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9-Man Town Miss Out on Top 6

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Luke Cummings: Player of the Month saw red late on (Pic Riley Sports)

Carmarthen Town 1

Rhyl 1

CARMARTHEN went into their final match of the Welsh Premier League first-phase programme knowing that to secure a coveted top six finish they had to take three points off Rhyl while hoping that at least one of the two teams just above them, Connah’s Quay and Newtown, would lose their corresponding final fixture.

To this end, Town began with clear positive intent, launching a series of piercing raids with energy and urgency that put the visitors’ defence under immediate pressure. And this exciting strategy was duly rewarded with a vital early goal after only 5 minutes – a long forward pass from Dan Sheehan set Luke Cummings free and he raced into the penalty area then crossed towards the goalmouth where Mark Jones, having seen his instant shot blocked by keeper Terry McCormick, reacted quickly to reach the rebound and neatly slide the ball across to Kieran Lewis who from 10 yards curled it sweetly beyond McCormick and into the back of the net.

Straight afterwards Lewis Harling, with a clever lofted pass, gave Cummings the opportunity to test McCormick with a fierce 20 yard effort but the experienced keeper was well placed to gather the ball safely.

During this spell Rhyl were confined to just occasional counter-attacks, which the Old Gold defence were dealing with capably. But the visitors eventually went close on 11 minutes when David Mannix sent his corner-kick deep towards the far post to reach Greg Stones who struck a smart drive that drew an impressive reflex save from keeper Lee Idzi.

Town immediately responded to that unwelcome interruption to their game-plan – Craig Hanford fired a long ball forward that McCormick, coming out of his penalty area, returned but his clearance was intercepted by Harling who produced an audacious 40 yard volley which was blocked in front of goal by defender Chay Dysart.

The play continued at a frantic pace with Carmarthen in the ascendency as they poured forward at every opportunity. Yet, increasingly they were failing to penetrate the strong and determined Rhyl defence or seriously trouble McCormick.

Then, worryingly, in the 35th minute the visitors threatened when Mannix, from near the left touchline, delivered a dangerous free kick into the packed goalmouth where John Owen was allowed the time and space to produce a glancing header that clipped the top of the bar.

Yet in the closing stages of the first-half the Old Gold went close to extending their lead. On 43 minutes Hanford made a rare excursion forward then fired the ball into the goalmouth only for Cummings, under pressure from defenders, to stab it narrowly wide.

Moments later a dazzling run by Liam Thomas took him past two defenders before he slid the ball through to Jones who released a crisp drive that McCormick denied with a fine full-length save. Then from the resultant corner-kick Jones saw his deft glancing header once more defeated by the keeper who clawed the ball away from the top corner of his goal.

But in added time Rhyl got back on level terms when the Town defence, having not learnt any lesson from their earlier scare, failed to deal with Mannix’s long cross into the penalty area and left Zac Corbett with the opportunity to head the ball into the far corner of the net leaving Idzi well beaten.

After the interval the Old Gold again started promisingly and on 50 minutes Lewis directed a 30-yard free-kick into the goalmouth where Jones, amongst a crowd of players, managed a close-range shot that was blocked by a defender – and while the ball fell nicely for Thomas, his instant strike was beaten away by McCormick.

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Kieran Lewis: Scores Town’s only goal

However the game soon developed into a more open, evenly balanced affair as Rhyl began enjoying much more possession than in the first-half. After 59 minutes Levi Makin received the ball just outside the penalty area and dispatched a promising drive that Idzi skilfully resisted. Then on 73 minutes, the hosts once more went close when, from a Lewis corner, Ceri Morgan emerged from a packed goalmouth only to see his firm header fly marginally wide of the post.

By now, with Town’s players perhaps beginning to tire after their earlier exertions, the visitors were playing with more urgency and freedom and looking a greater threat than at any earlier stage of the game. After 76 minutes Connor Bell burst forward into the penalty area and released a powerful strike, which Idzi spectacularly turned over the bar. From the ensuing corner Makin found Dysart but his close-range effort went too high. Then on 83 minutes Ibou Touray surged forward down the left flank and into the penalty area yet from a good position he fired just wide of the post.

Shortly after that spell of goalmouth activity came the incident that effectively shattered any lasting belief the Old Gold might have had about securing a late winning goal. In the 85th minute Cummings was immediately shown the red card for a reckless challenge on Touray – there followed an ugly confrontation involving several players from both sides after which Hanford was similarly dismissed having received his second yellow card of the match. And to compound Town’s misery, the referee also ordered manager Mark Aizlewood to leave the dugout.

After that unsavoury episode Rhyl’s significant numerical advantage allowed them to attack with freedom and keep Carmarthen pinned back on defence – in added time Bell created a good chance for himself with a strong run into the penalty area and a stunning drive that the ever-alert Idzi defeated with another marvellous save.

But in the end, despite all the anticipation and excitement through to frustration, anxiety and eventual despair that Town’s supporters had endured during this crucial match, it was all academic since both Connah’s Quay and Newtown won their games to qualify comfortably for the last two top-six places.

Team: 

Lee Idzi; Dan Sheehan (sub Ceri Morgan 67); Chris Thomas; Dwaine Bailey (sub Dave Vincent 77); Craig Hanford; Jordan Knott; Kieran Lewis; Lewis Harling; Luke Cummings; Mark Jones (sub Jeff White 79); Liam Thomas;

Unused Subs: Danny Thomas; Glen Fearn.

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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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