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Scarlets try-fest secures semi-final place

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SCARLETS welcomed Toyota Cheetahs to Parc y Scarlets for the Guinness PRO14 Final Series quarter-final on Saturday (May 5) looking for a victory to keep the Championship-retaining run alive.

A beautiful Spring evening was the perfect touch for a final home game of the season as the Scarlets faithful came along to say a fond farewell to the individuals moving on at the end of the season.

The home side crossed the whitewash for six fantastic tries as the sun set on Parc y Scarlets’ season and the team didn’t disappoint putting in one final performance to keep the home winning record alive.

Scarlets got the scoreboard ticking over after five minutes of play with winger Steff Evans crossing in the corner. The ball came out from a Cheetahs line out as play continued despite an injury to Rob Evans in midfield. Rhys Patchell and Hadleigh Parkes made strong breaks through centre field and made the all-important territorial gains putting Evans in over the whitewash. Halfpenny added the conversion.

A penalty then came Scarlets’ way just inside Cheetahs territory as the game headed towards the quarter of an hour mark. Halfpenny stepped up for the long range penalty but the ball hit the upright and the Cheetahs looked to play from deep. Scarlets are on heightened alert and Tadhg Beirne wins the turnover in their 22. They were given another penalty and Halfpenny made amends for his earlier miss to make it 10-0.

Photo by Darren Harries

Within a few minutes Scarlets were back on the rampage from inside their own half as Gareth Davies gets the ball away from the scrum. Centre Parkes motored up the outside and finds Halfpenny in support who cuts a great line to the whitewash before converting his own try.

Cheetahs then got their first points on the board after 21 minutes of play with outside half Johan Goosen slotting a penalty.

Halfpenny was replaced by Dan Jones and Patchell stepped up for a long range penalty. He has the range, just like Halfpenny did earlier on in the half, but it sailed just wide of the upright.

With just a few minutes remaining in the first half Steff Evans made a wonderful break in midfield. He danced around five or six Cheetahs defenders, frees himself, puts in a chip over the top and scores a second try! Patchell added the conversion and the Scarlets looked comfortable with a 24-3 half time lead.

Scarlets fired in to action early on in the second half with a try from winger Tom Prydie. The Scarlets put the Cheetahs under huge pressure in their half and after scrum half Gareth Davies was replaced by Jonathan Evans the Scarlets pack got the ball flowing through the hands with Scott Williams putting in a wonderful pass before Prydie touches down under the posts. Patchell added the conversion.

Wyn Jones made a return to the field on the 45 minute mark, his first game since the Six Nations campaign when he injured his hamstring.

Whilst John Barclay receives a standing ovation from the entire ground, including the coaching staff, captain Ken Owens goes and scores from the rolling maul for their fifth try of the evening with Patchell converting.

Replacement scrum half Jonathan Evans crossed for the region’s sixth try on the hour mark as he dashed towards the whitewash from the 22 line. He dives in time to touch down and Scarlets go 43-3 ahead.

With fifteen minutes remaining Tadhg Beirne was replaced by Aaron Shingler. An emotional send off as Parc y Scarlets erupts. Every man, woman and child were on their feet.

Scott Williams leaves the field of play at Parc y Scarlets for the last time as a Scarlet. Another emotional farewell.

The Cheetahs cross the whitewash with ten minutes remaining after frantic defensive work by the Scarlets. The TMO is called upon for foul play earlier on in the phase where Tom Prydie is manhandled without the ball and the try was disallowed.

It was the Cheetahs who finished the game strongly with fullback Clayton Blommetjies scoring Cheetahs’ only try of the evening.

That was the last action of the games and the Scarlets sealed an impressive 43-8 win. They now go on to play Glasgow Warriors at the Scotstoun Stadium on Friday, May 18.

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Five-star Old Gold sink students

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AFTER Carmarthen opened their Cymru South League home programme some 12 days ago with a comprehensive victory over Llantwit Major they improved on even that performance with this crushing demolition of Swansea Uni who were kept deep under pressure in their own half for much of the match.

From the start Town launched a series of piercing attacks which the visitors struggled to contain.

On 5 minutes a sweeping move along the right-flank began with Jordan Vickers sprinting upfield and then playing the ball on to Liam Thomas who threaded a fine pass across to Matthew Delaney – from the corner of the penalty area he struck a fierce angled shot that goal-keeper Ben Edwards, at full-stretch, turned aside.

Yet soon afterwards the Old Gold took the lead. After 9 minutes Vickers passed the ball across Jamie Rickard who instantly sent it on to Thomas, inside the penalty area, and Town’s all-time top scorer clinically converted the opportunity.

Then on 12 minutes Delaney, from the right-wing, sent a fine long cross into the goalmouth where Scott Tancock saw his close-range glancing header fly just wide of the goal.

At this stage Town were dominating the game with their pace and movement. On 22 minutes Rickard threaded an excellent pass to Thomas on the edge the penalty area but with defenders nearby his hurried shot went marginally off-target.

In the 25th minute Vickers, a particular constant threat to the opponents’ defenders, fired an inviting cross into the goalmouth where Noah Daley was just unable to reach the ball for a simple tap-in opportunity.

The visitors, during all this time, had managed little in terms of creating a serious attacking threat. However on 30 minutes George Sellick broke clear from the centre-circle and struck a 25 yard volley which Carmarthen ‘keeper Ifan Knott, having raced some way out of his goal, first blocked and then claimed the loose ball.

But that was just a brief interruption to Town’s search for more goals and the certainty of three League points.

On 36 minutes Daley embarked on a remarkable solo run – having taken possession of the ball on the edge of the centre-circle he proceeded to pass 3 defenders and move into the penalty area then dismissively go around Edwards and drive the ball in to the empty net.

Soon afterwards, in the 39th minute, the Old Gold scored again when Thomas, on the half-way line, played a fine pass forward to Bradley Gibbings who raced free towards the penalty area where he neatly side-stepped Edwards, who was bereft of any defensive cover for the second successive time, and slid the ball into the net.

Then, to conclude a most productive 45 minutes a superb long pass out of defence was chased by Jaime Rickard deep into the visitors’ half – as Edwards came well out of his penalty area to challenge him Rickard neatly crossed the ball to Daley who converted an easy tap-in goal.

After the interval, with Carmarthen having such a commanding lead, neither team appeared to show much urgency in the blistering heat of the day. Yet in the 60th minute Town extended their lead with a well-worked move.

Vickers sprinted along the right flank before sending a deep cross to the far side of the goal area where Daley arrived with perfect timing and planted a powerful header past Edwards and into the back of the net.

The Old Gold continued to hold the advantage over the University team, in terms of both possession and territory, but the only further goalmouth action arose after 80 minutes – following a free-kick Rickard struck a promising 20 yard drive that Edwards, at full-stretch, turned around the post.

This was a most welcome result, not only in terms of the quality of the performance but also in that Town have now moved up into 5th place in the League table.

The Old Gold’s League programme now continues with a visit Goytre United on Friday, August 19, k/o 7.30pm.

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Wanderers win to keep promotion hopes alive

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CARMARTHEN Wanderers earned a big win on Saturday (Aug 13) as they beat Ynysygerwn by 162 runs.

The win keeps them in third place in Division 2 of the South Wales Premier League, 29 points off the top two. However, their next fixture is at home against league leaders Ynystawe.

On Saturday, Ynysygerwn won the toss and chose to field and they saw the Wanderers rack up 262-8 from their 50 overs.

Owen Bailey hit three early boundaries (1 six, 2 fours) before being run out on a score of 16 and Tom Davies reached a score of 25 before falling lbw to Emyr Lawrence.

Owain Binding made 17 before being stumped as the Wanderers were reduced to 82-3.

Gareth Thomas and Robbie Crawford took over and they shared 87 runs for the fourth wicket.

Thomas hit seven fours and two sixes in his score of 63 from 58 balls but he was then caught by Adam Davies off the bowling of Nathan Davies.

Carl Holding was also stumped and Liam Rogers fell on a score of 10 when he was caught and bowled by Nathan Davies.

Crawford then reached his half century as he and Eddie Byng added 34 runs for the seventh wicket but Byng became the third batsman to be stumped.

Ian Hughes was out for a third-ball duck before Crawford and Harry Conick finished unbeaten.

Conick hit a late six to finish not out on 8 while Crawford was unbeaten on 71 after hitting six fours and two sixes.

Ynysygerwn were in trouble early on in their reply as they slipped to 16-3. Ryan Sylvester made a score of 29 before falling lbw to Owen Bailey.

Adam Davies made a score of 15 for the home side but it wasn’t enough as they were bowled out for 100.

Binding was the pick of the bowlers as he finished with 5-22. Chris Turrell, Ian Hughes, Tom Davies and Owen Bailey all picked up a wicket each.

The Wanderers’ game with leaders Ynystawe starts at 12:30pm on Saturday, August 20.

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Ammanford seal place in top flight

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AMMANFORD sealed their place in next season’s top flight with a thrilling one wicket victory over Bridgend at the Park.

Bridgend won the toss and batted first, losing three quick wickets to the excellent bowling of Matthew Davies (2-20) and Dan Roberts (1-30).

However, captain Tom Baker joined opener Sam Wood at the crease and these two provided Bridgend’s main partnership of 81.

The hard track and fast outfield promised a big score but Ammanford’s bowlers stuck to their task and dismissed the visitors for 199 in their penultimate over.

Xavier Clarke bowled well for his 2 for 31 and Owen Davies cleaned up at the end with 3 for 61.

Ammanford got off to a poor start, losing regular wickets until, at 56 for 4, Rhys-Huw Davies joined opener Kurtis Marsh to provide a steadying half century partnership.

However, with the departure of Marsh for 42, three wickets fell for the addition of a single run, and Ammanford were staring down the barrel of another disappointing defeat.

Enter skipper Alun Evans, coming in at number 9 after recovering from a long afternoon in the field.

Evans and Davies added a quick 21 runs before Davies departed for an invaluable 33.

Ammanford were now well into the tail, 8 wickets down and still 68 runs short of their target. Their two last batsmen faced the daunting task of staying in with their skipper while he tried to knock off the runs.

Which, to their credit, is exactly what they did. First, Owen Davies (18) added 33 priceless runs with his captain while last man Matthew Davies (9no) courageously stuck in until the winning runs were scored. Evans finished a true captain’s innings unbeaten on 49.

Ammanford are now safe in 7th place, 60 points clear of bottom club Clydach whom they welcome to the Park next Saturday.

On Wednesday evening, Ammanford travel to Port Talbot to play the semi-final of the SWCA T20
knockout cup. Wickets pitched at 5.45pm.

Ammanford seconds lose by 67 runs

Ammanford seconds lost by 67 runs to Carmarthen Wanderers at Trinity Fields. Carmarthen batted first and were dismissed for 177 in the 42nd over

Top scorer was skipper Giles Thomas (41), supported by Oliver John (27) and James Connick (24).

Tomos Roach was Ammanford’s top wicket taker with 4 for 20. Cian Roach and Iwan Matthews picked up a couple of wickets each.

In reply, Ammanford’s batsmen just couldn’t stay in long enough to make an impression on the scoreboard. Cian Roach (27) and Steffan Williams (22) did their best but the overall response simply
wasn’t good enough and they were all out for 110 after just 25 overs.

Third XI lose by eight wickets

Ammanford thirds went down by 8 wickets to Llandarcy.

Ammanford reached 150 for 9 in their 40 overs, thanks to opener Steve Hagget (45) and skipper Neville Pritchard (35). Llandarcy’s Jon Pryce took 4 for 18.

Despite losing two early wickets, Llandarcy took just 22 overs to pass the Ammanford total, with unbeaten half centuries from David Noall and Gareth Richards.

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