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Scarlets try-fest secures semi-final place

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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.

Photo by Darren Harries

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.

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Sport

Felinfoel edged out in first leg

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FELINFOEL fought back in the first leg of their WRU Championship play off with Maesteg Quins but were narrowly beaten 28-27 on Tuesday (May 22).

It was an entertaining match played in glorious conditions and well contested throughout.

Maesteg Quins, League 1 West Central champions, started the game well as they scored three tries, two of which were converted, and three penalties.

That gave the Quins a 28-10 lead early in the second half but Felinfoel fought back well with four tries, two of which were converted, and one penalty.

Felinfoel’s try scorers were Joe Hutchings, Owain Davies, Rhys Evans and Leon Randell while Aled Roberts kicked the other points.

The match ended 28-27 to the Quins which now sets up an exciting second leg in Felinfoel, on Friday, May 25, kick off 6:45pm.

A large crowd is expected so supporters are advised to arrive at the ground as early as possible.

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South Wales Premier Cricket round up

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AMMANFORD were dished out a comprehensive hammering at newly promoted St Fagans on Saturday (May 12) in Division 1 of the South Wales Premier League.

An opening half century stand from ex-Glamorgan player Gareth Rees and current Glamorgan Jeremy Lawlor got St Fagans up and running.

When Rees (23) departed, Matt Thompson joined Lawlor and these two took the score to 190 before Lawlor (112) was superbly caught by Rhodri Davies off Dan Roberts’s bowling.

Thompson (59) soon followed, but Ollie Kolk (20) and Andrew Leering (20) maintained the scoring pace and St Fagans reached an impressive 261 for 4 after 50 overs.

Dan Roberts took 2 for 42, Matthew Fisher 1 for 41 and Matthew Warnes 1 for 24.

With draws having been abolished from this competition, Ammanford had to pursue the runs from the start, but both openers had already disappeared with the total still in single figures.

Matthew Fisher (12) and Dan Roberts (34) looked good for their partnership of 30, but with their departure wickets fell steadily and there was little resistance to the St Fagans bowling as Ammanford were dismissed for 105.

On Saturday (May 19), Ammanford face a tough test when they welcome Newport to the Park.

Llanelli seal first win

LLANELLI earned their first win in Division 2 on Saturday (May 12), as they beat Newport Fugitives by 23 runs.

They were bowled out for 135 but an equally good bowling effort meant they bowled the Fugitives out for 112 to earn the victory.

Marcus Leaf and Iwan Rees got Llanelli going with an opening partnership of 32 before Leaf was bowled by James Didcote for a score of 12. Craig Howells was then trapped leg before by Didcote for a duck as Llanelli slipped to 34-2.

Iwan Rees and Matthew Roberts shared 36 runs for the fourth wicket before Rees was stumped by Robert Williams off the bowling of Roy Emmott for a score of 54 which included three fours.

Photos by Darren Harries

Didcote took over as he bowled Ryan Nicholas for 11 and had Benjamin Edwards and Aled Gilley caught. He also trapped Vaughan Thomas leg before while Dave Richards was run out.

Newport lost Jack Thorpe-Yon early in their reply when he was bowled by Vaughan Thomas and Robert Williams was caught leg before by Alex Symmons.

Alec Holdaway was bowled by Aled Gilley and Nathan Millichip was caught off the bowling of Symmons who also then bowled Richard Jones to leave the Fugitives on 46-5.

James Didcote and Roy Emmott did their best to take Newport towards their target with scores of 27 and 15 respectively.

However, Rees returned to have Didcote caught by Symmons and Emmott was then trapped leg before by David Richards.

Rees then cleared up the tail as he had Ross Madden caught by Matthew Roberts and the Fugitives were all out for 112.

Wanderers slip to defeat

CARMARTHEN Wanderers suffered their first defeat of the 2018 season as they were beaten by 87 runs by Penarth.

Penarth posted 213-8 from their fifty overs but had it not been for the hitting of Scott Matthews and Richard Skone, their score could have been a lot less.

The home side lost Ryan Sylvester and Tom Sidford early on in their reply as they slipped to 9-2 and Nick Morgan also fell as that score became 17-3. All three wickets fell to the bowling of Owain Binding.

However, a stand of 175 from Matthews and Skone put Penarth back in control of the game as they took their team towards 200 runs.

That partnership was eventually broken when Skone was run out by Owain Davies on a score of 72 which included six fours and a six.

Matthews had made his way to an excellent century scoring 11 fours and a six in his knock of 100 before he was caught and bowled by Hughes and Penarth limped to 213-8.

Carmarthen’s reply did not get off to the best of starts as Josh Thomas was trapped leg before wicket by Ryan Sylvester for a golden duck and Owain Davies was bowled by Nathan Piddock.

Owain Binding was also bowled by Piddock and Gareth Thomas was next to go when he was caught by Scott Matthews off the bowling of Richard Skone.

Stephen Inward had made a patient 20 but he was bowled by Will Skone and that left Carmarthen on 83-6.

Leighton Walters scored 19 before being bowled by Morgan Humphreys who then had Liam Rogers caught and bowled for a score of 10.

Humphreys also had Nathan Burrell caught by Matthews and the innings came to a close when Garmon Dyfri was trapped lbw by Sylvester for a score of 7, leaving the Wanderers all out on 126.

On Saturday (May 19), Carmarthen Wanderers are at home as they take on Ynystawe while Llanelli travel to Malpas.

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Principality renews Premiership sponsorship

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PRINCIPALITY Building Society has extended its title sponsorship of the Welsh Premiership and the WRU National Youth Leagues for the 2018/2019 season.

The member-owned organisation first lent its Welsh brand to the domestic league’s top division in 2005, and is now set to complete 14-seasons directly supporting the national game’s semi-professional league, before standing down as title sponsor of the competition.

In addition, Principality will also retain title sponsorship of the WRU National Youth Leagues for 2018/19 – to be known as the Principality Youth Leagues.

Julie-Ann Haines, Chief Customer Officer at the Principality Building Society, said: “We are delighted to extend our successful sponsorship of the WRU Premiership for one more season. The Premiership is something that is very close to our hearts as an organisation and we know how much local rugby means to our Members and the communities they live in.

“We wanted to make sure all the clubs had our total support in the final year of the current format of the league.  It is fantastic news for the clubs, the WRU and ourselves as proud sponsors of a league that means so much to us and our Members.

“As sponsors we are fully supportive of the great work the WRU are doing to try and make club rugby as competitive as possible together with the new format for 2019/2020, which will find the best club side in Wales.

“Our sponsorship next season will also mean we will support the National Youth Leagues for one more season. We’ve had a great reaction from the local clubs for the support we have given them this year and it has been a pleasure to bring their rugby communities together. We’ve travelled to clubs across the whole of Wales to meet the youth teams and via social media have helped raise the profile of the teams and their communities.”

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said: “Principality Building Society’s continued commitment is welcomed by all in Welsh rugby.

“The Principality Premiership is entering the third and final season of ring-fencing and from 2019/2020 will be reduced to 12 (from 16) teams.

“This gives a final year of absolute stability for all of the Principality Premiership clubs next season, which will prepare the way for the jeopardy of promotion and relegation the year after and Principality’s support increases that stability.

“Our long term partnership with Principality, which includes support for Principality Stadium, plays a vital role in helping us safeguard the future of our national game.

“And their direct involvement in the grass roots and community end of the game, alongside their continued sponsorship of the Principality Youth Leagues, means their overall contribution to Welsh rugby is a hugely significant.”

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