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Scarlets earn much needed win



SCARLETS earned a much needed victory on Saturday (Jan 5) as they beat the Dragons 22-13 in front of over 8000 fans.

The men in Red were keen to get back to winning ways following a disappointing festive period and they were soon ahead.

Scarlets outside half Dan Jones kicked off at the Parc for the last derby of the festive season. The talking point ahead of the game was captain Ken Owens starting at number 8 because of the region’s injury in the back row with hooker Ryan Elias starting in the front row for his 100th appearance.

Within minutes Scarlerts were up in Dragons territory putting pressure on the opposition and captain Ken Owens packed down at number 8 for the first time.

The home side were held up just short of Dragons’ 22 line and they were given a penalty which Jones kicked through the posts for an early 3-0 lead.

With six minutes on the clock Dragons lined up a penalty after Scarlets were penalised this time at the scrum. Josh Lewis stepped up from the ten metre line but his attempt hit the post.

Photo by Darren Harries

Scrum half Kieran Hardy chased the 22 drop out and made a break in Dragons territory. He showed good pace and danced around defenders getting the Scarlets back up to Dragons’ 22.

With ten minutes gone the Scarlets were given another penalty and Jones scored to double the home side’s lead.

Scarlets lose the scrum penalty after a few re-sets despite the Dragons loosehead letting go of the bind. Dragons kicked downfield but Scarlets soon got back in to opposition territory. Dragons had a line out on their 22, but Scarlets regain possession and build an attacking phase. A knock-on handed possession back to the Dragons but plenty of determination and physicality on show.

On the half hour mark Dragons got a penalty on the ten metre line and this time Lewis sent it over to make it 6-3.

In the final minutes of the first half Scarlets got an attacking phase up and running in Dragons’ 22. Rob Evans was in position for a pick and go and he crossed over the line. Referee Craig Evans calls on the TMO to confirm grounding. The try wasn’t given but play was brought back for a penalty which Dan Jones slots over.

As the clock ticked over the 40 minutes the Scarlets were given a fourth penalty which Jones sent over to give his side a 12-3 lead at half time.

The Dragons got the first points on the board in the second half through a Josh Lewis penalty after a decision by the referee incensed the home crowd in the North Stand enclosure.

The first try of the game was scored shortly before the hour mark with winger Ioan Nicholas finding himself on the end of the attacking move in Dragons’ 22 after much pressure from the home side.

Ryan Elias throws in to the line in front of the South Stand, Kennedy wins at the top of the line out, and it’s passed through the hands gracefully. Johnny McNicholl puts Nicholas in for the try with the final pass in the line. A much-needed boost for the Scarlets and despite a missed conversion the home team moved eleven points clear of the opposition (17-6).

Photo by Darren Harries

Changes were made with Tom Phillips, Werner Kruger, Wyn Jones, Marc Jones and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne coming on for Ed Kennedy, Samson Lee, Rob Evans, Ryan Elias and Kieran Hardy.

With plenty of fire in the belly the Scarlets got back in to Dragons territory playing good attacking rugby. Everyone is keen to get their hands on the ball and a mammoth drive by the forwards in their 22 saw them put the opposition under huge pressure. However, the Scarlets were unable to turn the pressure in to points as the clock ticked towards the 70th minute.

Scarlets got straight back down in to opposition territory and there was another strong run to the whitewash but they couldn’t quite get over.

Play was called back after no advantage and replacement scrum half Hidalgo-Clyne took a quick tap to send himself over to make it 22-6.

The Dragons had the last word as James Benjamin crossed the whitewash with Tovey adding the extras to give a final score of 22-13.

The Scarlets now take a break from Pro14 action as they face two tough Heineken Champions Cup fixtures. The first of those at the Parc on Saturday (Jan 12) as they welcome Leicester Tigers for a 5:30 kick off.

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FC Carmarthen earn a point against Felinfoel



TWO late goals for FC Carmarthen earned them a point against Felinfoel on Saturday (Dec 4) as their game finished 2-2.

Felinfoel are yet to lose a game this season and it looked like they were on course for another win but goals in the 74th and 85th minutes of the game earned a point for the visitors.

Chris James had put the Division 1 leaders ahead in the first half as he scored from the penalty spot.

He then doubled Felinfoel’s lead on 58 minutes and they looked set to go on and earn their thirteenth win of the season.

FC Carmarthen had other ideas though and they pulled a goal back through Osian Thomas.

Thomas then completed the comeback five minutes from the end.

Both sides looked for a winner but were forced to settle for a point apiece.

On Saturday, December 11, Felinfoel are at home to Camford Sports while FC Carmarthen travel to Kidwelly Town.

PHOTO by Darren Harries

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Amman United earn first win



AMMAN United claimed their first Division 3 West victory of the season with a hard-fought success on a bitingly cold afternoon at Penygroes.

Very little of note happened during the opening quarter as errors and knock-ons spoiled the flow.

Then, the visitors drew first blood on 20 minutes when, out of the blue, a well-worked move from a midfield break saw centre Steff Davies cut in to score under the posts, outside half Tom Caddell converting.

Amman had a strong wind at their backs in the first half, and with lock Jason Knell making some good yardage, they shaded the territory.

Penygroes were winning in the lineouts, but were squandering some good possession.

Try-scorer Davies limped off, to be replaced by Liam Poole, and, a wind-assisted Caddell long range penalty before halftime gave the Reds a 10-0 interval lead.

The boot of Tom Caddell stretched the lead after the restart to 13-0, but the home side were starting to get more joy in attack, prop Ben Jackson impressing with his workrate, and, after he was tackled short of the line, lock Dan Rees gathered and went over for the try, full back Nicholas Morris adding the conversion.

Caddell kept Amman’s score ticking along with another penalty, and, in the final quarter, the visitors brought on their very own “bomb squad” as Rhys Phillips, Harley Davies and Rhydian Jones entered the fray, with great effect.

With much more cohesion in attack, Jones impressed around the pitch particularly, and with some ten minutes left, full-back Joel Foster’s excellent work put the try on a plate for backrow man Jac Isaac to cross the line for a converted score.

George Clarke also featured with some telling Amman runs as they continued to press, Penygroes only threatening sporadically, full back Nicholas Morris the pick of their backs; but they lacked a real cutting edge to finish off their good work.

United’s win was rubber-stamped when scrum half Alex Williams gleefully divebombed over for a third Amman try with minutes left.

To their credit, the home side battled manfully to the end, and were rewarded with a try with the final move of the game as Rhys Gealey scored as the final whistle was blown.

Amman will be at Cwmamman Park on Saturday, December 11, when they entertain New Dock Stars.

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Risca earn win over Ammanford



AMMANFORD travelled to Ystrad Mynach on Friday night (Dec 3) to face Risca United on their artificial pitch.

The Valley mist was slowly rolling across the sky and hovering just above the pitch. A healthy crowd sat in the large stand waited for the teams’ arrival.

Ammanford were in their green kit whilst Risca were in their usual black and white striped shirts.

The visitors got off to the perfect start with only ten minutes played when Ammanford captain Lee Trundle skilfully turned on the edge of the Risca penalty area and slotted the ball into the corner of the Risca net.

Both sides pressed each other but Ammanford’s lead lasted until minutes before half time when the home side were awarded a penalty.

Risca’s Leon Thomas duly despatched the spot kick into the Ammanford net to level it up at 1-1.

The second half saw both sides pressing for that second goal with no quarter given by either side which kept the referee busy in the production of several yellow cards.

It was Risca that made the breakthrough in the 68th minute of the game when their substitute Harvey Selway assisted team mate Leon Thomas to get his second goal of the game as he broke through the middle of the Ammanford defence and placed his shot past Ammanford keeper Craig Morris to give his side the lead.

Ammanford did their best to respond and Brett Enoch came the closest with a couple of attempts in the last ten minutes of the game.

It wasn’t enough for Ammanford as final whistle blew and it was Risca who celebrated the victory.

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