets captaincy, you only have to look at the captain’s board to see so many great players and icons of the game who have led the club.

“I am fortunate that there will be a strong leadership group around me – British & Irish Lions and experienced Wales internationals who have enjoyed success at domestic and Test level. Those players also know there is a hard-working, driven group of youngsters pushing them for the jersey. There is a really exciting mix to the squad.”

Davies added: “Winning the PRO12 title with the Scarlets four years ago remains one of the highlights of my career and there is a real ambition and hunger among the players and coaching group to reach those levels again.

“There has been a good buzz about pre-season, the boys have worked really hard and we’re all looking forward to the start of the new URC season in Edinburgh on Saturday.

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Scarlets appoint Phil John as Academy coach

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FORMER prop Phil John is back at the Scarlets having been appointed to the role of Academy skills coach.

John made 330 Scarlets appearances over 17 seasons and holds the record for the most Scarlets matches played in the regional era.

Since hanging up his playing boots following his final game against Glasgow in 2016, he has worked with the RGC 1404 Academy and alongside another ex-Scarlet Mark Jones with the Premiership team in North Wales.

He also has experience coaching with the Llanelli RFC Premiership side and as an assistant to Danny Wilson for the Scarlets.

John, who started out on a rugby apprenticeship scheme at Stradey Park, replaces Emyr Phillips who becomes the Scarlets transition coach overseeing the academy players who are training with the senior side.

“It’s good to be back at Parc y Scarlets and I’m looking forward to working with a talented group of young players who have bright futures in the game,” said John.

“When you look at the players who were in the Academy five years ago when I was here, they are now starting week in week out for the Scarlets, it is great to see the journeys they have been on.

“The Scarlets Academy has a proud tradition of being a production line for the senior side and I’m excited by this opportunity to help make sure that continues.”

Scarlets Development Pathway Manager Kevin George added: “For us, this appointment was about getting the balance right in the coaching group with Emyr having been promoted to oversee the transition players.

“We had a lot of interest in the post and Phil, with his experience working with academies and the commitment he gave to North Wales, came out very strongly. We are delighted to have him on board to help nurture the next generation of Scarlets.”

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Five-star Felinfoel sink Tumble

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FELINFOEL kept up their unbeaten start to the season on Saturday (Sept 18) as they beat Tumble 5-2 at the King George playing fields in Division 1 of the Carmarthenshire football league.

However, they didn’t have it all their own way as Tumble took the lead after five minutes through Matthew James.

Foel kept plugging away and were rewarded when Chris James hit a 25-yard shot that was fumbled over the line by the keeper to make it 1-1.

Some good passing football then put Sam Ashford through on goal to put the ball past the keeper and make it 2-1 to the home side.

They weren’t done there as Chris James made it 3-1 with a great header.

In the second half, both sides were looking to score again but it was Foel who got their fourth when Mathew Ellis supplied top goal scorer Jordan Badman with the pass to make it 4-1.

Five minutes later the roles were reversed when Badman played in Mathew Ellis to make it 5-1.

To Tumble’s credit they kept plugging away and were rewarded with a goal two minutes from time as James scored his second of the game.

It was a great strike from James but it mattered little as Foel came away with the 5-2 win and their unbeaten record still intact.

On Saturday (Sept 25), Felinfoel are at hoem again as they host Bancffosfelen, kick off at 2pm.

Tumble are also in action as they travel to Llangennech.

Photo by Darren Harries

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