WALES gave themselves the best chance of finishing second in the Six Nations Championship as they beat Italy 38-14 at the Principality Stadium on Sunday afternoon (Mar 11).
Italy kicked off following a rousing rendition of Bread of Heaven and it wasn’t long before the Welsh Dragon roared into life.
Wales turned the ball over before winning a penalty which Gareth Anscombe kicked to touch. From the resulting line-out Wales worked the ball to the middle of the field and Hadleigh Parkes burst through the tacklers to touch down under the posts. Cardiff Blues kicker Anscombe added the extras.
From the kick off Italy won the ball back but Owen Watkin intercepted a pass and ran into the 22 before offloading to George North who went over for the try and Anscombe once again added the extras.
Any thoughts the home side had of an easy afternoon soon evaporated as Italy worked the ball over to the left hand side for Zebre’s Matteo Minozzi who reached over in the corner after breaking the tackle of Liam Williams. Tommaso Allan then added the conversion.
Wales continued to put the pressure on with kicks into the Italy 22 and on 16 minutes they nearly had a third try but a knock on prevented debutant James Davies from going any further.
From the resultant Italy scrum Wales were able to win the ball back and they thought they had their third try as Williams passed to Steff Evans on the left wing who kicked inside towards the posts and Gareth Davies ran on to touch the ball down.
However, French referee Jerome Garces went to the TMO to check if Davies was in front of the kicker which video replays proved to be correct and the try was ruled out.
With twenty minutes gone it was Italy’s turn to for a spell of pressure but a loose pass saw Williams kick the ball forward and pounce on it just past the halfway line only for Italy to win the ball back.
Captain Taulupe Faletau was doing his best to show why he had been given the armband for the game and he produced one of the biggest hits of the game as he floored Italy kicker Allan. Thankfully after a few minutes of treatment he was back on his feet.
Italy again had a good spell of pressure and won the ball twice in quick succession from turnovers before being given a penalty. Allan, perhaps still feeling the effects of that monstrous hit, sent his kick wide of the posts and the score stayed at 14-7.
Shortly before the break Wales won a penalty and Anscombe showed his fellow kicker how it was done as he increased the lead to 17-7.
On the stroke of half time the ball was kicked to the left hand side but Steff Evans couldn’t quite collect the ball and he knocked the ball on. Italy’s Minozzi ran in to collect the ball with Liam Williams also running in close behind who made another crunching tackle on the Italian.
Referee Garces again went to the TMO as replays showed Williams’ shoulder catching Minozzi on the cheek. After some delay, Garces showed Williams a yellow card, much to the anger of the Welsh fans.
The second half started with Wales a man light but that didn’t seem to affect them as they went in search of a third try.
Davies charged down a clearance kick giving Wales a scrum which saw Davies pass to Cory Hill who stretched his way over for that third try and Anscombe added the extra two points.
Moments later, Italy attacked but Davies was deemed to have knocked the ball on deliberately and he was given a yellow card, meaning Wales were two men light, albeit for another two minutes.
Williams’ penalty ended but Coach Warren Gatland decided he would bring Halfpenny on in his place, and he got one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon as he entered the field.
Dean Budd and Tommaso Benvenuti tried their best to get Italy back into the game but some good defending from Wales meant they were unable to go any further.
James Davies then passed to Faletau who in turn found Justin Tipuric but he knocked the ball on and the chance had gone.
With 65 minutes gone, Patchell offloaded quickly for George North who dropped down for his second try of the game and Wales’ fourth giving them a bonus point. Halfpenny then added the extra two points.
With ten minutes to go Patchell found Parkes who threw a lobbed pass out to the wing where Tipuric was on hand to collect and touch down in the corner for Wales’ fifth try and Halfpenny converted again.
With five minutes to go, Italy looked to restore some pride and it was sub Federico Ruzza who found Mattia Bellini who touched down before Allan added the extras.
The bonus point win puts Wales second in the table, a point ahead of England and France and with one final round of games to come, Wales will be hoping they can finish in style.
On Saturday (Mar 17), Wales take on France, also aiming to finish second, at the Principality Stadium (Kick off 5pm) while Six Nations Champions Ireland take on England at Twickenham (2:45pm).
Carmarthen Mayor’s Races to return to town centre this May Day Bank Holiday
THE 38TH RUNNING of the Carmarthen Mayor’s Races returns to the town centre on May Day Bank Holiday, 6th of May. With less than a fortnight to go, online entries are now open and the whole family can get involved.
The event, now organised under Noelwyn Daniel supported by Carmarthen Town Council along with many local organisations, was established by the Councillor Peter Hughes-Griffiths, in partnership with Dr Hedydd Davies, the International athlete who has represented his country many times.
Taking place around Guildhall Square and Lammas Street, it has annually attracted over 800 runners between 3 and 80 years old every year. Supporting the event this year in a number of ways includes Stiwdio Box, G.D Harries & Sons, Rotary Club of Carmarthen, Merlin’s Walk, St.Catherine’s Walk, Charles B.Sams, Carmarthen Journal, JT Thomas, Mark Hopley Heating Services, Security 4 Wales, Mayor’s Charity Appeals Committee, WPS, Carl Morgan Building Surveyor, Spine & Sports Physio, Bowen & Weaving Ltd, Towy Works, Gwasanaethau Myrddin and Robert Lloyd PR Media Consultant.
It has hosted 25 Welsh road race championships in conjunction within the race in the period 1982 to 2006 over various distances such as a Marathon, Half Marathon and 10km.
Carmarthen Mayor’s Races Fun Run, having gone from strength to strength, takes place in the heart of the town centre, affording great opportunities to cheer on the runners.
The event raises thousands of pounds for charity with many local groups and organisations benefiting. Proceeds in 2019 will go to Carmarthen Freshstart, Carmarthen Food Bank, Carmarthen Youth Opera and Talking Books Wales.
A total of 238 runners took on the 5K challenge 12 months ago on the streets of the town with each one having their own reason to take part. The 2018 fun run was won overall by Amman Valley Harriers’ Rob Davies in a time of 17:15. He was followed in by Marc Davies of Swansea Harriers (17:53) and Liam Edwards from Carmarthen Harriers (18:15) to complete the top three. The women’s overall champion was local Harrier Wendy Price who took victory on the road in a time of 20:32.
Meanwhile, children races were popular with Seren Bowen (Y Dderwen), Gwilym Rees (Nantgaredig), Libby Hale (Newton), Llion Davies (Y Dderwen), Carys Wood (Stepaside), Mared Jones (Y Dderwen), Liam Upton-Boorman (Johnstown), Amy Tucker (St John Lloyd) and Frank Morgan (Bro Myrddin) all coming out on top in their respective school year group.
Race organiser and Triathlete Noelwyn Daniel from Healthy Life Activities urges fun run competitors to make a note of the race date in their diary.
Mr Daniel said: “The event is recognised as a great occasion in Carmarthen. So if you want to get into shape over the winter months ready for the big race day, then now is the time to start.”
The same routes will be in place in 2019 as the last couple of years but including the 2018 course used for the 5K that took runners in the opposite direction to previous years which means you Finish by running up into Guildhall Square. Electronic Chip Timing will again be in use for the 5K.
The day gets underway with the 3-lap Senior 5K fun run at 10.00am from opposite the bus station on Blue Street and is followed by a series of junior races over 2 laps of the route.
The Year 1 and 2 will start proceedings at 11.00am before moving up to year 3 & 4 and year 5 & 6. Concluding the day will be a secondary school year 7 and 8 race and a chance for those 6 years and under in Nursery and Reception to run a lap of the course with their parents and families.
As with all junior races, their reward will be their very own medal to take away as a finisher.
The Mayor will be on hand to help start the races and present the awards throughout the day. There’ll be trophies for the top 3 in each age group (except Nursery and Reception) as well as the following awards in the main 5K race: Males under 40, V40+, V50+, V60+, Females under 35, V35+, V45+, V55+, Best Fancy Dress, Males/Females in School Years 9 to 11 and 1st Relay Team.
10:00am: 5km Adult Fun Run (3 laps)
11:00am: Primary School Girls Years 1 & 2 (2 laps)
11:10am: Presentations of trophies for adults fun run
11:20am: Primary Schools Boys Years 1 & 2 (2 laps)
11:35am: Primary Schools Girls Years 3 & 4 (2 laps)
11:50am: Primary Schools Boys Years 3 & 4 (2 laps)
12:05pm: Primary School Girls Years 5 & 6 (2 laps)
12:20pm: Primary School Boys Years 5 & 6 (2 laps)
12:35pm: Secondary School Girls & Boys Years 7 & 8 (2 laps)
12:45pm: Mini Fun Run – Nursery & Reception (may be accompanied by an adult) (1 lap)
1:10pm: Presentation for Junior Races
Closing Date for Postal entries is Sunday 28th April 2019. Forms and cheques to be sent to: Carmarthen Town Council, St Peter’s Civic Hall, Nott Square, Carmarthen, SA31 1PG. Cheques payable to Carmarthen Fun Run.
St Peter’s Hall will be open from 8.00am on May 6th for those entering on the day. Please check out the start times of the races and ensure that you arrive in plenty of time to register and get to the start line on time. Please try and bring the correct entry fee to Registration. There will be signs above each table indicating the Race Category.
Felinfoel celebrate second successive title
ON Wednesday (Apr 17), Felinfoel celebrated their second successive League 1 West title win as they beat Llanelli Wanderers 33-14.
Llanelli took the lead early on though as Rhydian Morgan scored a penalty. Felinfoel though hit back with two penalties of their own scored by Aled Roberts.
Rhydian Morgan then scored his second penalty to level the scores at 6-6. The home side then scored their first try of the night but the conversion was missed.
Shortly before the break Morgan completed his hat trick of penalties for the Wanderers to make it 11-9 at half time.
The Wanderers were keen to give the Champions a good game and early in the second half they went ahead as Lloyd Thomas touched down but the conversion was missed.
That gave the visitors as 11-14 lead but it was then that Felinfoel took control of the game.
They regained the lead shortly after with an unconverted try to take them two points ahead.
Felinfoel then scored a second unconverted try to make the score 21-14.
The champions then all but secured their eighteenth victory with their fourth try to earn another bonus point and the conversion from Roberts made it 28-14.
There was still time for one more try for the home side and the missed conversion left the score at 33-14.
Leon Randell scored two tries for the home side with others coming from Elliot Dawe, Jason Frater and Rhys Evans.
After the game Felinfoel received the league trophy and the celebrations began. Felinfoel now wait to see who they will play in the two-leg Championship play-off.
Mike King, Felinfoel RFC Head Coach told the Herald: “It’s a great achievement from everyone involved in the club.
“Credit has to go to the players and support staff, who without their buy in to what I wanted to achieve this would not have been impossible.
“The whole club is aligned and the continued success of the Junior structure and Youth set up has allowed us to bring in to the first team system some younger, talented players to ensure the continued success of the club.
“Credit must also be given to the Club Committee for the continued support and proactive approach to what has been a tremendous season for the Club as a whole!”
Great Welsh Marathon ‘overwhelming success’
THE Great Welsh Marathon took place in Llanelli on Sunday (Apr 14), with over 1100 athletes taking part across two races.
The third edition of the Great Welsh Marathon & Half Marathon organised by Front Runner Events was hailed an overwhelming success, with a record number of runners taking on both sold-out races.
Despite the windy Welsh weather, the runners taking on this year’s race were supported by hundreds of volunteers who turned out in their numbers to cheer the athletes. The event has almost doubled in size since 2018 and included many first timers, charity runners and club runners.
This year, the race also welcomed the largest international field so far, with over 15 nationalities represented, with some travelling as far as Australia, India, and the USA. Although the Llanelli coast may not have the tropical climate of California or Perth but it certainly has it’s own Welsh charm and stunning coastline.
One runner commented: “My friends and I thoroughly enjoyed the race, it was challenging but brilliant. My friends travelled over from San Francisco to visit and take part in the race.
It was their first marathon and first time visiting Wales. It was a great experience and excellent course with plenty of marshals on the route helping you along the way.”
Local running clubs provided a team of race pacers helping many runners achieve their personal best’s and hitting their target time on the day.
The fully marshalled race took place on the Millennium coastal path, included Brecon Carreg water stations, energy gel stops, bespoke medal, a technical finisher t-shirt and goody bag for all race finishers. Runners were also able to benefit from a much-needed pre or post-race massage provided by Gower College Swansea.
Both the full and half marathon started at Festival Fields, Llanelli before heading out to Burry Port, where the runners turned and headed back along the Millennium Coastal Path to Machynys and then back to Festival Fields.
General feedback has been fantastic, as runners took to social media to share their successes and photos with friends. The race, which was a regarded as a complete success saw lots of personal best times achieved, with the top 3 male half marathon course records beaten and most notably; the women’s first place half marathon winner shaved an impressive 12 minutes off last years record.
Results (provisional) – Great Welsh Half Marathon 2019
1. Luke Williams (San Domenico) 01:14:19
2. Dean Summers (Llanelli AC) 01:16:43
3. Finn Arentz (Unattached) 01:17:29
1. Melanie Wilkins (Winchester) 01:18:18
2. Carys Mai Hughes (Cardiff AC) 01:21:19
3. Amy Evans (Clwb Rhedeg Pontardawe RC) 01:33:29
Results (provisional) – Great Welsh Marathon 2019
1. Gethin Davies (Unattached) 02:45:44
2. Joseph Murray (Unattached) 02:46:13
3. Richard Foster (Spirit of Monmouth) 02:49:05
1. Katie Warren (Unattached) 03:04:47
2. Lizzie Diamond (Lliswerry Runners) 03:12:07
3. Crystal Goecker (Harrogate Harriers & AC) 03:12:15
The winning team of the Corporate Challenge was Carmarthenshire Actif Sport and Leisure, who also took the crown at the 2019 Llanelli Half Marathon. The full RACE RESULTS and official photos are available on the website: www.greatwelshmarathon.co.uk
Race Director, David Martin-Jewell said: “The Great Welsh Marathon and Half Marathon has grown in its size and stature since we took it over in late 2016, we are thankful to the local runners who continue to support us across all of our races, however it has been fantastic to see the number on international runners travelling to Carmarthenshire to take on the Great Welsh races.
“We have a strong team of Sector Heads and volunteers who continue to assist us at each of our events, without them, we would not be able to hold such successful events so we would like to thank them for their help and support.
“We would also like to thank Brecon Carreg (Hydration Partner) for supplying water for the runners during and after the event. Also, a huge thank you to Carmarthenshire Council for continuing to support our events and letting us showcase what Carmarthenshire has to offer.”
The event was supported by a number of local businesses, event delivery partners and also received backing from Carmarthenshire County Council Event Support Grant in 2019.
The 2020 Great Welsh Full and Half Marathon will take place on Sunday, April 5, 2020, and will have a NEW route starting and finishing in the magnificent Pembrey Country Park.
Runners will be delighted to know that registration is now open, and they can reserve their place on the start line, just head to: www.greatwelshmarathon.co.uk
Further details and full race results can be found on the website, and you can also keep up to date with news and see the latest photos by liking the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/GreatWelshMarathon or follow @WelshMarathon #RunCymru #WalesLovesRunning on Twitter.
If you are inspired by the Great Welsh Marathon and Half Marathon, why not sign up to the 2019 JCP Swansea Half Marathon which takes place on Sunday, June 23.
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