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Town back in play-off driving seat

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Carmarthen Town 5
Prestatyn 2

WITH RHYL slipping up at home to Connah’s Quay, the Old Gold took full advantage by dispatching of doomed bottom side Prestatyn, with the visitors reduced to nine men before half-time. It was a timely slip up from Rhyl, with them due to visit Richmond Park on the 11th April in what will surely be the decider for the play-off place.

With the Old Gold desperately needing three points from this game to boost their prospects of securing a UEFA qualifying play-off place at the end of the season, they made the worst possible start when the visitors, with their first attack, took the lead on 3 minutes. Jordan Davies sent his corner-kick into the crowded goalmouth and Jack Lewis was allowed the time and space to head the ball powerfully past keeper Lee Idzi.

Stung by that setback Town immediately pressed forward with a series of swift incisive raids and by the 12th minute they were back on level terms when Jordan Knott made good ground down the left wing before delivering a searching cross into the penalty area where Luke Prosser turned sharply and from 6 yards hit a crisp drive which was handled on the goal-line by James Stead. The referee straightaway awarded a penalty and, inevitably, dismissed the Prestatyn defender. Liam Thomas stepped forward and confidently drove the spot-kick past Scott Williams and into the back of the net.

While the Old Gold continued to enjoy the greater share of possession and territorial advantage, the visitors managed to break out occasionally on the counter-attack and after 15 minutes they almost repeated their earlier success when another Davies corner was met by Dave Hayes who rose high above surrounding defenders but his firm header slid just past the post.

Yet Carmarthen held the initiative and they deservedly scored a second goal on 20 minutes when Kyle Bassett sent a well-flighted corner into the penalty area and saw Jordan Wells meet it with perfect timing and place his header beyond Williams’ reach for his first goal in the Old Gold colours.

This spell of pressure continued with Bassett and Liam Thomas in particular using their lightning pace and mobility to torment the Prestatyn defenders while Lewis Harling, Ceri Morgan and Danny Thomas provided valuable support through their industry and vision in midfield. Meanwhile Town’s defence dealt capably enough with the visitors’ breakaways, despite a few worrying moments of hesitancy under pressure – but the key element here was the performance of Craig Hanford who throughout the game undertook his evident instructions to man-mark key striker Andy Parkinson so effectively that the goal threat normally posed by this dangerous marksman never materialised.

The hosts then went close to extending their lead in the 39th minute when Knott sent a sublime pass through to Liam Thomas who took the ball into the penalty area before releasing a smart angled drive that drew an equally impressive save from Williams to turn it around the post. Straight afterwards Bassett raced clear down the right flank to reach the edge of the penalty area but saw his fierce strike fly just outside the far post.

Then on 42 minutes Prestatyn’s prospects took another significant downturn when Ross Weaver, after having been shown a yellow card only shortly beforehand, was similarly cautioned following a bad challenge on Liam Thomas and, consequently saw the referee also brandish the red card in his direction.

Town immediately made good use of their enhanced numerical advantage by pressing forward with even greater intensity. After 44 minutes a neat exchange of passes between Danny Thomas and Chris Thomas on the edge of the penalty area finished with the ball being played back to Bassett but his well-struck effort went narrowly too high. But in added time their renewed pressure brought success when after a swift break by Prosser down the right flank he crossed towards the goalmouth where Bassett set the ball up nicely for Morgan and he gratefully rifled it home from 8 yards.

Following the interval any thoughts Town might have held that the game was already won were soon dispelled when on 49 minutes a long throw-in from Lewis led to a scramble in the packed goalmouth before Michael Parker, from close range, stabbed the ball past Idzi and over the line.

However the Old Gold were quick to respond and produced another sustained spell of pressure which the beleaguered Prestatyn defence struggled to deal with. After 56 minutes Liam Thomas raced forward to the edge of the penalty area before neatly sliding the ball across to the unmarked Bassett but he saw his promising drive denied by Williams with a fine reflex save. Then on 65 minutes substitute Jeff White sent a deep cross into the penalty area which reached Liam Thomas beyond the far post and from a tight angle he fired the ball past Williams only for Parker to recover swiftly and clear it off the goal-line.

But on 68 minutes Town’s lively striker was successful when he moved elusively across the goalmouth to meet Bassett’s corner-kick and direct a firm header past Williams and into the roof of the net. And moments later the Old Gold made their victory certain when following yet another Bassett corner the ball reached Prosser who swept it home from close range. From thereon Carmarthen were firmly in control of the game and while they created a few further scoring chances, Williams was never again seriously tested.

Team:

Lee Idzi; Jordan Wells; Craig Hanford; Chris Thomas; Jordan Knott; Kyle Bassett; Ceri Morgan (sub Chris Ham 74); Lewis Harling (sub Sacha Walters 74); Danny Thomas; Luke Prosser (sub Jeff White 71); Liam Thomas;

Unused subs: Paul Fowler; Hywel Llŷr; Glen Fearn;

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Sport

Llanelli Warriors RFC Win World Award

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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.

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New look Cwm aiming to bounce back

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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.”

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Tomi Lewis the latest to sign

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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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