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Cricket season gets underway

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CRICKET returns to South Wales today (Saturday, Apr 28) for both the South Wales Premier and South Wales Cricket Association leagues.

In Division 1, Ammanford will be captained for the ninth year by former Glamorgan batsman Alun Evans (426 runs; 26 wickets). Now a Residential Child Care Officer for Carmarthenshire, Evans has a fully fit squad to choose from, bowlers Tom Murphy and Sean Coaker having recovered from injury.

Daniel Roberts (494 runs) has arrived from Mumbles to play alongside brother Matthew as leading run gatherer Matthew Fisher (529) continues as vice-captain, crucial also to the Boars will be his bowling, where he took 30 wickets.

Ellis Richards will open the innings alongside Glamorgan’s Jack Murphy, who has spent the winter in Melbourne playing grade cricket for Hampton Cricket Club. Stalwart wicketkeeper Gareth Slade keeps the gloves, with second team leader Ben Ledger promoting youngsters Joseph Davies, Matthew Davies and fifteen year old Owain Davies into the first team squad.

Sponsored by Morganstone Ltd and Solid Fuels, the Park in Ammanford will be prepared for the opening fixture against Port Talbot Town again by Lyn ‘Tosh’ Davies with ‘Gary the Scorer’ continuing in the ‘Box’ for his twenty eighth year.  Assisting Evans on match day will be former Llanelli Knights U19s coach Iwan Richards, with Club stalwart Ian Rees continuing the important role of skippering the Clubs third eleven in Division 6 of the SWCA league.

Llanelli make a return to the Premier League as Dan Radcliff cup holders, ninety years after they first lifted the trophy in the SWCA’s third season. Skipper Marcus Leaf maintains the side which took the championship by 20 points where he plundered 570 runs as opening batsman, supported by Craig Howells (457).

Ioan Phillips will be given the opportunity to enhance his development, all-rounder Iwan Rees (438 runs; 26 wickets) will partner Leaf to open the innings.  Player of the year, leg spinner David Richards (32 wickets) will have another key part to play alongside Chairman Vaughan Thomas (23 wickets) who will take the new ball in his thirty third season with the Club. Sharing the new ball at Toppers sponsored Stradey Park for their opening day derby with Carmarthen Wanderers on a pitch prepared by Joe Wyatt, is another veteran, Steve Devonald (22 wickets and 378 runs).

The side also has a new wicketkeeper with Llanelli rugby player Ben Edwards taking over from the retired Mike Davies, with all-rounders Matthew Roberts, Alex Symmonds and Ryan Nicholls keen to make an impression in Karen Weeds scorebook.  Second team skipper Gareth James will develop Jack Rees, Tom Westcott and Wales Girls U15 leg spinner Sarah Phillips to step up when required.

Carmarthen Wanderers will hope for a stronger start to the campaign than last season which saw them anchored to the foot of the table until the mid-point of the season, all-rounder Leighton Walters (284 runs; 27 wickets) once again leading the side which has lost Steffan James and wicketkeeper Owain Evans to Whitland.

Gareth Thomas (804 runs; 28 wickets) form will be key, alongside attacking batsmen Stephen Mills (416) and Stephen Inward (408), where veteran spinner Ian Hughes (23 wickets), all-rounder Owain Binding (208 runs; 17 wickets) and youngsters Garmon Dyffri and Liam Rogers will look to make an impression, alongside Wales under 17s players Rhodri Crawford and Josh Thomas on the wicket prepared by Llandysul based Mike Turner.

Bronwydd, who celebrated their fortieth anniversary with a black tie dinner on Saturday (Apr 21) have wicketkeeper / batsman Oli Furneux (300 runs) at the helm once again as they begin their season at Cwnc Y Deri against newly promoted Swansea Civil Service. George Gleeson (386 runs; 13 wickets), Meirion Davies (369 runs; 12 wickets) and James Cale (329) are key alongside Gleeson’s brother Tom who took 41 wickets with the new ball alongside change bowler Pauluge Gihan Secstus Fernando (26 wickets).

Dafen Welfare welcome Cowbridge on the opening day of the season, with veteran Wales Senior international and club stalwart after 30 years’ service, Chris Hudson skippering the side for the second season. Sponsored by the Owens Group of Dafen, the Club also have the Marchant Company, Astley’s Estate Agents and Manhattan on board as keynote sponsors, with the grounds maintained by second team captain Chris Randall, Wayne Powell and Llanelli Rural Council.

Wicketkeeper Dai Williams has moved to Llangennech and quick bowler Scott Phillips to Ynysygerwn, meaning off spinner Hudson (23 wickets) and his Chairman of selectors Rob Green acquired seam bowler Rhys Marchant from Newport and all-rounder Andrew Rodgers from Skewen to support last season’s SWCA leading wicket taker David Dunfee (42 wickets).

He will share the new ball with Matthew Donoghue (17 wickets) and experienced all-rounders Matthew Evans (18 wickets; 400 runs) and Phil George (26 wickets) will have key roles to play if the Club wish to reach their goal of promotion to the SWPL.

The ability of Jeremy Dawes (479 runs), young player Jonny Randall (19 wickets) alongside Kai Rees bodes well for Consultant Physician Hudson’s hopes of turning the runners up place twice in the last three years, into top spot, requiring them to overcome the challenge of rivals Gorseinon.

Llangennech, established in 1881 have a new captain in batsman Matthew Jones for the trip to Maesteg Town in Division 2, both sides having recruited new players during the close season.

Arriving at the Argents Associates and Tafarn Morlais sponsored Club to strengthen the side are Scott Lloyd from Gorseinon, Dai Williams (404 runs) as a wicketkeeping all-rounder from Dafen and Ammanford all-rounder Hedd-Wyn Jones from SWPL Division 1 outfit Ammanford.

All three will supplement Jones, who took 26 wickets and scored 385 runs last season, 12 runs behind leading run scorer James Taube, who top scored for the Club with 126* in their victory over Pontyberem. His brother Johnny will also feature alongside opening bowler Simon Clement (22 wickets), Owain Phillips, spinner Bav Patel and sixteen year old Jack Williams.

Eric Lewis and Keith Thomas will share the scoring duties as former Llanelli groundsman Jim Wyatt oversees the grounds.  Alan Warner continues as second team captain with Geraint Lodwig stepping down a team to captain the third eleven for the first time.

Felinfoel start their second season in Division 2 under the captaincy of Rhys Harries, at home to last season’s Division 3 winners Briton Ferry Town, having recruited all-rounder Atif Hameed (20 wickets; 161 runs) from rivals Llangennach. Harries will be looking to Julian Griffiths to continue his form with the bat which saw him accrue 496 runs, supported by Andrew Thomas (391) and Craig Richards.

Anthony Mathias and Stuart Parmeneter with 22 wickets apiece alongside Richards (21) and Griffiths (19) will lead the way with the ball, with Scott Davies leading the second team in Division 5.

Drefach make an opening day trip to relegated Briton Ferry Steel with opening batsman Dafydd Humphrey again leading the side, which shows no changes from last season.  Adam Goodman has made good progress from injury which didn’t see him perform last season and he should make an appearance for the Gwendraeth Valley side, whose top order batting need to deliver if they are to avoid the trials and tribulations of another relegation threatened season.

Leading run gatherer was Owen Donovan with 285 runs, as only two other players, all-rounder Rob Seymour and groundsman Leigh Davies scored over 200 runs. Both Seymour and Davies spin bowling will be heavily relied on by their skipper who has faith in youngsters Harry McBryde and Elis Lewis stepping forward.

The Club have built a strong youth culture with the top end now moving into Under 19 cricket, making the transition to senior sides easier, which bodes well for the side who are keen to start the season well, in contrast to recent years.

Sponsored by RM&S Roofing Humphreys second stint as captain will see him focus on his own personal performance which will help the team as stalwart opening bowler Joe Evans has moved to skipper the second team.

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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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