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Scarlets’ late surge sees off Ospreys

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Pro-14 Conference B

Ospreys 14 – Scarlets 16

 
A LATE try from Angus O’Brien secured the derby day spoils in a nail-biting Guinness PRO14 Boxing Day clash against the Ospreys.
The Ospreys, playing as the official ‘home’ team at Parc y Scarlets, had led for the majority of a tense contest.
But with 71 minutes on the clock, a superb off-load from replacement Blade Thomson paved the way for full-back O’Brien to slice through and dive over for the crucial score.
Man of the match Dan Jones added the conversion to put the Scarlets in front for the first time and the West Walians were able to finish the match on the front foot to claim the annual festive bragging rights and a crucial win to keep them in the hunt in the Conference B standings.
O’Brien hadn’t been named in the original match-day 23, but was brought in at the 11th hour as a replacement for Johnny McNicholl.
In blustery conditions, Scarlets enjoyed the early pressure, but despite hammering away at the Ospreys line were unable to come away with any points.
Instead, it was the Ospreys who were first on the board after 14 minutes through the boot of fly-half Stephen Myler.
The opening quarter was proving a cagey affair with both sides unable to get any momentum going.
A moment of individual brilliance from scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams, who dummied and sprinted clear from 40 metres, extended the Ospreys’ lead on 22 minutes, but the Scarlets’ response was swift with Jones landing a penalty straight from the kick-off.
Jones hit the upright with another attempt, then a pin-point cross-field kick from Steff Hughes just evaded the grasp of wing Steff Evans with the line at his mercy.
A powerful scrum on the stroke of half-time led to a long-range penalty chance, but O’Brien’s strike drifted wide with the Ospreys going in ahead 8-3 at the break.
Myler extended his side’s lead early in the second half, but Jones kept Scarlets in it with his kicking out of hand and off the floor.
Two more penalties from the Carmarthen fly-half to one from Myler made it 14-9 going into the final 10 minutes.
Then the Scarlets struck.
With Thomson having a big impact off the bench, the back-rower plucked a ball out of the sky as the Scarlets surged forward. He was involved again soon after, producing a sublime pass to O’Brien who cut a great angle to the posts.
With only two points in it, the Scarlets showed their composure to make their way downfield and set up camp in ‘home’ territory for the final minutes, denying the Ospreys any chance to snatch the win. 

Glenn Delaney reflected on the absence of fans from the stadium.
“You go back 12 months and there were 15,000 people here and I don’t think I have experienced anything like it. This place was electric.
“I say it every week, we are very fortunate to be in the position we are and we are only here by virtue of the supporters of this great club. We want the fans back here as soon as possible.
“Hopefully, they found a chance to shout at the TV screens, get involved and share the experience. The derby season is passionate, the only thing we are missing is the people. We must get the people back into the game, they would have loved the occasion.”
On the performance, while Glenn Delaney was ‘delighted’ with the win, he added: “There is plenty for us to work on. We stayed in the game and that’s what you have to do in a derby.
“There were a lot of things we weren’t happy about in terms of our skillsets and penalty count, we were very ill-disciplined and we need to correct that. We were putting pressure on ourselves. We were trying to play and we were quite close on a couple of occasions, a couple of pass-kicks almost went to hand.
“Probably not having a game for a week or so showed, our timing was a bit off; we have had a couple of disjointed weeks, we looked a bit rusty. I thought the Ospreys were excellent, put us under pressure and took their points well.”
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Sport

Cup wins for Ammanford teams

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AMMANFORD reached the next round of the SWCA T20 Knockout Cup by beating Carmarthen Wanderers by 6 wickets with 2 overs to spare.

Wanderers batted first and reached 91 for 9, thanks mainly to Tom Davies (37) and Iestyn Scourfield (23).

For Ammanford, Matthew Fisher picked up 3 for 17 while Owen Davies and Callum Croft bagged a couple each.

Ammanford took just 18 overs to overhaul the Carmarthen total for the loss of four wickets.

Josef Davies top-scored with 35, helped by Rhodri Davies (16) and Matthew Fisher (22no).

Ammanford’s third XI defeated Llanelli seconds by 82 runs in the SWCA Intermediate Cup at the Park on Sunday.

Batting first, Ammanford scored a creditable 144 for 7 from their 20 overs.

Steffan Wyn Williams top-scored with 41, whilst other contributions came from David Lumb (21) Sam Potter (17) and Neville Pritchard (29no).

Llanelli could only manage 62 for 6 in reply, Sam Potter picking up two wickets for 10 runs.

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Ammanford lose again to Newport but seconds win

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AMMANFORD slipped to the bottom of Premier One with a 20 run defeat to Newport in another high-scoring match at the Park.

Ammanford skipper Alun Evans looked to have made the right decision when he invited Newport to bat and promptly took the wicket of opener Morgan Bevans with the score on 1.

That was as far as their luck went, though. The next wicket didn’t fall for another 130 runs as Michael Clayden (58) and Callum Taylor (93) made the most of a friendly batting track.

A further setback for the home team took the shape of Mujahid Ilyas who blasted a rapid 68 which included 6 sixes.

Newport closed on a forbidding 277 for 5.

Forbidding, but not impossible.

Ammanford got off to their best start for several seasons as Alun Evans (73) and Matthew Fisher took the opening stand to 185.

When Fisher fell for a terrific 112, Ammanford still needed 90 runs at ten an over, and despite a quickfire unbeaten 41 from Dan Roberts, couldn’t make up the rate.

When Evans was dismissed for 73, that signalled the end of Ammanford’s challenge and they fell short of their target by 20 runs.

Ammanford have now scored 516 runs in their last two matches without a win.

Next week they face another tough trip as they travel to league leaders St Fagans.

Ammanford second XI

AMMANFORD seconds recorded their first win of the season with a well-earned victory at Gorseinon.

Put in to bat, Ammanford scored 204 for 6. Openers Adam Lyons (44) and Callum Croft (58) gave them a great start while number three Fin Jeffries chipped in with 22.

Gorseinon could only manage 179 in reply, opener Jamie Hill being their top scorer with 48.

Fin Jeffries turned in a good bowling performance with 4 for 38, supported by Iestyn Jones and Jac Davies with a couple each.

The victory enabled Ammanford to leap-frog Gorseinon off the foot of the table.

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Ammanford well beaten by Port Talbot

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AMMANFORD slipped closer to the foot of Premier One with a high-scoring defeat to Port Talbot Town at The New Mansel.

Ammanford were put in to bat on a glorious afternoon and made hay while the sun shone with an opening partnership of 61 between Matthew Fisher and Alun Evans.

When Fisher departed for 40, Daniel Evans took over and his partnership with his skipper took the score to 155 before Roberts was caught on 49.

When Evans fell for an anchoring 86, the Davies brothers, Rhodri (28no) and Rhys (22no) saw out the Ammanford innings, taking their total to a formidable 259 for 4.

Formidable it may have been, but Port Talbot’s batsmen were up to the challenge.

Glamorgan’s Nick Selman led the charge before he was dismissed by Fisher for 47.

The main partnership of 123, however, came between Joseph Voke (84) and Matthew Thompson (74no).

There were still three overs remaining when Port Talbot cruised past the Ammanford total for the loss of 3 wickets.

Things won’t get much easier for Ammanford next week when Newport visit the Park.

Ammanford seconds v Ynystawe

Ammanford seconds continued their miserable sequence of defeats with a 4 wicket loss to Ynystawe at the Park.

A promising start from Eirian Morgan (13) and David Lumb (17) preceded a middle order collapse which was rescued by a terrific individual performance from captain Jamie Evans, whose 76 helped Ammanford reach 167 all out.

Ynystawe’s middle order by contrast kept the scoreboard ticking over, an undefeated partnership between Rowan Evans (31no) and Arun Maurya (26no) taking them past Ammanford’s total with four wickets and 16 overs to spare.

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