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Old Gold seal win late on

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CARMARTHEN Town eventually beat rivals Llanelli Town 3-1 on Saturday (Apr 13) after dominating for large parts of the first half.

Relegated Llanelli did take the lead but the Old Gold came from behind to lead but it wasn’t until late on that they secured the three points.

As last week, a much less impressive second-half performance allowed the opposition to maintain a serious interest in the match until a late third goal ensured victory for the Old Gold.

Town completely dominated the opening stages with frequent fast incisive raids through the midfield which the visitors’ overworked defence struggled to resist – yet despite forcing a series of early corner-kicks, it was not until the 9th minute that a genuine scoring opportunity arose.

Greg Walters sent a long pass down the left touchline to find Jordan Knott who neatly slipped the ball inside to Lewis Harling on the edge of the penalty area – he instantly released a delightful curling shot that went beyond the reach of ‘keeper Scott Coughlan but drifted just wide of the far post.

Shortly afterwards the ball was played through to Liam Thomas who, from 30 yards out, sprinted effortlessly past two defenders to reach the penalty area then dispatched a stunning angled drive that defeated Coughlan but flew just narrowly over the bar.

During this opening spell Llanelli had barely managed to make any meaningful progress going forward and the home defence had been put under no real pressure – but in the 15th minute all that changed.

An Old Gold attack broke down well inside the visitors’ half and the ball was quickly played forward beyond the half-way line where Town central defenders Lee Surman and Dave Vincent found themselves outnumbered by three Reds forwards – Joe Clarke sent the ball forward to Tristan Jenkins who raced clear towards the edge of the penalty area then fired a crisp strike past ‘keeper Lee Idzi and into the far corner of the net.

Stung by that setback Carmarthen straightaway swarmed upfield with even greater intensity than before – yet still they were unable to produce a shot on target or test Coughlan in any significant way.

Then on 23 minutes they deservedly got back on level terms. Knott sent a throw-in to Thomas on the corner of the penalty area and he swiftly lifted a high cross to the far side of the goalmouth where Luke Bowen stabbed the ball past Coughlan and into the back of the net.

Town continued their dominance of the play and went close to taking the lead after 28 minutes – Mael Davies, from the centre-circle, sent a neat pass through to Walters who took the ball forward then released a powerful 30 yard drive that defeated Coughlan but slid marginally wide of the post.

They achieved their aim just moments later – Bowen slipped a smart pass on to Knott who raced into the penalty area then ‘squared’ the ball across to Thomas and, with typical confidence and precision, Town’s top scorer fired it past Coughlan and into the back of the net.

The Old Gold kept up the pressure and on 38 minutes Jordan Vickers launched a long pass down the right touchline that found Bowen who sprinted past Joe Hunt then sent an inviting cross into the penalty area where Ceri Morgan arrived with perfect timing but, under pressure from two defenders, he drove the ball straight at Coughlan.

In the closing stages of the first-half Vincent fired a long clearance upfield which Bowen, again, collected – he took the ball forward to the by-line then crossed it into the penalty area but saw Davies, from 15 yards, wastefully fire his shot wide of the goal.

The initial period after the interval was a decidedly scrappy affair with neither side seemingly able to keep possession of the ball long enough to make any meaningful progress, let alone create a decent scoring opportunity.

However eventually on 61 minutes the match livened up when Davies’ corner-kick was headed away but only as far as Harling who from 20 yards struck a fierce volley that Coughlan, at full length, spectacularly turned around the post.

Straightaway the game became more evenly-balanced as it opened up with some lively end-to-end play.

The Old Gold defence dealt capably with the intermittent pressure due principally to another sound performance from experienced defenders Surman, Vincent and Knott, while Idzi once more looked sound and secure whenever his involvement was necessary.

By contrast the visitors’ defence seemed more vulnerable and Coughlan was certainly the busier ‘keeper, particularly in the closing stages of the match when Town were once again attacking with more pace and purpose.

After 80 minutes Declan Carroll sent the ball across to Thomas who moved swiftly forward into the penalty area then neatly slipped past a defender before dispatching a rasping drive that Coughlan, with an impressive reflex save, turned around the post.

In the 87th minute he was powerless to prevent the Old Gold from increasing their lead and settling the result. Luke Cummings finished a surging run along the right flank with a smart cross into the penalty area where Thomas, with a neat touch, sent the ball further on to Bowen who from 15 yards struck a sharp volley beyond Coughlan’s reach and into the back of the net.

This was Luke’s 11th WPL goal of the season – he and Liam Thomas have now scored 31 League goals between them out of Town’s current total of 42 which, remarkably, represents close to 75% of that figure. The next highest scorers are Mael Davies, Greg Walters and Declan Carroll all with just 2 WPL goals each. All of which graphically demonstrates the value of these two experienced strikers to the team throughout this season.

Then in added time Coughlan denied Town a fourth goal – Davies, from the right touchline slid a fine pass through to Thomas who outpaced a defender to reach the edge of the penalty area then released a fierce angled shot that the overworked ‘keeper just managed to block.

The three points gained from this victory have lifted Carmarthen closer to the 9th placed team in the WPL table, Cefn Druids, and with just two more matches to play there remains the possibility of overtaking them.

But to preserve this chance Town must win their penultimate match, at Cefn, next Saturday, April 20, (k/o 2.30pm) and then hope for favourable results in the final round of fixtures the following week.

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Sport

Ammanford back on track

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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

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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

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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. https://www.dropscycling.com/ 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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