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Medals all round for Harriers

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WELSH Athletics held its annual Senior Indoor Athletics Championships on the final weekend in January (Jan 26-27) at Cardiff’s National Indoor Athletics Centre and incorporated the Combined Events Indoor International.

Teams from Great Britain, France, Poland, Spain and the Czech Republic competed alongside Wales’ top senior competitors over two days in the Welsh Capital.

The Pentathlon and Heptathlon, including the 60m, 60m Hurdles, Shot, Long Jump and Pole Vault was contested for male and female over two busy days for the participants from across Europe. Picking up points was all-important in that element.

Five Carmarthen Harriers athletes entered with medals won in three disciplines.

Kieran Roberts qualified from the senior men’s 800m heats with a comfortable win and was followed by a second-place finish in the final with a time of 1:55:76. As a result, Roberts become Welsh champion with the winner having ran as a guest from England.

Speaking shortly after finishing, he said: “I haven’t raced a lot in the last three years (due to injury), so I’m starting to enjoy the sport again and it’s nice to get a race under my belt. I’m working with my coach and a good group of boys, which makes it a lot easier.”

The sprints duo of Glen Elsdon and Lewis Evans went head to head against some of Wales’ fastest men over the short and fast 60m with both qualifying for their respective A and B finals.

In a blanket finish and the closest race of the whole weekend, Evans was sixth in the same time of 7.16 as the fourth and fifth places, whilst in the A final Elsdon moved up to fifth overall in 7.02. This was due to two of the pre-race favourites disqualified following a series of re-starts.

Over in the field, Beca Roberts was one of seven competitors in the senior women’s triple jump. Her best attempt of 10.68m came in the sixth and final round, and this leap was enough to take third place and a bronze medal in the process.

Lili Church was the final athlete in action inside the arena towards the latter stages of the championships. In the women’s high jump, she cleared the early rounds and managed to go over 1.66m which ensured that she headed back West with a gold medal having become joint Welsh champion with her nearest rival.

Meanwhile, Pembrokeshire Harriers added another five medals to the tally. Gold was won by Ella Wintle in the under 15 girls’ 300m where she produced another dominant display in 42.59.

Matthew Williams in a fast 1500m race clocked 4:00:15 on his way to silver, with Flavia Jenkins (43.99) and Grace Griffiths (5:33:25) securing bronze in both the 300m and 1500m track races.

Ella’s sister Lucy Wintle made it into the final of the same 300m race and came in fourth in a close one for 44.02. Abigail Buxton cleared 1.61m in the high jump for bronze.

Llanelli AC’s Niamh Roberts ran a time of 64.78 in heat 1 of 3 400m heats.

Elsewhere on the same day, a number of teams from West Wales made the short journey over to Crymych Leisure Centre for the Team Pursuit event on a very windy and cold day, and attracted another large turnout of over 60 teams from local clubs.

Carmarthen Harriers saw two teams entered and recorded finishing times of 3:42:13 and 4:23:55. Running for Carmarthen Harriers were Paul Clarke, David Jones, Maddie Morgan, Guto Morgans, Paul Lynock, Jonathan Cox, Jake Morgan and Kate Parker.

The Pembrokeshire Harriers club saw a record turnout of 55 attend. Highlights included a win for the vets ladies team consisting of Sue Lloyd, Sue Mace, Helen Munro, Deb Garner and Qumran Nahar, whilst the squad of Daryl John, Ross McNally, Tom Sinton, Shaun Newbury and Lee Shannon did not only win their category but won the race overall.

The John Collins Gwent Cross Country League returns this Saturday as it heads back to the first ever venue in 1963 at Pontypool Park.

Following a months break in January to give way for a series of schools’ competitions, races in the penultimate fixture will be held for under 11 athletes through to the seniors and masters as the campaign enters the second half of the winter season.

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Wanderers edged out by Gowerton

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LLANELLI Wanderers came close to victory against Gowerton on Saturday (Feb 16) but were unable to find a winning score as they were beaten 14-18.

Gowerton had taken the lead early on with a penalty and an unconverted try gave them an 8-0 lead at half time.

The Wanderers hit back in the second half with Sianco Morgan going over for the try and the conversion from Lewis Jones brought them to within a point of their opponents.

They then took the lead as Lloyd Thomas went over and Jones again added the extras to make it 14-8.

Gowerton hit back with a converted try of their own and they were back in the lead by a single point.

They then scored a penalty to make it 14-18 with six minutes to play. Try as they might the Wanderers could not find a way through and they had to settle for a losing bonus point.

The Wanderers are next in action on Saturday, March 2, when they travel to Crymych.

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Nant hold off Trimsaran

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NANTGAREDIG remain unbeaten in League 3 West B after they sealed a narrow 17-18 win away to promotion rivals Trimsaran on Saturday (Feb 16).

The visitors took the lead with an early penalty scored but Trimsaran responded well with a try to take the lead but the conversion was missed and the home side led 5-3.

Nant hit back and got their first try of the game thanks to and the extras were added for a 3-10 lead.

They then extended their lead to 5-15 with an unconverted try and with half time looming, the lead was extended further with another penalty.

Lloyd Williams kicked one conversion and two penalties. Ben Nichols scored a try and Rhydian Evans scored the other.

Photo by Darren Harries

With the score 18-5 at the break Trimsaran knew they would need to play well in the second half and they very nearly pulled off an excellent comeback.

Trimsaran scored two good tries with the latter try bringing the score to 17-18 setting up a nervy finish for both sides.

However, it was Nantgaredig who showed why they have not lost a game this season as they held on for the win.

They have now won 24 games on the bounce and look favourites for the title and promotion this season.

On Friday (Feb 22), Trimsaran are at home as they take on Penybanc with the game kicking off at 7:15pm.

Nantgaredig are next in action on Saturday, March 2, when they host CR Cymry Caerdydd in the quarter final of the WRU Bowl.

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Kidwelly come from behind to win thriller

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WITH both sides residing in a similar league position in Division 1 and a spot in the Senior Cup Quarter finals up for grabs, all was set for a close encounter between Kidwelly and Felinfoel on Saturday (Feb 16).

Felinfoel had home advantage and, having already beaten their opponents 3-1 earlier in the season, they were favourites to advance to the next round, but nothing is ever that simple in football.

During the first fifteen minutes Felinfoel dominated possession with much of the play happening in and around the Kidwelly box.

Felinfoel took the lead with twenty minutes gone when a dangerous cross was delivered towards the back post which resulted in a well-taken goal.

After the restart Kidwelly showed signs of resurgence with brothers Connor and Jordan Howells linking up well in midfield and creating problems for Felinfoel.

Photo by Darren Harries

The fightback, however, was short lived as Felinfoel sent a wide free kick into the box and the ball was headed into the back of the net.

There was not much Kidwelly could have done about either goal as the deliveries for each were superb.

With five minutes left of the first half and Kidwelly not threatening much, they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Winger Rob Hammond sent a superb high ball into the box and Kyle Griffiths, former centre-back turned midfielder, flicked the ball over the keeper and into the net to give Kidwelly a glimmer of hope.

The half time whistle went and even though Felinfoel had the better of the half Kidwelly had shown good resilience and were pleased to be only 2-1 down at the break.

The second half started with both sides playing at a high tempo with Kidwelly in a confident mood having scored before the break and having come from behind to win in other games this season.

As the game continued both teams were battling hard with some big tackle flying in. Kidwelly had far more possession in the second half and created numerous good chances.

Kidwelly were playing some good stuff but it wasn’t until the hour mark when Rob Hammond, Kidwelly’s top goal scorer, latched on to a huge goal kick and delivered a clinical finish to make it 2-2.

Not long after that, Hammond again latched on to a forward pass and with a bit of creativity managed to turn the defender and find the bottom corner with a quality finish to put his side into the lead.

Felinfoel looked to get back in the game and Kidwelly manager Gareth Evans introduced fresh legs replacing hardworking Liam Jones with club captain Luc Fitzpatrick who was returning from injury.

Photo by Darren Harries

This was an attempt to keep Felinfoel at bay but they threw everything they could at the makeshift Kidwelly keeper Danny Coleman, normally a number ten. However, Coleman made some tremendous saves and put his body on the line on numerous occasions.

Kidwelly survived three goal-mouth scrambles and on one occasion had ten players behind the ball trying to keep it out.

Unfortunately for Kidwelly, during one of those scrambles, veteran Chris Cray volleyed his goal keepers arm meaning Coleman would have to go off injured. He was replaced by striker Aled Giley with Daniel Griffiths, who was having an excellent game, having to go between the sticks for the rest of the game.

Both sides battled until the end with more strong tackles flying in but Kidwelly full backs Tom Hughes and Daniel Fitzpatrick had faced quality opposition wingers and came out on top.

Felinfoel played their part in an excellent cup game but Kidwelly, who have recently won five games on the bounce in Division 1, showed great resilience and team spirit to earn a thrilling win.

On Saturday (Feb 23), Kidwelly are at home as they play Pontlliw in the quarter final of the same competition, kick off 1:45pm.

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