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Neath loss leaves Drovers rock bottom

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Steffan Marshall: Fly-half notched one conversion (Pic. Riley Sports)

Steffan Marshall: Fly-half notched one conversion (Pic. Riley Sports)

Fosters Challenge Cup

Neath 34

Llandovery 14

ALTHOUGH Neath have lost all their eleven games this season in both league and cup, leaving them cast adrift at the foot of the Principality Premiership, of late they have been promising to blow a side away, as numerous winning opportunities from improved performances narrowly escaped them.

On this occasion, everything came together for the hosts, and indeed they did blow away a Llandovery side that has been riding high in the league, with many tipping them as an outside bet for this years Premiership title.

However, as this is the newly formed Fosters Challenge Cup, both sides were depleted, with Llandovery losing a large chunk of their side to the Scarlets Select squad that was in action in the British and Irish Cup. Neath (with 21 players unavailable, 18 through injury) were forced to change out of necessity, but it was the Welsh All Blacks who came out on top by a comfortable 5 tries to 2 margin.

Llandovery started well enough but when Neath got the ball they sustained possession well and they were rewarded with a try at the posts by livewire hooker Ieuan Dobbs, Iwan Evans adding the conversion points.

Neath scored again when full back Ashley Evans and No.8 Steffan Jones ran well off a midfield scrum move and impressive scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams was on hand to outpace the defence and claim his second try against Llandovery this season.

Llandovery responded as wing Jacob Clement raced clear before he grubber-kicked ahead for scrumhalf Rhodri Davies, but with the diminutive nine on the brink of the line, he was hauled down by the scrambling Neath defence.

The Blacks should have added to their score but Evans missed a penalty chance and then Ashley Evans dropped a scoring pass off speedy winger James Roberts. At the resultant scrum, Neath were harshly penalised but they countered with a superb third try.

Winger Ian Ellis made the running on the let before Iwan Evans, looping around both his props, made space for flanker Leon Ward to crash over.

Both centres Cameron Morris and Dean Howell threatened but, with support slow to reach the former, Neath were penalised again and their defence didn’t regroup quickly enough to prevent Llandovery scoring at the other end where centre Craig Woodall got the touchdown and it was 20-6 at half-time.

The home side started the second-half scenting victory for the first time this season and the bonus point was soon registered when good combined play by backs and forwards ended in lock Jonny Griffiths pile-driving over for the fourth try at the posts and Iwan Evans’ conversion made it 28-6.

Griffiths was yellow-carded midway through the half as Neath conceded a string of penalties. Visiting flanker Andrew Green went over for one of those lineout and drive tries that are fast becoming a blot on the Premiership game and outside-half Steffan Marshall converted superbly to make it 28-14.

As both replacements’ benches were emptied, ironic cheers greeted the awarding of Neath’s first penalty of the second-half in the 78th minute and, after a long stoppage for an injury to visiting centre Rhodri Wall, Neath struck on time with their fifth try by replacement full back Lewis Evans.

Neath supporters were delighted to see the barren spell ended but followers of the Drovers will be concerned that the side have it all to do if they are to progress from the pool as they have serious ground to make up in their next round of fixtures which will take place in December.

Teams:

Neath:

15 Ashley Evans; 14 James Roberts, 13 Cameron Morris, 12 Dean Howell, 11 Ian Ellis; 10 Iwan Evans, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams; 1 Nicky Downs (captain), 2 Ieuan Dobbs, 3 Marc Jones; 4 Jon Barley, 5 Jonathan Griffiths; 6 Leon Ward, 7 Alun Jones, 8 Steffan Jones.

Replacements:

Roy Jones, Adam Nation, Jack Davies, James Bain, Tom James, Lewis Evans, Ryan Evans

Llandovery:

15 Lee Rees; 14 Jacob Clement, 13 Rhodri Wall, 12 Craig Woodall, 11 Mike Evans; 10 Steffan Marshall, 9 Rhodri Davies; 1 Bradley Davies, 2 Thomas Ball, 3 Scott Jenkins; 4 Jake Baker, 5 Colin Markham; 6 Andrew Green, 7 Richard Rees, 8 Joe Powell.

Replacements:

Berian Watkins, Dean Howells, Bryn Griffiths, Shaun Miles, Dafydd Hughes, Rhys Gealy, James Davies, Dan Brooks

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Sport

Mumbles win well against Ammanford seconds

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AMMANFORD seconds suffered a heavy 125 run defeat at the hands of Mumbles at Marespool.

Winning the toss, Ammanford invited Mumbles to bat first, and a terrific 188 run partnership for the second wicket, featuring Ben Jones (94) and Stuart Seaton (77), helped the home team to a healthy 221 for 4 in 45 overs.

Several Ammanford batsmen got into double figures but none were able to stay long enough to make any impression on the run chase. Eirian Morgan top-scored with 25, but the Ammanford innings finished disappointingly on 96 all out.

Gethin Morgan and Phil Roche each took three wickets for Mumbles.

Thirds beaten by Landore

Ammanford thirds travelled to Landore only to lose their match by 50 runs.

Ammanford skipper Carl Griffiths put Landore in to bat, and the home team scored 148 for 9. Landore
skipper Terry Summerfield top-scored with 33.

Ammanford’s Tom Davies was chief wicket-taker with 4 for 38.

Despite a solid 30 from opener and man-of-the-match Tom Davies, Ammanford failed to get anywhere near the required target and folded their innings on 98 inside 34 overs.

The defeat dropped them out of the top half of division six on the SWCA.

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Cwmamman United Juniors host end of season event

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CWMAMMAN United juniors held their end of season event at Clwb Godre’r Mynydd Ddu Glanamman.

As they celebrated throughout the day with their different age groups from Under 6 to Under 14 it looked as if almost every child in the Cwm had attended at some point.

The Juniors section at the club has grown to around 150 children over the last couple of years and with a dedicated and enthusiastic group of committee, coaches and volunteers behind them the club is excitedly anticipating further growth.

A fantastic time was had by all with all age groups proudly having their moment in the sun.

Robert Griffiths the Clubs Junior Chairman said: “I have to thank all our fantastic people at the club that get the kids out playing whether sorting games, coaching, fund raising or organising events such as our club parties and awards such as these.

“We continiue to grow and if your child would like to be part of a safe, healthy and fun environment they are most welcome here.”

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Depleted Ammanford beaten by seven wickets

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A DEPLETED Ammanford lost by seven wickets to Bridgend Town in a rain affected match at windswept Newbridge Fields on Satuday (Jun 25).

With the start delayed by over an hour because of rain, the match was reduced to 39 overs before a ball was bowled, and the toss immediately became the crucial factor in deciding the game’s outcome.

Bridgend won it and, predictably enough, put Ammanford in to bat.

The writing was on the wall as the visitors lost two wickets for 9 runs on an unpredictable wicket which was one of the first bowler-friendly tracks encountered this season.

Only four batters reached double figures as wickets fell at regular intervals. Top scorer was 14 year old wicket-keeper Gruffudd Owen (19no) who took the game to the visitors and looked capable of scoring many more had he not run out of partners.

Ammanford were all out for 90 inside 30 overs.

Tea was taken early as more heavy rain swept across Newbridge Fields, but unfortunately for Ammanford the sun made a reappearance and play eventually resumed.

The Bridgend batters did not have it all their own way, quickly losing both openers to opening bowler Owen Davies.

Davies removed a further wicket in a good spell of 3 for 15, but Thomas Cogbill (43no) and Luke Humphries (18) saw Bridgend safely home without further trouble inside 24 overs.

Next week, Ammanford welcome second placed Swansea to the Park, the memory of their 700+ run clash at St Helen’s still fresh in their minds.

Thirds beat Pontardawe by a single run

Ammanford thirds beat Pontardawe by a single run in a rain adjusted match at the Rec.

Batting first, Ammanford reached 132 all out, thanks mainly to their captain Carl Griffiths (41) and Dafydd Wyn Jones (21).

Rain meant that Pontardawe’s reply was restricted to just 16 overs, during which they had to score 53 runs.

They came very close, but two wickets each from Oliver Pallot and Iwan Matthews interrupted their progress and they fell short by a single run, finishing on 51 for 5.

The victory moved Ammanford into the top half of SWCA’s Division 6.

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