JD Welsh Cup Round 1
Ammanford AFC v Cardiff Draconians
Cardiff Draconians gave a good account of themselves in this JD Welsh Cup encounter against their higher league opponents Ammanford AFC.
As expected Ammanford’s Manager Gruff Harrison made a couple of changes to his lineup from the side that started against Llanelli Town in their last league outing.
The first half hour of this game was a tense affair with the visitors trying to press the home side whilst defending soundly at the back.
Ammanford’s first real chance came in the 32nd minute when winger Ricky Martin cut inside and fired a powerful shot which forced the Draconian’s Goalkeeper Callum Meyer into a flying save tipping the ball over his crossbar.
Minutes later Ammanford’s central defender Euros Griffiths headed the ball over the crossbar from a free kick.
Ten minutes later an Ammanford corner kick saw the same player rise majestically above the visitors defence and head the ball into the net 1-0
It was a perfect time for the home side to score right on the stroke of half time!
The second half saw Ammanford slowly starting to control the game and in the 54th minute were awarded a penalty.
Ammanford’s Mathew Fisher stepped up but his spot kick sailed over the crossbar.
Three minutes later a rash challenge from Draconian’s Thomas McLean on Ammanford’s Brett Enoch saw the referee brandish his red card and the visitors faced an up hill battle with ten men.
In the 65th minute Lee Trundle almost doubled Ammanford’s lead but his shot went narrowly wide.
However a minute later Mathew Fisher made amends for his penalty miss by dribbling his way into the visitors penalty area and placed his close range shot into the corner of the net deceiving the visitors Goalkeeper to make it 2-0.
With the home team in command Ammanford made changes with Ben Soal and Tristan Jenkins replacing Dale Jones and Ricky Martin.
The Draconian’s never say die spirit paid dividends when Bradley Stubbs stunned the home crowd by pulling a goal back.
Ammanford made their final substitution when striker Craig Frater came on for Bruno Forkouh.
It was all Ammanford in the last ten minutes as the visitors ten men started to tire.
In the 87th minute Ammanford made it 3-1 when Lee Trundle powered a fierce shot past the Draconian’s keeper.
A minute later straight from the restart, Ammanford’s Craig Frater got the ball and caught the Draconian’s defence flat footed as his shot rolled along the grass and into the Draconian’s net to make it 4-1.
With time almost up Ammanford were awarded a second penalty which Lee Trundle took , he tried to dink his kick into the middle of the visitors goal but keeper Callum Meyer stood his ground in the middle of his goal and easily caught the ball.
Ammanford’s second penalty miss of the game didn’t really impact on the result of this cup tie.
The final whistle blew and Ammanford celebrated the win and progress into round 2 of the JD Welsh Cup.
A spirited performance from the Cardiff Draconians which their supporters would have fully appreciated.
Llanelli Warriors RFC Win World Award
THE LLANELLI WARRIORS were named double Ability Rugby International Champions, the results announced with perfect timing just as the Warriors held their presentation evening.
The Ability Rugby International Championship compares the results of all the mixed ability sides across the globe, with an emphasis on games played but with a win element incorporated.
The results for 2018/29 have been much delayed but saw the Warriors regain the title from Scottish National Clan team. They edged out newcomers the Dragon Allstars who were playing their debut season. The 2019/20 season may have been curtailed, but the Warriors still managed more fixtures than any other mixed ability side, this time edging out another new side, the Port Talbot Panthers.
Mixed Ability rugby sees players with and without disabilities play alongside each other and against ‘normal’ rugby clubs. The concept continues to spread rapidly and the days when it was just the Warriors and their Swansea rivals the Gladiators, have long gone. 10 years ago the 1st sides started forming outside of West Wales and there are now over 100 teams and groups world wide.
Captain Richard Evans was very proud. “It takes a lot to organise fixtures regularly so this is a great reward for all our efforts. The boys are very committed and we just love to play. It’s great to see so many sides playing now and it’s great to be at the forefront of the movement”.
The news boosted the Warriors presentation evening where they looked back over their season.
James Anthony was the main beneficiary, playing his 1st full season his pace on the wing and accurate boot helped him lift the Top Points Scorer award and the Player of the Year titles.
Players’ Player went to 2nd row Tom Ashour. Quick enough to have previously played on the wing, he proved a reliable source of lineout ball and was always combative around the field.
Luke Pearse was named Most Improved Player, narrowly beating Will Browne, Lloyd Cawley and Dan Grinter.
The most closely contested was Sportsman where Luke Pearse, Arwel Thomas and Dan John were pipped by Chris Davies. The nominees were described as the glue of the club by Chairman Gwilym Lewis, and vital to the teams success.
The Warriors are especially anxious for Covid regulations to lift as the new season will be their 25th. Planning is difficult at present but they hope to have a number of special fixtures. At the end of the season they are due to head out to Ireland for the 3rd Mixed Ability world tournament which will feature 24 clubs from 8 different countries.
New look Cwm aiming to bounce back
During the lockdown period Ryan Stephens and his Cwmamman United
management team took the opportunity to undertake a major review of the
playing set up at the club and with training now having returned they have
already started implementing their exciting plan.
“ It was extremely disappointing to be moved down from Cymru South league
following the FAW average points formula, particularly when our form since
January suggested we could well stay up” said Ryan “ but these are difficult
times and to be honest we had not been consistent enough over the season”
Ryan continued ” We realised though that this was an opportunity to take a
good look at ourselves and create an identity and foundation where we could
enhance the way we developed our players and improve our professionalism.”
The club has recently introduced a new range of training and fitness
programmes, improved technical data and analysis capabilities as well as
create a players charter enhancing team spirit.
“ We have been busy bringing in a mix of young and experienced players to
join a squad where we have been lucky to keep a large group of key players
from last season” said Ryan. ” Combined with a strong group of existing key
young local talent that we expect to see step up this season and with two
strong reserve sides we feel we are in a really good place team wise. It is great
to see everyone buying in to the new approach”
“ We recognise this will be an extremely difficult league with many strong
sides but we are really excited about the challenge to get back to the Cymru
South. We aim to be a club where our players feel truly valued and our club
members, supporters and the community feel proud. We will continue our
preparations so that once it is safe to resume matches again we will be ready.”
Tomi Lewis the latest to sign
FLYING wing Tomi Lewis has become the latest player to agree a new contract for the 2020-21 season.
The 21-year-old speedster is among a group of exciting young backs coming through the ranks at Parc y Scarlets.
A member of the Wales U20s squad that competed at the Junior World Championships in Argentina last year, Tomi has also shone on the world seven series, scoring seven tries in his debut tournament in Dubai as an 18-year-old.
A former pupil at Llandovery College, he came through the age-grade system at the Scarlets and scored on his senior debut in an Anglo-Welsh Cup clash against the Dragons. He impressed for the Scarlets A team during this season’s Celtic Cup and linked up on loan with Ampthill RFC in the English Championship in January.
Scarlets recently announced new deals for 17 members of their squad with Tomi becoming the 15th player who has come through the Scarlets system to have agreed a new contract.
“Tomi is another young player who has an exciting future in the game,” said head coach Glenn Delaney. “He is working hard in the squad and has already shown what he is capable of playing for Wales at U20s and Sevens level. He is one of a number of talented young backs we are looking forward to seeing in Scarlets colours.”
Tomi said: “I am delighted to have signed a new deal with the Scarlets. I have been here since the age of 16 and have been fortunate to have been able to learn from some great players.
“At the moment, it is fantastic being in the squad alongside internationals like Liam Williams, Leigh Halfpenny, Johnny McNicholl and Steff Evans and I’m looking forward to competing for the Scarlets jersey over the coming years.”
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