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Sport

Games away from promotion

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Llanelli Town AFC 5

Newport City 0

THE PRESSURE is mounting at Stebonheath as the Reds edge another step closer to promotion and academy status.

Despite winning 5 – 0 against Newport City on Saturday (Feb 18), Red’s manager Andy Hill said he wanted more. Speaking to The Herald after the game Andy said: “It was a convincing win but a bit frustrating that we didn’t get a few more goals. They came to defend and they did that well. It was their game plan from the start. We have a tough match against one of the top clubs next week and we have to win that one.”

The Reds can be confident given that they remain unbeaten in the league and they still have the goal machine Lee Trundle in fine form.

Before the match all players lined up at the centre circle for a minute’s applause for former Reds player Robbie James on the anniversary of his death , and for the father of Reds groundsman , Eddie Donne , who had recently passed away. It was clearly a very emotional moment for Eddie as he lined up with t he Reds.

When the game got underway under the gaze of Welsh legend, former Wales player and manager Terry Yorath , it took a mere 15 minutes before the closely marked Trundle was brought down in the penalty area. Referee Pascal Neale pointed to the spot and Trundle punished the visitors with a pin point strike into the bottom left corner of the net to put Llanelli ahead.

James Loveridge looks like he is beginning to settle in at Stebonheath and he is a force to be reckoned with on the wing. He came close a couple of times hitting the post and crossbar.

The Reds are also fortunate enough to have the diminutive but powerful Jordan Davies in the squad. He can always be relied on to run at the opposition and set up goal scoring opportunities.

It was the Davies and Loveridge combination which netted the second goal for The Reds and despite a few attacks by the visitors it was The Reds who began to dominate the first half with City’s keeper doing well to deny Trundle and Loveridge on a few more occasions.

The second half really was frustrating for The Reds as Newport City dug their studs in and remained camped in their own half as if their lives depended on it. That did not bode well for entertainment value and they may have represented themselves better if they had taken risks rather than putting a curtain of players around the goalmouth. Trundle is unstoppable when he gets the ball in the goal area. It is a joy to watch his control, strength and skill on the ball, which inevitably ends up in a goal. So it was when he burst through the midfield and blast a shot at goal only for the City keeper to parry it out. This time Trundle was there for the rebound and side kicked it to Jordan Follows who managed to find the net for the home side’s third goal.

Within five minutes Jordan Follows got another goal, this time after a stray shot had struck him and rolled off into the goal. He won’t be complaining about the way in which it went in.

The Herald was fortunate enough to be positioned behind the City goal during the last few minutes of the match. As we pointed the camera lens towards Trundle on the edge of the goal area, he curled the ball and for one moment it appeared to be landing straight onto the camera lens. Thankfully the goal got in the way for his second and a fifth for t he Reds. The Reds are expecting a large crowd at Stebonheath tonight (Feb 24) with the visit of second-placed Briton Ferry Llansawel. This result could be crucial in deciding who wins the title.

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Sport

Former Llanelli players inducted into Hall of Fame

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By Robert Lloyd

THREE former Llanelli RFC Rugby Union players have been inducted into the Hall of Fame at St Helens Rugby League Football Club.

The three are Kel Coslett, Roy Mathias and John Warlow.

All three are keen followers of the Scarlets Rugby Union region and have been regular visitors to Stradey Park and Parc y Scarlets down the years.

The three were at St Helens Rugby League club for the unveiling of their portraits in the Hall of Fame.

Kel Coslett played representative level rugby union (RU) for Wales, and at club level for Aberavon RFC, and Llanelli RFC, as a goal-kicking full-back, representative level rugby league (Rl) for Wales, and at club level for St. Helens (captain), and Rochdale Hornets as a toe-end kicking style (rather than round the corner kicking style) goal-kicking fullback, prop, second-row, or loose forward/lock, i.e. number 1, 8 or 10, 11 or 12, or 13, and coached at club level for Rochdale Hornets, Wigan, and St. Helens.

Coslett made his international rugby union début for Wales as a full-back in the 1962 Five Nations Championship match against England. He also appeared that year in the Test matches against Scotland, and France, before shifting to the professional rugby league code in 1962 with St. Helens.

Coslett was also awarded the British Empire Medal for services to Rugby League.

Roy Mathias was born in Llanelli on September 2, 1949, and is a Welsh dual-code international rugby union, and professional rugby league, and footballer of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

He played representative level rugby union (RU) for Wales, and at club level for Felinfoel RFC, and Llanelli RFC, as a wing, i.e. number 11 or 14, and representative level rugby league (RL) for Great Britain, and Wales, and at club level for St. Helens, and Cardiff City (Bridgend) Blue Dragons, as a wing, or loose forward/lock, i.e. number 2 or 5, or 13, during the era of contested scrums.

Mathias won a cap playing Right-Wing for Wales (RU) while at Llanelli RFC in the 11–6 victory over France at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday 4 April 1970.

Douglas John Warlow was born in Dafen, Llanelli, on February 13, 1939.

He is a Welsh former dual-code international rugby union, and professional rugby league footballer of the 1960s and 1970s.

He played representative level rugby union (RU) for Wales, and at club level for Felinfoel RFC, and Llanelli RFC, as a prop, i.e. number 1 or 3, and representative level rugby league (RL) for Great Britain, and at club level for St. Helens (two spells), Widnes, and Rochdale Hornets, as a prop, or second-row, i.e. number 8 or 10, or 11 or 12, during the era of contested scrums.

Warlow won a cap for Wales (RU) while at Llanelli RFC in 1962 against Ireland.

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Sport

We take life too lightly and sport too seriously

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By Jonathan Twigg

DEBATE rages in Wales at present, where rugby has infiltrated the summer domain of cricket, which has held unparalleled dominance of the summer sunshine.

There has been a culture change, whereby summer tours and early season fixtures of the traditional winter sports means earlier starts.

Look no further than next seasons football league championship season for Swansea City, starting on Saturday (Aug 5) until Sunday (May 26) 2019.

The outcry from the boundary ropes comes more about how mini ruby has become a summer sport, bulldozered through, as opposed to negotiated.

WRU figurehead in this Ryan Jones, former Wales captain and British Lion parading the paraphernalia, Cricket Wales Development Officer Keri Chahal, having face to face meetings to form common ground.

The winner, undoubtedly now rugby as their mini game is happening in front of our eyes, but has cricket lost?

Jason Roy: In action against Australia

Not looking at the participation statistics in the new ‘All Stars’ programme, where children bestowed in blue attire are bouncing around cricket fields in the sunshine, the magic there to entice the next generation.

What sells it to parents, who undoubtedly influence their siblings?  The paradox of ‘I played the game, so you must do also’ may live in both sports, but it’s more than that.

Attendances at international matches, in cricket’s case by supporting England, well the England and Wales Cricket Board side, the pathway? Saturday (Jun 16) saw them rock up in Cardiff, rugby capital of Wales, the Swalec Stadium to be precise, skirting the River Taff through Bute Park, the hosts leading a five match series against Australia 1-0.

Sell out you would think? Far from it; the Principality Stadium, bestowed with a retractable roof, unequivocally is, if Australia are the visitors, the Swalec attracted around 13,000, a fifth of their rugby rivals capacity.

Does cricket lack that panache to attract the floating spectator, often then with the family in tow?  The game has stand out stars, opening batsman Jason Roy pulverising the Aussie attack, the Richardson’s, Jhye and Kane, of no blood synchronisation, a rarity in this sport for two with the same name to be sharing the new ball. Root 66, the featured face of the cricketing market, Joe, England Captain present, alongside former Glamorgan opening bowler Alex Wharf, making his ODI debut, as an umpire.

Coloured clothing, blue against yellow for the 11am start, the Aussie public back home having a choice of watching cricket, World Cup football against France, or rugby as the Wallabies welcomed Ireland to Melbourne.

Cricket is sensational down under, the viewing figures from Saturday would make an interesting comparative, lifting some of the ‘doom and gloom’ emanating from our ‘middle England’ type dulcet tones of the cricketing ‘I know best brigade’.

Food for thought, or is it time for the Blazers and prawn sandwiches to be confined to the attic, relics of periods passed? 100 ball ‘City’ cricket is another gurus dream, not welcomed by the current ‘Blazers’, where Saturday’s game produced 102 runs for one wicket, from just a third of the games total deliveries.

Believe me, there was a following of supporters, some perhaps beer monsters, in fancy dress but the majority of paying punters here, at £65 were from a generation brought up on John Arlott, a commentator remembered with fondness, his soupy‑thick Hampshire vowels drawling “we take life too lightly and sport too seriously.”

‘Wise up or weep’ is the cry for cricket, as this game on paper had everything, including the proverbial rain, which has so impacted the winter sports programme to influence the thinking of the WRU game management board.

England’s batsman rattled up for the first time in history five consecutive 50 plus run partnerships with stand in skipper Josh Butler ‘ramping’ sixes over the wicket keepers head; text book they are not but part of the modern game as he brought up his own 50 in the forty first over, with 17 runs in five balls!

What are the indicators for success? Tactical understanding from a blooded skipper Tim Paine, Jason Roy 120, Josh Butler 91 not out and Johnny Bairstow 42, in England’s highest ever ODI total of 342-8, where the expectation nowadays is 300 plus. Certainly, making sunshine on a rainy day sings Zoe, although those in the know were drumming Mambo number 5 with a cucumber sandwich during the interval.

Australia, looking to save some grace on a day when their rugby and football comrades were dispensed made a fist of it, Maxwell striking 31 alongside Glamorgan star Shaun Marsh.

Marsh handled the pressure but the crowd sensed the game slipping into the memory bank, in the lowering sunlight, buoyed by the beach ball antics of amongst others, Baywatch, tennis players and the Smurfs who embraced the evening’s ambiance, before the jobsworth lumbered in.

Marsh passed 2000 white ball runs on his way to 131, the end coming through Roy’s match winning catch to secure the star player award as over 600 runs were chalked in the scorebook. Something was missing, no pyrotechnics from which to salivate. Down to the pitch maybe, a slow burner typifying middle England in the centre of Wales, or is the product label just too predictable.  Maybe a famous son of Yorkshire can answer that, after all he was called upon to ring the five minute ‘bell’ to signal the start of play.

That Yorkshireman; Neil Warnock; the irony, Manager of the newest Premier League football team, Cardiff City, promoted last season from the Championship, brought in for ‘iconic value’. Can the traditional sports share the space before time is called one wonders, with no frills, no fuss, depicted serenely by Arlott.

That memory is worth a toast, of his favourite Beaujolais tipple, for this is cricket as we know it, but for how much longer?

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Raiders battle hard in defeat

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West Wales Raiders        12

Hemel Stags       48

By Ian Golden at Stebonheath Park

HEMEL Stags produced their first win of the season against a West Wales Raiders side who made them fight all the way on Saturday (Jun 9).

Both teams had failed to record a victory this year before this game so something had to give, and as RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer watched from the stands, West Wales wasted their most realistic chance this season to get a win on the board, but at least they conceded less than 50 points for the first time.

It was a competitive encounter up to a point. There wasn’t a great difference in quality between the sides but Raiders, who were without influential but injured Welsh international forwards Morgan Evans and Connor Farrer, produced the most handling errors, whilst Hemel defended well and took their chances.

Raiders had the first chance to score early on. Phil Cowburn started the move with a strong run through the centre, but his pass to Brad Kislingbury was a bit short and rather than letting the ball bounce before recovering it, he knocked on and the chance was lost.

Hemel took the lead on seven minutes. A dropped ball gifted James Thornton with the try and Keiran Smith converted.

From kick-off they doubled their advantage. Jordan Fitzpatrick-Parry going in under the sticks and Smith converting.

Raiders’ luck wasn’t improving. Steve Parry looked to have grounded then was pushed back up, but the referee ruled it out.

Eventually they got a try back. Cowburn kicked a neat grubber and Harrison Elliot collected well to score under the sticks. Fraser Stroud converted.

West Wales were close to levelling the score but it was Hemel who extended their lead. After receiving a debatable forward pass, Louis Sheriff was unchallenged to run under the posts. Smith converted.

Again Raiders looked to get a try back but Nye Walker and Steve Parry were both held up over the line. Wayne Jowitt suffered the same fate at the other end, but his side did win a goal-line drop-out from the next play. From that resulting set, Paul Stamp grounded and Smith improved to give Hemel a 24-6 half-time lead.

Stamp increased Hemel’s lead further seven minutes into the second half after making a clean break to score under the posts, before going over for his hat-trick six minutes later. Smith converted both.

Handling errors continued to let Raiders down, but this time when on the attack. A good set and great passing move set up Sam Baker to dive in the corner, but the ball slipped from his grasp when going for the line.

However as soon as West Wales regained the ball, they scored. The mercurial Cowburn, surely one of the best signings Raiders have made this year, tore through the defence to score his side’s second try of the game. Stroud converted.

But it was mere respite. Smith set up the experienced Sheriff for his second of the day to bring up 40 points, before hitting the post with the goal attempt.

James Thornton was next over the line for Hemel, with Alex Williams completing the scoring two minutes from time, producing celebrations in the sheds which would have continued long into their journey north.

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