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Ammanford ready for Newtown test

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AMMANFORD will play one of their biggest games on Saturday (Aug 10) as they take on Welsh Premier League side Newtown in the second round of the Nathaniel MG Cup.

Ahead of the game the Herald spoke to Ammanford manager Gruffydd Harrison about their preparations for the new season.

Newtown will likely provide a strong test for Gruffydd’s men but he says they are not just going there to ‘make up the numbers’ adding they will ‘give it their all’.

Ammanford booked their tie with Newtown after beating Ceredigion side Penrhyncoch 2-1 in the first round last weekend (Aug 3) and the manager is happy with what he has seen from his squad so far.

I’ve seen a hunger from every single player. We have a few new concepts to our play we wanted to implement and so far so good, said Harrison.

Everyone is motivated and clear on what we want. I’m happy with everyone and their application so far.”

Ammanford will play the 2019/20 season in the newly named JD Cymru South League and Harrison added: “It was important we retained our status in this league last season to ensure our involvement in the rebranding and so far it’s evident the professionalism has raised greatly.

It’s an exciting time to be involved with any club within this league. Every club has had to sink or swim and that will only raise the standards again.”

The club has had a shorter pre-season than usual with the first two rounds of the league cup being played and Gruff adds that his squad is in ‘good condition’

We have one slight injury concern but apart from that we are healthy and that is the most important thing for me after preseason”, he added.

Ammanford have boosted their squad with the signings of former Swansea City players Lee Trundle and Andy Robinson who Gruff says have both been great since they joined.

Gruff said: “They obviously will bring great experience and quality, but they understand they are part of Ammanford AFC and that’s the most important aspect of our club.

They have been great since arriving and will be great assets to go alongside an already outstanding group of players.

They will also help us within the wider community to establish greater links as we aim to further establish the club within our area.”

Gruff added that the club is not planning on making any more signings before the season starts stating: “I am very happy with the depth within the squad and everyone will play their part this season. We won’t be adding any more before the window closes and I don’t expect anyone to leave.”

Finally the Herald asked about Ammanford’s goals for the new season and Manager Gruff explained: “As they are every season, on the field we want to win every fixture we play in. If we can’t we’ll work out why and try to improve.

We are working hard to get better and better and that needs to translate into wins and points. How hard we work will collerate with the outcome of football matches were involved in and consequently our league position.

Off the field I want us to become a community hub and further promote our commitment to the Jac Lewis foundation in relation to mental health awareness.”

Saturday’s game in Newtown will kick off at 2:30pm with the club laying on buses for supporters wishing to attend.

Ammanford’s first game of the new League season takes place a week later (Aug 17) as they travel to Taffs Well.

Their first home game of the season sees them take on Swansea Uni FC on Friday, August 27, kick off at 7:30pm.

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Sport

Personal bests recorded at running events

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THE Welsh Athletics calendar saw a series of midweek Endurance and Sprints open meetings held over the summer months at four South Wales venues – Cwmbran, Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. These events have helped club athletes of all ages secure personal best times by the help of pacers.

The sprints open saw 100m and 200m take centre stage whilst the endurance side saw athletes run over 800m, 1500m, 3000m and 1500m steeplechase disciplines.

More than twenty new lifetime bests were set as twenty-five athletes from Carmarthen Harriers, Pembrokeshire Harriers and Llanelli AC athletics clubs competed throughout the series.

Swansea University Athletics Track welcomed 100 endurance athletes to the third fixture of the MDAL Welsh Milers endurance open meeting on Wednesday, July 31. The conditions near Swansea Bay were ideal for distance running and for running quick times on a bright evening.

In one of the many standout performances, Frank Morgan improved on his Carmarthen Harriers under 15 boys 1500m club record, running 4:10.38.

Results: Dafydd Jones (800m) 2:00.04, Liam Edwards (800m) 2:00.24, Jonathan Williams (800m) 2:01.69, Callum Campion (800m) 2:04.21, Iwan Wilson (800m) 2:24.97, Danielle Franklin (800m) 2:31.74, Rogan Cox (800m) 2:40.96, Frank Morgan (1500m) 4:10.38, Tomos Rees (1500m) 4:25.02, Iwan Thomas (1500m) 4:52.56, Jake Lynock (1500m) 5:04.37, Amy Greatrick (1500m) 5:17.83 and Frances Mackie (1500m) 5:35.00

Two weeks later (Wednesday, August 14), Macsen Toogood (800m) 2:25.55, Amy Tucker (800m) 2:47.65, Callum Campion (1500m) 4:20.21, Carys Jones (1500m) 5:07.45 and Jake Lynock (1500m) 5:17.97 headed to round four and the final Welsh Milers open at Spytty Stadium in Newport.

Cardiff International Sports Stadium was the venue for three Welsh Athletics Run with the wind sprints events in May, June and August.

Competing on the new blue track in the Welsh capital at Leckwith, the meetings featured many of Wales’ top sprinters and up-and-coming future stars. Athletes ran against those that were the same ability in mixed age groups, meaning that there would be a great opportunity to pick up some personal bests.

Results: Lewis Evans (100m) 11.22 & (200m) 23.09, Liam Topp (100m) 11.49 & (200m) 23.46, Jamie Topp (100m) 13.22, Luke Thomas (100m) 12.39 & (200m) 23.40, Ellie Loweth (100m) 13.20 & (200m) 26.74), Thaia Davies (100m) 13.47, Ella Wintle (100m) 12.59, Lucy Wintle (100m) 13.72 & (200m) 27.55, Harrison Wheeler (100m) 11.80 & (200m) 23.78, Rhodri Roberts (100m) 13.34 & (200m) 27.42, Danielle Franklin (100m) 13.49 & (200m) 27.91 and Joseph Franklin (100m) 14.33 & (200m) 30.58

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Wanderers slip to defeat

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CARMARTHEN Wanderers slipped to defeat on Saturday (Aug 17) as they were beaten by league leaders Swansea in a low scoring encounter.

With rain in the air, Swansea were invited to bat first and their hosts restricted them to 133-9 in their 50 overs.

However, the Wanderers were unable to reach their target as they were bowled out for just 70.

Brad Wadlan and Jake Roberts got the visitors off too a good start as they shared 43 runs for the first wicket.

Owain Binding made the breakthrough as he bowled Roberts on a score of 17 and Iestyn Scourfield then bowled Wadlan on a score of 36 to leave Swansea on 60-2.

Thirteen more runs followed before Adnan Ghori was stumped by Ifan Knott off the bowling of Ian Hughes.

Steven Mills was then brought on to bowl and he trapped Gareth Hayden leg before before also bowling Nathan Jones for a second-ball duck.

That left Swansea struggling on 88-5 but Connor Miles and Thomas Haden shared 28 runs for the sixth wicket.

Miles had made a patient score of 25 but was then ran out by Liam Rogers as the visitors looked to put more runs on the board.

Gareth Thomas then had Haden stumped by Knott on a score of 12 before Thomas took the catch to dismiss Callum Jenkins and give Robbie Crawford his first wicket of the day.

Thomas then bowled Mike Hayden as he finished with figures of 2-16 and in doing so, took his 100th Premier League wicket.

That left Swansea on 119-9 but Ioan Webber finished unbeaten on 12 to see Swansea to their total.

Despite the low score the Wanderers knew they would need to bat well if they were to stand a chance of winning the game but they soon found themselves in trouble.

Leighton Walters was bowled by Adnan Ghori and Steven Mills was bowled by Brad Wadlan as the hosts slipped to 14-2.

That became 24-3 when Wadlan caught and bowled Owain Davies.

Swansea continued to pick up wickets and next to fall was Gareth Thomas after being bowled by Jake Roberts.

Wadlan then trapped Darrel Griffiths leg before and Connor Miles bowled Owain Binding to leave the Wanderers reeling on 37-6.

Robbie Crawford and Ifan Knott then looked to get their side moving as they shared 31 runs for the seventh wicket.

Crawford top scored with a knock of 20 but he couldn’t go on as he was caught by Ioan Webber off the bowling of Gareth Hayden.

Osian Webber then bowled Liam Rogers for a duck before Hayden bowled Knott on a score of 10.

Hayden then brought the game to a close when he had Ian Hughes caught by Miles to leave Carmarthen all out on 70.

Swansea’s win saw them gain promotion to Division 1 while Carmarthen remain fifth after their seventh loss of the season.

On Saturday (Aug 24), Carmarthen travel to second from bottom Newport Fugitives while Swansea are at home to bottom side Panteg.

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Sport

Davies brought in for Wales

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WALES have made three changes to their side to face England in Cardiff on Saturday with Jake Ball, James Davies and Dan Biggar coming into the starting XV.

Ball comes into the second row alongside captain Alun Wyn Jones with Davies coming into the back row alongside Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty.

James will also line-up alongside elder brother Jonathan Davies for the first time in a Wales jersey. (The last pair of brothers to play alongside each other for Wales was Jamie and Nicky Robinson in 2006).

Dan Biggar comes into the starting line-up and will partner Gareth Davies at half-back. The rest of the backline remains unchanged with Hadleigh Parkes partnering Jonathan Davies in midfield and Josh Adams, George North and Liam Williams comprising the back-three.

Jonathan Davies

Wales have also named an unchanged front row with Nicky Smith, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis all starting.

“This weekend is another opportunity for us to take the field, test ourselves and continue our preparation for Japan,” said Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

“It is a little over five weeks until we kick off our campaign in Toyota against Georgia and it is important we are fully prepared and rugby-ready by then.

“We were disappointed to get the loss last weekend so it is important we step it up on Saturday and put in a big display in front a of a packed Principality Stadium.

“The squad are looking forward to getting back out there, taking another step towards the RWC and putting in a big performance.”

Elliot Dee, Wyn Jones and Dillon Lewis provide the front-row cover with Aaron Shingler and Josh Navidi completing the forward contingent. Aled Davies, Jarrod Evans and Owen Watkin are named as the backline cover.

Wales Team To Face England: Saturday, August 17 (KO 14.15 Channel 4/Sky Sports):

15. Liam Williams (Saracens) (56 Caps)

14. George North (Ospreys) (84 Caps)

13. Jonathan Davies (Scarlets) (74 Caps)

12. Hadleigh Parkes (Scarlets) (16 Caps)

11. Josh Adams (Cardiff Blues) (11 Caps)

10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints) (71 Caps)

9. Gareth Davies (Scarlets) (42 Caps)

1. Nicky Smith (Ospreys) (29 Caps)

2. Ken Owens (Scarlets) (65 Caps)

3. Tomas Francis (Exeter Chiefs) (41 Caps)

4. Jake Ball (Scarlets) (33 Caps)

5. Alun Wyn Jones (C) (Ospreys) (126 Caps)

6. Aaron Wainwright (Dragons) (9 Caps)

7. James Davies (Scarlets) (3 Caps)

8. Ross Moriarty (Dragons) (32 Caps)

Replacements:

16. Elliot Dee (Dragons) (19 Caps)

17. Wyn Jones (Scarlets) (13 Caps)

18. Dillon Lewis (Cardiff Blues) (13 Caps)

19. Aaron Shingler (Scarlets) (18 Caps)

20. Josh Navidi (Cardiff Blues) (16 Caps)

21. Aled Davies (Ospreys) (17 Caps)

22. Jarrod Evans (Cardiff Blues) (1 Cap)

23. Owen Watkin (Ospreys) (14 Caps)

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