GLAMORGAN coach Robert Croft said after Glamorgan’s second successive defeat ‘that we have got to work our way out of this position’ and they will have that opportunity this weekend when they play Leicestershire – who have also lost their two opening games- at Grace Road .
After batting first in the games at Northampton and Cardiff, Glamorgan’s batsmen failed to combat swing and seam, although captain Jacques Rudolph admitted he should have bowled first at Wantage Road, and” he got it wrong” after electing to bat in cold, cloudy conditions.
With last season’s leading run scorer Will Bragg still absent with a sore back, there is little competition at the top of the order, where the openers Rudolph and Nick Selman are averaging only 15 from four innings. They did however put on 74 in the second innings at Cardiff, and they should benefit from what is usually a good batting pitch at Grace Road. Only David Lloyd – promoted to No. 3 in Bragg’s absence, and Aneurin Donald, have passed fifty, and there is a need for greater consistency from the batsmen.
Glamorgan have also included five seamers in the first two games, but with a favourable weather forecast for the four days, and less moisture in the pitch, they could replace one of the quicker bowlers with a spinner-Andrew Salter is an option-, which would also strengthen the batting.
Leicestershire have also under performed in their opening games, losing by ten wickets to Notts, and by an innings against Gloucestershire. Disciplinary measures were also taken against the club, which resulted in their experienced seamer Charlie Shreck suspended for the first two games, and captain Mark Cosgrove for this game against his former county. Meanwhile, former opener Angus Robson has left the club by mutual consent and is set to join Sussex.
Meanwhile, they will be hoping that their South African batsman Colin Ackerman will be fit to play after breaking his thumb against Gloucestershire. He failed to resume his first innings and was unable to take any further part in the game.
Rudolph has said “the senior players need to stand up after the poor start to the season” and a win is imperative at Grace Road. It will also erase the memories of the final game of last season, when Glamorgan were cruising to victory before losing their last six wickets for just ten runs in 26 balls.
Glamorgan squad: J.Rudolph ,N.Selman, D.Lloyd, C.Ingram, A.Donald, C.Cooke, K.Carlson, H.Podmore ,M.De Lange, M.Hogan, L.Carey, A. Salter.
Swans still sweet on Premier League survival
By Jonathan Twigg
SWANSEA’s clamber through the trials and tribulations of the Premier League can be compared to that of a child running amok in a sweet shop, so many tantalising favourites to devour, with the occasional reminder that not all sweets are sweet.
A retro walk down the Bridge Meadow Lane would have taken a child past the shop run by Connie Clarke, renowned for her welcome on the bell clanging. Supporters of Haverfordwest County and their opponents on match day, welcomed with few words but with the knowledge her confectionary delights never failed to deliver.
Following Saturday’s (Apr 14) 1-1 draw with Everton, who arrived without former Swans stars Ashley Williams and Gylfi Sigurdsson in their line-up, supporters left knowing the sweet taste of success held by the Premier League is still within their grasp.
With two of the bottom three to visit the Liberty in the final week of the season this point is one gained in search of extending their Premier League status to an eighth season, although manager Carlos Carvalhal nearly led his side to five consecutive home wins, something no other manager has done since the heady days of John Toshack in 1981.
Swansea welcomed Jordan Ayew back from a three game suspension to partner elder brother Andre as Bolton based referee Lee Mason began the game in front of 20,933, the returning brother setting the tone alongside Andy King at a sun drenched Liberty Stadium.
Carvalhal has worked some magic since his arrival on the cusp of Christmas, tactically leaving opposite number former England supremo Sam Allerdyce to venture to the touchline with his pocket ball side kick Sammy Lee to stem the tide; the blues were overrun in midfield, Jordan Ayew having a wonderful chance cleared off the line as was captain Frederico Fernadez header from the resultant corner, before Andre’s sight of goal was saved by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Alfie Mawson has grown to be imperial at the back for the Swans, attracting the interest of Manchester United, one of those mints that the longer you savour, the better it lingers. Luciano Narsingh however can be likened more to a quickly dissolving peppermint cream, releasing the taste with speed, rousing the Jack Army with an immediate hit, succulent whilst it lasts, inspiring the Swans to drive forward.
Former England captain Wayne Rooney had one of those games, like an aniseed ball, many unable to relish his taste as he left his mark, literally with some raking tackles; his class, undoubted, when it finally came to the fore.
An opening goal came with the aid of goal line technology, just before half time, Lucas Fabianski brilliantly making a double save from Bolasie, before a ricochet off Kyle Naughton and a half time lead, Fabianski thankfully however saving from Cenk Tosun a minute later.
Jordan became the first recipient of a yellow card in the second half, substitute Nathan Dyer creating a stir as the game went up by a level with a sugar surge, the vocal chords tingled with honey from a locket, in the form of striker Tammy Abraham’s arrival.
Full backs McNaughton and Martin Olsson created chances, Tom Carroll serving buckets of sweet balls, to no avail; Dyer driving forward over from twenty yards, Abraham and the Ayews creating half chances, Mawson’s header cleared off the line before the full quarter was served, Jordan levelling the game with a right foot half volley.
The final fifteen minutes rocked the stadium once more, after dinner mints were all Swansea’s, although Seamus Coleman thundered a shot against the woodwork, Abraham missed a gilt edged opportunity at the other end, whilst a tall and well positioned defensive wall directed Rooney’s set piece opportunity over the bar.
Extra strong mints were needed, alas unavailable as the toffees held firm, not fudging their lines with Beni Baningime taking a yellow card for the team, the games conclusion seeing a share of the spoils.
Carvalhal’s magic stars will have to be at their best to out fox and unwrap three points on Sunday (Apr 22) when opponents Manchester City will have champagne liquor chocolates on hand, having been crowned Premier League champions.
Swansea then have the opportunity to welcome Chelsea to ‘fortress’ Liberty the week after; wispa it quietly, as many have their eyes on the final weeks’ trio of games, starting with a trip to the South Coast in search of the bounty available at Dean Park, Bournemouth, before a starburst performance at home to Southampton on the Tuesday and Stoke City for a final day picnic. There can be no wine gums on show, just the everlasting gobstopper which is Premier League football.
Super Reds reach Cup final
Report by Alan Evans
LLANELLI Town have their sights firmly fixed on another double to emulate the achievement of last season, as they currently top the league table and look favourites for the title, while they are also through to the Welsh League Cup final, a trophy they won in 2016/17, after comfortably seeing off Cwmbran Celtic at Afan Lido’s Marston’s Stadium in the semi-final on Tuesday (Apr 10).
A dire first half seemed to consist solely of how far downfield either team could send the ball, although the Reds looked the more likely to score in the few chances which were created.
When Chris Jones swung a corner into the goalmouth, Ryan Fleming in the Celtic goal punched it clear where it rebounded off Joe Clarke and then another Reds player before ending in a harmless goal kick.
Chris Thomas brought off a saving tackle on Josh Bull when the Celtic striker threatened to break up the middle, before Kurtis March glanced a header wide from close in from another Jones delivery.
When a loose pass by Jones intended for Antonio Facciuto was instead intercepted by Callum Wakeham, he made ground into the Reds` box, but some good defending snuffed out the danger.
Celtic then suffered a blow when Bull was forced off injured on 38 minutes to be replaced by Lloyd Kinsella, and when Simon Prangley picked out Iolo Jones wide on the Celtic left, he whipped a ball across the face of the goal before it was gathered safely by Craig Morris.
The second half had to be an improvement on the first, and so it turned out with the Reds, at least, displaying some modicum of a passing game, with Lee Trundle accepting a ball from Jones only to see his finish cleared off the line.
James Loveridge, with a surging run, forced Luke Jones to concede a corner taken by Trundle, whose delivery to the far post was met by Lee Bevan who powered his header past Fleming on 56 minutes to put the Reds ahead.
Ten minutes later, March played a pass into the feet of Trundle whose instant reaction to meet it left the Celtic keeper helpless as it nestled in the bottom corner.
Now totally in control, the Reds were looking capable of adding to their lead, with Loveridge forcing Fleming to turn his well struck shot around the post, before the tie was finally wrapped up six minutes from time when Trundle got his brace, picking up a long clearance from Morris before making room and firing into the net.
There was still time for Loveridge to see his finish pushed over by the Celtic keeper, but the Reds ran out worthy winners and now face either Pontypridd Town or Trefelin BGC in the final on Friday, May 18, at a venue still to be decided.
Laugharne too good for Quins
LAUGHARNE now sit third in League 3 West A after they beat Pembroke Dock Quins 55-10 on Saturday (Mar 31), before beating St Davids 10-49 on Easter Monday (Apr 2).
Saturday’s game was well orchestrated by Outside Half Stefan Evans and it was he who opened up the scoring for the afternoon after 10 minutes when he cut through the Quins defence to score close to the Posts. He then converted himself to put his side 7 points up.
The Quins at this stage were matching their bigger and more experienced opponents with the whole pack especially showing full commitment. It was the Quins who were next on the scoresheet with a well worked try for No 8 Harry Owen, as he showed some neat footwork before scoring halfway out, Full Back Lewis Davies pushed his conversion narrowly wide.
Laugharne soon responded with two quick fire tries from Full Back Thomas Davies, Stefan Evans converted both and for good measure kicked a penalty with the last kick of the half to send his side in with a 5-24 lead.
The Quins were under more pressure as the second half started as they were finding it more and more difficult to handle Stefan Evans as they attacked at every opportunity.
On 55 minutes Scrum Half Gethin Jones scored the all-important Bonus Point try which was converted by Stefan Evans. No 8 Mike Williams soon followed with a fine try in the corner which was converted by Stefan Evans with a magnificent kick.
Right Wing Gareth Spiers and Gethin Jones soon added two more tries with the latter being converted by Stefan Evans.
Tom Davies rounded off his sides’ scoring by completing his hat trick for the afternoon, Stefan Evans stroked over his seventh conversion of the afternoon to end with a match haul of 22 Points.
Young Left Winger Will Nicot finished off the Quins’ best move of the Match with a fine unconverted try in the corner with just five minutes left.
The Quins ended the game on the attack and were unlucky not to grab a third try, which spoke volumes for the effort and spirit that the Quins’ young side put in.
Laugharne will look to keep their good run of form going as they travel back to Pembrokeshire on Saturday (Apr 7), to take on a Neyland side buoyed by their last gasp win over Cardigan last weekend.
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