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Bowen double sinks Reds

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WHAT a difference a New Year makes – after Carmarthen’s deeply disappointing performance at Llanelli on Boxing Day, for this festive holiday reverse fixture (Jan 1) they thrilled their supporters by producing a brand of possession football laced with exhilarating fast attacking play that has rarely been seen in recent seasons.

The Old Gold took the initiative from the start with a series of rapid penetrating bursts from midfield that seriously tested the visitors’ defence. After 3 minutes a sequence of crisp passes across the field finished with Sean Hanbury firing a searching left-wing cross into the goalmouth where Greg Walters’ close-range shot was blocked in front of the goal before the ball was cleared safely away.

Then following a further spell of sustained pressure Town took the lead in the 8th minute with a well-executed set-piece finish – Hanbury delivered a fine corner-kick into the crowded penalty area and saw Luke Bowen, arriving with perfect timing to direct a delightful glancing header into the bottom corner of the net.

Carmarthen continued to dominate the play and remarkably it was only after the 19th minute that ‘keeper Lee Idzi was first called into any meaningful action when he comfortably claimed an over-hit cross.

Photo by Darren Harries

However his opposite number, Llanelli’s Oliver Davies, was far busier as the Old Gold poured forward relentlessly. On 22 minutes industrious midfielder Ceri Morgan won the ball off a defender near the corner of the penalty area then slid it forward to Walters – he instantly played it across to Bowen who from 15 yards struck a fierce angled drive that Davies resisted with a superb reflex save.

Moments later Luke Cummings, from the corner of the penalty area, curled a dangerous free-kick towards the far corner of the goal only for Davies to claw the ball away just as Dave Vincent seemed likely to tap it into the net.

With the significant business of the match being largely conducted in the visitors’ half, it was not until the 35th minute that they managed to get a shot on target – a cross from Chris Jones into the penalty area was cleared but the ball fell nicely for Jamie Owen who wasted the opportunity by directing a weak 20 yard effort straight at Idzi which he comfortably saved.

Shortly afterwards they forced Idzi into further action.  Jordan Follows sent a fine pass through to Michael George who raced free into the penalty area only for Town’s experienced ‘keeper to come quickly out of his goal and clear the danger.

The final notable action of the first-half arose at the other end of the pitch. On 44 minutes Bowen, on the right flank, neatly slid the ball across the edge of the penalty area where Walters dispatched a crisp angled strike that flew beyond Davies’ reach but slid narrowly wide of the far post.

After the interval the Old Gold again took the early initiative and went close to extending their lead on 52 minutes when a slick exchange of passes ended with Hanbury firing a cross into the goalmouth – while the ball was cleared by a defender, it was claimed by Walters who instantly released a stunning drive that defeated Davies only to fly marginally outside the post.

However moments later Town deservedly found success – from close to the half-way line Walters, an increasing influential presence in midfield, produced a remarkable long pass that set Bowen racing clear of defenders and into the penalty area where he cleverly “walked” the ball around the advancing Davies and fired it into the empty net.

Then after 68 minutes Mael Davies robbed a defender of the ball on the corner of the penalty area and swiftly fired it across the goalmouth to find Liam Thomas who struck a sharp close-range volley that drew an excellent point-blank save from Oliver Davies to turn the ball around the post.

On 74 minutes the Old Gold continued their dominance of the proceedings when Vincent, on the half-way line, began a delightful six-man passing move that carved open the visitors’ defence and finished with Mael Davies crossing the ball into the goalmouth only for Thomas, arriving at speed, to narrowly fail to reach it for a simple tap-in chance.

By now, however, Town seemed content to simply keep possession and slow down the pace of the game.  Yet in the 82nd minute veteran central defender Lee Surman made a rare excursion upfield in open play when he took the ball forward from the half-way line then played it across to Walters who released a stunning 25 yard strike that drew another excellent flying save from Oliver Davies.

Soon afterwards Aidan O’Kelly, making a welcome return after four months out with a serious injury sustained in only the second match of the season, moved down the left wing then slipped the ball across to Mael Davies who struck a rasping 30 yard drive that Llanelli’s overworked ‘keeper claimed at the foot of the post.

This welcome result not only lifts the Old Gold nine points clear of the relegation places, but also takes them up to eighth position in the Welsh Premier League.

This was a refreshing and thoroughly entertaining performance from the Old Gold – one which hopefully will be often repeated over the rest of this season.

Town’s next fixture is on Saturday, January 5, (k/o 2.30pm) when they travel to Caernarfon for what will undoubtedly be a stern challenge – but they now go there with increased hope.

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Sport

Ammanford back on track

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AMMANFORD got their season firmly back on track with a decisive eight wicket victory over local rivals Pontarddulais at the Park on Saturday (Jun 15).

It was a good toss to win, since the covers had been on all week due to the ever present showers.

Matthew Fisher, without hesitation, put Bont in to bat and reaped the reward in the first over when opener Gary Arrowsmith was unluckily run out whilst backing up from the bowler’s end.

But from there on it was the home side’s bowling and fielding which took control.

Opener Paul Rees (40) put up the only real resistance as Bont were dismissed for 137 in the final over.

Josh Davies and Andrew Salter took three wickets each whilst Dan Roberts picked up a further two.

The excellence of the fielding was exemplified by Rhys Davies with three catches, the third of which compared very favourably with the recent and much vaunted spectacular effort of England’s Ben Stokes.

With 50 overs to reach a modest 138, Ammanford’s openers Rhys Culley (27) and Elis Richards (37) provided the perfect response.

Refusing to be hurried in any way, they clung tightly to their respective wickets and built an invaluable opening stand of 77.

When they eventually departed, Andrew Salter (35no) and Dan Roberts (19no) were given licence to finish the game in dramatic fashion with 8 boundaries and 2 sixes.

Ammanford waltzed past the Bont target with eight wickets and 11 overs to spare.

The win takes them up to fifth place in the table, only 22 points behind league leaders St Fagans in what is turning out to be a wide-open title race.

On Saturday (Jun 22) they are away to bottom placed Newport, who recorded only their second win of the season on Saturday (Jun 15).

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Young winger joins Ammanford

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AMMANFORD AFC are delighted to announce that young winger Tristan Jenkins has joined the club ahead of the 2019/2020 season.

The young winger had previously played for JD Welsh Premier League outfit Llanelli Town, but has now left the club in order to link up with the Welsh League Division One outfit.

The youngster made his debut for the Reds last term in the top flight, and was chosen in the final 18 man squad for the Welsh College’s Under 18s squad last season.

Upon joining the club, Jenkins stated: “I’m delighted to have joined the club, I’m looking forward to playing with a different group of players. I can’t wait to get started.”

Manager Gruff Harrison added: “Delighted to bring Tristan into the club. He fits all the characteristics we are looking for in a player. He is young and hungry with great quality, which is the perfect mixture.”

Ammanford welcome Tristan to the football club and look forward to working with him in the forthcoming season.

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Towy Riders prove that local members can reach the very highest levels

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TOWY RIDERS Cycle Club is a rare gem of a club in the far West of the UK. With its home at the fantastic Carmarthen Velodrome it provides opportunities for riders to enjoy and excel at cycling. Often elite sport pathways are hard to find and navigate but Towy Riders has proved that a local member can reach the very highest levels of competitive cycling from a start in Carmarthen Park and are proud to support the final stage of the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour today (June 15).

Founded in 2007 and based at the historic Carmarthen Park and Velodrome, a hub for cycle sport for 119 years, Towy Riders Cycle Club has grown into one of
the most successful clubs for youth performance development and achievements in the UK.

Towy Riders Cycle Club caters for all ages and abilities and its riders always make a memorable impression in their distinctive Gold and Red Kit wherever they ride and compete.
An accredited British Cycling ‘Go-Ride’ club the first in Wales, Towy Riders Cycle Club offer a broad base of enjoyable and progressive cycle skills development,
together with structured coaching for all ages and abilities. Coaching is provided by a team of British Cycling-registered and qualified coaches.​ It welcomes new members of all ages and abilities from 6 to 106 years of age.

The Club runs regular coached sessions in Carmarthen and the surrounding area for beginners and improvers alike, with many youth members, progressing to
take part in organised events throughout Wales, the UK and beyond. The club boasts a proud record of many former members, especially girls, advancing to
the highest standard and representing Wales and Team GB or Pro teams.

Carmarthen Velodrome – a history

Carmarthen Velodrome and Park, the home of Towy Riders Cycle Club, has a long standing heritage of sports and recreational cycling.

The 405 metre banked oval track was built within the park grounds for the people of Carmarthenshire and opened on Easter Monday in 1900.

It became a sporting hub where thousands of spectators would watch the Herculean efforts of bygone racers charging round the track on their E.C. Simmons bikes. It is believed to be the oldest outdoor concrete velodrome in the World in almost continuous use for over 100 years until 2015 when the track surface had deteriorate and became unsuitable for modern competition and events.

Thanks to local & National support it has recently secured large investments from Sports Wales, Carmarthenshire County Council & Carmarthen Town Council. This enabled the completion of a full restoration program to the track in 2017 with more than 230 concrete panels replaced as part of a £600,000 renovation project. It now boasts an all-weather surface and the additional safety features that are required to ensure it is once again able to showcase major events.

The track is now in full operation and managed through Carmarthen Town council. It is open to the public to use anytime there is not a pre-booking. Welsh Cycling and professional coaches often run training sessions on the track for a wide range of abilities.

Significant Achievements

Towy Riders has dominated the podiums of youth racing Nationally over the years with particular success with female riders. Youth riders travel all over the country to participate in the National Road and Track championships and other race series.

Towy Riders also have a large representation in both the GB and the Welsh teams, at both youth and senior level

Outline rider profiles:

Manon Lloyd – Under 23 European champion and represented Team GB worldwide, now a successful road rider for “Drops” currently riding in the Ovo Womens Tour. https://www.dropscycling.com/ Represented Wales in the Commonwealth games on the road and track. Towy Riders are really excited to see former Towy Rider Manon Lloyd riding as a professional in the Ovo Womens Tour, for many of the young riders this will be their first exposure to professional women’s cycling. To see a former club member riding the best bikes, supported by professional mechanics and riding at the very highest level of professional women’s cycling is really inspiring.

Scott Davies – currently rides for the world pro team Dimension. Palmares includes multiple national road and TT champion titles, winner of the Junior Tour of Wales and recently completed his first Grand Tour the Giro D Italia. The Towy Riders were out in force last year to support Scott as he competed in the OVO mens tour of Britain when it came to Carmarthenshire.

Jessica Roberts – multiple National Champion on the road and track, current women’s National Road champion. Rides for GB senior academy and has dominated the Tour Series this year, now looks forward to European Championships. Represented Wales in the Commonwealth games last year on the track and road

Ella Barnwell – multiple National Champion on the road and track as a youth. Rides for GB junior academy, world championship medallist, now looks forward to junior European and World championships

Emma Finucane – multiple National Champion on the road and track as a youth. Rides for GB junior academy as a sprinter now looks forward to junior European and World Track championships

Eluned King – successful career in cyclocross and National road champion as a youth. Rides for GB junior academy.

Awen Roberts – Welsh champion and dominates the Youth series on both the road and Track.

Owain Roberts – current Welsh TT champion, Bryn Davies, Cian Roberts and Amy Cole are all members of the Welsh Cycling junior team.

Anthony Jones – is a coach and veteran cyclist with current titles of Welsh 50 mile and 12 hour time trial champion. Tony’s record set last year saw him complete 297.29miles, averaging 24.77mph for 12 hours.

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