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Wales U20 beat Junior Wallabies on opening night

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A RED wave of defence – coupled with a tireless ambition to attack – led Wales to a World Rugby U20 Championship victory on Wednesday night (May 30) against the Junior Wallabies.

In holding on to win 26-21 at the Stade de la Méditerranée, Wales banished any memories of 2017’s last-gasp defeat to Australia at the same stage of this tournament.

The Aussies drew first blood in Béziers, however: scrum-half and captain Ryan Lonergan punishing a Welsh indiscretion at the breakdown with a third-minute penalty from just inside Wales’ 10m line.

A great phase of attacking play by Wales, with inside centre Ioan Nicholas the catalyst, then offered a glimpse of their willingness to run the ball from anywhere on the park. The opposition was subsequently penalised for coming in at the side of the ruck, and fullback Cai Evans’s power from the tee saw the ball sail through the posts for the equaliser.

Nearing the end of the first quarter, Wales lost wing Rio Dyer to injury, replaced by fellow Dragon Joe Goodchild. He would soon have a telling impact on proceedings.

At the conclusion of the first quarter, Australia conceded a penalty for failing to release. Wales fell just short with the shot at goal that would have nudged them ahead. However, Evans made no mistake when presented with a similar opportunity a moment later – albeit this time further out; on the halfway line no less – wowing the crowd with his long-range effort to make it 3-6.

Just before the half-hour, Aussie fly-half Bayley Kuenzie kicked a scrum penalty to the corner. A quickly-won lineout and a pin-point crossfield kick later, and wing James Ramm was acrobatically tapping the ball down in mid-air for incoming fullback Mack Hansen to score an excellent try. Lonergan’s conversion attempt was wide: 8-6.

Gone 30 minutes, razor-sharp Wales scrum-half Dane Blacker took a quick tap deep inside the opposition 22. The young men in red had their tails up now, and once the ball was in fly-half Ben Jones’s hand, the Cardiff Blues man wasted little in time kicking through a bouncing ball that was pounced on by Nicholas for the try. Evans converted to give Wales a five-point lead: 8-13.

The Junior Wallabies hit back with another Lonergan penalty, but there was a lot more to come from Geraint Lewis’s team.

A scintillating outside break and fend by Corey Baldwin set the Scarlets centre up for a one-on-one with the last man in defence for Australia, by which point replacement Goodchild was well in support for Wales’ second try with three minutes to go in the first 40. Evans’s excellent conversion from the touchline made it 11-20.

Two minutes into the second half, and the Ospreys fullback produced another cannon of a penalty kick – this one only marginally inside the Australian half – to take Wales 12 points to the good: 11-23.

The Junior Wallabies put their sizeable scrum to good use in winning another penalty in the 48th minute, allowing Lonergan to slot a penalty inside Wales’ 22: 14-23.

Both sides had started to test each other aerially, but a period of ten minutes’ deadlock – memorable for a fantastically determined carry by Wales number eight Taine Basham – ended when Evans’s metronomic boot took the scores to 14-26.

Wales, up fast in defence, and led by the imposing figure of lock Max Williams and a Trojan-like back row featuring Basham, Dan Davis and captain Tommy Reffell, led the way in frustrating the Aussies in the final quarter.

New caps Will Davies-King and Rhys Davies in the front row were two of the well-judged second-half replacements made by the Welsh coaches, countering the big men Australia had also introduced.

Never ones to go gently into the night, Australia roared back into the game with a try from replacement back Tate McDermott with fewer than three minutes remaining. Inside centre Isaac Lucas converted to make it 21-26.

Showing the same sort of dogged composure that earned them victory in Donnybrook during the U20 Six Nations earlier this year, Wales ran down the clock to seal a thrilling win.

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Felinfoel ease past Baglan

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FELINFOEL’s Anthony Matthias took five wickets to set up a comfortable eight wicket win for his side against Baglan on Saturday (Jul 14).

Matthias tore through the top order to leave Baglan reeling on 65-5 and they were unable to recover, eventually being bowled out for 104.

Matthias struck early on when he had Rhys Gaskins-Davies caught by Craig Richards for a score of 4 and he then had Martin Rees caught by Julian Griffiths for a second ball duck.

Jonathan Lewis and Josh Lyddon did offer some resistance with a stand of 41. However, Matthias returned and had Jonathan Lewis caught by Stuart Parmenter for a score of 21.

Moments later Lyddon was caught by Julian Griffiths for a score of 23 and Matthias wasn’t done there as he had John O’Leary stumped by Andrew Thomas for a duck.

Stuart Parmenter then had Jason Carpenter caught by Andrew Thomas for a score of 13 and Rhys Harries had Steven Kempton caught by Jonathan Cheal.

Parmenter trapped Martin Lewis leg before while Rhys Harries bowled Craig Jewell.

Taylor Rees offered some resistance with a score of 28 which included three fours and two sixes before being caught by Andrew Thomas off the bowling of Cheal.

Felinfoel lost two early wickets in their reply as Andrew Thomas was bowled by Taylor Rees for a four-ball duck and Rees also had Rhys Harries caught by Jason Carpenter for a score of 2.

Despite those wickets, Rhys Jones and Julian Griffiths shared an unbroken stand of 100 to send Felinfoel to victory.

Rhys Jones hit six fours as he finished not out on 29 while Julian Griffiths hit fourteen fours as he finished not out on 64 from 51 balls.

On Saturday (Jul 21), Felinfoel will be looking for another win when they travel to bottom of the table Cimla.

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Dafen and Felinfoel earn derby wins

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IN Division 1 of the South Wales Association Cricket League last Saturday, Dafen earned victory over Carmarthenshire rivals Llandysul.

Llandysul batted first in their game with Dafen and they were bowled out for 186 in 49 overs.

Opener Gary Williams got Llandysul going with a score of 84 and Rhidian Harris scored 12.

Ben Edkins scored 52 but when he fell to the bowling of Philip George, Llandysul suffered a late batting collapse.

Their remaining batsmen failed to make it into double figures as they went from 161-4 to 186 all out.

George finished with excellent figures of 6-21 from his 10 overs while Chris Hudson also took three wickets.

In reply, Nicky Davies made an early score of 32 before he was caught off the bowling of Andrew Edwards.

Simon Davies scored 19 and Matthew Evans top scored as he hit ten fours in a knock of 69.

Jonathan Randell then finished not out on 27 to help Dafen to victory by five wickets.

On Saturday (Jul 14), Dafen will look to pick up another win when they take on Gorseinon while Llandysul travel to Merthyr Tydfil.

The other game in Division 1 saw Bronwydd beaten by second placed Cowbridge.

Cowbridge made 250-8 from their 50 overs and had opener Thomas Merilaht top scoring on 91.

Ben Wright scored 40 before he was bowled by Matthew Vaughan and Tatenda Chiradza scored 27.

Brad Evans scored 37 and Jack Cropper scored 15 but no other batsmen made it into double figures as Bronwydd hit back.

Dafydd Morgan finished with excellent figures of 4-36 while Pauluge Gihan Secstus Fernando took three wickets.

In reply, James Cales scored 23 and James Dickson scored 38 while Oliver Furneaux scored 22. Meirion Davies scored 44 but that was as good as it got for Bronwydd.

Three wickets apiece from Brad Evans and Nicholas Wood ensured that the Carmarthenshire side were bowled out for 174.

On Saturday (Jul 14), they will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host Maesteg Celtic.

Division 2

FELINFOEL also earned a derby victory over Llangennech as they beat them by 88 runs.

The home side batted first and were all out for 201 despite looking well set to make a good total on 166-3.

Opener Andrew Thomas scored 19 and Rhys Jones scored 36.

Julian Griffiths scored 24 while Rhys Harries was their top scorer with 81 as he hit 12 fours and a six.

Felinfoel then collapsed as Gareth George, Simon Clement, James Taube and Matthew Jones all took two wickets for Llangennech.

The visitors lost wickets at regular intervals in their reply as Hedd-Wyn Jones and Scott Lloyd both scored 10.

James Taube was his side’s top scorer with 33 runs, Matthew Jones scored 15 and Stuart Goddard made a late score of 21 but it wasn’t enough to help them to victory.

Tom Jones took four wickets for the loss of 25 runs for Felinfoel while Rhys Harries took three for the loss of 19 runs.

On Saturday (Jul 14), Felinfoel will look to keep their recent good run going when they take on Baglan.

Llangennech will look to get back to winning ways as they travel to Briton Ferry Steel.

The other game in Division 2 saw Drefach beaten by Maesteg.

Drefach batted first and scores of 59 from Dafydd Humphreys, 36 from James Carter and 62 not out from Owen Donovan helped them post a good total of 210-5.

Maesteg’s Andrew King then set his side on their way to victory with an excellent century. He was out on a score of 107 but other scores of 32 from Lloyd Wilkshire and 15 not out from Chris Parry saw them to victory.

Rob Seymour took two wickets for Drefach but the defeat means they stay third from bottom in the table.

On Saturday (Jul 14), Drefach will look to take themselves away from the drop zone as they travel to fourth from bottom Skewen.

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Llanelli slip to defeat

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JUST a week after their excellent win over Carmarthen Wanderers Llanelli suffered a disappointing 216-run defeat at the hands of Clydach in Division 2 of the South Wales Premier League.

On Saturday (Jul 7), Clydach won the toss and elected to bat and that proved to be a good decision as they posted a challenging total of 263-5 from their 50 overs.

Jonathan Hubschmid hit five fours and a six as he scored 57 while McKenzie Squires scored 25.

Sam Davies hit ten fours in a knock of 88 but he was then run out by Marcus Leaf as the home side did their best to keep the score down.

However, James Garland smashed three fours and a six in a score of 28 from 14 balls as Clydach piled on the runs late on.

Jack Todd then hit three fours and two sixes in a knock of 38 not out from 20 balls.

Llanelli struggled in their reply as only one of their batsmen, Marcus Leaf with 17, made it into double figures.

Jamie Lewis was in fine form for Clydach taking seven wickets as he had Leaf caught by Liam Garland, Iwan Rees trapped leg before and Steven Devonald caught by Christopher Donne.

Lewis took further wickets of Matthew Roberts, Ryan Nicholas, David Richards and Morgan Jones as Llanelli limped to a disappointing total of 47 all out.

Llanelli will look to put this defeat behind them when they take on Newport Fugitives away on Saturday (Jul 14).

Wanderers bounce back

CARMARTHEN Wanderers had better luck on Saturday (Jul 7) as they beat Panteg by three wickets in a high scoring game.

Panteg won the toss and elected to bat and they posted an excellent total of 236-8 from their 50 overs.

Will Bragg was the star of the innings for Panteg as he hit nine fours in a score of 103 before he fell to the bowling of Gareth Thomas.

Akhtar Balouch made 29 before being out to the bowling of Owain Binding and Daniel Wilkinson added 46 runs to the total.

In reply a score of 75 from Thomas got the Wanderers off to a good start and they also had captain Leighton Walters and Owain Davies make scores of 35.

Liam Rogers then finished not out on 43 to see the Wanderers over the line.

On Saturday (Jul 14), the Wanderers will be looking for another win when they take on third placed Penarth at Trinity Fields.

Ammanford up to third

AMMANFORD moved up to third place in Division 1 after they beat Ynysygerwn by 45 runs.

They made a solid start to their innings with Rhodri-Huw Davies making 56 and Elis Richards scored 17.

Daniel Roberts was the mainstay of the innings as he hit seventeen fours and a six in a score of 120 from just 95 balls.

He was run out by Josh Griffiths but that scored helped Ammanford post an excellent total of 272-7 from their 50 overs.

Alex McCormack scored 40 as the visitors made a steady start to their reply and Darren Thomas scored 77 and although Josh Griffiths finished not out on 20 Ynysygerwn fell short of their target on 227-9.

Matthew Fisher bowled well as he took four wickets and Sean Coaker also took two.

On Saturday (Jul 14), Ammanford are at home again as they take on fourth placed St Fagans.

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