CARMARTHEN HARRIERS indoor and cross country athletes were out on the road in Cardiff and Newport on Saturday, February 18.
In an action packed weekend in the indoor Welsh Championship which attracted nearly 600 juniors from across Wales, 3 Harriers struck gold to be Welsh Champions and the tally was added with a further 2 bronze.
Frank Morgan had possibly the most comfortable win of the day, bettering his silver medal from last year his winning time of 4:47 gave him the 1500 metres gold by over 100 metres from his under 13 rivals. In doing so he moved top of the UK indoor rankings for his age.
Another outstanding performance was Lily Church who dominated the under 15 age group in the high jump. Jumping a big 1 metre 63 the bronze medallist from last year confirmed her position as one of the country’s best.
The teams form in the high jump then continued in sensational form with William Edwards once again passing 2 metres to win the under 20 men’s title. To round of the jumps Olivia Haines made the podium to take Bronze in a best jump of 10 metres 17.
Finally in the 1500 metres for under 17s Iestyn Williams ran a dogged race to stay in contention in a fiercely contested last lap to be rewarded with a bronze medal.
Other notable performances included under 13 athlete Sophia Reid-Thomas who in the younger year of her age group qualified for the B final finishing 3rd in a blanket finish in a very quick 9.13 seconds. Zak Daly and Tomos Rees also had good runs in the 200m heat and 3000 metres. Meanwhile in Sheffield, Glen Elsdon and Aled Price were up against the best in Britain in the UK 60m hurdles event and recorded times of 8.32 and 8.53 seconds.
The cross country runners battled the bitterly cold wind at the fourth round of the Gwent Cross Country League at a new course in Newport. In the Novice Boys which started the programme, Ifan Bowen did not disappoint as he maintained his 2nd place finish.
Iwan Thomas secured another top 10 finish and is on course for an individual medal. Jac Thomas 16th, Steffan Davies 38th and Jake Lynock in 56th competing in the same race scored valuable points for the team.
There was another top 3 placing in the Under 13 boys category, this time being Liam Edwards who kept up the pace with the leading pack and he was closely followed behind by Dafydd Jones in 6th – both will now be eying an individual prize in a few weeks.
The third scorer for the squad was Dafydd Thomas, who crossed the line in 21st position.
The Under 15 age group had five representatives – Archi Morgan was the first Harrier home in an improved 6th and supported him was Gareth Thompson in 12th and Casper Farquhar. In the girls, the ever reliable Eva Edwards and Maddie Morgan had good performances in 20th and 31st respectively.
In the older age groups, Ben Thomas continued his fine form running alongside talented English athletes in the U17s while in the seniors, Gordon Orme won his 70+ category with Gill Edwards and Lisa Forest also doing well in a large field.
The under 11 boys and under 13 boys teams are on course to win a team medal next month while the under 15 boys are also in with a good chance, currently just outside the top 3 in the standings.
The 5th and final round of the league for the first time in many years will be hosted at home by Carmarthen Harriers & West Wales, in conjunction with the County Council at Pembrey Country Park on Saturday, March 4.
The league – formed in 1963 has continued across South Wales and South West England every year since then and attracts the best cross country runners from Wales and England.
Former Llanelli players inducted into Hall of Fame
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.
We take life too lightly and sport too seriously
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?
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?
Raiders battle hard in defeat
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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