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Wales Women building cohesion at start of big year

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Cohesion was the focus for new Wales Women head coach Warren Abrahams during his first training camp of 2021.

Having been in post just over a month, Abrahams has spent time watching the Welsh performances in the Allianz Premier 15s and getting to know players and staff but the two-day camp was a welcome opportunity for quality face to face time with an enlarged training squad.

“We achieved our key aims on the weekend. The main thing was to learn more about the players. The more we understand them as individuals and as a team, that’s where we can make them better as players.

“The ultimate goal at the moment is to develop cohesion. We have to have the right people and make sure we work incredibly hard on those relationships between players and with management. Everything is tailored to making the team better and we also had some meaningful conversations around the legacy this team wants to leave for the next generation of Welsh women’s rugby and this team has to be the role model for that. That is a long-term goal.”

Abrahams is buoyed by what he’s seen so far. The vast majority of this training squad play in the Allianz Premiership and our players aren’t just making up the numbers. They’re putting down some big markers – just look at Kayleigh Powell and Hannah Jones who both earned a Player of the Match recently and Jaz Joyce who was Player of the Month for December. We’re really proud of how well our players are doing, it’s great for the programme and those experiences are just going to make them better.”

Siwan Lillicrap added, “It’s been nice to get together so soon in the New Year – the first step in a huge year ahead. The focus this weekend was on building a foundation and exploring what we’ve got as a squad.

“I think we absolutely achieved that, the relationships are developing along with a confidence in the squad . It’s been a tough, challenging camp but that’s what you want as we build towards the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup.”

Lillicrap welcomed the input of the new-look coaching team, former Wales captain and Colwyn Bay head coach Rachel Taylor coming in as national skills coach and former Ireland international and Penclawdd forwards coach Sophie Spence joining the set-up as Wales’ World Rugby coaching intern.

“Warren has been very inspirational for us already. It feels like he’s been in post much longer as we’ve done a lot of work on zoom already. It’s great to have Rachel on board. She’s a role model for many of us with what’s she’s done on the field as Wales captain and off it as a coach and Sophie too with her international experience and coaching knowledge.”

Training squad:
Forwards: Abbie Fleming, Alisha Butchers, Gwen Crabb, Georgia Evans, Cerys Hale, Cara Hope, Molly Kelly, Natalia John, Manon Johnes, Kelsey Jones, Beth Lewis, Siwan Lillicrap, Robyn Lock, Shona Powell-Hughes, Donna Rose, Caryl Thomas, Meg Webb, Teleri Wyn Davies
Backs: Alecs Donovan, Beth Huntley, Bryonie King, Courtney Keight, Jade Knight, Caitlin Lewis, Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Jasmine Joyce, Kayleigh Powell, Paige Randall, Jess Roberts, Gemma Rowland, Lauren Smyth, Elinor Snowsill, Robyn Wilkins, Flo Williams

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Burry Port hold off Milford to maintain unbeaten record

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BURRY PORT secured their fourth win in as many games on Saturday (Jan 22) as they beat Milford Haven 24-17 at The Observatory.

It was a frantic first half which saw Burry Port take a 24-12 lead into the break and despite a second half try from the home side, the Blacks were able to hang on for the win.

Tries for the Blacks came from Rich Parker, Josh Evans, Dylan Evans and Tom Rees.

Steff Powell was successful with two of four conversion attempts.

Milford had one try from Jamie Lewis and Dan McClelland with one conversion giving the hosts some hope of a second half comeback.

Zac France-Miller pulled an unconverted try back for the Mariners but they were unable to find another score despite their efforts.

The Blacks held on and their bonus-point win moves them up to fifth place in the League 2 West table and maintains their 100% record.

The Mariners earned a bonus point for their efforts which moves them up to third from bottom in the table.

On Saturday, January 29, Burry Port host Loughor while Milford Haven are away to Kidwelly.

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Llanelli Snooker League: Convincing win for Burry Port Legion

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BURRY PORT Legion notched a convincing 6-1 victory in the Llanelli Snooker first division against visiting Pontyberem Workmens.

Following frame wins from Rob Davies, Richard Nurse, Garnet Lane, Keri Phillips and James White (40 break); just Emyr Bowen’s frame averted the whitewash.

Snooker World Whites were 5-2 winners against Llanelli Cons, after Jamie Gimblett, Callum Jackson, Sam Hinton and Ben Thomas had won.

Dai Roberts and Ashley Edwards claimed frames for Matchroom Whites in a 5-2 reversal against Llanesco, for whom Luke Lloyd, Peter Shoulder, Dale Bohn and Chris Lloyd were on song.

Nicky Walters, Mark Hughes and J.Shields were on top for Upper Tumble Blues who saw off a man-short Ponthenri Social 5-2; Nigel Lewis and Mark Regola replied.

Burry Port Reading Room Blues, for whom Adrian Gower, Steve Greaney and Neil Roberts (25) won, needed the aggregate to edge a 4-3 victory at Morfa, whose winning trio were Rob Hughes, Andrew Hatto and Gavin Lewis.

Elsewhere, Pontyberem Workmens’ also required the extra point to nick a 4-3 success against Trimsaran, after Keri Davies (35 clearance break), Kevin Sullivan and Mike Footman had won; Lewis Lloyd, Jamie Tudor and Wayne Thomas won for Trim.

Cross Hands B overcame Gorseinon Workmens’ 4-3, following wins from Adrian Phillips, Mal Jones and Paul Martin; for the Brighton Road side, Mike Davies, Johnny Wilcox and Jordan Davies were on the ball.

In Division 2, Jeff Howells, Scott Bunford, Elwyn Williams and Adam Rees gave Cross Hands A a 5-2 win at Pontarddulais Cons B; Bont’s frame winners were Mark Aberstraw (40 break) and Rob Davey.

Huw Morgan, Howard Wood, Steve Pearson and Brian Jenn earned the bragging rights for Llandybie Social B in the village derby against Llandybie RFC, whose winning duo were Shane Wright (22 clearance) and Joshua Jordan.

Upper Tumble Reds suffered a 7-0 thumping away at the Gremlin Club; for the latter, Ray Barney (33 clearance), Alex Jenson (25), Ryan Burt, Kevin Gronow, Lee Collins and Gavin Stollery were all on top.

Meanwhile, J.Townsend’s frame win avoided the dreaded brush as Bryn & Trallwm crashed 6-1 at the hands of Snooker World Blues; for the Ammanford cuemen, Linden Cox, C.Waters, A.Jones, Callum Fuge and S.Rees all won.

New Lodge edged home 4-3 against Matchroom Blacks, courtesy of Roy Morgan, Andrew John and Gary Williams; Thomas Williams, James Anthony and Adrian Davies hit back for the visitors.

Paul Landek and James Varney were CGMD ‘s winning pair as the Fishermens’ went down 5-2 on their trip to Tycroes RFC; for the rugby club, Marc Walters, Steve Ruck, Arwyn Rees and Ffion Jones claimed the points.

In Cup news, Gremlins defeated New Lodge 4-3, while Reading Room Reds knocked out Bryn. Matchroom Reds beat Burry Port Legion 4-3, whereas Upper Tumble Social went out 4-1 at the hands of Matchroom Whites.

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Weakened Reds beaten by Major

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WITH a severely-weakened side at their disposal for the daunting trip to their second-placed opponents, the Llanelli Town management team of Lee John and Dylan Blain could be excused for expecting the worst, but a battling first-half performance kept the home side at bay with the contest scoreless at the interval, before events took a downward turn after the restart.

The hosts took the lead within a minute, while two further goals in a two minute spell midway through the second half consigned their opponents to defeat, although credit is due to the overall performance from players making their debuts together with recruits from the youth ranks by the Reds.

Jake Thomas and Michael Murphy brought in during the transfer window both started, but missing from the squad were Chris and Rob Thomas, Miles John, Callum Saunders and James Loveridge, with Dylan Williams, Owain Phillips-Taylor and Ryan Bevan in the eleven, while on the bench were Jack Hughes, Thomas Davies, Fraser Finlay and Ben Bowler-Edwards, all from the academy.

The first half was an even affair, with both sides sharing possession but not achieving much in the way of scoring opportunities, with the best chance falling to home captain Cullen Kinsella following a Connor Goldsworthy corner, but he lifted his finish over the top

Another flag kick for the hosts to the far post was directed back into the middle and met by Kris Evans, but his header was wide from a promising position.

Morgan Weaver did well to block a potentially dangerous cross for a corner when the home side threatened, before the Reds` first chance of the half fell to Callum Bateman who tried his luck from long range and was not far off target.

They then won a corner when a Louis Gerrard free kick rebounded off the wall, and when Bateman sent it over home keeper, Jack Lansdown, was forced to push over the header from Weaver.

The visitors were keeping the home side fully occupied without offering too much in the way of a goal threat, although the same applied at the other end with Exauce Dimonekene relatively untroubled.

He was, however, thankful for the intervention of Weaver when he failed to cut out a cross, with the defender heading the ball off the line.

Scoreless at half time and with the contest evenly poised, it burst into life within a minute of the restart when following a corner to the hosts, the ball pin-balled in the box before eventually being met by Goldsworthy who struck a first time finish past an unsighted Dimonekene.

This success lifted the home side, and they were the more dominant force for much of the second period with the Reds living off scraps, and a brace of goals within a two minute period effectively killed off any hopes of a comeback.

On 64 minutes, Josh Jones was played through the middle before finishing decisively past an exposed Dimonekene, and just two minutes later Kinsella found himself in space on the edge of the box before finding the bottom corner to put the result beyond doubt.

The hosts played out the remainder of the match without too much trouble with their opponents unable to muster much in the way of a viable goal threat, and it ended with the Reds hoping for better fortune when they host Undy at Stebonheath next Friday, kick off 7.30pm.

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