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Raiders gain edge in inaugural Heartbeat Shield

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Charging forward: The Raiders ran good lines all day

Charging forward:
The Raiders ran good lines all day

West Wales Raiders 38

Devon Sharks 10

WEST WALES Raiders put themselves into a strong position in the first leg of the inaugural Heartbeat of Sport Memorial Shield as they put a less experi­enced Devon Sharks team to the Sword at Brixham Rugby Club.

Despite not having a game on the weekend, the Raiders decided to field a travelling squad of mostly reserves and development play­ers to give them the opportunity to play against a team with aspirations of being a part of the Conference League South.

With an early kick off for the game scheduled, the Raiders arrived keen to get going with a fast start, and this proved to be the case as a young Raiders side put pressure on the Sharks from the off.

The first score came when some incisive play and quick handling led to the Sharks defending tight, creating space out wide for Dafydd Phillips who romped over. A difficult conversion for Daf Dan­iels proved to be no problem as he increased the visitors lead with the extras.

Daniels turned from conver­tor to scorer moments later when he crossed the line himself follow­ing a great deal of pressure from the Raiders players. Some smart handling by Rhys Davies saw the prop offload neatly from out of the tackle, catching the defence by sur­prise to release Daniels to gallop home. Daniels then converted his own score.

With the scoreline already looking comfortable for the Raid­ers at 12-0 after only 10 minutes of play, the visiting west Wales side took their foot off the gas momentar­ily and allowed the English side to get a foothold in the match. The lapse in concentration saw the homesters prop Josh Boaler rumble over after a smart inside pass, which caught the visitors firmly off guard. Sam Hedges knocked over the extras.

With moments of the first half re­maining, the Raiders were looking like they were going to be made to rue their high number of missed opportunities, but their nerves were settled before heading back into the dressing room as mistake from the Sharks undid all their hard work in the half.

Raiders winger Liam Johnson was the beneficiary as he gobbled up a stray pass to extend his sides lead again, strolling home to stretch the lead.

This boost was countered imme­diately however as Marcus Phillips crossed right on the bring of half time to leave the score at 10-20, although this turned out to be the hosts last points of the match.

Throughout the game the horren­dous weather had been an issue with the ball resembling a bar of soap at times, and after a period of dry and warmth at half time it was understand­able that the players started the second period with little vigour or inspiration.

A slow period of 20 chanceless minute ensued as both sides called the changes in their ranks and emptied their benches.

Eventually life was breathed into the game by Raiders debutant Mathew O’Flanagan, who dived over for his first try, to his own personal delight, but also to the coaching staff, who knew the game was now all but won.

With fifteen minutes left the Raid­ers could’ve brought up the 50-point mark with the amount of chances they had, but they had to settle for 38 as they managed to cross just twice more, despite the Sharks being out on their feet.

It was a tough afternoon for the young Raiders at times, but ultimately they came through their test with fly­ing colours as they triumphed in ap­palling conditions.

After the game Raiders owner An­drew Thorne commented: “It was great to see everyone involved enjoy the first test in the newly created link between both clubs, rugby league is growing and games like these help clubs grow.

“Devon Sharks hosted us well and it’s great to see how far rugby league is reaching. I was also pleased to see 6 under 17s players and 5 debutants who held themselves throughout the game which is great for the future of club”.

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Late goal sees Lido beat Ammanford

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Report and photo courtesy of Ian Parfitt

AMMANFORD suffered the heartbreak of late defeat at Afan Lido on Friday night with an 87th minute winner from Liam Griffiths securing a 2-1 win and all three points for the hosts.

Afan Lido started the match on the front foot and Ammanford were clearly struggling with the pace on Lido’s flanks. A foul in the box led to a penalty for Lido in the 11th minute which was dispatched by Chris Jones.

Afan Lido were largely on top in the first half however were unable to add to their goal. Ammanford were restricted to half chances although Callum Silcox did hit the post with an angled shot.

Ammanford would have hoped for an early goal in the second half and that’s exactly what they got in the 48th minute, the excellent Jordan Langley spotting the keeper off his line and hitting a looping shot into the net from 30 yards.

This goal clearly settled Ammanford and spurred on by a vociferous away support went in search of a second goal.

Afan Lido rode their luck in the 63rd minute when Owyn Airey smashed a shot against the bar.
Callum Silcox then forced Lido keeper Steve Cann into an excellent save in the 74th minute with a rasping, long range effort.

Ammanford looked the most likely team to score and had several other opportunities which they failed to convert.

Ammanford were playing well with Morgan Clarke particularly influential in midfield.

Just when it looked as if a hard fought contest was heading for a draw Griffiths swept home from close range in the 87th minute following a Lido corner.

Ammanford frantically went in search of a second equaliser in the time that remained but this eluded them and the final whistle brought about feelings of what could have been for the away team.

Ammanford will look to put things right in their next match, a home encounter against Goytre Utd on Friday (Sept 30).

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Williams’ wonder strike sinks Village

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CWMAMMAN United came away from a hard fought match at near neighbours Garden Village in front of a large crowd with the three points following a powerful strike from Sion Dafydd Williams.

It was the second win on the trot for Cwm and manager Paul Lewis will have been especially pleased with a second consecutive clean sheet.

Cwm started well and dominated the first half that saw a Cory Saunders inswinging corner beat everyone and bounce out off the far post while Williams then later saw his shot agonisingly trickle past the post.

A high ball in to the Village box then hit the defender’s hand and Cwm had a penalty. Kyle Ashford struck it well but it was a tad too high and Wyn Walters made an excellent save. Charlie Davies then had an opportunity following a great move but fired just wide.

Ross Morgan, Ashford and Davies were dominating midfield while Grant Rees and Callum Dougal in the heart of the defence were controlling the Village attacks.

The goal was coming but not expected as spectacularly as it did when in the 39th minute a cross into the box saw Sion Dafydd Williams leaving Walters with no chance as he rocketed the ball into the net from the edge of the box as he seemed to be facing away from goal.

As the first period Garden Village will have been relieved to see half time just a goal down and will have been happy that they were still in it.

The second half saw a more even game with Walters again making excellent saves from Keiran Richards and from a Williams header. Village were now breaking more and Kai Rees who had tidied up excellently behind the Cwm defence throughout had to make a great finger tip save in the 70th minute.

Both sides then had to make changes due to injury with Cwm losing Leon Croucher, Williams and Richards to be replaced by Harrison

Thomas, Jordan Sullivan and Alex Giardelli returning to his old club.

Cwm seemed to be seeing the game out comfortably but had a late scare when Giardelli was given a red card for a reckless challenge in the 98th minute and nervously had to defend one last free kick.

An important win in the context of the season and Cwm now entertain Treharris Athletic on Saturday, October 1, at Grenig Park, 2.30pm

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Amman earn first win of the season

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AMMAN United claimed their first win of the season after an opening-day draw, and a cup defeat at Haverfordwest last weekend.

However, you would have been hard pushed to imagine a 50-point final-score when, just before half time, the score remained 0-0.

But two injury time scores had then given Amman an unlikely 12-0 interval lead against the Bulldogs.

A bright opening from United saw centre Gavin Lewis, on yet another comeback, show his trickery with a nice run and offload early on. Hooker George Clark had a fine game and was in the thick of everything, as were fellow forwards Iwan Davies, Dan Jones, Rhydian Jones and captain Alun Lewis.

Bynea suffered a very early blow, losing Corey Butler to an untimely injury, and they were later to also see Jamie Thomas limp off before half time.

These injuries meant a large period of added-time, and the Bulldogs’ valiant defence cracked during the injury-time as Joel Foster and Alun Lewis combined to put in flanker Rhydian Jones for the opening try, which Tom Caddell converted.

A frustrating couple of minutes for the visitors was compounded when a quick tap and go penalty from scrum half Foster saw him smuggle over the try line for a second try on the stroke of half time.

The Reds continued in good heart after the restart, and after some good play,Foster and and Dan Jones were involved before Rhydian Jones slipped a fine offload to skipper Alun Lewis who went under the posts for another converted try.

Another “vet” came on, Adrian Thomas off the bench as the home side largely dominated with their pack in the ascendency, Cian Lewis, Jason Knell and Rhys Phillips having put in a good shift throughout.

The Bulldogs then had a purple patch for a while,centre Jack Mal almost finishing off a fine move, before more calamity struck for them as Jake Sam was sadly stretchered off.

Amman capitalised and grabbed a bonus point try when the excellent George Clarke went over for another score to make it 24-0.

But the dogged visitors were always a threat, and carved out an excellent try for their efforts as wing Nathan Baker finished off a well-worked team move, which outside half Finlay Cook converted.

Amman hit back when the back row combined well before Dan Jones went over the whitewash for a try.

A very young Bynea side battled to the end,and some more excellent play was rewarded with a try for Tom Badger, converted by Cook.

However, the home side had the last word and grabbed a very late injury time try as the industrious Rhydian Jones crossed for the final score of the game.

Amman face a tough trip to Tumble on Saturday, October 1, while Bynea are home against New Dock Stars.

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