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Llandovery edged by high-flying Vale

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Llandovery 13
Ebbw Vale 22

llandovery1

In action: Llandovery v Ebbw Vale. (Pic. Riley Sports).

LLANDOVERY’s recent renaissance in the league came to an abrupt end as high-fliers Ebbw Vale boosted their chances of making the play-offs and secured the double over the Drovers in the process, having previously triumphed in the September thriller at Eugene Cross Park 30-29.

With this the first of three tough away trips to end the season, the next two being at Llanelli and Cardiff, the victory leaves Vale realistically requiring just one win to secure second or third as they currently hold a 9 point advantage over fourth placed Cardiff.

Playing with the wind in the first half Llandovery took the lead thanks to a booming penalty from the halfway line by Fly-half Steffan Marshall. This was to be their only points of the half as Ebbw Vale moved through the gears and produced some fine free-flowing and clinical rugby.

Looking to run their backs at every opportunity due to the lack of a kicking option as the wind howled in their faces, Ebbw were expert in their approach. Jordan Howells and Carl Meyer were threatening at every opportunity and it was only a matter of time before the visitors took the lead.

This came in an unexpected fashion as the normally reliable Marshall threw a poor pass that was intercepted by winger Tom James, who ran clear of the shell-shocked defence to give his side the lead. Ian Smerdon added the simple conversion against the wind providing the platform for Ebbw to kick on.

The visitors were dominating at the breakdown thanks to their exuberant pack, with special mention to the ever present back rower Harrison Keddie who didn’t allow Llandovery to gain any momentum.

James added his second as he was put into a gap by Meyer, and tasked with another simple conversion, Smerdon added the extras to give his side a commanding 14-3 lead.

With Llandovery faltering at the set-piece Ebbw Vale smelt blood and just before half-time they grabbed their third as Ronny Kynes went over following a spectacular driving maul which the Drovers pack was helpless in preventing.

With Keddie receiving a yellow card just before the break for some over enthusiastic play, the home side sensed a way back into the game and they perhaps should have been, if it wasn’t for the speedy covering of Tom James who denied Marshall a try when he looked certain to score.

With nearly an hour on the clock they were back in it as scrum half Lee Rees gathered from wing Rhys Williams to make the score 19-8, the try went unconverted.

Ebbw Vale were made to work hard for their victory as the home crowd got behind their side and drove them towards the try line, but solid defence and strong leadership saw them home.

Smerdon added another penalty to ensure victory before Rees crossed for his second and a consolation try for the hosts.

Team:

Llandovery: 15. Mike Evans 14. Rhys Williams 13. Matthew Jacobs 12. Rhodri Jones 11. Aaron Warren 10. Steffan Marshall 9. Lee Rees: 1. Dean Howells 2. Luke Lewis 3. Greg Cunniffe 4. Bryn Griffiths 5. Matthew Harbut 6. Phil Day (captain) 7. Richard Rees 8. Richard Brooks

Replacements:

  1. Andrew Jones 17. Dorian Williams 18. Andrew Green 19. Ryan Morgans 20. Tom Ball 21. Shaun Miles 22. Josh Guy 23. James Garland
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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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