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Morgan stars as Scarlets seal big win over Benetton

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SCARLETS returned to winning ways with a confidence-boosting six-try triumph over Benetton at Parc y Scarlets.

Flanker Jac Morgan, on his return from a knee injury, produced a stellar man-of-the-match display, crossing for two tries as part of a dominant first-half performance,

Scarlets had the try bonus point in the bag before half-time with half-backs Sam Costelow and Dane Blacker also crossing the whitewash.

Benetton did attempt to fight their way back into the game in the second period, but late tries from Sione Kalamafoni and replacement Paul Asquith sealed a comprehensive triumph.

It was the Italians who were first on the board thanks to a penalty from international fly-half Tommaso Allan, but the Scarlets’ response was swift.

Strong work from a close-range line-out took play up to the Benetton line and it was that man Morgan who  found his way to the line for his first try of the match.

With Scarlets dominating possession and territory and with the visitors continuing to fall foul of referee Dan Jones, Scarlets turned the screw as Benetton found themselves down to 13 men following the sin-binning of hooker Tomas Baravelle and prop Tiziano Pasquali.

Fly-half Costelow found a gap to dummy his way through the stretched Benetton defence, but injured an ankle in the process. It was left to Steff Evans to nail the conversion. The injury forced Costelow off the field to be replaced by Dan Jones.

Three minutes later Scarlets were celebrating a third try when a counter attack found Morgan on the left wing. The openside had plenty to do 30 metres out, but powered through and brushed off four Benetton defenders to cross for a stunning solo score.

Scarlets still weren’t finished for the half. A clever kick through from replacement Jones found acres of space, full-back Johnny McNicholl hacked on and it was scrum-half Blacker who pounced for the bonus-point try.

Trailing 26-3 at the interval, Benetton showed plenty of spirit at the start of the second period, having a length-of-the-field try chalked off then crossing for a legitimate score through wing Leonardo Sarto.

Scarlets conjured up a number of further opportunities, but couldn’t add to their lead in the third quarter and had to be content with a Jones penalty to extend their advantage.

Prop Steff Thomas appeared for his PRO14 debut as Scarlets emptied the bench and finally, on 71 minutes, the fifth try arrived. Centre Tyler Morgan turned provider with a scything break and when he was brought down just before the whitewash, Kalamafoni was on hand to crash over.

The visitors hit back straight away with a try from a line-out rumble, but it was the Scarlets who had the final word when slick hands across the back division found Asquith, who put the finishing touch on the victory with a sharp sidestep for try number six.

With only three matches of the Guinness PRO14 season remaining, the win keeps the Scarlets firmly in the hunt for a Champions Cup spot for next season.

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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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