WITH both teams occupying top four league positions with the visitors just above their opponents on goal difference, Llanelli Town were expecting a difficult encounter when they clashed in the first round of the inaugural Tier 2 Cup competition, but the final outcome resulted in a comfortable home win with the Reds putting on easily their best overall performance to date.
Apart from the opening stages when the visitors were in possession, once the home side settled and began to assert themselves on the game they caused their opponents countless problems, and deservedly went ahead on 15 minutes following a run down the right by the outstanding Dylan Williams who found Keane Watts infield and he in turn laid the ball into the path of Eli Phipps to slot his finish past keeper Harry Webber.
Within seven minutes the lead was doubled following a defensive clearance which led to Williams making ground before crossing into the middle where Phipps was on hand to notch up his brace from close range.
Phipps could then have completed his hat-trick when he was put clear, but this time he was denied by Webber who claimed the ball at his feet.
Cambrian were finding it difficult to mount any sort of meaningful attacks, being denied any clear-cut openings by a solid home defence, their best chance arising from a free kick on the edge of the box which was driven in low by Jay Woodford but deflected off the wall for a corner.
At the other end, the Reds did get the ball in the net again but it was ruled out by referee George Nemes, presumably for a foul on Webber.
Just before the break, they went close again following a quickly taken corner by Ryan Bevan who found Miles John, and his far post cross was met by Phipps who glanced his header off the upright and over for a goal kick.
Comfortably in control at the interval, the hosts continued to dominate matters after the restart, and when Phipps was put clear by Adam Robbins he might have done better with his finish rather than only find the side netting.
Williams them made ground before firing his delivery across the face of goal with the loose ball being collected by John, whose cross in turn found the head of Watts but he was just off target.
The visitors were being afforded little in the way of any scoring chances with the home defence well on top, and once again set-pieces seemed to be the only way in which they could claw their way back into the contest, and when they were awarded one, Scott Coughlan in the home goal was called into about his only serious save of the afternoon, turning over a well struck attempt by Josh Bull.
A triple substitution by the Reds on the hour mark saw Williams, Phipps and Thomas Hillman replaced by Tim Parker, Taylor Marsh and Nathan Logan, and within three minutes the visitors were reduced to ten men when Liam Eason was red-carded for a crude hack on Josef Hopkins in the 63rd minute, leaving the visitors with a mountain to climb.
In cruise mode and well on top, the home side were in no mood to let their opponents off the hook, and two further goals in the space of six minutes underlined their overall superiority, with
Parker netting the third on 78 minutes when the visitors failed to effectively deal with a ball in the box, the striker finding the bottom corner.
Webber did well to push clear a fiercely struck effort on target from Marsh, but was beaten again in the 84th minute when Watts took full advantage of an awkward bounce to steer his finish into the net.
An outstanding all round display by the Reds who finally got their act together after a few frustrating previous outings and clinically finished off the chances when they presented themselves, and hopefully they can maintain this level in the push to maintain their lofty league status.
Next Saturday, they make the short trip to take on Pontardawe Town who are finding life difficult since their elevation to the JD Cymru South with just two wins to date. Kick off is at 2.30pm.
Carmarthen representation at the Coastal Rowing World Championships backs sport to continue thriving in Wales
Carmarthen’s Zoe Davies, race committee chair for the British Rowing offshore championships and umpire at the upcoming World Championships in Saundersfoot, is
delighted to see the world’s best coming to South Wales – and following her own eventful
introduction to the sport competing at the 2015 World Championships believes
participation will boom thanks to a home major competition.
The World Coastal Rowing Championships 2022, with the likes of two-time Olympic
champion Helen Glover competing, will bring together two exciting formats of rowing across
the two weekends in Pembrokeshire. On the first weekend beginning on 7th October, the top
club coastal rowers from around the world will compete in a course along the Saundersfoot
coastline, followed by the beach sprint rowing the following weekend.
Tipped to be a future Olympic rowing discipline, the beach sprint finals will be an exciting
and fast-paced spectacle where the best of the sport will be celebrated in Wales. Reflecting
on the excitement building as the World Championships near ever closer, Davies is backing
Wales to be the perfect setting.
“Wales already had an established coastal and offshore rowing community – I knew when
British Rowing were bidding to host the World Championships that it was a no-brainer. We
have water on three sides after all!
“Before 2015, and before I competed at the World Coastal Championships in Peru, I was
coxing the really fine boats you see at the Olympics, what people might consider the
classical rowing you’d expect to see. To be honest, I rated myself and when I was asked to
compete in Peru I thought ‘how hard can it be?’ When I got there – I was quite literally out
of my depth, I had no idea where I was.
“I’ve learnt so much being involved in coastal rowing – I have found its great fun, great
technique – and if you’re watching, it’s so easy to engage with. For people like me, who at
one time was almost snobby about it, it’s an eye-opening when you actually watch and
involve yourself in the sport. That’s why the World Championships here in Wales will be
such a big moment, it will no doubt inspire so many new people to get involve in the sport.
“Having done the two previous events at Saundersfoot in preparation for the World
Championships, the coastal rowing scene is just so friendly. Being a local girl myself, the
Welsh are always welcoming!
“What drives this passion in the sport is that people know how much coastal rowing gives
them. The feeling you get out on the water, where you’re not looking at your mobile phone
and you can enjoy the natural setting you’re in, there’s no wonder everyone is so
“From a spectator point of view, I just know everyone will be glued to the action. The racing
is quick, you don’t need to know rowing to enjoy the competition and understand what is
happening. It’s a day at the beach, it’s a completely unique experience because the area is
stunning – Wales is the perfect setting for the world’s best offshore rowing talent.”
With the discipline growing at an exponential rate, as boats are made available across Wales
for grassroots coastal rowing clubs to engage more and more participants, Davies sees a
bright future for the sport – and a new generation inspired by a World Championships
coming to Wales.
Reds extend unbeaten run to nine matches
EXTENDING their unbeaten league and cup run to nine with this latest win, Llanelli Town are now level with current leaders, Cambrian & Clydach Vale, on 14 points with a just a better solitary goal difference separating them.
Two well-taken strikes in either half by Keane Watts saw off the challenge of their opponents, who had plenty of the ball without really creating too much in the way of clear-cut chances in an overall somewhat scrappy encounter.
Both sides were singularly lacking a cutting edge in the final third, although the visitors did create the better opportunities with Luke Martin in the home goal dealing with an early Ryan Bevan cross.
A run by Thomas Hillman up the Swansea left culminated in a low delivery which was deflected for a corner, before Scott Coughlan was called into action to smother a near post attempt from Adam Morgan.
The Reds were having the better of the overall play, with efforts by Hillman and Miles John both on target but were blocked or dealt with by Martin, before they eventually took the lead on 27 minutes courtesy of a sublime through ball by Josef Hopkins which put Watts clear, and he kept his nerve by drawing out Martin before slotting his finish into the bottom corner.
Another chance was then created with Tim Parker sending Hillman away on a run, but this time the finish was dragged wide of the near post.
The home defence was finding it difficult to contain their opponents, and it took a good defensive clearance to nullify another dangerous low delivery by Eli Phipps when he was set up by a John assist.
A rare home attack ended with Morgan directing his header over the goal when he met a cross by Tom Johnston, before it took a saving tackle from Warren Hudson on Parker to prevent the striker homing in on the target.
The best chance for the hosts came courtesy of some sloppy Reds defending when an under-hit back header meant for Coughlan was seized on by Tim Hicks, and it took a great tackle on him in the box to relieve the danger and an almost certain equaliser.
This scare seemed to unnerve the visitors who were then let off the hook again following a corner which was partially cleared before being re-circulated into the goalmouth, where Parker was on hand to clear it off the line.
Having survived these two late first half efforts, the Reds were still clinging on to their narrow lead at the start of the second period, and were quickly into their stride, forcing Martin into early action on a couple of occasions, before gratefully seeing a Phipps header rebound off the crossbar when he connected with a Watts cross into the middle.
The visitors then made two changes, with Bevan and Phipps being replaced by Kyran Steadman and Louis Gerrard on 59 minutes, but it was the home side who then went close to levelling matters when Harry Huddart unleashed a superb strike which brought out an equally stunning save from Coughlan to direct it over the top.
With the contest entering its final quarter, the Reds brought on Nathan Logan and Travis Marsh for Parker and Hillman after 75 minutes, and within five minutes of these changes struck again to seal matters with Watts again the recipient, taking full advantage when a defensive clearance rebounded off his back allowing him to win a footrace for possession before directing his finish across Martin on 80 minutes.
The visitors then safely saw out the remainder of the match without too much trouble, and with confidence sky high in the squad, now look forward to their home league encounter with Abergavenny Town at Stebonheath on Friday evening, kick off 7.30pm.
The draw for the second round of the JD Welsh Cup has awarded them an away tie at Canton Liberal on Saturday, October 8.
WRU Cup round up: Wins for Llangennech, Pontyberem and Nantgaredig
THE WRU Cup competitions got underway last weekend and there were some exciting matches across all groups.
Llangennech sealed victory in their first game of the Division 1 Cup as they beat Kenfig Hill 32-17. They led 13-7 at the break and increased that in the second half.
Jordan Saunders scored the first try for Llangennech and Tom Neale converted before adding two penalties.
Joseph Hutchings was next to get on the scoresheet and Neale again added the extras to make it 20-12.
Replacement Rhys Davies then scored two tries with Neale converting the second one to complete the scoring.
The other game in Group H saw Llanelli Wanderers suffer a 21-30 defeat at the hands of Bridgend Athletic.
Lewis Jones scored two tries for the Wanderers and he added the rest with the boot.
In Group I, Hendy were also beaten as they suffered a 14-43 loss at the hands of Waunarlywdd.
In Group J, Felinfoel were beaten 23-8 by Bonymaen.
In the Division 2 Cup, Nantgaredig were victorious in an entertaining Group G game against Seven Sisters. They eventually ran out 32-29 winners.
The other game in that group saw Kidwelly beat Maesteg Celtic 52-7. Kidwelly put in a solid performance and their defence held up to some extreme pressure during the parts of the game.
Pontyberem were victorious in their first game in Group H as they beat Pyle 19-10.
The Bont worked hard for the win, scoring three tries with fly half Dominic Sauro crossing, and two tries for the returning back Mikey Jenkins. It was a solid enough performance against an experienced and rugged side.
In Group J, Burry Port suffered a narrow 23-26 defeat at home against Morriston. Tries for the Blacks came from Lewis Ellar and Osian Thomas. Lee Evans added two conversions and three penalties but it wasn’t enough for victory.
In Group L, Tycroes suffered a 3-39 defeat at the hands of Builth Wells.
In the Division 3 Cup, Tumble suffered a 22-42 defeat against Nantymoel in Group G.
In Group H, New Dock Stars earned a 22-13 win over Llanybydder. Tries came from Iestyn Bunyan, Adam Gealy and Glen Williams. Adam Gealy added two conversions and a penalty to help seal the win.
Trimsaran’s first game in Group I saw them beaten 13-32 by Aberavon Green Stars.
Bynea suffered a 52-0 loss in Group J against Tonmawr and in Group M, Betws were beaten 14-20 by Swansea Uplands.
In Group O, Furnace United were beaten 17-29 by Taibach.
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