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Scarlets earn much needed win

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SCARLETS earned a much needed victory on Saturday (Jan 5) as they beat the Dragons 22-13 in front of over 8000 fans.

The men in Red were keen to get back to winning ways following a disappointing festive period and they were soon ahead.

Scarlets outside half Dan Jones kicked off at the Parc for the last derby of the festive season. The talking point ahead of the game was captain Ken Owens starting at number 8 because of the region’s injury in the back row with hooker Ryan Elias starting in the front row for his 100th appearance.

Within minutes Scarlerts were up in Dragons territory putting pressure on the opposition and captain Ken Owens packed down at number 8 for the first time.

The home side were held up just short of Dragons’ 22 line and they were given a penalty which Jones kicked through the posts for an early 3-0 lead.

With six minutes on the clock Dragons lined up a penalty after Scarlets were penalised this time at the scrum. Josh Lewis stepped up from the ten metre line but his attempt hit the post.

Photo by Darren Harries

Scrum half Kieran Hardy chased the 22 drop out and made a break in Dragons territory. He showed good pace and danced around defenders getting the Scarlets back up to Dragons’ 22.

With ten minutes gone the Scarlets were given another penalty and Jones scored to double the home side’s lead.

Scarlets lose the scrum penalty after a few re-sets despite the Dragons loosehead letting go of the bind. Dragons kicked downfield but Scarlets soon got back in to opposition territory. Dragons had a line out on their 22, but Scarlets regain possession and build an attacking phase. A knock-on handed possession back to the Dragons but plenty of determination and physicality on show.

On the half hour mark Dragons got a penalty on the ten metre line and this time Lewis sent it over to make it 6-3.

In the final minutes of the first half Scarlets got an attacking phase up and running in Dragons’ 22. Rob Evans was in position for a pick and go and he crossed over the line. Referee Craig Evans calls on the TMO to confirm grounding. The try wasn’t given but play was brought back for a penalty which Dan Jones slots over.

As the clock ticked over the 40 minutes the Scarlets were given a fourth penalty which Jones sent over to give his side a 12-3 lead at half time.

The Dragons got the first points on the board in the second half through a Josh Lewis penalty after a decision by the referee incensed the home crowd in the North Stand enclosure.

The first try of the game was scored shortly before the hour mark with winger Ioan Nicholas finding himself on the end of the attacking move in Dragons’ 22 after much pressure from the home side.

Ryan Elias throws in to the line in front of the South Stand, Kennedy wins at the top of the line out, and it’s passed through the hands gracefully. Johnny McNicholl puts Nicholas in for the try with the final pass in the line. A much-needed boost for the Scarlets and despite a missed conversion the home team moved eleven points clear of the opposition (17-6).

Photo by Darren Harries

Changes were made with Tom Phillips, Werner Kruger, Wyn Jones, Marc Jones and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne coming on for Ed Kennedy, Samson Lee, Rob Evans, Ryan Elias and Kieran Hardy.

With plenty of fire in the belly the Scarlets got back in to Dragons territory playing good attacking rugby. Everyone is keen to get their hands on the ball and a mammoth drive by the forwards in their 22 saw them put the opposition under huge pressure. However, the Scarlets were unable to turn the pressure in to points as the clock ticked towards the 70th minute.

Scarlets got straight back down in to opposition territory and there was another strong run to the whitewash but they couldn’t quite get over.

Play was called back after no advantage and replacement scrum half Hidalgo-Clyne took a quick tap to send himself over to make it 22-6.

The Dragons had the last word as James Benjamin crossed the whitewash with Tovey adding the extras to give a final score of 22-13.

The Scarlets now take a break from Pro14 action as they face two tough Heineken Champions Cup fixtures. The first of those at the Parc on Saturday (Jan 12) as they welcome Leicester Tigers for a 5:30 kick off.

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Sport

Old Gold charged by FAW

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CARMARTHEN Town have been charged with allegedly playing an ineligible player in their 2-0 win over Llanelli Town on New Years Day.

A statement from the Football Association of Wales states that the charge relates to David Vincent who had been suspended having accumulated five yellow cards.

The statement reads: “The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has charged Carmarthen Town AFC under FAW Rule 38.1.6 and Welsh Premier League Rule 18 with allegedly playing an ineligible player during their 2-0 win over Llanelli Town AFC on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.

“The charge relates to the playing of David Vincent, who was suspended as and from December 28, 2018 for one match for the accumulation of five yellow cards.

“Carmarthen have seven business days until January 16, to respond to the charge. The matter will be heard by an FAW Disciplinary Panel at the earliest possible opportunity.”

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Llanelli and Llandovery through in Cup

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LLANELLI and Llandovery are both through to the second round of the WRU National Cup after they secured first round victories on Saturday (Jan 5).

Llandovery eased through to the second round as they scored a century of points against Championship side Beddau.

The Drovers scored 16 tries and 12 conversions with Corey Baldwin scoring four of those tries.

Kristian Jones also scored two tries and had all twelve conversions for a personal points haul of 34.

There were also braces for Joseff Powell and Carwyn Evans. Dino Dallavalle, Lewis Ellis-Jones, Lee Rees, Rhodri Jones and replacement Llew Smith also crossed the whitewash as the home side sealed a 104-0 victory.

Llanelli also went through after also beating Championship side Ystrad Rhondda 18-32.

Taylor Davies was first on the scoresheet for Llanelli and Ashley Sutton then added a penalty. Kalum Evans and Thomas Rogers then scored tries for the visitors while Sutton converted the second of the two.

Gareth George also scored while Rogers grabbed his second try to which Sutton added the extras to seal the win.

Carmarthen Quins were agonisingly knocked out of the first round after a late Rhys Jones penalty gave Ebbw Vale a 19-20 victory.

Aled Thomas scored an early penalty for the Quins to level things up but the Vale took the lead only for Osian Knott to score a try to which Thomas added the extras to level the game at 10-10.

The Vale took the lead again but a Thomas penalty on the stroke of half time kept them in it at 13-17.

Thomas then kicked two second half penalties to put the Quins ahead and it looked as if they would go through but Jones had other ideas as his penalty won it for the Vale.

Newcastle Emlyn bowed out of the competition as they were beaten 21-36 by Premiership strugglers Bargoed.

The Emlyn were very much in the game at half time with the score at 21-22 in favour of Bargoed but they took control in the second half to seal their passage.

The draw for the second round was made on Tuesday (Jan 8) and it saw Llanelli drawn away to fellow Premiership side Pontypridd.

Llandovery were given a home tie against Trebanos who saw off Maesteg Quins in the first round.

Those ties will be played on the weekend of January 26, but before that all sides return to Premiership action on Saturday (Jan 12).

The Quins face Bargoed looking to respond to their Cup defeat while Llandovery are at home to Bedwas and Llanelli are away to Merthyr.

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Blacks hold on to deny Seagulls

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BURRY Port held off a strong second half comeback from Fishguard as they earned victory by a single point in a thrilling game which finished 35-34 in favour of the Blacks on Saturday (Jan 5).

The Blacks were on a five-match losing streak while Fishguard were looking to bounce back after being beaten by Pembroke in their last game.

The game started at a frantic pace with Burry Port’s Luke Ruddal gathering their own kick at kick off and piling on the pressure on the Seagull’s try line, and with quick ruck ball Ruddal darted over for the opening score.

The Blacks definitely had a spring in their step and looked dangerous with ball in hand, a cross field kick looked as if it would bring another score only for winger Tom Davies to just lose control. This didn’t stop the Blacks and from a driving lineout 10m out and the home pack rolling to the try line, the referee awarded a penalty try and yellow card for collapsing the maul.

Burry Port continued to apply the pressure and tried hard to make the extra man count and with Youth winger Tom Davies making up for this early mistake finished a fine try, A penalty soon after by outside half Ceiron Thomas stretched the lead further.

Fishguard however were in no mood to roll over, a rare outing into the Burry Port half saw a lovely cross field kick work perfectly for Ed Bendall to run in unopposed.

This started a period of good play by the visitors and forced Burry Port into some errors and giving Penalties away, and with good field position managed to force another try from close range through Chris Shousha.

Photo by Darren Harries

Burry Port hit straight back with a move on half way slicing the defence apart for winger Tom Davies to race in for this second and the bouns point try.

The game continued to be played at a frantic pace and Burry port were enjoying themseleves, another excellent team try was finished off by that man again Tom Davies who completed his Hat trick and surely left Fishguard to much to do to get back in the game, score 32-10.

The last play of the half from the restart saw Fishguard regain possession and manage to put the Blacks under pressure and after a few advantages from the referee for Burry Port ill-discipline saw a yellow card given to Burry Port.

With Fishguard knowing a penalty wasn’t enough to get back in the game they opted for a scrum and after a few phases a missed tackle allowed Ben John to cross under the posts and give them a lifeline for the second half.

The second half was a totally different affair with Burry Port looking to protect their lead by opting for territory rather than possession and resulted in them kicking far too much ball away.

Fishguard seemed to enjoy having the ball more and with some powerful runners in their ranks started causing Burry Port problems. A few loose kicks were capitalised on by the Fishguard back 3 and after another fine cross field kick saw them get a well-deserved try, scored by Jordan James to make it 32-22 and bring the Seagulls back in the game.

Burry Port failed to convert a few chances and the supporters could sense a bit of uncertainty creeping in. Another yellow card added to the worries of the Burry Port team, and a break by the visitors led to another try from Ed Bendall and the momentum had most definitely shifted to the Seagulls.

The score was now 32-27 and both sides knew the next score would be vital with time running out.

Finally Burry Port stopped kicking the ball away and after a long phase of ball in hand worked their way up field and once in kicking range forced a penalty which fullback Ben Williams put over to put the Blacks a crucial 8 points ahead with only a couple of minutes remaining.

Fishguard had already secured a try bouns point and even though there might not have been enough time to get the two scores needed for victory there was a losing point up for grabs and to their credit they managed just that with the ref calling last play and Fishguard managing to keep the ball alive and James crossed at the death for his second to also get an important score which could prove crucial come the end of season.

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