Ebbw Vale 36
LLANELLI FAILED to collect a season double over high-flying Ebbw Vale, as the in-form hosts recorded their seventh successive league win.
On a cold afternoon at Eugene Cross Park, Ebbw applied early pressure and their reward came after 10 minutes when, after patient phase play, Ashley Sweet stretched out a long arm to gain his team’s first try. Dan Haymond converted.
Undeterred, Llanelli hit straight back and when Ebbw strayed offside, former Steelman Josh Lewis kicked for the corner. The ensuing lineout led to a well marshalled catch and drive of which the Steelmen would have been proud, and number 8 Trystan Lloyd got the touchdown. Lewis converted to level the scores.
The first half was evenly matched, and the visitors looked to send the ball wide at every opportunity, obviously feeling that Scarlet Mike Tagicakibau was a threat.
Ebbw’s drift defence kept them at bay though and the Steelmen were next to score when David Williams crossed wide out. The half time score was 14- 8, but there were ominous signs for the visitors whose pack could not contain the Ebbw eight – at least, not legally.
Early in the second half, Ebbw gave a masterclass in the lineout drive, leading to the inevitable ‘Catch’n’Kynes’, so named after robust flanker Ronny Kynes. As Ebbw increased the intensity of their play Llanelli folded somewhat and a series of infringements gave Ebbw opportunities to stretch the lead.
Chris Thomas muscled over from a ruck close to the visitors’ try line to bag the bonus point and Chris Levesley took his team out of sight when he crossed for the fifth try after lovely hands from Chris Thomas and Adam Jones – whose centre partnership with Nathan Preece has clicked at just the right time. Iain Smerdon goaled the last two to make the score 36-8.
Llanelli now enjoyed their best period of the match, winning good possession and putting Ebbw under immense pressure. However, the Steelmen’s defence was magnificent and all the attacks were ended with turnovers that enabled the threat to be stifled. Rhys Clarke and Cameron Regan were prominent in this aspect of the game, as was captain and Man of the Match Damien Hudd.
A positive to take for Llanelli was that their try brought up 500 league points this season, but the four-match winning sequence in the Premiership was well and truly ended. Only Pontypridd have scored more points in the league this year, but it is clear where the reds problems lie, as only Bridgend have conceded more.
This week sees Aberavon visit the Parc, and Dai Flanagan will be hoping his side can bounce back.
Llanelli: 15. Dion Jones, 14. Ashley Evans, 13. Steffan Hughes, 12. Jonny Lewis, 11. Mike Tagicakibau, 10. Josh Lewis, 9. Josh Guy, 8. Trystan Lloyd, 7. Owain Morgan, 6. Jack Jones, 5. Chris Long, 4. Adam Powell, 3. Gareth Havard, 2. Taylor Davies, 1. Rhys Thomas
Replacements: 16. Tom Kaijaks, 17. Torin Myhill, 18. Jack Payne, 19. Jack Davies, 20. Greg George, 21. Justin James, 22. Matthew Pearce, 23. Ryan Davies
Gascoigne entertains Llanelli
OVER 400 people were at attendance in the Selwyn Samuel Centre in Llanelli on Saturday (Jun 18) to see former England legend Paul Gascoigne talk about his life and footballing career.
Gazza had the crowd in stitches with his stories from his past and was visibly emotional with the crowd’s warm reaction to him being there.
At one point a member of the crowd asked him if he could play one last game for one team who would it be… his answer was Swansea City to the crowds delight.
His next event will be in Tenby on September 17. The event was kindly sponsored by RDH Contractors and Sylan Lakes holiday cottages in five roads.
Ryan Giggs quits as Wales manager with ‘immediate effect’
EX Man-Utd winger has left his position as the manager of the national football team with ‘immediate effect’.
Giggs stepped back from his role in November 2020 following after being arrested.
49-year-old Giggs has been charged with assault and using controlling behaviour towards an ex-partner. A claim that Giggs has denied.
In a heartfelt statement on his decision, Giggs said: “After much consideration, I am standing down from my position as manager of the Wales men’s national team with immediate effect.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to manage my country, but it is only right that the Wales FA, the coaching staff and the players prepare for the tournament with certainty, clarification and without speculation around the position of their head coach.
“I do not want the country’s preparations for the World Cup to be affected, destabilised or jeopardised in any way by the continued interest around this case.
“I am sad that we cannot continue this journey together because I believe that this extraordinary group will make the country proud at our first World Cup since 1958.
“It is my intention to resume my managerial career at a later date.”
Following Giggs arrest in 2020, former Wales captain Robert Page took over as interim manager.
Under Page Wales beat Ukraine to earn themselves a place at Qatar World Cup for the first time in 64 years.
Giggs faces one charge of using controlling and coercive behaviour August 2017 and November 2020, one charge of assault causing actual bodily harm of his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville on November 1, 2020.
He also faces a charge of common assault on the victim’s sister.
Giggs denies all charges against him and will stand trial on August 8.
The trial is expected to last five days.
Following the announcement, a FAW spokesperson said: “The FAW places on record its gratitude to Ryan Giggs for his tenure as manager of the Cymru men’s national team and appreciates the decision he has taken, which is in the best interests of Welsh football,
“The full focus of the FAW and the Cymru men’s national team is on the Fifa World Cup in Qatar later this year.”
Llanelli edged out as Ynystawe pull off mammoth chase
A SCORE of 331-4 would normally be enough for a team to pick up victory, but South Wales Premier Division 2 leaders Ynystawe had other ideas as they pulled off a remarkable chase on Saturday (Jun 4).
Llanelli had been asked to bat first after Ynystawe had won the toss and their total was underpinned by a brilliant unbeaten century from Iwan Rees.
The opener hit sixteen fours and four sixes in his knock of 153 which came off 146 balls.
He had good support from Steven Devonald who scored 29 and Rhydian Morgan who scored 20 (2 fours, 1 six).
Rees and Rhys Harris shared the best stand of the match as they put on 157 runs for the fourth wicket.
Harris hit 12 fours in his score of 87 from 74 balls but he was out to the bowling of Rhys Palmer.
Rhys Westcott also finished unbeaten on 18 from 11 balls as Ynystawe were set 332 to win the game.
In reply, opener Nathan Lee scored 20 before falling to Jac Rees who also then took the wicket of Morgan Hodges on a score of 23.
Carl Roberts played well for his half century, hitting eight fours in his score of 56 before being trapped leg before by Aled Gilley.
Andrew Beasley was run out on a score of 15 and that left Ynystawe on 140-4.
Thomas Morgan and Luke Garthwaite shared 93 runs for the fifth wicket. Both reached their half centuries but Morgan was out to Iwan Rees on a score of 50.
Rees also bowled Ceri Durke and Rhys Palmer was run out by Rhydian Morgan having hit a four and a six in a quickfire score of 15.
That left Ynystawe 275-7 and they only had six overs left to get their target.
Garthwaite was on a score of 75 when Palmer fell and he took control as he smashed his way to a century.
He finished unbeaten on 118 from 67 balls after hitting 20 fours and two sixes. The last of his fours won the game for the home side as they ended up winning with two overs to spare.
On Saturday, June 11, Llanelli host Cowbridge while Ynynstawe travel to Penarth.
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