CWMAMMAN United once again showed their qualities as they did the double over Haverfordwest County on Saturday (Mar 9), beating them 3-2 at Grenig Park.
The Blues beat the Bluebirds by the same scoreline in November at the Bridge Meadow but with both sides looking to consolidate their places near the top of the table this was always going to be a fascinating battle.
It started slowly with both sides probing and after ten minutes Cwm had the only half chance with a great through ball to Ryan Hurlow who saw his shot saved.
The game then saw a key moment when the Bluebirds’ No 9 Ben Fawcett was sent off for a reckless two footed tackle on Colin Harris.
Initially this did not seem to affect Haverfordwest who kept to their calm structured build ups and their 10 men were having the better of the game.
They were then rewarded when a long through ball evaded the Cwm defence and Wilson rounded the keeper for 1-0.
Cwm were stirring though and Ashley Johns, Declan John and Calem Rees were now finding space from the back with Ross Morgan, Harris and Ryan Thomas increasingly dominant in midfield but Cwm could just not find the killer pass.
Chris Curtis in goal who was continually marshalling his defence was called upon to produce some important blocks as Haverfordwest resorted to the counter attack.
It was Cwm however who got the break just before half time when Nathan Mcneill powered a magnificent header home for 1-1.
From the very start of the second half Cwm could smell blood and they then entered a dominant 25 minute period where they created a number of chances and scored twice.
With Chrissy Allen now linking well with wingers Ashley Curtis and Hurlow the pressure had to tell.
First Hurlow chased a ball to the byline and despite a heavy tackle managed to regain his feet and twist and squeeze the ball in past the despairing keeper.
The final twenty minutes saw a change in the dynamic as the Bluebirds chased the game and Cwm sat back on their lead.
The injured Mcneill was replaced by Ben Thomas and Cwm then brought on club captain Gareth Howarth returning from injury and Brieg Matthews.
The inevitable happened and with five minutes remaining Haverfordwest were awarded a penalty which they emphatically put away to make it 2-3.
That set up a nervous last few minutes for both the Cwm players and the crowd but they saw it through for what was an excellent victory.
It doesn’t get any easier for Cwm as they travel to Bridgend to play unbeaten top of the table Penybont on Saturday (Mar 16) at 2:30pm.
On the same day Haverfordwest will look to bounce back as they host second from bottom Taffs Well.
Scarlets slay Dragons
Tries from man-of-the-match Sione Kalamafoni and replacement Sam Costelow, combined with the boot of Dan Jones ensured Glenn Delaney’s side made it a festive double to move them up to second in Conference B of the Guinness PRO14 standings.
The Scarlets weren’t at their free-flowing best and will be frustrated by the amount of handling errors and ill-discipline in their performance, but the winning run continues ahead of next week’s clash with Cardiff Blues in the Welsh capital.
Despite a rare dry night in Llanelli, the opening 40 minutes was littered with errors from both sides and it meant the game had little flow.
The Scarlets enjoyed plenty of possession and territory, but too often passes failed to go to hand.
It was the Dragons who were first on the scoreboard thanks to a penalty from the boot of ex-Scarlet Josh Lewis.
Wales lock Jake Ball limped off moments later with a knee injury to be replaced by Tevita Ratuva, while Wyn Jones, on his 100th appearance, also left the field for a head assessment.
The outstanding Kalamafoni made a powerful surge up the middle of the field to put the Scarlets on the offensive, but again a promising move broke down.
Dan Jones levelled matters on 29 minutes, then added another penalty on the stroke of half-time after a quick tap from Kieran Hardy.
The Scarlets continued to enjoy the better of play in the second period, but had to wait until 57 minutes for the game’s first try.
More pressure led to Gareth Davies being taken out off the ball and Dragons lock Matthew Screech being shown yellow by referee Nigel Owens.
Scarlets went for the corner instead of the shot at goal and a well-worked training move saw Kalamafoni charge across the whitewash for his first try in Scarlets colours, a score converted by Jones.
With former Scarlet Rhodri Williams adding a spark, Dragons looked for an immediate response, but a brilliant turnover from Ratuva snuffed out the threat.
Then in the final play, replacement Sam Costelow picked up a loose ball, sped through the gap and around the final defender for a superb solo score, with the Wales U20s fly-half adding the conversion for good measure.
After the hard-fought win, Scarlets coach Glenn Delaney said: “I suppose it was a compelling contest of a different nature. You saw a lot of kicking battles going on, neither team wanted to give the other counter-attacking opportunities.
“I thought defensively we were very resolute, I never felt we were in danger on our goal-line, it was a bit stop-start with a couple of drop balls, but I am delighted to get the win and we did create a bit more in the second half.
“With these derby games, I am learning every time we play one, they all seem to be pretty much like this and perhaps bring out the best and worst in us because of the individual competition and contest.
“We would have liked to have done a bit more with the ball and the attacking breakdown with us was poor, the Dragons turned over a bit of ball there so we need to be better in that area and make sure when we make the breaks we are able to capitalise.”
Scarlets’ late surge sees off Ospreys
Ospreys 14 – Scarlets 16
The Ospreys, playing as the official ‘home’ team at Parc y Scarlets, had led for the majority of a tense contest.
But with 71 minutes on the clock, a superb off-load from replacement Blade Thomson paved the way for full-back O’Brien to slice through and dive over for the crucial score.
Man of the match Dan Jones added the conversion to put the Scarlets in front for the first time and the West Walians were able to finish the match on the front foot to claim the annual festive bragging rights and a crucial win to keep them in the hunt in the Conference B standings.
O’Brien hadn’t been named in the original match-day 23, but was brought in at the 11th hour as a replacement for Johnny McNicholl.
In blustery conditions, Scarlets enjoyed the early pressure, but despite hammering away at the Ospreys line were unable to come away with any points.
Instead, it was the Ospreys who were first on the board after 14 minutes through the boot of fly-half Stephen Myler.
The opening quarter was proving a cagey affair with both sides unable to get any momentum going.
A moment of individual brilliance from scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams, who dummied and sprinted clear from 40 metres, extended the Ospreys’ lead on 22 minutes, but the Scarlets’ response was swift with Jones landing a penalty straight from the kick-off.
Jones hit the upright with another attempt, then a pin-point cross-field kick from Steff Hughes just evaded the grasp of wing Steff Evans with the line at his mercy.
A powerful scrum on the stroke of half-time led to a long-range penalty chance, but O’Brien’s strike drifted wide with the Ospreys going in ahead 8-3 at the break.
Myler extended his side’s lead early in the second half, but Jones kept Scarlets in it with his kicking out of hand and off the floor.
Two more penalties from the Carmarthen fly-half to one from Myler made it 14-9 going into the final 10 minutes.
Then the Scarlets struck.
With Thomson having a big impact off the bench, the back-rower plucked a ball out of the sky as the Scarlets surged forward. He was involved again soon after, producing a sublime pass to O’Brien who cut a great angle to the posts.
With only two points in it, the Scarlets showed their composure to make their way downfield and set up camp in ‘home’ territory for the final minutes, denying the Ospreys any chance to snatch the win.
Council plasterer becomes world champion darts player
A CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council plasterer has just become a world champion darts player.
Jonny Clayton, from Pontyberem, lifted the World Cup of Darts trophy on Sunday alongside fellow Welsh-man Gerwyn Price
The pair beat top-seeds England 3-0 in Salzburg, Austria, becoming the first ever Welsh winners of the championship.
When he’s away from the dart board, Jonny – ranked 16 in the world – spends his time plastering new and renovated homes and schools for Carmarthenshire County Council.
Council Leader Cllr Emlyn Dole said it’s an honour to have a world champion on the pay-roll.
“We are immensely proud of Jonny and all that he’s achieved,” he said. “What a fantastic achievement for him, a humble man from Pontyberem, to lift the trophy for his country in a sport that he loves.
“Jonny is a valued member of the Carmarthenshire County Council team, as talented at plastering as he is at darts. As with any member of staff representing their country in elite sports, we have given Jonny our full support to ensure he can work his day-job as well as having the time to train and compete.
“We’ll be proud to welcome him home to Carmarthenshire – and knowing Jonny, he’ll be back at work shortly having swapped his darts for his hock and trowel.”
The father of two – who earned his nickname The Ferret during his days as a scrum-half for Pontyberem RFC – spoke to media after his win describing himself as “the proudest man on the planet”.
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