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West Wales Cup first round preview

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THIS Saturday the West Wales Cup gets underway once more with teams hopeful of a successful run to the Liberty Stadium for the final.

Merlins Bridge are the holders after they beat Carew in the final earlier this year and both have been given byes into the second round this season.

Last year marked the first time that two Pembrokeshire sides reached the final but will that happen again or will another team look to bring the county’s recent dominance to an end.

Goodwick United, Hakin United, Kidwelly Town and Tumble United are some of the other sides to receive byes to the second round.

Holders: Pembrokeshire side Merlins Bridge

Pembrokeshire League Champions Monkton Swifts begin their campaign away to Carmarthenshire Premier Division side Loughor Rovers.

The Swifts have made an unbeaten start to their league campaign while the Rovers have four wins from their opening seven games.

Carmarthenshire Premier League champions Trallwm host Swansea Division 1 side Penclawdd.

Both sides have had mixed starts to their season and will be keen to get their cup run going.

Neath League Division 1 side Cilfrew Rovers are the visitors to Fishguard on Saturday with both sides enjoying a good start to their respective seasons.

Clarbeston Road host Swansea League Division 2 side Cwmfelin Press and Neath Division 1 side Resolven are the visitors to Haverfordwest Cricket Club.

Pembrokeshire Division 2 side Herbrandston host Carmarthenshire Premier side Pengelli United.

Herbie have just one league win to their name so far this season while Pengelli have four wins from their opening seven games.

Swansea Division 1 outfit Morriston Town will visit Division 2 Hundleton in what will be a good test for the Pembrokeshire side.

Neyland host Neath Division 2 side Clydach Sports having sealed their first win of the season last weekend.

In two Pembrokeshire versus Carmarthenshire league ties, Letterston are at home to Evans and Williams while Pennar Robins host Dafen.

Photo by Darren Harries

Dafen are second in Division 1 while the Robins are without a win so far this season.

Elsewhere, Kilgetty travel to Celtic Neath while Lawrenny travel to Bryn.

Division 2 Carmarthenshire side Abergwili host Division 1 FC Carmarthen while Carmarthen Town United host Wern.

Bancffosfelen were heavily beaten at the weekend and they will look to put that result behind them when they travel to Bonymaen Colts.

Premier Division Burry Port host Swansea League Division 3 side Cwm Albion Colts.

Bwlch have only had one win in the league this season and they host Neath Premier Division side FC Clydach who themselves only have two wins to their name so far.

Carmarthen Stars host Pontardawe while Pembrey host Cambrian.

Felinfoel earned a win in their last game in Division 1 and they go up against Carmarthen Premier side Pontarddulais.

Trostre are also at home as they take on Jersey Marine while Seaside travel to Sandfields.

St Ishmaels are away as they take on Gorseinon Athletic, Milford United travel to Murton Rovers and Narberth host Ynystawe.

Good luck to all sides involved.

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Ammanford suffer heaviest defeat

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AFTER two successive victories, Ammanford crashed to their heaviest defeat of the season at St Helen’s, losing to Swansea by a humiliating 240 runs on Saturday (July 24).

Swansea must have regretted their decision to bat first when Daniel Roberts had them at 12 for 2.

But that regret was transitory as their middle order went on to build a massive total of 295 for 7.

Half centuries came from the bats of Gareth Haydn (73), Osian Webber (66) and Adnan Ghori (56), whilst Hasan Hayat came painfully close with 49.

Daniel Roberts carried the Ammanford bowling with 4 for 51 from his 10 overs.

With several first team regulars missing, Ammanford’s batsmen had no answer to the bowling of Kazi Szymanski (5-19), Waqas Tanveer (3-27) and Brad Wadlan (2-4).

The only resistance came from Josef Davies (25) as the visitors crumbled to 55 all out in 14 overs.

Ammanford will want to forget this episode as they fight to get themselves clear of the pack at the foot of Premier One.

Seconds lose by seven wickets

Ammanford seconds lost by seven wickets to table-toppers Carmarthen Wanderers at the Park on Saturday.

Batting first, Ammanford were all out for 133, late resistance to the Wanderers bowling coming from Llyr Morgan (22) and Sion Evans (21).

Liam Rogers was Carmarthen’s chief wicket taker with 3 for 24.

Despite losing a wicket without a run on the board, Carmarthen’s middle order patiently stood their ground and took 32 overs to achieve their target for the loss of three wickets.

Opener Giles Thomas made 47 while Joshua Thomas was unbeaten on 49.

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Two late Thomas goals seal remarkable Cwm comeback

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TEN-MAN Cwmamman United staged a late rally to break South Gower hearts when captain Ryan Thomas popped up in the 78th and 90th minutes with two opportunist goals to see Cwm progress to the next round of the Welsh Cup.

It had been a match of few clear chances with neither keeper being challenged until much later in the game.

It started slowly and in their first competitive match of the season Cwm struggled to establish a pattern of play while their opponents who were playing their 3rd competitive match settled down quickly playing some neat football.

For Cwm Gareth Howarth and Elian Evans’ experience at the back was settling the side while Sean Howells continuously tried to seek options for the Blues in midfield.

In the 32nd minute with neither side really creating much a South Gower free kick was perfectly swung across the Cwm goal where centre back Morris flung himself between two Cwm defenders to put it beyond Cwm keeper Kyle Marsh.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first with both sides struggling in the final third of the pitch. The only noteworthy incident was a piledriver by Cwm’s Craig Gordon form outside the box spectacularly tipped by South Gower keeper Sam Williams.

The turning point strangely came with the sending off of Cwm’s Ryan Hurlow in the 55th minute. Flying down the wing he managed to leap over a dangerous incoming tackle but in venting his frustration at the player he incurred the wrath of the referee for raising his hands and suffered a straight red card.

This changed Cwm’s approach and a more urgent faster style increased both possession and frequency of attacks.

Craig Gordon and Geraint Rees were now seeing more of the ball and subs Scott Thomas and Lewis Byng were stretching the tiring Gower defence.  You knew something was coming and in the 78th minute Ryan Thomas took his opportunity well to equalise.

With penalties on the spectators’ minds and Cwm continuing the pressure in the 90th minute a long free kick into the box was half cleared, headed back across to Thomas who calmly slotted it home to great celebrations.

South Gower could justifiably feel unlucky after such a solid performance but it is Cwmamman who went through to the next round.

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Old Gold denied win by late penalty

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Pontypridd Town 1-1 Carmarthen Town

CARMARTHEN TOWN, since their relegation from the Cymru Premier League, had been waiting for the first opportunity to begin their campaign to restore their top tier status – and, having taken the lead late in this match against a competitive Pontypridd side, it seemed that they had made a perfect start.

But, sadly, deep into added time the home side were awarded a hotly disputed penalty and the Old Gold had to settle for a share of the points in this their first ever Cymru South League match.

However even before the start of the match the gathering of Town supporters were delighted to see the presence of a very familiar face in the pitch-side dug-out, namely that of Mark Aizlewood who had just been appointed Head Coach – a role similar to that which he had held on three earlier occasions often coinciding with times of some notable success for the Club.

In the early stages of the game it quickly became clear that these two teams were quite evenly balanced but while the play switched quickly from end to end, no serious scoring chances emerged.  At the heart of the visitors’ defence Lee Surman and Lewis Rocke were strong and assured while on the flanks Michael George and Corey Saunders gave them firm support – goal-keeper Scott James was never troubled during this spell.

At the other end of the pitch strikers Liam Thomas and Noah Daley could make little early impression on the Pontypridd defence, prominent within which were long-term Town defenders Dave Vincent and Jordan Knott.

But eventually the game livened up and on 19 minutes the first notable scoring opportunity arose for the hosts when Sam Johnson, from the corner of the penalty area, released a fierce angled drive that James watched carefully slip wide of the post.  Then moments later Aiden Lewis struck a stunning 30 yard free-kick that flew comfortably over the bar.

Pontypridd continued this spell of pressure when the ball reached Luke Gullick inside the penalty area – he turned sharply then fired a crisp volley that James turned aside with a smart reflex safe.  Then on 26 minutes Lewis threatened the visitors’ goal once more when he dispatched a promising 20 yard strike that James denied with a stunning full-length save.

The Old Gold at last managed to threaten the home goal in the 34th minute when Jordan Vickers sent a fine pass through to Thomas just inside the penalty area – from a very sharp angle Town’s all-time top goal-scorer drove the ball beyond the reach of ‘keeper Morgan Davies but, sadly, into the side-netting.

Yet the final action of the first-half was at the other end of the pitch – after 40 minutes Lee Baldock fired a long free-kick into the crowded penalty area where Drew Fahiya struck a fierce volley that James carefully watched safely fly over the bar.

After the interval Carmarthen began far more positively but apart from a Rocke header on 60 minutes that flew just over the bar following Keiran Howard’s corner they had nothing to show for their efforts – the hosts failed to achieve even that meagre “success”.

However as the match seemed to be drifting to a goal-less conclusion an unexpected frenzy of activity erupted.

On 88 minutes Thomas released a fierce drive that struck the post and the ball rebounded out – it was promptly returned into the goalmouth where Daley, reacting quicker than several other players, stabbed it into the net from close-range.

That setback seemed to galvanise the hosts into frenzied activity and as the match drifted into added time they were rewarded when the referee decided that Vickers’ clumsy challenge on the edge of the penalty area merited a spot-kick.

Baldock stepped forward and fired the ball beyond James’ reach and into the corner of the net.  A few minutes later the referee blew the final whistle.

Town’s next fixture is against Llantwit Major on Tuesday, July 27, k/o 7.30pm at Richmond Park, while on the following Saturday, July 31, k/o 2.30pm Risca United visit Richmond Park – both are Cymru South League matches.

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