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Scarlets earn much needed win



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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Ammanford back on track



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



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



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. 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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