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Old Gold boost survival hopes

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CARMARTHEN continued their promising opening to their Welsh Premier League second-phase programme with a valuable 3-2 victory over Newtown on Saturday (Feb 10) in a match that genuinely was the proverbial ‘game of two halves’.

With the accumulation of League points an essential requirement at this stage of the season the Old Gold, under the guidance of new interim Manager Neil Smothers for the first time, made a positive start with several incisive attacks that tested the visitors’ defence.

The only notable scoring chance in a fairly uneventful opening spell arose at the other end of the pitch – on 9 minutes, following a Ryan Kershaw free-kick, the ball rebounded off Town’s defensive ‘wall’ and fell nicely for Alex Fletcher who struck a 25 yard effort just wide of the far post.

However that heralded a thrilling and productive period of attacking football from the Old Gold which, as in last week’s Prestatyn match, heavily featured their recently-assembled triple strike-force.

In the 16th minute Luke Cummings, from the right flank, delivered a searching cross into the crowded goalmouth where Mark Jones set up the chance for Town’s all-time top goalscorer Liam Thomas to fire the ball home from close-range.

Then on 23 minutes a Cummings’ corner-kick was claimed by Jones who released a crisp drive that was blocked by ‘keeper Jack Perry – the loose ball was quickly played back to Aidan O’Kelly who from 20 yards struck a stunning volley that flew through a pack of defenders and into the back of the net.

Moments later, following a swift break out of defence the ball was sent upfield to Jones who took it forward to the edge of the penalty area then released a fierce drive that went just narrowly wide of the post.

During this spell Newtown had their fair share of possession but, with the Old Gold defence performing soundly, they were unable to create any serious goal threat from open play – their best opportunity arose after 33 minutes when Jay Denny hit a 30 yard free-kick that ‘keeper Lewis Thomas was forced to block before the ball was cleared safely away.

Then in the 39th minute Carmarthen’s refreshing attacking play was further rewarded – Cummings sent a fine pass through to Luke Bowen who, from close to the by-line, sent an inviting cross into the goalmouth where Liam Thomas, rising high above his marker, produced a firm header that went beyond  Perry’s reach and into the roof of the net.

This concluded what had undoubtedly been Town’s best 45 minutes of football this season.

After the interval Newtown, unsurprisingly, were straightaway totally committed to attack as they monopolised possession and kept the home defence under sustained pressure. As before, the Old Gold were defending with composure and discipline and it was not until the 61st minute that any meaningful scoring opportunity arose – Kershaw moved forward to the edge of the penalty area before releasing a fierce strike that Lewis Thomas denied, turning the ball aside with an impressive full-length save.

Shortly afterwards Kershaw again suffered as he watched his long-range drive defeated by another spectacular flying save from Town’s on-loan ‘keeper.

Eventually on 68 minutes Carmarthen’s resistance was broken when Ethan Jones broke into the penalty area and fired a sharp cross into the goalmouth where Nick Rushton stabbed the ball home from close-range.

This inspired the visitors to swarm forward with even greater intensity and after 79 minutes Rushton, from the by-line, fired a dangerous in-swinging free-kick into the goalmouth where Thomas, surrounded by a number of players, managed to punch the ball safely away.

That was just one of several instances, with the Old Gold under serious pressure in their own penalty area, where the young ‘keeper bravely dived down amongst opponents’ feet to claim or clear the ball.

Ahead of him Town were fully committed to defending their lead, often with only Jones operating upfield as an isolated attacking force – and they were successful up until the 90th minute when Kieran Mills-Evans, with a close-range header, converted Rushton’s right-wing cross.

Even more anxious moments followed for Carmarthen supporters as they endured several minutes of added time before the referee blew the final whistle to confirm that three precious League points were secure and another step towards WPL survival had been achieved.

The Old Gold must now make the long journey up to Llandudno for their next League fixture on Saturday, February 17, (k/o 2.30pm).

With the Seasiders having gained just two points from their last four matches, Town have reason to hope that another decent performance will further boost those survival prospects.

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Canolfan Carwyn Sports Centre and Brynamman Lido to be transferred to a community groups

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A MULTI- SPORTS facility, at the heart of the Gwendraeth Valley, has been taken over by a local sports group, the Baton Twirlers.

The management of Canolfan Carwyn Sports Centre, which is owned by Carmarthenshire County, has been transferred to the Baton Twirlers Association Cymru (BTAC) via a lease agreement and will allow the public to continue to use the facilities at the centre.

Whilst Canolfan Carwyn Sports Centre is now the official home of BTAC its facilities are available for the local community and sports groups to be used.

An official reopening of the Centre, which bears the name of one of the Gwendraeth Valley’s most famous sons, under the new management of the BTAC was held on Sunday, October 2.

Speaking at the event, Jessica Shore Director of the Baton Twirlers Association Cymru (BTAC) said:

“We are thrilled to have worked with Carmarthenshire County Council to secure this sports centre on behalf of the local community and it’s a pleasure to welcome the public here today. We are looking forward to working with and hosting various community and sports groups at the Carwyn James Sports Centre.

“It also was very important to us to provide a home for baton twirling in Wales, and we will make great use of the excellent facilities here.”

Cllr. Gareth John, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism said “This is a great success story for the BTAC, the Gwendraeth Valley and the council as we have secured the future of the Carwyn James Sports Centre for the local community.

I would like to thank Baton Twirlers Association Cymru for their work and enthusiasm during the process of transferring management of the Sports Centre to them, as a community group, and I wish them the very best for the future.”

Plans approved to transfer management of Brynamman Lido

On Monday, October 3, the council’s Cabinet approved plans to lease the Brynamman Lido, which is held in trust by the Carmarthenshire County Council, to Brynamman Lido Limited under its asset transfer programme.

Under the proposed lease, Brynamman Lido Limited will take over the management of the lido with the intention to reopen the swimming pool for sporting, recreational and leisure activities.

Following the approval of the plans by the Cabinet, Cllr. Gareth John commented:

“We are pleased to be working with the local group in Brynamman to transfer the management and maintenance of the lido to the community.

“The transfer of this asset will allow Brynamman Lido Ltd to apply for funding via grants that would not be available to the County Council, and we will continue to work with them and provide support along the journey to reopening the lido to the community.”

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Latest recruit to Llandeilo’s Ashmole & Co team ‘converts’ his spare time into being a rugby referee

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Ashmole & Co have scored a try with their newest Trainee Accountant. The firm is delighted to announce that Aled Jones has recently started working for the successful accountancy team in the Llandeilo office.

Aled, who lives in Pontyberem, is a community rugby referee in his spare time. He referees senior rugby games on Saturdays and Junior rugby games on Sundays including cup matches. He is also involved in the Scarlets Cup Final at Parc y Scarlets and the Carmarthenshire cup finals.

Before joining Ashmole & Co Aled was a Personal Banker with Barclays Bank for five years. He studied AAT Level three at Coleg Sir Gar. Aled went to primary school in Pontyberem and secondary school in Ysgol y Gwendraeth.

Day to day with Ashmole & Co, Aled prepares and inputs clients’ sales and purchase invoices onto the accounting software; completes clients’ VAT returns and assists senior members of the team with the preparation of accounts. The most rewarding part of the job for Aled is hearing that the clients are happy.

Welcoming Aled to the team, Ceri Llwyd, Partner in the Llandeilo Ashmole & Co office, said, “We are delighted that Aled has joined our team in Carmarthenshire. He has fitted in well and is a pleasure to work with. I’ve told my rugby mad sons that they have to behave now when they play rugby on a Sunday in case Aled is their referee! It is great that he gives up his spare time to help local rugby clubs in this way.”
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Aled said, “I am grateful to Ashmole and Co, who are one of the most established and largest teams of chartered, certified accountants and auditors in south and west Wales, to give me this opportunity.”

Ashmole & Co offer financial support to a significant number of junior and professional sports teams across south Wales. The Llandeilo office has recently shown its support to Llandeilo RFC by contributing towards new tops for the juniors.

Ceri added, “As a rural firm that works with businesses in the area it is a pleasure for us to be able to lend our support to local sports teams.”

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Llangennech prove too strong for Penclawdd

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LLANGENNECH earned their fourth win in as many matches on Saturday (Oct 22) as they beat Penclawdd 38-10.

Jordan Saunders got the scoring underway with the first try of the game and Thomas Davies added the extras.

Penclawdd then levelled the scoring with a try from Daniel John Guarneri and Marcus Brown added the extras.

It remained 7-7 until half time with conditions proving tricky for both sides.

In the second half, Aaron Howles got the try to put Llangennech ahead but the conversion was missed.

Joseph Hutchings then extended the visitors’ lead with their third try and Davies added the extras to take the score to 7-19.

Penclawdd then responded with a penalty from Brown as the home side looked to get back into the game.

However, Llangennech soon had their fourth try and a bonus point as Howles touched down for his second try of the game and Davies added the extras.

Louis Rees then scored an unconverted try before replacement Hefin Jones went over for Llangennech’s sixth try, converted by Davies.

On Saturday, October 29, Penclawdd travel to Aberystwyth for their second game in the Division 1 Cup.

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