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Thomas Ton just the Tonic for Wanderers

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Carmarthen Wanderers (210-8) drew with Tondu (204-8)

Helping hand: Steve Mills hit 36 from 43 balls

CARMARTHEN WANDERERS put in a much improved performance against visiting Tondu on Saturday (May 13) at Trinity Fields, when all-rounder Gareth Thomas was undoubtedly the man of the match.

Coming to the wicket when the Wanderers were 13-2 having lost the toss and been invited to bat, he carved a magnificent century as the hosts posted 210-8 at the end of their 50 overs.

Thomas 101 came off 108 balls, with one six and 11 fours. At 37-4 the previous two weeks batting woes were again a possibility for the Wanderers to worry about but Thomas was helped by Steve Mills in a fifth wicket partnership of 59, where Mills contributed 36 from 43 balls with one six and four fours before being bowled by John Bussy [2-38].

Wales Under 17 player all-rounder Josh Thomas [13; 1 four; 46 balls] then came to the crease and helped add 51 for the sixth wicket before skipper Leighton Walters contributed 18 at a run a ball [3 fours] taking the score to 197 before centurion Thomas was caught behind by Owain Davies off the returning opening quickie Elliot Rees [2-39].

Ian Hughes with two fours in his 9* saw the total reach 210 with visiting opening bowler James Leppard taking four wickets for 40 runs and being responsible for the initial difficulties faced by the Wanderers top order.

The home opening bowlers of Joe Jones and skipper Walters [2-40] hit their stride immediately after tea reducing Tondu to 17-3, with Jones [2- 22] in particular helped by a stunning catch from Steve Mills running back at square leg to dismiss the dangerous John Bussy.

A patient fourth wicket partnership between Richard Ready, who anchored the innings from his number four berth [63; 7 fours; 104 balls] and wicket keeper Owen Davies [19; 3 fours; 29balls] got Tondu to 57 before Jamie Williamson came to the crease.

He injected a new parameter to the visitors run chase contributing 62 from 74 balls, which included a six and four fours, before he was dismissed by man of the match Thomas thanks to a catch by Walters at deep mid-wicket.

Odd spinner Thomas nine overs helped restrict the visiting total to 214-8 as he took three wickets for 28 runs, including the crucial wicket of Ready from a catch by all-rounder Owain Binding at long off, which made up for his golden duck.

The Wanderers have a stronger squad available for tomorrows visit to Miskin Manor, with Stephen Inward and Steff James returning to the fold and the selectors hope for the continued application and effort to be sustained under skipper Walters leadership.

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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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