SCARLETS welcomed Toyota Cheetahs to Parc y Scarlets for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series quarter-final on Saturday (May 5) looking for a victory to keep the Championship-retaining run alive.
A beautiful Spring evening was the perfect touch for a final home game of the season as the Scarlets faithful came along to say a fond farewell to the individuals moving on at the end of the season.
The home side crossed the whitewash for six fantastic tries as the sun set on Parc y Scarlets’ season and the team didn’t disappoint putting in one final performance to keep the home winning record alive.
Scarlets got the scoreboard ticking over after five minutes of play with winger Steff Evans crossing in the corner. The ball came out from a Cheetahs line out as play continued despite an injury to Rob Evans in midfield. Rhys Patchell and Hadleigh Parkes made strong breaks through centre field and made the all-important territorial gains putting Evans in over the whitewash. Halfpenny added the conversion.
A penalty then came Scarlets’ way just inside Cheetahs territory as the game headed towards the quarter of an hour mark. Halfpenny stepped up for the long range penalty but the ball hit the upright and the Cheetahs looked to play from deep. Scarlets are on heightened alert and Tadhg Beirne wins the turnover in their 22. They were given another penalty and Halfpenny made amends for his earlier miss to make it 10-0.
Within a few minutes Scarlets were back on the rampage from inside their own half as Gareth Davies gets the ball away from the scrum. Centre Parkes motored up the outside and finds Halfpenny in support who cuts a great line to the whitewash before converting his own try.
Cheetahs then got their first points on the board after 21 minutes of play with outside half Johan Goosen slotting a penalty.
Halfpenny was replaced by Dan Jones and Patchell stepped up for a long range penalty. He has the range, just like Halfpenny did earlier on in the half, but it sailed just wide of the upright.
With just a few minutes remaining in the first half Steff Evans made a wonderful break in midfield. He danced around five or six Cheetahs defenders, frees himself, puts in a chip over the top and scores a second try! Patchell added the conversion and the Scarlets looked comfortable with a 24-3 half time lead.
Scarlets fired in to action early on in the second half with a try from winger Tom Prydie. The Scarlets put the Cheetahs under huge pressure in their half and after scrum half Gareth Davies was replaced by Jonathan Evans the Scarlets pack got the ball flowing through the hands with Scott Williams putting in a wonderful pass before Prydie touches down under the posts. Patchell added the conversion.
Wyn Jones made a return to the field on the 45 minute mark, his first game since the Six Nations campaign when he injured his hamstring.
Whilst John Barclay receives a standing ovation from the entire ground, including the coaching staff, captain Ken Owens goes and scores from the rolling maul for their fifth try of the evening with Patchell converting.
Replacement scrum half Jonathan Evans crossed for the region’s sixth try on the hour mark as he dashed towards the whitewash from the 22 line. He dives in time to touch down and Scarlets go 43-3 ahead.
With fifteen minutes remaining Tadhg Beirne was replaced by Aaron Shingler. An emotional send off as Parc y Scarlets erupts. Every man, woman and child were on their feet.
Scott Williams leaves the field of play at Parc y Scarlets for the last time as a Scarlet. Another emotional farewell.
The Cheetahs cross the whitewash with ten minutes remaining after frantic defensive work by the Scarlets. The TMO is called upon for foul play earlier on in the phase where Tom Prydie is manhandled without the ball and the try was disallowed.
It was the Cheetahs who finished the game strongly with fullback Clayton Blommetjies scoring Cheetahs’ only try of the evening.
That was the last action of the games and the Scarlets sealed an impressive 43-8 win. They now go on to play Glasgow Warriors at the Scotstoun Stadium on Friday, May 18.
Reds stunned by Nomads
Report by Alan Evans
A SOBERING welcome back to the JD Welsh Premier League for the Reds resulted in a crushing home defeat at the hands of opponents who are one of the favourites for the league title this season, and in an efficient demolition job, boasted their credentials.
The Nomads, packed with players having a wealth of ex-football league experience displayed a ruthless streak from the off, and the home side were hard put to live with the almost constant pressure, finding themselves three goals down after just 25 minutes.
The Reds were well contained as an attacking force, and John Danby in the visitors` goal was barely tested throughout, the nearest threat coming early on when Jordan Follows was brought down outside the box, with the subsequent free kick by James Loveridge being cleared by the defensive wall.
Nomads almost snatched the lead when former TNS striker, Michael Wilde, was played through the middle before directing his finish beyond the onrushing Oliver Davies in the home goal, but James Parry came to the rescue by clearing out of the goalmouth.
This turned out to be a brief respite and a foretaste of things to come, as the visitors opened their account in the 8th minute when some poor home defending allowed Wilde to meet a cross from the left and head past Davies.
Seven minutes later, the lead was doubled following another ball by Ryan Wignall lofted to the far post which was headed home by Michael Bakare.
Even at this early stage in proceedings, it was obvious the Reds had their hands full to prevent a humiliating outcome, with damage limitation seemingly the order of the day, but again they were exposed with another through ball which Wilde picked up, but this time Carlos Indja did just enough to shepherd it over for a goal kick.
A rare home attack saw Follows meeting a Loveridge driven cross and directing it towards the far post, but it was hacked clear by a Nomads defender.
On 25 minutes, events took an even worse turn for the home side after Declan Poole was found in space on the edge of the area, although his final finish took a wicked deflection off Scott Tancock before beating Davies.
Loveridge made ground down the right before his cross into the middle was pushed clear by Danby, with Laurence Wilson putting the rebound over for a corner.
Three goals down at the break, the Reds found themselves in even deeper trouble on 58 minutes following an effort by Wignall which again deflected off the unfortunate Tancock and into the net.
Five minutes later matters got even worse for the Reds when their opponents racked up a fifth success, when a melee in front of goal following a corner culminated in Michael Parker netting from close range.
Barely four minutes had elapsed before the Nomads turned the screw even further, with Bakare notching up his brace by heading home a Wignall delivery.
Davies pushed away a fiercely struck Nathan Woolfe free kick, and then did well to divert another attempt by the same player for a corner.
However, in stoppage time he was beaten again when the Nomads completed the rout through Laurence Wilson, who drove home his finish low into the bottom corner.
A sobering return to the top flight for the Reds, and they will certainly have to improve on this showing if they are to have any hope of survival in the long months which lie ahead.
On Saturday (Aug 18), the Reds travel to meet Cefn Druids with a coach leaving Stebonheath at 8am.
Welsh Premier League season begins
THE 2018/19 JD Welsh Premier League season kicks off tonight (Aug 10), with three exciting games in prospect.
Carmarthen Town begin their campaign away to Bala in a game that will be streamed live on S4C’s Facebook page.
Aberystwyth Town are also in action as they host Llandudno at Park Avenue. Friday’s other game sees Cardiff Met play Newtown.
The 27th season of the JDWPL welcomes back two names synonymous with Welsh football, as Caernarfon Town and Llanelli Town return to the top flight after a number of years out.
Both clubs are rooted into the heart of their respective communities and will be hoping for great support as they kick off their campaigns at home to Cefn Druids and Connah’s Quay Nomads respectively.
Llanelli Town begin their season on Sunday (Aug 12) with a home game against Connahs Quay Nomads (KO 14:30).
The league has been recognised a number of times through the BBC Price of Football Survey as being the most affordable top-flight league in the UK, a validation of clubs’ commitment to keeping the live football experience open to everyone within their local areas. With the most expensive ticket price once again, being no more than £10, that commitment will continue into this season and beyond.
The League launched digitally this year on all JD Welsh Premier League social media platforms, and was accompanied by music from Cardiff band Himalayas, as part of the FAW’s partnership with the BBC Cymru Wales Horizons project.
Gwyn Derfel, JD Welsh Premier League Secretary, encouraged people to give the league a go, saying: “It is important that people give the JD Welsh Premier League a chance as, when people do come, they do tend to come back, which shows that we have a good, authentic, family-friendly product which is affordable to all.”
So, whether the football experience you’re looking for is affordable, family-friendly, authentic, good quality or all of the above, you’ll find it in your local community, at a JD Welsh Premier League club.
It begins. Get involved!
Llangennech seal promotion
LLANGENNECH secured promotion back to Division 1 of the South Wales Cricket Association as they beat Morriston by six wickets on Saturday (Aug 4).
Morriston won the toss and chose to bat first but Llangennech showed their qualities as they restricted their opponents to 166-9 in their 50 overs.
Openers Peter Lynn and Jay Wittram had earlier shared 42 runs for the opening wicket but that was broken when Lynn was caught by David Williams off the bowling of Simon Clement.
Wittram scored 36 but he was then trapped leg before by Matthew Jones and Stuart Jones scored 14 before he was also trapped leg before by Stuart Goddard.
Wickets were falling at regular intervals and Andrew Norton was also trapped leg before by Goddard.
Meilyr Powel was then stumped by Williams off the bowling of Bav Patel for a score of 1 and Morriston had slipped to 81-5.
Matthew Dardecker then fell in the same fashion as Powel on a score of 6 before a stand of 49 boosted Morriston’s position.
Greg Handley scored 27 with two sixes but he was then run out and soon after Mark Whittaker was bowled by Matthew Jones on a score of 39.
Huw Knudson made a late score of 10 but he was then caught by Hedd-Wyn Jones off the bowling of Patel before Morriston limped to their total of 166-9.
Morriston struck early on as Llangennech began their reply when Hedd-Wyn Jones was caught by Lewis Francis off the bowling of Stuart Johnson for a third-ball duck.
Scott Lloyd and James Taube then shared 39 runs for the second wicket but that stand was broken when Taube was trapped leg before by Owen Francis on a score of 23.
Lloyd then shared another 61 runs with David Williams before the latter was caught by Huw Knudson off the bowling of Jay Wittram on a score of 43 that included nine fours.
Lloyd and Stuart Goddard then shared another good stand of 64 which took them to within touching distance of victory.
Goddard made 25 with four boundaries before he was bowled by Stuart Johnson.
Lloyd hit three fours as he finished not out on 40 to help his side back into Division 1 with victory.
It has been an excellent season for Llangennech and Saturday’s win was their eleventh of the season from fourteen games.
On Saturday (Aug 11), they will go again as they look to be crowned Division 2 Champions when they host bottom side Briton Ferry Town.
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