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Town suffer top 6 blow

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Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 10.55.32

Lee Idzi: left motionless as Ian Sheridan’s shot finds the bottom corner (Pic. Naomi Jones)

Dafabet Welsh Premier League

Bala 2

Carmarthen Town 1

CARMARTHEN’S prospects of securing a coveted top-six place in the Welsh Premier League by the end of the first-phase programme were dealt a serious blow as they lost narrowly to a strong Bala side despite having taken the lead near the end of the first-half.

Playing their fourth game in just eleven days the Old Gold, with the majority of the starting line-up having played virtually every minute of this punishing schedule, produced another highly spirited and competitive performance in difficult conditions. But from the outset they were forced back on defence as the hosts launched a wave of attacks in pursuit of the goals that would lift them into a comfortable third place in the League.

Their first notable chance arose on 9 minutes when Christian Platt sent a corner high into the packed goalmouth where ‘keeper Lee Idzi, hampered by players, punched the ball clear but only as far as Stuart Jones who from 15 yards volleyed it just over the bar. Then after 15 minutes a long pass forward from defence reached Ian Sheridan and he played the ball across the edge of the penalty area to the unmarked Kieran Smith whose sharp low drive drew an impressive reflex save from Idzi who reacted smartly and managed to kick the ball clear.

Yet gradually Town began making more forward progress with occasional counter-attacks and in the 18th minute they fashioned their first scoring opportunity as Chris Thomas delivered a deep free-kick to the edge of the penalty area where Mark Jones rose high above his marker to head the ball across to Sacha Walters but he shot tamely from 12 yards to give ‘keeper Ashley Morris a comfortable save. But the Lakesiders continued to look more likely to score and on 22 minutes John Irvine sent another long ball deep into the penalty area only for Sheridan to stab it just wide of the post from close range. However, although the Old Gold had spent much of the first-half under pressure they, perhaps surprisingly, broke the deadlock after 38 minutes with a delightful flowing move.

Ceri Morgan, from inside his own half, headed the ball forward to Kieran Lewis who raced down the left-wing before delivering a searching cross into the goalmouth where Jones reacted quicker than nearby defenders to produce a superb glancing header that flew past Morris and into the roof of the net. And they went close to increasing their lead in the 45th minute when a Lewis corner-kick found Morgan amongst a crowd of players in the goalmouth but, agonisingly, he saw his point-blank header blocked on the line by Morris, more by instinct than judgement. But any hopes of a vital victory that Carmarthen might have held were sadly soon dispelled after the interval.

The home side once more took the early initiative and on 49 minutes they snatched an equaliser when the ball was played forward to Lee Hunt just inside the penalty area and he instantly set it up for Sheridan who from 15 yards crisply drilled it into the corner of the net leaving Idzi well beaten. Spurred by that success Bala increased the intensity and range of their attacks as the visitors struggled to contain them. But in the 58th minute they were awarded a penalty when Mike Hayes, who had been a constant threat with his pace and movement, was tripped by Jordan Knott – Hunt then comfortably converted the spot-kick. The Old Gold, now desperate to secure points from this game, began to press forward with greater urgency and abandon – and on 64 minutes they went close as Lewis delivered another inviting corner into the crowded goalmouth from where Liam Thomas emerged to produce a firm header that was cleared off the goal-line by a defender.

Such was Town’s commitment to the search for goals that by now, after a series of astute substitutions by manager Mark Aizlewood, they were fielding a front-line of four recognised strikers. However this ambitious approach made them even more vulnerable at the back with the Lakesiders quick to exploit gaps through the midfield and continuing to look a threat with every counter-attack. But the visitor’s defence remained disciplined and resilient, ensuring that Idzi was never seriously tested during these later stages. Every defender, along with the midfield quartet who were so often required to provide extra defensive cover, deserves praise for their energy, discipline and commitment under such prolonged spells of pressure. But a particular feature of the Old Gold’s defending that merits recognition was the contest between Dwaine Bailey, a youngster and relative novice at this level, and Bala’s highly experienced and prolific striker Lee Hunt – the fact that Hunt, throughout the game, managed barely a single meaningful effort on target from open play is testimony to Bailey’s outstanding performance.

After a hectic schedule since Boxing Day, Carmarthen now have a break until January 16th when the final round of all the first-phase matches is scheduled to take place – they have to defeat Rhyl at home and then hope that the results for other teams chasing the 5th and 6th places in the WPL are favourable.

Team: Lee Idzi, Dan Sheehan, Chris Thomas (sub Jeff White 69), Dwaine Bailey, Jordan Knott, Ceri Morgan (sub Dave Vincent 59), Kieran Lewis, Lewis Harling, Sacha Walters (sub Luke Prosser 76), Mark Jones, Liam Thomas Unused Sub: Danny Thomas

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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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Sport

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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