Report by Alan Evans
A JAMES Loveridge goal in the 37th minute proved to be the match winner on Wednesday night (Mar 7) as the Reds closed the gap on their visitors and current league leaders to three points with five games in hand.
After the horror show in their last game against Undy Athletic, the home side at last displayed some vestige of the form which has taken them to the upper reaches of the table, although they are still not playing with the fluidity of which they are capable.
Loveridge could well have added a couple more to his eventual winner as he missed a number of gilt-edged chances when clean through, but his finishing was awry.
A worry for the Reds will be injuries sustained by Kurtis March, Antonio Facciuto and captain Joe Clarke, and with a busy schedule coming up as the season draws to its conclusion, it is to be hoped these are not long-term.
Early chances were created at both ends in the opening stages, with the legs of Craig Morris in the home goal denying Kosta Georgievsky when he was found in space inside the box.
Almost immediately, a long kick by Morris was flicked on by Jordan Davies into the path of Loveridge who made ground to the edge of the area but fired wide with only Penybont keeper Rhys Wilson to beat.
Set pieces to both sides went close without yielding any result, the nearest effort coming from Lee Trundle who forced Wilson to a dive low to his left to keep out his free kick.
Apart from that, there was little in the way of goalmouth action, with both sides guilty of some wayward passing and conceding possession far too easily.
But eventually, it was the Reds who got the breakthrough when Robert Thomas found Trundle who in turn played in Loveridge, and this time he made no mistake with a crisp finish into the bottom corner.
Just before the break, he had another golden opportunity when put clean through, but again shot wide of an open goal.
March, after suffering a knock, was replaced by Chris Jones at the start of the second half, but it was the visitors who were the first to threaten as they chased an equaliser, with Cullen Kinsella heading just wide from a Kane Owen corner.
Marcus Griffiths then fired inches over the home goal when Owain Warlow laid on the chance, before the hosts were forced into a second change when Facciuto was injured, Liam Samuel taking his place.
He was then involved almost immediately when his cross found Trundle, whose goal bound shot was turned around by Wilson.
The visitors` keeper then denied Loveridge with a good block from a Trundle assist, while Penybont went close from an Adam Carpenter free kick which struck the bar before Morris safely smothered the rebound.
A final home substitution saw Jordan Follows come on for Clarke who went down under a challenge, but the Reds maintained their narrow lead to get their title ambitions back on track.
On Saturday, March 10, the Reds are at home once more as they take on Caerau Ely at Stebonheath Park, kick off at 2:30pm.
Under strength Raiders beaten
By Sian Golden at Stebonheath Park
IF anything showed up the farcical registration rules inflicted by the RFL, it was Keighley’s club record win on Saturday (Sept 15).
Ordinarily a 112-6 rout would be celebrated, but West Wales were only able to field 12 fit players and after frustrating red and yellow cards, were down to 10 by the end of the game.
There are Welsh players who would have turned out, and perhaps the RFL should allow clubs to register community lads, who have never played professionally, to make up the numbers?
New Raiders coach Kim Williams arrives this week and his presence is much needed. It’s been a long season in Llanelli and, as plenty of arguing showed during the game, it’s a camp which needs a boost and fast.
Raiders held out for three minutes before Andy Gabriel caught Benn Hardcastle’s kick to score in the corner. Hardcastle converted.
Cameron Leeming tore through the defence to ground the second try with another expert Hardcastle sideline kick.
A short kick-off led to the third as Dan Parker raced down the wing, the fourth came from a catch by Emmerson Whittell from a high kick by Hardcastle, who converted, before another short kick-off led to the fifth, this one scored by Ritchie Hawkyard and converted by Hardcastle.
Jose Kenga was next over, Leeming got his second, and James Feather scored a length of the field try. Three more Hardcastle goals made the score 46-0 on 25 minutes.
The biggest round of applause came on 33 minutes when Raiders finally broke their duck with an Alan Pope scramble to the line. Harrison Elliot converted.
There was still time for two more first half Cougars tries. Andy Gabriel was too fast for the Raiders defence, and Parker also raced over for his second. Hardcastle converted both. 58-6 at the interval.
Alfie Seeley scored the first try of the second half with Hardcastle converting, but that was before the game turned into more of a charade when Craig Lewis saw red for alleged backchat, this surely prompting Raiders’ chairman Andrew Thorne to tweet “As a chairman of a club of a club losing is hard to take but when you have 14 men on a pitch it’s an impossible task.”
Hawkyard scored in the corner four minutes later with Hardcastle converting, and former South Wales Scorpion Billy Gaylor was next. Hardcastle missed the kick but got the next try, which he improved, before Chris Cullimore scored under the sticks, Hardcastle’s goal making it 86-6.
It was good work by Seeley, who weaved his way through the defence for his second, Hardcastle’s conversion bouncing in off the posts, but the game was to finish on 12 v 10 as the referee, who was evidently finding it tough to control the game, showed Hardcastle and Dalton Desmond-Walker yellow after a lengthy fight.
Gabriel claimed his hat-trick with Gaylor slicing the ball low under the sticks. Seeley sealed his hat-trick to take Cougars to 100 with Leeming also claiming his third. Gaylor, who was closer with his second conversion attempt, got this one over.
A length of the field Hawkyard try in the final minute gave him a triple and Gaylor’s goal brought down the curtain on the farce that Oscar Wilde would have been proud of writing.
Draw made for Bowl second round
THE draw for the second round of the WRU National Bowl has been made with a number of exciting ties to look forward to.
New Dock Stars’ reward for knocking out League 3 West A opponents Llangwm is another home tie against fellow League 3 West A side Llanybydder.
Former WRU Bowl Champions Amman United were given a walkover in the first round and they will be at home in the second round having been drawn to play South Gower.
Haverfordwest, who beat Pantyffynnon 69-5 on Saturday (Sept 15) have been rewarded with another home tie against Llangadog who won 50-14 away to Pontyates in their first round game.
Aberaeron, who beat Milford Haven in the first round, face a local derby with Lampeter Town who had a walkover against Pembroke Dock Quins in the first round.
Neyland, who had also had a walkover in the first round, have been given a home tie against Carmarthenshire side Cefneithin.
The two sides met in the same stage of last season’s competition and it was Cefneithin who came out on top on that occasion winning 25-3.
Laugharne have been drawn away to Trimsaran while Betws have also been drawn away to Cwmgors.
All matches will be played on Saturday, October 6.
Selected WRU Bowl second round fixtures:
Amman Utd v South Gower
Cardigan v Nantgaredig
Cwmgors v Betws (Ammanford)
Haverfordwest v Llangadog
Lampeter Town v Aberaeron
New Dock Stars v Llanybydder
Neyland v Cefneithin
Trimsaran v Laugharne
Wanderers snatch late victory
LLANELLI Wanderers earned their second win of the season on Saturday (Sept 15) as they beat Dunvant 22-19 thanks to a late try.
The powerful Dunvant pack helped their side to a 16-12 lead at half time but the Wanderers were still very much in the game.
Josh Leeds and Jordan Evans scored the tries for Llanelli while Rhydian Morgan added the rest of their first half points with the boot.
Dunvant held on to their lead in the second half as they defended well whenever the Wanderers came forward.
However, with ten minutes to go the tables turned as the Wanderers cranked up the pressure even more.
Gruff Mathias, making his debut for the senior side having played in the youth team last season, went up for a Dunvant lineout and he knocked the ball down for Ryan Tovey who went on to score what would prove to be the winning try.
Morgan then added the extra two points and they were able to see the game out for an excellent win.
On Saturday (Sept 22), Llanelli Wanderers will look for another win when they take on Gorseinon away from home.
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