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Old Gold beaten in final game of season

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CARMARTHEN went into this match, the last of the season, hoping to secure 3 points which would ensure a final Cymru South League placing of fourth or, if results elsewhere were to be favourable, even third would be attainable.

But regrettably Pontypridd produced enough of the impressive form that has kept them in 2nd place virtually all season and secured for them promotion to the Cymru Premier League – and accordingly, in the end, despite Town’s best efforts that was simply not quite enough.

From the start the match quickly developed into a lively end-to-end affair but, with both defences coping well, no early serious scoring opportunities arose until the 10th minute.

Jordan Vickers embarked on a determined sprint along the right flank then slid the ball infield to Bradley Gibbings – he in turn, from the corner of the penalty area, sent a fine pass across to Ben Steele who struck a stunning volley that flew beyond the reach of goal-keeper Steve Cann but crashed against the bar before being cleared away by a defender.

Then on 22 minutes another clear opportunity arose when Tom Dyson, with a measured pass from the half-way line, set Steele racing clear of any defenders – but as Cann came out to the edge of his penalty area the lively striker wastefully dragged his shot wide of the far post.

After 25 minutes Town again went close to scoring when Noah Daley struck a promising 25 yard volley only to see Cann produce a fine flying save and turn the ball aside.

Then moments later Carmarthen threatened to score once more when Vickers, again using his lightning pace to good effect, reached deep into the visitors’ half before sending a fine cross into the far side penalty area where Steele struck a fierce drive that defeated Cann but crashed against the bar before the ball was cleared to safety.

But then in the 29th minute, having survived that prolonged pressure, Pontypridd took the lead – seemingly, with the help of some poor Town defending. A corner-kick was fired deep into the crowded goalmouth and reached Sam Johnson at the far post and he found time and space to plant his close-range header into the roof of the net.

The Old Gold quickly responded to that setback and on 37 minutes Gibbings moved across the edge of the penalty area before releasing a fierce drive that flew narrowly past the post.

However, that response was abruptly terminated in the 42nd minute by a moment of collective slack defending. A long, lofted pass was launched upfield from the Pontypridd half and, while four Town defenders were slow to react to the danger, goal-scorer Johnson was allowed to race unchallenged to reach the ball and, from 25 yards, lob it over the advancing Ifan Knott and into the net.

Town’s response to that further setback was immediate but their only scoring opportunity before half-time arose when Trystan Jones sent a long cross to the far corner of the penalty area where Steele saw his ambitious header fly over the bar.

After the interval the Old Gold were quick to put the visitor’s defence under pressure and on 48 minutes Steele dispatched a long-range drive into the goalmouth where the ball was turned aside – from the ensuing corner-kick Scott Tancock’s weak close-range header was easily claimed by Cann.

Then on 51 minutes Jamie Rickard struck a close-range shot but Cann was quickly down to claim the ball.

In the 59th minute Steele attempted another fierce long-range strike which defeated Cann but hit the base of the post and the ball was cleared to safety. And soon afterwards Dyson dispatched a promising volley that drew another flying save from the increasingly busy Pontypridd (former Carmarthen Town) goalkeeper.

Then on 79 minutes Jones fired a 25 yard free-kick that flew beyond Cann’s reach but crashed against the bar and dropped over the back of the goal.

The pacy, end-to-end nature of the match continued until the final whistle but, with no more scoring opportunities arising, the Old Gold were left to settle for defeat and no further League points – consequently Town finish the season in fifth place in the Cymru South League.

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Mumbles beat Wanderers with three balls to spare

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MUMBLES picked up victory against Carmarthen Wanderers on Saturday (May 14) as they reached their target with only three balls to spare.

After winning the toss, the Wanderers chose to bat first and they scored 207-5 in their 50 overs.

Robbie Crawford and Owain Davies shared 30 runs for the first wicket but Crawford was bowled by Greg Handley on a score of 11 and soon after he had Davies caught by Sean Davies on a score of 12.

Jack Straw then had Gareth Thomas caught by Aneurin Norman as the Wanderers were reduced to 47-3.

Owain Binding and Tom Davies looked to get the Wanderers going again and they shared 52 runs for the fourth wicket.

Binding hit six fours in a score of 39 but he was caught by Richard Gibby off the bowling of Jamie Sheldon.

Tom Davies and Lewis Byng then shared 81 runs for the fifth wicket with Davies reaching his half century.

Davies hit four fours and five sixes as he reached a score of 72 but he was then bowled by Handley.

Byng went on to finish unbeaten on 26 while Owen Bailey hit three late fours to finish not out on 16 from 6 balls.

Owain Binding bowled Joe Phillips early in Mumbles’ reply and he also trapped Richard Gibby leg before on a score of 22 to leave their opponents on 31-2.

Scores of 47 (three fours) from Elliot Oates and 77 (eight fours, two sixes) from Gregory Thomas kept Mumbles in the game but the Wanderers continued to take wickets.

Sean Davies hit a four and three sixes in his score of 28 from 17 balls but he was caught by Iestyn Scourfield off the bowling of Gareth Thomas.

Jamie Sheldon was run out on a score of 10 by Lewis Byng, leaving Mumbles on 206-8.

In the last over, Greg Handley defended the first two balls and then hit a four with the third to win the game for Mumbles.

On Saturday, May 21, Carmarthen Wanderers host Llanelli.

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Ammanford bow out of Welsh Cup

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AMMANFORD made a swift exit from the Welsh Cup as they were beaten by seven wickets by Pontarddulais in a closely contested match at Ffosyrefail.

Ammanford batted first and reached a handsome 217 for 7 in their 40 overs, thanks to Kurtis Marsh (36), Xavier Clarke (30) and Alun Evans (48).

Former Ammanford star Matthew Fisher took four wickets for 37 in his first match against his old club.

Despite losing an early wicket, experienced opener Gary Arrowsmith began a solid Bont response, and a half century from Iestyn Rees put the home side well on the way to victory.

Despite a couple of wickets each from Alun Evans, Saihaj Jaspal and Fin Jeffries, Bont rteached their target with 3 overs and 3 wickets to spare.

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Ammanford lose out as Swansea post mammoth total

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SCORING their highest total for several seasons, Ammanford still managed to lose by 131 runs to a blistering Swansea batting line-up which has now scored over 1200 runs in 3 matches.

Ammanford’s acting captain Dan Roberts must have imagined that lightning couldn’t strike thrice when he invited Swansea to bat on a perfect St Helens track. It could.

And it did. Opening pair Brad Wadlan and Chris Gibson (82) put on 252 for the first wicket before Wadlan fell for 147.

Wadlan is just 14 short of 500 runs for the season and it’s still mid-May!

Swansea’s impressive batting line-up maintained the assault on Ammanford’s bowlers, Jake Roberts scoring 96 from 41 deliveries.

They closed on a gargantuan 425 for 4.

Ammanford’s priority was to secure maximum batting points by reaching 225, and this they did without any difficulty.

An excellent 88-run opening partnership from Rhodri-Huw Davies (51) and Kurtis Marsh (30) gave Xavier Clarke (112no) an excellent platform from which to launch a classy maiden unbeaten ton for Ammanford.

Dan Roberts (30) and Saihaj Jaspal (46no) continued the good work, and Ammanford closed on 294 for 3, a total which on most weekends would guarantee a win.

Whilst there was never any chance of getting near Swansea’s ridiculous target, Ammanford’s batsmen gave a thoroughly creditable account of themselves which looked promising for the rest of the season.

Next week they welcome Newport to the Park.

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