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Blues earn a point

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CWMAMMAN United travelled to a wet and windy Leckwith Stadium on Saturday (Jan 26) and came away with a point having come up against a resurgent Pontypridd.

Cwm once again had to ring the changes due to some unavailability of players with forwards Brieg Matthews and Calem Rees once again covering at full back but the management will have been relieved to have had the returning Chris Curtis in goal as he had an excellent match.

Ponty were on the front foot from the start and the threat was increasing gradually. Then on around nine minutes the Ponty winger cut inside at the edge of the box and sent a perfect curling shot into the left hand corner leaving Curtis with no chance.

The rain continued to come down heavily and Ponty created a couple of good chances that they should have put away.

They were then awarded a free kick on the edge of the box which saw another excellent curling shot on its way to goal.

As their players started to celebrate Curtis produced a superb save from nowhere. Then a few minutes later with a Ponty player through on goal Curtis produced another great save.

This finally stung Cwm into action and a cross from the overlapping Calem Rees just flew over the bar while some good close play Colin Harris fired a good shot which was tipped over the bar by the Ponty keeper.

The players went in at half time with the score 1-0 with Cwm needing to find a more consistent way into the game.

As they have done a number of times this season Cwm started the second half positively and started to grow into the game.

Chrissy Allen found some space at a corner but headed over and then some good interplay between Allen, Harris and Ryan Hurlow saw the keeper make a good save from close.

Then midway through the second half a good through ball from Ashley Johns saw Ashley Curtis surge into the box where he was pulled down. The referee waved play on but the linesman at that side flagged and after a discussion the penalty was given.

Colin Harris calmly stepped up and smashed it into the roof of the net. Cwm then survived a scare as some hesitancy in defence saw the Ponty centre forward chip the oncoming Curtis but his effort bounced off the crossbar.

With Nathan McNeill strong in defence and the hardworking Ross Morgan prompting attacks Curtis and Hurlow were beginning to find space and chances were now coming at both ends.

The final five minutes saw Cwm have their best chances with Colin Harris foiled by an excellent save around the post and some excellent individual play which saw him push past a couple of defenders to only see his shot go agonisingly wide of the post with the keeper beaten.

A 1-1 game which could easily have gone either way based on the chances created.

On Saturday (Feb 2) Cwm are again on their travels away at Briton Ferry Llansawel.

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Llanelli secure Premiership status

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LLANELLI secured their place in the Principality Premiership for next season on Friday night as they beat Championship winners Pontypool 27-16 in the play off at Aberavon.

Pontypool have only lost one game in three seasons but knew they would need to win to go up at the expense of Llanelli.

They started well but saw a couple of opportunities go begging early on and there was still no score with twenty minutes gone.

Six minutes later Pontypool charged down a kick and were given a penalty after Llanelli were deemed guilty of an offside for which saw yellow.

Pooler then sent the resulting kick through the posts to give them the lead.

Soon after, Shaun Evans had a chance for Llanelli when he ran into the Pooler 22 but after he was halted they went right when they perhaps should have gone the other way and the chance soon went.

Pooler then doubled their lead with another penalty as Llanelli were guilty of a number of infringements in the first half.

However, on the stroke of half time, Llanelli took the lead as they initiated a rolling maul and Taylor Davies went over for the try which was converted by Tom Prydie.

That gave the men in red a 7-6 lead at the break but they knew they would face a strong charge from Pooler in the second half.

Early in the second half, Llanelli looked to increase their lead when Ryan Conbeer went on a snaking run but he was halted just before the line by an excellent try-saving tackle from Lloyd Lewis.

Pooler then took the lead again with a penalty but Prydie answered with a penalty of his own to put Llanelli back in front at 10-9.

Soon after, Llanelli began to take control as they pushed a Pooler scrum backwards, earning a penalty, and Prydie kicked them further ahead.

Two minutes later they had another try as Steff Hughes kicked forward and Conbeer kicked on before falling on the ball in the try area. Prydie then added the extras to make it 20-9 with fifteen minutes to go.

They then scored their third try of the game as Lee Rees broke free after an excellent Callum Evans pass and the on-loan Llandovery player ran on to score. Prydie converted again to complete a great man-of-the-match performance.

With three minutes to go Scott Matthews touched the ball down under the posts and after it was confirmed as a try by the TMO it was converted bringing the score to 27-16.

Llanelli continued to play and thought they had scored late on but Callum Evans was called back after referee Nigel Owens, superb in the middle, spotted a forward pass from Prydie.

It left Pooler with little time to respond and Llanelli saw the game out to seal their place in the Premiership for the 2019-20 season.

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Spotlight on superstars in South Wales

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THE next two days around Cardiff will reverberate to the excited strains of a bowls community poised to experience the best of the best, when the first week of a two-week festival of international competition reaches its climax.

Over the five days the 2019 Atlantic Championships – featuring twenty-five bowling nations from the European, African and South American theatres at four host clubs around the Welsh capital – Barry Athletic, Dinas Powys, Penarth Windsor and Penylan – has gone through the qualifying stanza in women’s singles and fours, along with men’s pairs and triples.

In the short term the rewards are medals for excellence at this event, while qualification for next year’s world championships in Australia enjoys equal status.

Tomorrow and Thursday will be the stuff of which adventure heroes are made as many of the game’s greatest players strut their stuff – tomorrow’s elimination finals are at Barry Athletic and Dinas Powys, then the gold medal play-offs at Penylan on Thursday.

Spectators at Penalyn this morning enjoyed a teaser of what to expect when two superstars went at it in the flat green game’s version of a cat fight. It was a women’s singles encounter featuring a former Commonwealth Games gold medalist England’s Natalie Chestney, who won in Dehli in 2010; up against Scotland’s Caroline Brown, who has three world championship gold medals to her credit – the indoor singles at Potters in 2007, World Cup singles at Warilla in 2014 and the 2012 world fours in Adelaide.

The quality of bowls was exceptional as Chestney demonstrated the class that elevated her to the dizziest heights. After scores were level at 9-9 at eleven ends, the England star restricted Brown to just three scoring ends for the rest of the match, winning 21-14.

At major international events sectional top finishers graduate immediately to the semi finals, while the next two best finishers are sent to the elimination rounds.

Tomorrow at Dinas Powys, Scotland takes on England and Kenya plays Zimbabwe in women’s fours at 9.30am, with winners to play South Africa and Wales respectively at Barry Athletic at 2.30. Similarly, Malta plays Ireland along with Jersey against Guernsey in men’s pairs at Dinas Powys at 9.30am, with the winners heading to Barry Athletic in the afternoon to take on the mighty England and Scotland teams in the semi finals at 2.30pm.

Conversely, Barry Athletic will host England against Malta and Jersey versus Namibia in the morning men’s triples, with winners pitted against Scotland and South Africa respectively at Dinas Powys in the afternoon.

The blue ribbon women’s singles at Barry will see Natalie Chestney (England) v Colleen Piketh (South Africa) and Cindy Royet (France) v Ruti Gilor (Israel) at 9.30am – the winners playing Lucy Beere (Guernsey) and Caroline Brown (Scotland) respectively at Dinas Powys in the afternoon.

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Wanderers blow Ynys away

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CARMARTHEN Wanderers earned their second win of the season on Saturday (May 11) as they beat Ynystawe by 26 runs.

Ynystawe won the toss and elected to field and they bowled well as they restricted the Wanderers to 142-7.

However, Robbie Crawford took four wickets for the home side to help them to victory.

The Wanderers lost Leighton Walters early on when he was caught off the bowling of Rhys Palmer but Crawford and Stephen Inward then shared 50 runs for the second wicket.

Crawford made a patient 23 with one boundary but he was then trapped leg before by Andrew Beasley.

Inward hit five fours as he scored 34 but he was stumped off the bowling of Tom Morgan and the Wanderers had slipped to 87-3.

Gareth Thomas hit 20 but also fell to the bowling of Morgan while Owain Binding was trapped leg before by Carl Roberts on a score of 14.

Roberts then removed Owain Davies on a score of 12 and Steven Mills was then bowled by Alex Fletcher.

Darrell Griffiths was not out on 12 but it wasn’t enough to help Carmarthen pass 150 runs.

Tom Blake and Morgan Hodges then got the visitors off to a good start in their reply as they shared 30 runs for the opening stand.

Owain Binding made the breakthrough for the Wanderers as he had Blake caught by Ifan Knott on a score of 7.

Andrew Beasley fell for the same score when he was bowled by Gareth Thomas, leaving Ynystawe on 49-2.

Hodges then shared another 37 runs with Carl Roberts and it looked as if they would reach their target but the Wanderers had other ideas.

Steven Mills trapped Roberts leg before on a score of 14 and soon after, Hodges, who hit two fours and two sixes in his knock of 45 from 112 balls, was caught by Darrell Griffiths off the bowling of Thomas.

That left the visitors on 91-4 but they were still in a good position.

Leighton Walters and Robbie Crawford were brought on to bowl and wickets soon started to fall.

Walters had Tom Davies caught by Thomas and Crawford then bowled Dean Price to reduce Ynystawe to 110-6.

Crawford then bowled Alex Fletcher and Rhys Palmer while Walters had Tom Morgan caught by Thomas on a score of 13 and the visitors had collapsed to 112-9.

Crawford then wrapped up the innings with his fourth wicket as Ynystawe were bowled out for 116.

On Saturday (May 18), the Wanderers are away as they take on Panteg.

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