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Croft excited by coaching opportunities

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Robert Croft: Linking up with England in South Africa

FORMER Pontarddulais player and current Glamorgan coach Robert Croft admits the prospect of one day guiding his beloved county excites him but admits he is still to decide whether to apply for the vacant head coach role.

Croft will head out to South Africa to link up with the England one-day squad at the end of January after being invited by ECB Team Director Andrew Strauss to join the national team and share his spin bowling expertise. Croft admits he would like to step up to the main role one day, but is unsure if now is the right time. “I have not made any decisions yet because I am aware there is a process in place,” said Croft. “I will discuss it long and hard with my family because they are the most important thing and then I will come up with a decision. “I’m under no illusions that it is a wonderful place to work and it’s a terrific job. I expect there will be a lot of people interested.

“I’m aware of all that and will make my decision in the next week or so and it’s certainly a job that appeals to me at this stage in my career. “I’m sure there will be lots of people interested in coaching at what a wonderful club we have here and in time the decision-makers will make that choice and we’ll wait and see what comes of it. Croft who only retired from playing in September 2012 applied for the head coach role two years ago, but admits he has developed as a coach since then. “I think I have picked up on managing people more,” added Croft. “When I first went into coaching I saw things through a technical and tactical lens, but potentially not through the people management lens. “What I have learned is how much the players already know and coaches don’t always have the answers.

“Crucially also you can’t ignore what I have learned from the senior players here at Glamorgan where we have a very good bunch who are teaching coaches like me every day. “It’s about trying to create the environment where the players can express themselves and bring out the undoubted talent they have. “I have benefited from the last two years and have worked under a couple of head coaches now and had time with Andy Flower last year. “So the bank of knowledge is building up, but it’s a far more difficult job to be coaching than playing. “As a player you are pretty much interested in what you have to do. As a coach you have to be aware of where and how everyone is. “You have to make decisions sometimes that are more difficult than others.”

Away from the Glamorgan position, Croft is relishing his stint in South Africa where he will return to the international stage for the first time since his last England playing appearance in 2001 after being asked to link up with the one-day squad on a secondment. “It’s a 12-day trip to South Africa and I’m so excited about it,” explained Croft, who played 21 Tests and 50 one-day internationals for England between 1996 and 2001. “I had a phone call from Andrew Strauss asking if I’d consider going out and being in the environment for the spinners, primarily to help discuss experiences on the field with them, nothing technical, purely tactical. “Hopefully it will be an experience I will gain from. To go and work with Paul Farbrace and head coach Trevor Bayliss, who have had such success at the highest level, when you think back to the Ashes and also in preparation for the T20 World Cup, it will be nice to bring it back here to Glamorgan. “It will hopefully give me extra lenses to look through at the game of cricket. I’m also looking forward to getting the juices flowing of international sport again to see what that will be like. “I had great years in the England team which luckily coincided with great years in the Glamorgan team. “To get the training top out and get a boost from seeing players do well is what any coach wants. “I’m relishing rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in and seeing what I can bring to the table.”

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Rob Evans and Steff Hughes leaving Scarlets

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SCARLETS has confirmed that Rob Evans and Steff Hughes are amongst the nine players who will be leaving the club at the end of the 2021-22 season.

It has already been announced that Liam Williams has signed for Cardiff Rugby and Angus O’Brien is rejoining the Dragons for next season, while James Davies revealed in April that he is retiring from the game on medical grounds.

As well as Rob and Steff, the Llanelli-based side will also be saying its farewells and thanks to Tyler Morgan, Marc Jones, Tom Phillips and Tomi Lewis after Saturday’s final URC match of the season against DHL Stormers.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “I’d like to thank all these players for everything they have given to the Scarlets jersey.

“Boys like Rob, Steff, Cubby and Liam have played more than a century of games for the club and they will be fondly remembered by everyone here, staff, team-mates and supporters.

“They can be extremely proud of what they have achieved and I am sure they will have great memories of representing the Scarlets over the years.

“Every season players move on and we always respect the decisions that are made. With a reduced playing budget, we have had to cut our squad for next season and that has meant we have had some difficult decisions to make.

“The players have continued to give their full commitment, as they have always done, and I’m sure our supporters will give them the reception they all deserve at our final game against the Stormers on Saturday. I wish them all well for what comes next.”

SCARLETS LEAVERS 2021-22

ROB EVANS
The Pembrokeshire loose-head came through the Scarlets Academy and after playing for Carmarthen Quins in the Welsh Premiership made his senior debut against Sale Sharks in January 2013. Rob has made 156 Scarlets appearances and scored 13 tries, including one in Glasgow that secured a memorable away semi-final victory in the PRO14. Was a member of the side that lifted the Guinness PRO12 title in 2017 and will be remembered as a larger than life character around the squad during his 10 seasons at Parc y Scarlets. Capped 39 times for Wales,

LIAM WILLIAMS

Liam Williams is bringing to an end his second spell with the Scarlets. The 31-year-old Wales international full-back and British & Irish Lion has played 119 games for the club and has scored 34 tries, one of which set the Scarlets on their way to PRO12 glory in the final in 2017. Liam is joining Cardiff Rugby for next season.

STEFF HUGHES

Steff Hughes has made 104 appearances and scored seven tries for the Scarlets since making his debut at centre in an LV=Cup game against Saracens nine years ago. A former Wales U20s captain, the Llanelli product has skippered the Scarlets on numerous occasions, including the memorable European pool win in Bath in 2020. His two tries in a thrilling home clash against Connacht in the same season helped secure Champions Cup qualification once again.

JAMES DAVIES

James Davies has retired from rugby on medical grounds after battling concussion issues. ‘Cubby Boi’ made his Scarlets debut in 2013 and went on to make 101 appearances in a Scarlets jersey. Delivered a superb try-scoring display in the PRO12 title-winning triumph over Munster and went on to win 11 caps for Wales. Cubby also represented Wales 7s at the Commonwealth Games and Team GB at the 2016 Olympics.

MARC JONES

The experienced hooker joined the Scarlets from Sale in the summer of 2018 after making more than 150 appearances for the Sharks. The 35-year-old played 46 times for the Scarlets over four seasons, scoring four tries.

ANGUS O’BRIEN

Angus O’Brien made his Scarlets debut in 2018 and has made 45 appearances, scoring 112 points, including seven tries. The fly-half is returning to play for his home region, the Dragons, ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.

TOM PHILLIPS

A former Wales U20s Grand Slam-winning captain, Tom has played 30 matches for the Scarlets since making his senior debut in 2015. Suffered a serious knee ligament injury in the opening URC match of the season in Edinburgh.

TYLER MORGAN

The Wales international centre has been at the Scarlets for two seasons, making his debut in the Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat in Toulon in 2020. The 26-year-old has made 22 appearances, scoring one try.

TOMI LEWIS

A Wales sevens international,Tomi has made two senior appearances for the Scarlets. Returned to action this season after a lengthy absence recovering from knee surgery and has been playing in the Indigo Premiership for Llandovery RFC.

Physiotherapist Carys Moggridge is also leaving the Scarlets to take up a role with the Welsh Rugby Union.

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Matchroom Whites win Worthington Cup

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MATCHROOM Whites have won the Llanelli Snooker League’s Worthington Cup team final, after a 4-1 victory in the final against Morfa Social

A highlight of the match was another fine Tyler Rees break of 89, although the maximum was on at one point.

Tyler Rees’ winning streak wasn’t over though, as he teamed up with his Matchroom teammate Chris Davies to win the final of the Doubles tournament, defeating Dean Bowen and Mark Sargent; more nice breaks in this one, Rees firing another 68, while Chris Davies added a fine 71.

Meanwhile, more success for the Matchroom came with Matchroom Blacks’ 4-1 Division 2 Olympic Cup final victory at the expense of Reading Room Reds, with Ryan Maides, Adrian Davies, Rhys Morgan and Thomas Williams winning; just Phil Payne offered any winning resistance for the Burry Port side.

Meanwhile, Ammanord Snooker World’s leftie Anthony Krysa is through to the final of this year’s Singles, after a 3-0 victory against Kev Gronow of the Gremlin Club; Krysa made some nice breaks, including a fine 75 knock.

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Llanelli Snooker League: Trimsaran clinch runners-up spot

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THE curtain came down on the Llanelli Snooker League with the final league fixtures seeing Trimsaran clinch the runners-up spot behind champions Matchroom Reds.

Trim secured two 6-1 wins, a rearranged victory over Cross Hands B, as well as a 6-1 victory against Pontarddulais Workmens’, the undoubted highlight a superb 110 break from Jamie Tudor; Lewis Lloyd, Kieran Proctor (49 break), Wayne Thomas (29 & 25) and Alan Emanuel added wins, Keri Davies (50 break) the only Bont reply.

Relegated bottom – Ponthenri Social went out with a bang, defeating Upper Tumble Blues 6-1, courtesy of Jeff Howells, Mark Regola, Kevin Lewis, Nigel Lewis and Dylan James; only John Shields replied.

Peter Shoulder and Chris Lloyd were on top for Llanesco, beaten 5-2 by Matchroom Whites; Tyler Rees (45 & 35 breaks), Chris Davies, Wayne Bowen and Dai Keenan won for the “Gwyns”.

Elsewhere, Snooker World Whites hammered Llanelli Cons 7-0, D.Jones, A.Krysa, Ben Thomas, A.Whitfield, Sam Hinton and John Meadows completing the rout.

Alex Dickie prevented the “whitewash” as Cross Hands B crashed again, 6-1 at Gorseinon Workmens’; Charlie Bolton, Mike Dodd, Johnny Wilcox, Roy Wilcox and Jordan Davies all won for the Brighton Road side.

Kevin Selwood, Kieran Evans, Paul Rees and Alun Harris gave Pontyberem Workmens’ a 5-2 win against Burry Port Legion (Con Club), who hit back via Garnet Lane and Rich Nurse.

Morfa Social’s winners in a 5-2 win at Reading Room Blues were Scott Ashford, Andrew Hatto, Barry Follows and Greg Davies; Adrian Gower and Neil Roberts struck for the Burry Porters.

In Division 2, champions Gremlins were defeated 6-1 at Upper Tumble Reds, for whom Nigel Beynon, Nolan Allison, Alan Griffiths, Kevin Evans and Mike Sainty (53 break) won; just Matthew Dagnall won for the title-winners.

Matchroom Blacks secured the runners-up spot following a 4-3 win against New Lodge, thanks to Rhys Morgan (37 break), Ryan Maides and James Anthony; Gary Williams, George Langford and Phil Thickett replied.

Steve Pearson was Llandybie Social B’s solitary frame winner in a 6-1 defeat as Llandybie RFC took the village honours after Steffan Crump, Sion Isaac, Josh Jordan, Callum Isaac and Kalem James all won.

Bryn A edged a 4-3 success at Snooker World Blues, courtesy of Roy Richards, Clive Richards and Connor Sharples (32); Peter Howatson, Chris Waters and Steff Rees won for the Ammanford side.

Tycroes RFC end the season bottom after a 5-2 loss at CGMD, whose winners were Ray Evans, James Varney, Mike Llewelyn and Brian Chappell; Marc Walters and Arwyn Rees won for the away side.

Meanwhile, Tony Shadrach and Geraint Thomas were Pont Cons frame winners in a 5-2 loss at Cross Hands A; for the latter, Howell Pritchard, Jeff Howells (23) Matthew James (22) and Dai Bunford were on the ball.

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