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Raiders edged out by Bears

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By Ian Golden at Stebonheath Park

COVENTRY Bears sneaked a win over West Wales Raiders on Sunday (Aug 19) after a good second half performance saw them through to a 28-18 win.

The Raiders showed that when they have substitutes to call on, then they can be a threat, and there was little between the two sides. They remain winless but it was their lowest home defeat of the season.

Just seven Raiders players survived from last week’s home defeat against York as they welcomed back six who were injured, three who were on international duty with Wales under 19s and gave a debut to prop James Walter, who played for Gloucestershire All Golds for five seasons between 2013 and 2017. That made it six former All Golds in the Raiders’ squad, who were back to a full quota this week.

Photo by Darren Harries

Coventry fielded five Welsh qualified players including three former South Wales Scorpions captains – two full Welsh internationals in the record Scorpions’ points scorer Paul Emanuelli and record appearance holder Ashley Bateman, as well as full Italian and former Wales youth international Chris Vitalini. Age-grade Wales international players Zak Williams, another former Scorpion, and Liam Rice-Wilson, one of four former All Golds in the Bears side, completed this quintet.

Hayden Freeman was given too much space to collect Ben Stead’s chip to give Coventry the lead on seven minutes. Stead converted.

In a first half, that lasted nearly 50 minutes, littered with handling errors and with no-one able to really gain a stronghold on the game, Bears finally extended their advantage on 21 minutes when Rice-Wilson dived in the corner and Emanuelli converted well.

Raiders were soon back in the game. After winning the ball from another Bears handling error, Steve Parry crashed over and Luke Williams converted.

Then Raiders levelled and for the first time ever went into half-time not in a losing position. Williams intercepted a stray Bears pass on Raiders 10 metre line. He combined with Nye Walker to set up Sam Baker to score in the corner. Williams converted well.

Coventry upped their game at the start of the second half. Malikhi Lloyd-Jones, a player with no known Welsh background, had an early second half try chalked off for offside.

But from Bears’ next opportunity, given to them via a scrum, Bateman, who had been a workhorse throughout the game, stormed through and Emanuelli converted.

A Rice-Wilson run led to Freeman’s second and Bears’ fourth try, scored in the corner, Emanuelli missing the kick.

Raiders hit back on 58 minutes after winning a penalty, Parry went over for his second and Williams converted again.

They were near to sealing the game a couple of times before the 70 minute mark with just solid West Wales defence preventing them from scoring again.

Five minutes to go and for the first time in West Wales this season, it was still anyone’s game. That was before Kieran Sherratt got the Bears’ matchwinner and Emanuelli converted.

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Ammanford upset Penybont to reach MG Cup quarter finals

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Report by Ian Parfitt

AMMANFORD produced arguably the shock of the third round in the MG Nathaniel Cup with a 2-1 victory at Penybont, who currently sit third in the Cymru Premier League, on Tuesday night (Sept 20).

Penybont started the game well and looked dangerous with ex Ammanford player Kai Whitmore calling the shots.

Ammanford however were also playing some neat football themselves and this was quickly becoming a competitive contest.

Ammanford took the lead in the 28th minute when Brett Enoch took advantage of a moment of calamity in the Penybont defence to fire home.

As expected Penybont increased the pressure on the Ammanford goal in search of an equaliser but Ammanford held firm to go into the interval ahead.

Kyle Marsh in particular having a fine game in the Ammanford goal. Ammanford fans would have been expecting a long 45 minutes after the break but it only took a minute for Penybont to find the equaliser, Mael Davies scoring with a firm header.

Penybont were hungry for more goals and looked especially dangerous from the flanks. The Ammanford defence, who were superb throughout held firm under a barrage of high balls into the box.

Ammanford were also keen to get a second and looked dangerous on the counter attack, both Jordan Langley and Callum Silcox going agonisingly close to restoring the visitors’ lead.

The Ammanford defence continued to form a formidable wall at the back which Penybont were unable to breach.

This fantastic rearguard action was rewarded in the 81st minute when Callum Thomas scored what turned out to be the winner for Ammanford, running through on goal and producing a composed finish to slot the ball past Penybont keeper Alex Pennock.

Ammanford players continued to put their bodies on the line to preserve the lead, epitomised by Tom Pratt who took one on the head in the six yard box.

Lee Trundle spurned a glorious chance to make the game safe for Ammanford with a couple of minutes remaining but it mattered not as the final whistle produced jubilant scenes in the away camp.

Ammanford progress to the Fourth round on what was a glorious night for the club.

Photos by Lawrence Molloy
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Strong Ammanford performance seals Cup win over Whitland

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AMMANFORD got their Division 1 Cup campaign off to an excellent start on Saturday (Sept 17) as they beat Whitland 42-13.

Ammanford built up a 17-3 lead and increased that further to 8-29 before pulling away in the closing stages.

Geraint Jones scored a penalty for Whitland and unconverted tries from Gino Setaro and Lewis Gibby followed.

Captain Alex Davies was named as Ammanford’s man of the match as he lead his side to a bonus point win.

The scrum half was among the try scorers as were Morgan Plimmer, Rhodri Jones, Liam Smith, Carwyn Richards, Mathew Lemon and Tiaan Evans.

Ryan Williams added four conversions and one penalty for the visitors.

The next round of Cup fixtures is scheduled for October 15. Ammanford host Newcastle Emlyn while Whitland travel to Tondu.

Ammanford return to action in League 1 West Central on Saturday, September 24 as they host Birchgrove.

Whitland are also back in league action in League 1 West as they visit Pembroke.

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Howell’s strike takes the points for Cwm

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CWMAMMAN United earned their first three points of the season with an impressive all round performance as they overcame Cardiff Darconians through a sublime Gwion Howell finish at Grenig park on Saturday (Sept 17).

Cwm started on the front foot and their passing and movement was excellent and they twice came close early with Gwion Howell clipping the outside of the post while Sion Dafydd Williams pounced on a back pass but could just not quite get enough leverage on his attempt.

They then saw a 25th min goal by Williams ruled out for a tight offside. With Charlie Davies and Scott Jewell having strong games in the middle of the park Cwm looked the likeliest to score but there was a real scare when a defensive slip required a superb save from Kai Rees in the Cwm goal to keep it goalless.

Kyle Ashford and Keiran Richards continued to run hard at the Dracs defence causing problems but the first half remained goalless.

The strong second half push back that Cwm expected from the Cardiff side didn’t materialise and Cwm continued to have the better of the play. Grant Rees and Callum Dougal were strong at the heart of the defence while Leon Coucher and the ever threatening Cory Saunders were launching attacks from out wide.

Eventually the goal came when some neat interplay saw Howell with his back to goal and the ball at his feet. A superb turn moved the ball to one side and he then fired it across the keeper to the opposite corner..

Great celebrations before Cwm immediately settled determined to see this one through. With Davies continuing to push his team forward and subs Alex Giardelli and Harrison Thomas stretching the Dracs side Cwm saw it through without too much worry.

An excellent performance of which manager Paul Lewis said: “Great to get that first win with the boys who applied our team plan superbly today and they really deserved that result.”

Cwm now look forward to another challenge as they travel to play near neighbours Garden village on Friday evening (Sept 23).

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