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Last-gasp Burry Port clinch Bowl

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Swalec Bowl Final At Principality Stadium

Burry Port 20

Taffs Well 18

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 09.23.47

BURRY PORT fought back from 18-6 down to shock Taffs Well 20-18 in the SSE Swalec Bowl Final at Principality Stadium.

Fly-half Stef Thomas scored a try in the 74th minute to tie the game before Ben Williams’ composed conversion proved enough to hold on for the astonishing victory.

Taffs Well did make the dream start to the game and found themselves ahead within four minutes. Flanker Rhys Watkins was able to bulldoze his way over after a catch and drive from the lineout. Burry Port looked to respond immediately but Williams’ penalty cannoned off the uprights and landed wide.

The scrum-half did make amends two minutes later from a similar position to get the Division 3 West side on the scoreboard.

In the 16th minute a clever grubber kick from Ross Lucas met a charging Ronan Barrett who did well to touch the ball down and give Taffs Well an extended lead after the conversion was kicked by Shaun Baggs.

Taffs Well looked the fitter, more energetic side and should have scored their third try midway through the half. After recycling the ball well an overload was created but a last-ditch tackle from Luke Redall halted hooker Mathew Desmier – a save which kept Burry Port within 9 points at the interval.

The game was slowly creeping away from Burry Port as Baggs added a penalty for Taffs Well minutes after the restart.

Port were offered a lifeline when The Wellmen were reduced to 14 men after fly-half Lucas was sinbinned.

But Port failed to capitalise on the man advantage despite getting within metres of the try-line. Port closed the gap with another Williams’ penalty and minutes later were fortunate not to be reduced to fourteen men themselves after Adam Rudall’s dangerous looking tip tackle on Barrett. Baggs kicked the resulting penalty to put Taffs Well ahead by 12 going into the final 20 minutes.

And the game took another twist when Ben Atkin’s reckless tackle on Port’s Luke Rudall saw him go to the sin-bin with replays suggesting he was fortunate not to see red.

Tempers were starting to flare both on and off the field as another on the field incident saw referee Steve Nash speaking to both captains before a scuffle in the crowd forced the stewards to intervene.

After persistent pressure Burry Port finally took advantage of the extra man as player-coach and former Neath and Cardiff player Gareth Gravell scored by the posts.

The remarkable comeback was complete when Powell slid over after some effective passing before Williams’ kick set up a tense finale. Taffs Well came knocking on a number of occasions in the final minutes but just couldn’t find a way past the resilient Port defence.

Gareth Gravell, who captained a losing Cardiff side in the 2007 Konica Minolta Cup final, and won the Cup with Neath, praised his teammates for the comeback: “Taffs Well really took it to us. We just kept plugging away and we came through in the end so credit to the boys”.

The player-coach added: “We’ve come losing games three times in the cup and we’ve sneaked through today. The boys have been brilliant all year, we’ve come from behind all season so I couldn’t see why we couldn’t do it today.”

Losing captain Gareth Gibbs rued his sides’ missed first-half chances: “I think the boys had a bit of white line fever, we’re on the big stage and everyone wants to score instead of doing what we been doing all season.”

Gibbs missed out on securing another Bowl victory after captaining a Senghenydd side to glory in 2011, he applauded, Port’s defensive effort today by saying: “I think we squandered at least three chances in the first-half which should have put us out of sight. Their defence was solid in the end so I have to take my hat off to them.”

Teams:

Burry Port: A Rudall, D Daniel, D Etteridge (c), D Evans, L Rudall, S Powell, B Williams; J Ryan, I Roberts, S Bevan, R Gravell, B Jenkins, R Parker, O Dunleavy, L Sims

Replacements: M Gower, D Dawkin, O Thomas, E Evans, T Rees, R Samuel, T Bowen, G Gravell

Taffs Well: S Baggs, C Burgwyn, R Barrett, J Jones, G Close, R Lucas, G Lucas; G Gibbs (c), M Desmier, G Harvey, T Guy, J Barry, L Edwards, R Watkins, M Watkins

Replacements: J Davies, B James, B Atkin, S Evans, A French, D Mota, A Bonetto, M Wrigh

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Davies to captain Scarlets for 2021/22 season

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WALES international and British & Irish Lion Jonathan ‘Fox’ Davies will captain the Scarlets for the 2021-22 season.

Former Ysgol Dyffryn Taf pupil Davies has played 170 matches for the Scarlets since making his debut in 2006 and is one of the most decorated centres in international rugby having won 91 caps for Wales and represented the Lions in the Test series in Australia 2013 and New Zealand in 2017.

It will be his second stint wearing the Scarlets armband having been a co-captain along with Rob McCusker in 2013.

‘Foxy’ takes the reins from hooker Ken Owens who led the Scarlets for a record-equalling seven successive seasons.

“Jon is one of the most respected players in the game, someone with a huge amount of experience at all levels,” said Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel

“He has been a leader amongst our group for a number of years now and certainly since I have been here his leadership qualities have been there for all to see, on and off the training field.

“Foxy is the ultimate professional – when he speaks people listen. The way he conducts himself is an example to every player in the squad.

“He has been a big part of this club for a long time; he has grown up in the region, played his junior rugby here and it is clear that wearing the Scarlets jersey means a huge amount to him.”

Paying tribute to Davies’s predecessor Owens, Peel added: “Ken has been a fantastic leader for us over the last seven years and will continue to have a huge part to play in the leadership of this group.”

Davies, who captained Wales during the recent summer internationals in Cardiff, said: “It is a massive honour to be handed the Scarlets captaincy, you only have to look at the captain’s board to see so many great players and icons of the game who have led the club.

“I am fortunate that there will be a strong leadership group around me – British & Irish Lions and experienced Wales internationals who have enjoyed success at domestic and Test level. Those players also know there is a hard-working, driven group of youngsters pushing them for the jersey. There is a really exciting mix to the squad.”

Davies added: “Winning the PRO12 title with the Scarlets four years ago remains one of the highlights of my career and there is a real ambition and hunger among the players and coaching group to reach those levels again.

“There has been a good buzz about pre-season, the boys have worked really hard and we’re all looking forward to the start of the new URC season in Edinburgh on Saturday.

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Scarlets appoint Phil John as Academy coach

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FORMER prop Phil John is back at the Scarlets having been appointed to the role of Academy skills coach.

John made 330 Scarlets appearances over 17 seasons and holds the record for the most Scarlets matches played in the regional era.

Since hanging up his playing boots following his final game against Glasgow in 2016, he has worked with the RGC 1404 Academy and alongside another ex-Scarlet Mark Jones with the Premiership team in North Wales.

He also has experience coaching with the Llanelli RFC Premiership side and as an assistant to Danny Wilson for the Scarlets.

John, who started out on a rugby apprenticeship scheme at Stradey Park, replaces Emyr Phillips who becomes the Scarlets transition coach overseeing the academy players who are training with the senior side.

“It’s good to be back at Parc y Scarlets and I’m looking forward to working with a talented group of young players who have bright futures in the game,” said John.

“When you look at the players who were in the Academy five years ago when I was here, they are now starting week in week out for the Scarlets, it is great to see the journeys they have been on.

“The Scarlets Academy has a proud tradition of being a production line for the senior side and I’m excited by this opportunity to help make sure that continues.”

Scarlets Development Pathway Manager Kevin George added: “For us, this appointment was about getting the balance right in the coaching group with Emyr having been promoted to oversee the transition players.

“We had a lot of interest in the post and Phil, with his experience working with academies and the commitment he gave to North Wales, came out very strongly. We are delighted to have him on board to help nurture the next generation of Scarlets.”

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Five-star Felinfoel sink Tumble

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FELINFOEL kept up their unbeaten start to the season on Saturday (Sept 18) as they beat Tumble 5-2 at the King George playing fields in Division 1 of the Carmarthenshire football league.

However, they didn’t have it all their own way as Tumble took the lead after five minutes through Matthew James.

Foel kept plugging away and were rewarded when Chris James hit a 25-yard shot that was fumbled over the line by the keeper to make it 1-1.

Some good passing football then put Sam Ashford through on goal to put the ball past the keeper and make it 2-1 to the home side.

They weren’t done there as Chris James made it 3-1 with a great header.

In the second half, both sides were looking to score again but it was Foel who got their fourth when Mathew Ellis supplied top goal scorer Jordan Badman with the pass to make it 4-1.

Five minutes later the roles were reversed when Badman played in Mathew Ellis to make it 5-1.

To Tumble’s credit they kept plugging away and were rewarded with a goal two minutes from time as James scored his second of the game.

It was a great strike from James but it mattered little as Foel came away with the 5-2 win and their unbeaten record still intact.

On Saturday (Sept 25), Felinfoel are at hoem again as they host Bancffosfelen, kick off at 2pm.

Tumble are also in action as they travel to Llangennech.

Photo by Darren Harries

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