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Old Gold fall to Bala defeat

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Carmarthen Town 0

Bala 1

CARMARTHEN’S outstanding start to their Welsh Premier League second-phase programme, along with their six-match unbeaten run, were brought to an abrupt halt on Saturday, February 18, with this narrow defeat against a strong Bala side who lie in second place in the league and are themselves enjoying a sequence of just one defeat in 17 games.

The Old Gold were far from disgraced and the outcome of this match could have been so different if they had not made such an awful start, conceding a poor goal in the opening stages – after that shock they soon recovered and for the remaining 75-80 minutes the play was far more evenly balanced, with both sides enjoying spells of pressure.

From the outset the visitors swarmed forward, putting immediate and sustained pressure on the Town defence which looked uncharacteristically hesitant and disorganised.

After only two minutes Bala took the lead when David Thompson’s huge throw-in caused confusion in the crowded penalty area where Kieran Smith took advantage to fire the ball crisply past ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the net.

The Lakesiders again went close on 4 minutes – Anthony Stephens’ corner was met by Stuart Jones who saw his firm header deflected just wide of the post. But from thereon Town gradually began to find their customary rhythm, spirit and discipline.

The defence, and in particular the formidable central pairing of Lee Surman and Dave Vincent, increasingly showed greater composure and resilience, while in midfield key players Kieran Lewis, Ceri Morgan and Declan Carroll were using their energy and vision both to disrupt the visitors’ attacking momentum and create opportunities for lively strikers Liam Thomas and Liam Griffiths to exploit with their pace and movement.

Throughout the rest of the first-half the game was more open and evenly balanced with the play shifting briskly from end to end – but with both defences performing soundly there were very few clear scoring chances.

However on 25 minutes the hosts narrowly avoided conceding again when a low cross from Ryan Wade took a huge deflection off a defender that sent the ball dangerously high towards the goal, only for Idzi to produce a stunning reflex save, clawing the ball onto the top of the bar and safely behind.

The Old Gold’s first notable effort arose in the 31st minute when Carroll slid a fine pass through to Griffiths who raced forward to the edge of the penalty area and turned smartly past his marker before hitting a fierce drive that flew marginally wide of the post.

Then on 35 minutes Carroll’s corner-kick into a packed goalmouth reached Thomas who, from 8 yards, cleverly chipped the ball over several defenders but ‘keeper Ashley Morris stretched high to claim it just under the bar.

After the interval the same pattern of play quickly emerged but for a long period the game was fairly uneventful and rather scrappy.

Then midway through the second-half manager Mark Aizlewood made his intentions clear when, in a 10 minute spell, he brought on three attack-minded substitutes Luke Cummings, Kyle Bassett and Matthew Thomas to inject more pace and flair into Town’s search for an equaliser.

In the 79th minute that was almost achieved – Cummings launched a long throw into the penalty area to find Morgan who from 10 yards drilled the ball through a crowd of players only for Morris to react instinctively and kick it off the goal-line to safety.

With the Old Gold pressing forward so enthusiastically, Bala were now looking more of a threat on the counter-attack and on 85 minutes they went close to extending their fragile lead – Wade cut inside from the right flank and drove the ball across the face of the goal but saw Bassett, alert to the danger, race back into the goalmouth and make a timely clearance.

Then after 91 minutes Town’s flying winger demonstrated his searing pace at the other end of the pitch when he burst through the Bala defence and into the penalty area only for Morris to rescue his side once more by quickly coming out of his goal and diving down to block Bassett’s 15 yard angled drive.

But deep into added time the visitors again threatened when, with the Old Gold defence stretched, Wade raced clear to the edge of the penalty area and as Idzi, who had clearly been hampered by a leg injury for some time, struggled to come out to challenge him the striker fired towards the unguarded goal only for the ball to drift just wide of the far post.

While this result was disappointing, Town’s performance (after the initial disastrous lapse) was certainly not – and to have secured six points in their opening second-phase fixtures against unquestionably the three strongest teams in the WPL was both highly commendable and unexpected.

Carmarthen, currently occupying fifth place in the league, next have an important away fixture against sixth-placed Cardiff Met on Saturday, March 4, (k/o 2.30pm).

A repeat of their stunning victory there on New Year’s Eve would be both very welcome and a big step towards securing that League position at the end of the season.

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Sport

Llanelli Bodybuilder matches Arnie’s record

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WELSHMAN James ‘Flex’ Lewis is one of Britain’s most successful sportsmen as well as one of the world’s greatest bodybuilders.

He has made history this weekend (Sept 14-17) at the Mr. Olympia event in Las Vegas (the top international event in bodybuilding).

He went into the event the reigning five times Olympia Champion in his weight category and his incredible sixth consecutive win was just announced, which matches the record of another body building legend, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Indeed, Flex’s career as a bodybuilder has been continually likened to Arnie’s and the win this weekend further secures his place as the world’s greatest bodybuilder.

The Mr. Olympia title is the most coveted in the world of bodybuilding and the title awarded to the winner of the professional men’s contest at the annual international bodybuilding competition (the bodybuilding ‘world cup’), held by the International Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness.

The event started on Thursday (September 14) in Las Vegas and the results were declared this morning. With Flex’s track record, you wouldn’t bet against another win for the Welshman next year either!

Flex Lewis originates from Llanelli in Wales and has had huge success, particularly in the States, where he is a well-known face. He is a tremendous ambassador for the sport of bodybuilding and one of Britain’s greatest athletes.

He is passionate about changing the clichéd perception of bodybuilding and for people to see it as the credible sport that it is and the athleticism it involves to participate. He’s also a real family man and not just a generic ‘muscle head’ and despite his successes, Flex remains humble, determined, focused; the same lad from the Valleys that he always was.

Flex has won over 30 national and international titles. But it is with Mr Olympia he is most synonymous. Having committed his life to what can be a very gruelling training regime and a carefully monitored diet, the victory this weekend at Olympia is extremely well deserved and cements his position as Wales’ very own Arnie!

Flex on his victory said: “I was honoured to go into the event holding the current Olympia title as the best 212 physique in the world and I am buzzing to have defended it for another year. My accomplishments are a true testament to what dedication and hard work can get you.

“If you want something bad enough and set your mind to it, it can be achieved. To equal Arnie’s record of consecutive wins at Olympia this weekend is a dream come true for me as I have always been inspired by him and he is such an icon and ambassador for bodybulding.

“I am so thrilled to have made Wales and the people of Great Britain proud.”

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Wales beaten by young Lions

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Wales: Karlin Claridge (Cardiff Blue Dragons), James Smith (West Wales Raiders), Fraser Stroud (Torfaen Tigers), Eauan Morris (Torfaen Tigers), Sean Collins (West Wales Raiders), Cobi Green (Valley Cougars), Elliot Jenkins (Thatto Heath Crusaders), Jacob Hitchcox (North Wales Crusaders), Macauley Harris (Valley Cougars), Ellis Simon (West Wales Raiders), Morgan Cross (Rhondda Outlaws), Dewi Billingham (Torfaen Tigers). Subs: Jack Morris (Cardiff Blue Dragons), Taine Hendy (Rhondda Outlaws), Nye Walker (Rhondda Outlaws), Brett Thomas (Torfaen Tigers)

Wales • 24
England Lions • 42

ENGLAND Lions under 18s ran out 42-24 winners against a Wales side who battled all the way last Saturday (Sept 16).

However the English side just had a bit too much rugby league knowledge for the Welsh and the scoreline isn’t quite reflective of how hard the Welsh team fought.

Wales took an early lead. Euan Morris scored out wide and Elliot Jenkins, who has also been named in the full Wales train-on side ahead of the World Cup, converted.

However England soon addressed the balance with a try from Will Tully converted by Cole Connolly before Eddie Wilcock went over from dummy half to give them a lead they wouldn’t give up. Connolly’s second goal made it 12-6.

Sean Collins went over in the corner for Wales’ second try which went unconverted before England score again through a Curtis Teare break finished off by Charlie Taylor with Connolly converting to make it 18-10.

England extended their lead to 24-10 when Wilcock crossed for his second try which Connolly improved but Wales hadn’t given up as Morris scored his second of the day, which went unconverted.

However, England went into half-time with a strong 30-14 lead after Liam Kenyon set up Charlie Taylor to score under the sticks. Connolly kept up his 100% first half kicking record.

Wales started their comeback 15 minutes into the second half. Brett Thomas scored out wide but again, agonisingly for Wales, it went unconverted.

They closed the gap further through a Nye Walker try that Jenkins converted and despite it being five tries each, Wales were still six points down with just ten minutes to go.

England then pulled away with two tries in the closing stages to seal the win. Will Ashworth ran 70 metres to score under the sticks and from kick-off, Wilcock grabbed his hat-trick. Connolly converted both.

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Wanderers seal T20 final win

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Carmarthen Wanderers: SWCA T20 winners 2017

WELSH PREMIER DIVISION 2 side Carmarthen Wanderers capped a superb season by winning their South Wales Cricket Association T20 cup final against Ynysygerwn by 3 wickets.

Left arm spinner Ian Hughes four overs saw him take 1-15 but it was Steve Mills who turned the game towards the Wanderers as he took three wickets in nine balls, much to the delight of the Wanderers ‘barmy army’.

The season’s star player, spinner Gareth Thomas bagged three wickets during the final overs to dismiss Ynys for 98, with wicket keeper Owain Evans claiming three dismissals.

The Wanderers attacked from the off with Steve Inward blasting 39 runs in 6 overs in conjunction with Owain Evans [24] adding 55 for the first wicket.

Going into the final over the Wanderers were 93-7 before youngster Liam Rogers clubbed a boundary to relieve the pressure before Owain Davies hit the penultimate ball to the fence, the Wanderers enjoyed one of the finest moments in their club’s history.

Having lifted the SWCA T20 trophy, Walters triumphantly stated: “Winning this trophy is an outstanding achievement as Ynys are a quality side. We bowled and fielded well and got across the line as the pressure mounted during the final overs.

“This is a fitting reward as we have remained unbeaten since May and lifting the cup means so much to everybody at the club, especially those who work so hard behind the scenes. Our large band of travelling supporters provided a great atmosphere which made the occasion such a special day.”

The man of the match awarded went to Steve Mills, who is in his first season with the Club having arrived from his home club, Pembrokeshire first division side Johnston.

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