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LLANELLI LEAVE IT LATE TO WIN THE TITLE

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Town Celebrate: Cup win. (Pic. Keith Griffiths).

Town Celebrate: Cup win. (Pic. Keith Griffiths).

Llanelli Town 1 Bettws 0

LLANELLI TOWN clinched the the Welsh League Division Three title to take their first step on the road back to the top, doing so just two years after their near liquidation. It is a fine achievement from Bob Jeffrey and his side who have produced consistent displays over a long campaign and can now look forward to life in Division Two.

To say the Reds made heavy weather of achieving the win in their final home league game of the season which would guarantee the third division championship would be putting it mildly.

Against opponents who displayed little ambition in attempting to thwart the title aspirations of the home side, they huffed and puffed but failed to capitalise on numerous chances to seize the initiative, including a penalty kick, leaving it until four minutes from the final whistle before finally clinching victory and the silverware.

A turgid first half did little to suggest that either team was able to create any meaningful scoring opportunities, the nearest home chance arising from a Richard Lewis corner across the face of the Bettws goal which failed to bring any result.

Another chance fell to Luke Jones when Ross Jones put him clear, but his final touch was heavy and goalkeeper Jonathan Davies was able to effect a block.

Robert Thomas drove a ball into the visitors’ box, but again nobody was on hand to take advantage, and just before the break, Anthony Owens found Steve Berry with a pass, but again the keeper was well positioned to keep out his strike.

The second half had to be an improvement on the first, and marginally, it was, with the Reds in the ascendancy while their visitors struggled to maintain the status quo.

Numerous chances went begging as the home side pushed forward, with Ross Jones finding Lewis whose driven low delivery into the goalmouth evaded three players from point blank range, and when Mark Napieralla found the head of Luke Jones, Davies got down to clutch his header on the line.

Lee Bevan headed a ball into the path of Luke Jones, but his shot on the turn was off target, before he was involved in a challenge in the box with two Bettws defenders which led to him going down and the award of a penalty by referee Colin Discombe on 59 minutes.

Lewis stepped up to take it, but smashed his kick against the underside of the crossbar, and a golden opportunity was squandered.

Thomas was replaced by Bruno Forkuoh a couple of minutes later, and he was involved in the action almost immediately, meeting a Lewis delivery at the far post only to lift it over the top.

With the contest entering its closing stages, the Reds were becoming increasingly desperate in their efforts to achieve a breakthrough, with Matthew Hughes being introduced in place of Owens, and he proved to be their matchwinner, heading home from close range following a Lewis corner which was helped on in the 86th minute, to finally seal the win and ultimately clinch the title .

A thoroughly deserved success for the Reds who have fought back from virtual extinction two years ago to progress to the next stage of their journey, and ultimately back to the Welsh Premier League, and for a club with a long and rich history, this is testament to what can be achieved with ambition and determination.

The Reds make the return journey to Bettws next Wednesday to complete their league programme, kick off 6.15 p.m.

LLANELLI TOWN; Richards; Napieralla; Lewis; Berry; Evans; Bevan ©; Thomas (Forkuoh, 61); R.Jones; L. Jones; Stone (John, 54); Owens (Hughes, 77); Subs not used; Powell; Jenkins.

BETTWS; Davies; Hale (Jones, 65); Dyke; Williams; Evans; Jeffries; Thomas ©; Dunster (Parish, 81); Day (Perrham, 77); Lock; Walters; Subs not used; Dar ks.

ATTENDANCE; 201.

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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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