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Old Gold earn a point

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CARMARTHEN Town came from behind on Friday night (Nov 30) as they earned a draw with Aberystwyth Town at Park Avenue.

It was the Old Gold who started the game the brightest, with Terry McCormick forced into two fine saves within the opening five minutes.

The Aber ‘keeper parried Luke Cummings’ palm-stinger away from goal, before producing a great reaction save with his right foot to deny Mael Davies.

Aber slowly began to find their feet as Mathew Jones and Paulo Mendes took control in midfield, and they took the lead with their first meaningful attack of the game.

Mendes won the ball in the heart of midfield and played in Wes Baynes on the right flank, who delivered a whipped cross on a sixpence for Declan Walker to produce an excellent header into the bottom right corner of Lee Idzi’s net to make it 1-0.

The goal gave the hosts a surge of confidence as they began to utterly dominate all over the field. On 21 minutes, they could have doubled their lead as Ash Ruane harried Dave Vincent off the ball and struck a half volley destined for the top corner, only for Idzi to produce a fine save.

Photo by Colin Ewart

Soon after, Alan Goodall almost made it two as he turned and volleyed a left footed effort inches wide of the post, before Baynes found Paulo Mendes in the area only for his header to loop agonisingly over the crossbar.

It looked like a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ Aber would double their lead as Jones, Walker and Mendes continued to win the midfield battle with Ryan Edwards causing havoc on the left flank.

On the stroke of half time, Mendes found himself in behind the visitors back line once more but was denied by a fantastic last ditch tackle by Ceri Morgan, and Aber would enter the half time break with a slender advantage.

Carmarthen shuffled the pack at the break with Sean Hanbury replacing Ceri Morgan, and the change seemed to spark them into life somewhat.

The first chance of the second half did fall to the Seasiders though, as Baynes delivered yet another superb cross to Ruane, who was unable to direct his header towards goal after finding space in the area.

Then, on 55 minutes the game was turned on its head as Carmarthen were awarded a penalty kick after Luke Bowen smashed the ball against the hand of Steff Edwards from close range, and referee Iwan Griffith pointed to the spot. Liam Thomas stepped up and converted the spot kick to McCormick’s right to make it 1-1.

The equaliser gave the visitors a lift, as they began to push more players forward, and very nearly fashioned another opportunity as Luke Bowen was denied by some superb defending from Ryan Wollacott.

Aber introduced Joe Phillips and Geoff Kellaway in place of Ahmadi and Mendes on 70 minutes, but continued to struggle to find a way past the visitors’ defence as they had done on multiple occasions in the first half.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes, it became a scrappy affair with neither side able to produce any flowing football; Declan Carroll coming closest to finding a winner as he forced McCormick into a good save from a long range effort.

Town’s supporters sensed there may be one last opportunity to notch their third stoppage time winner in a row, but it wasn’t to be as the visitors defended staunchly and both sides would have to settle for a point.

On Saturday (Dec 8), Carmarthen take a break from league action as they travel to Goytre United in the third round of the JD Welsh Cup.

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Personal bests recorded at running events

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THE Welsh Athletics calendar saw a series of midweek Endurance and Sprints open meetings held over the summer months at four South Wales venues – Cwmbran, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. These events have helped club athletes of all ages secure personal best times by the help of pacers.

The sprints open saw 100m and 200m take centre stage whilst the endurance side saw athletes run over 800m, 1500m, 3000m and 1500m steeplechase disciplines.

More than twenty new lifetime bests were set as twenty-five athletes from Carmarthen Harriers, Pembrokeshire Harriers and Llanelli AC athletics clubs competed throughout the series.

Swansea University Athletics Track welcomed 100 endurance athletes to the third fixture of the MDAL Welsh Milers endurance open meeting on Wednesday, July 31. The conditions near Swansea Bay were ideal for distance running and for running quick times on a bright evening.

In one of the many standout performances, Frank Morgan improved on his Carmarthen Harriers under 15 boys 1500m club record, running 4:10.38.

Results: Dafydd Jones (800m) 2:00.04, Liam Edwards (800m) 2:00.24, Jonathan Williams (800m) 2:01.69, Callum Campion (800m) 2:04.21, Iwan Wilson (800m) 2:24.97, Danielle Franklin (800m) 2:31.74, Rogan Cox (800m) 2:40.96, Frank Morgan (1500m) 4:10.38, Tomos Rees (1500m) 4:25.02, Iwan Thomas (1500m) 4:52.56, Jake Lynock (1500m) 5:04.37, Amy Greatrick (1500m) 5:17.83 and Frances Mackie (1500m) 5:35.00

Two weeks later (Wednesday, August 14), Macsen Toogood (800m) 2:25.55, Amy Tucker (800m) 2:47.65, Callum Campion (1500m) 4:20.21, Carys Jones (1500m) 5:07.45 and Jake Lynock (1500m) 5:17.97 headed to round four and the final Welsh Milers open at Spytty Stadium in Newport.

Cardiff International Sports Stadium was the venue for three Welsh Athletics Run with the wind sprints events in May, June and August.

Competing on the new blue track in the Welsh capital at Leckwith, the meetings featured many of Wales’ top sprinters and up-and-coming future stars. Athletes ran against those that were the same ability in mixed age groups, meaning that there would be a great opportunity to pick up some personal bests.

Results: Lewis Evans (100m) 11.22 & (200m) 23.09, Liam Topp (100m) 11.49 & (200m) 23.46, Jamie Topp (100m) 13.22, Luke Thomas (100m) 12.39 & (200m) 23.40, Ellie Loweth (100m) 13.20 & (200m) 26.74), Thaia Davies (100m) 13.47, Ella Wintle (100m) 12.59, Lucy Wintle (100m) 13.72 & (200m) 27.55, Harrison Wheeler (100m) 11.80 & (200m) 23.78, Rhodri Roberts (100m) 13.34 & (200m) 27.42, Danielle Franklin (100m) 13.49 & (200m) 27.91 and Joseph Franklin (100m) 14.33 & (200m) 30.58

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Wanderers slip to defeat

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CARMARTHEN Wanderers slipped to defeat on Saturday (Aug 17) as they were beaten by league leaders Swansea in a low scoring encounter.

With rain in the air, Swansea were invited to bat first and their hosts restricted them to 133-9 in their 50 overs.

However, the Wanderers were unable to reach their target as they were bowled out for just 70.

Brad Wadlan and Jake Roberts got the visitors off too a good start as they shared 43 runs for the first wicket.

Owain Binding made the breakthrough as he bowled Roberts on a score of 17 and Iestyn Scourfield then bowled Wadlan on a score of 36 to leave Swansea on 60-2.

Thirteen more runs followed before Adnan Ghori was stumped by Ifan Knott off the bowling of Ian Hughes.

Steven Mills was then brought on to bowl and he trapped Gareth Hayden leg before before also bowling Nathan Jones for a second-ball duck.

That left Swansea struggling on 88-5 but Connor Miles and Thomas Haden shared 28 runs for the sixth wicket.

Miles had made a patient score of 25 but was then ran out by Liam Rogers as the visitors looked to put more runs on the board.

Gareth Thomas then had Haden stumped by Knott on a score of 12 before Thomas took the catch to dismiss Callum Jenkins and give Robbie Crawford his first wicket of the day.

Thomas then bowled Mike Hayden as he finished with figures of 2-16 and in doing so, took his 100th Premier League wicket.

That left Swansea on 119-9 but Ioan Webber finished unbeaten on 12 to see Swansea to their total.

Despite the low score the Wanderers knew they would need to bat well if they were to stand a chance of winning the game but they soon found themselves in trouble.

Leighton Walters was bowled by Adnan Ghori and Steven Mills was bowled by Brad Wadlan as the hosts slipped to 14-2.

That became 24-3 when Wadlan caught and bowled Owain Davies.

Swansea continued to pick up wickets and next to fall was Gareth Thomas after being bowled by Jake Roberts.

Wadlan then trapped Darrel Griffiths leg before and Connor Miles bowled Owain Binding to leave the Wanderers reeling on 37-6.

Robbie Crawford and Ifan Knott then looked to get their side moving as they shared 31 runs for the seventh wicket.

Crawford top scored with a knock of 20 but he couldn’t go on as he was caught by Ioan Webber off the bowling of Gareth Hayden.

Osian Webber then bowled Liam Rogers for a duck before Hayden bowled Knott on a score of 10.

Hayden then brought the game to a close when he had Ian Hughes caught by Miles to leave Carmarthen all out on 70.

Swansea’s win saw them gain promotion to Division 1 while Carmarthen remain fifth after their seventh loss of the season.

On Saturday (Aug 24), Carmarthen travel to second from bottom Newport Fugitives while Swansea are at home to bottom side Panteg.

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Davies brought in for Wales

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WALES have made three changes to their side to face England in Cardiff on Saturday with Jake Ball, James Davies and Dan Biggar coming into the starting XV.

Ball comes into the second row alongside captain Alun Wyn Jones with Davies coming into the back row alongside Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty.

James will also line-up alongside elder brother Jonathan Davies for the first time in a Wales jersey. (The last pair of brothers to play alongside each other for Wales was Jamie and Nicky Robinson in 2006).

Dan Biggar comes into the starting line-up and will partner Gareth Davies at half-back. The rest of the backline remains unchanged with Hadleigh Parkes partnering Jonathan Davies in midfield and Josh Adams, George North and Liam Williams comprising the back-three.

Jonathan Davies

Wales have also named an unchanged front row with Nicky Smith, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis all starting.

“This weekend is another opportunity for us to take the field, test ourselves and continue our preparation for Japan,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

“It is a little over five weeks until we kick off our campaign in Toyota against Georgia and it is important we are fully prepared and rugby-ready by then.

“We were disappointed to get the loss last weekend so it is important we step it up on Saturday and put in a big display in front a of a packed Principality Stadium.

“The squad are looking forward to getting back out there, taking another step towards the RWC and putting in a big performance.”

Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones and Dillon Lewis provide the front-row cover with Aaron Shingler and Josh Navidi completing the forward contingent. Aled Davies, Jarrod Evans and Owen Watkin are named as the backline cover.

Wales Team To Face England: Saturday, August 17 (KO 14.15 Channel 4/Sky Sports):

15. Liam Williams (Saracens) (56 Caps)

14. George North (Ospreys) (84 Caps)

13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (74 Caps)

12. Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (16 Caps)

11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (11 Caps)

10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (71 Caps)

9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (42 Caps)

1. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (29 Caps)

2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (65 Caps)

3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (41 Caps)

4. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (33 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (C) (Ospreys) (126 Caps)

6. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (9 Caps)

7. James Davies (Scarlets) (3 Caps)

8. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (32 Caps)

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (19 Caps)

17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (13 Caps)

18. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (13 Caps)

19. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (18 Caps)

20. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (16 Caps)

21. Aled Davies (Ospreys) (17 Caps)

22. Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) (1 Cap)

23. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (14 Caps)

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