Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Quins are geared up for success - Tonkin

Carmarthen Quins head coach Louie Tonkin feels his side are well equipped to back up last season’s second place finish in the Principality Premiership, WRITES CARL FIELD.

Quins finished second last season to secure a home play-off but were defeated 31-20 by eventual losing finalists Cross Keys.

And, having successfully negotiated their British & Irish Cup qualifier against Llandovery, they started the new Premiership season with a 44-10 bonus-point home win over Newport at the weekend.

“We’re very confident that we can do better than we did last year,” said Tonkin.

“Our objective last year was to finish in the top three and we achieved that with a very young group.

“But we’re much stronger and mature this year just being a year older and wiser – particularly the academy boys.

“We want to achieve some success – whether that’s in the form of a cup or a play-off final – and we believe we’re strong enough to do that.

“The key for us was to strengthen in some key areas and add some depth to the squad, which maybe wasn’t there at times last year.

“We’ve managed to do that and I think we’ll be that much more efficient this year.”

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Scorpions hand first team contracts to five youth players

South Wales Scorpions have given five of this year’s under 19s squad first team contracts for 2015.

Pictured left to right are Ben Jones, Zak Williams, Paul Emanuelli (assistant coach), Curtis Davies, Connor Davies and Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards, who has already made his full Scorpions debut while on trial, is joined by Zak Williams, Ben Jones and Connor and Curtis Davies.

All five were part of the Wales team who won bronze in this year’s Commonwealth Championships held in Glasgow where Rugby League Nines was an exhibition sport before the main games.

The Ystalyfera-born Davies twins have been great ambassadors for Rugby League in Wales over the last six years having started out in the Champion Schools competition in 2008 with Welsh speaking school Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera.

In 2012 the 17-year olds featured in the first ever Rugby League match to be entirely contested by Welsh speakers when they beat Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni in the Welsh Year 10 Final, a game that doubled up as the UK semi-final from that age group that year. Both have given a number of interviews for Welsh TV channel S4C over the years about Rugby League and the progression of the sport in Wales.

Loose forward Connor scored five tries the season for the under 19s with stand-off Curtis notching two.

Coaching them most of the way has been their school teacher Ioan Bebb, a former Wales Student Rugby League international and a professional with the old South Wales Rugby League club back in 1996.

He said: “If ever two people deserved success, purely on the basis of their desire, determination and sheer willpower, it's the Davies twins.  They've learned the game, made themselves better players and been great ambassadors for their school and locality. This is great news and, surely, only the first rung on a long ladder to future success.”

Ben Jones, a goal-kicking full-back, has played Rugby League for almost as long, having started off at his local side Bridgend Blue Bulls when he was 13.

He progressed to Celtic Crusaders under 14s after being spotted by Dan Clements before playing in the Scorpions junior sides for the last four years. He scored two tries and kicked 15 goals in six games for the under 19s in 2014.

The 18-year old has also played rugby union at junior level for Tondu, Bridgend Athletic and in the Ospreys academies.

A Wales under 16 and 18 international in Rugby League in addition to his Commonwealth Championships appearance, Jones, who went to Ysgol Gyfun Llangynwyd, is dedicating his success to his dad who died in 2012 following an illness.

Jones said: “When I played a year early for Wales under 16, he died a week before my first game and he took me to every session before that. He would have been proud to see my sign for the Scorpions and I’ll always dedicate what I do to him.”

Zac Williams, who turns 18 on Wednesday, is a relative newcomer to Rugby League having started off playing for Monmouth Comprehensive in the Champion Schools competition.

After being spotted by Lee Cullen, he signed for the South Wales under 16s academy eventually progressing to the under 19s as well as being one of the founding members of the WRL AASE Academy programme having to move from Monmouth to Bridgend in order to attend training in Maesteg.

Also established with the boot, he kicked 11 goals in addition to scoring three tries in his five games for the under 19s this season. A Wales under 16 and 18 international in Rugby League, he is a former Newport Gwent Dragons academy player.

Williams is pleased that his personal commitment to the sport is starting to pay off.

“Signing for the Scorpions means a lot to me,” he said. “I have left home and lived with other families which has been very hard, but I now feel that has been worth it.

“I feel valued and recognised for my ability in Rugby League and when I walk onto the pitch for the first time to play for the Scorpions as a professional knowing that my name is on my shirt will be a dream.”

Aberdare-born centre Paul Edwards is the newest to the game despite being the only one of the quintet to have played for the Scorpions first team already.

Joining the Scorpions in May this year, the 18-year old played four games for the under 19s, scoring four tries, before being given a first team opportunity. He scored his first senior try against Oxford in the second of his three first team matches this season.

Before that, he had only played rugby union, which makes his selection now and for Wales in the Commonwealth Championships even more impressive. The 18-year old came though Rhigos’ youth teams and made appearances in the first team for Glynneath in the Welsh League Division Three last season as well as playing a full season for Neath Port Talbot College in the WRU College league.

Scorpions coach Mike Grady said: “I'm Delighted that Ben, Connor, Curtis, Paul and Zak have all agreed a deal and will be joining up with the first team squad in 2015. All are very talented individuals with bright futures ahead of them.

“All have trained with the first team in the latter stages of this season and I was very impressed with all of Paul’s appearances in Championship 1.

“As promised throughout 2014 by Paul Emanuelli and I, it's about bringing the local Welsh lads through, creating a pathway for all Rugby League players in South Wales to aspire to. This is the first batch of many that will be taking that route and coming through the system.

“They have all graduated from the successful South Wales Academy who have had a superb season and credit goes to their coach Jon Ellis on getting these lads ready for their next challenge in their respective careers.

“It's exciting times for them and the club and I'm looking forward to seeing how they progress with the first team environment.”

Monday, 15 September 2014

Swalec League Weekend Round Up

Swansea have maintained their perfect start to life in the Swalec Championship as they thumped Blackwood 73-0 at St Helen’s.
Wing Marc Bennett stole the show on his debut for the All Whites as the speedster bagged a try treble, Simon Evans was at the double, while Nicky Thomas notched up 23 points through a touchdown and nine conversions.
Runners up last season Cardiff Met are yet to record a victory as they slipped to the slenderest of defeats, going down 10-9 at Tata Steel.
First half tries for Tata’s Brett Thomas and Steve Lewis was ultimately enough to ensure the points for the Port Talbot outfit.
Meanwhile, Bargoed kept up their 100% record with a hard-fought 34-30 win over North Wales region RGC 1404 at Parc Eirias.
The visitors crossed four times through Darren Humphries (2), James Ivy and Phil Price, while the prolific Josh Prosser added the extras to all four and two penalties.
Chris Horsman’s troops did manage to pick up two bonus points as they also crossed for four touchdowns through Alex Schwartz, Huw Grundy, Tom Blackwell and Kelvin Davies.
Elsewhere, Pontypool picked up their maiden win as they dispatched Llanharan 32-13 at Pontypool Park.
 Mark Thorley (2), Matthew Thomas and Nathan Brookes all crossed the whitewash for Pooler, while Tom Hancock was on target with two penalties and three conversions.
In the day’s other fixtures, Bridgend Athletic were bonus point 27-17 home winners over Glynneath, Narberth were held to a 23-23 draw at Newbridge, and newcomers Merthyr made it two wins from two with a 32-11 home victory over Tondu.
There was some great running rugby on offer across the leagues as teams ran riot in the September sunshine.
Ynysybwl are the early pace makers in One East Central as they thrashed Llantrisant 52-17. 'Bwl helped themselves to eight tries- Sean Ireland and Dale Stuckey were both at the double while Ricky Thomas, Oliver Rees, Jonathan Gough and a penalty try completed their scoring.
Meanwhile, Ystrad Rhondda picked up their first win as they saw off Llantwit Fardre 28-19. Fly-half Rhys Truelove fired over 13 points, while Jay Harris, Adam Lewis and Matthew Jeczalik all crossed the whitewash for Ystrad.
In One West Central, Ystalyfera took home the bragging rights in the Swansea Valley derby against rivals Cwmllynfell with a narrow 21-17 triumph.
Josh Jarrett and Gareth Williams both touched down, with the former firing over two penalties, while Gareth James was on target with one penalty and Damien James added a conversion.
Brothers Kyle and Connor Salter stole the show for Bonymaen as they were both at the double for Bony, as the Swansea outfit saw off Kenfig Hill 39-32 in a nine try thriller.
Glamorgan Wanderers were in seventh heaven in One East as they put Garndiffaith to the sword in a 55-23 showing at the Memorial Ground.
Owen Marshall and Michael Lynch both crossed twice for the Wanderers while Haval Ibrahim, Jonathan Lewis and Josh Sheehan also went over.
In One West, Newcastle Emlyn hit visitors Felinfoel for six as they ran out 42-19 home winners.
Owen Powell was at the double for Emlyn, while Brynmor Jones, Dan Davies, Llyr Jones and Sion Leonard also went over. Rhydian Harries added 12 points from the tee.
Nant Conwy are the early pacesetters in One North as they bagged their second successive try bonus triumph, dismissing Caernarfon 25-17. Carwyn Ellis was the star of the show for Nant as he picked up a try-treble. 
Newcomers Gowerton picked up their first victory in Two West as they cruised to a 59-15 home win over Haverfordwest.
Gareth King put in a regal performance as the centre bagged a brace while Richard Thomas (2), Ryan Thomas, James Hedley, Liam Hedges and Owen James also got on the scoresheet.
For the second week in the row, former Welsh club rugby powerhouse Tredegar were unable to field a side in Two East.
Last season’s Swalec Bowl runners up Llantwit Major notched up their first victory in Three East Central A as they easily saw off Canton 56-7.
Waisea Suka Vakacegu clinched three of his side's eight tries, while Marcus Pearce (2), Gareth Watts, Chris Fowler and Dan Farrell also dotted down.
Birchgrove helped themselves to seven tries as they dismissed Baglan 50-17 in Three West Central B.
Full back Scott Evans grabbed a brace while Ricky Rosser, Ritchie Beynon, Steve George, Dai Griffiths and Chris Grimes also crossed the whitewash.
In Three East C, Hartridge hit visitors Deri for six as they clinched a 41-7 home win. Ashley Sims was at the double for the hosts while Mike Wrench, Ross Palmer, Kurt Lewis and Gareth Hopkins also went over.
Finally, St Julians claimed the biggest win of the day as they put Abersychan to the sword in Three East D, running out 87-5 winners. 

Friday, 12 September 2014

All Blacks ace Hoeata set for debut

New Zealand international lock Jarrad Hoeata is set for his Cardiff Blues debut when the region face Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO12 at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday (kick-off 4pm).

Second row enforcer Hoeata, a summer recruit from the Highlanders in Super Rugby, is one of three changes made by Director of Rugby Mark Hammett.

Former Wales Sevens captain Adam Thomas, who previously represented Blues in 2011 in the LV=Cup, makes his first start of the season at full back, with Dan Fish moving to the wing.

Scrum half Lewis Jones comes into the starting line-up to join Rhys Patchell, who shone with 21 points in the victory over Zebre last weekend, to form a new-look half back partnership.

Powerhouse prop Taufa'ao Filise makes a return among the replacements alongside Richard Smith.

Scott Andrews is also named on the bench and if he features will make his 100th appearance for Cardiff Blues.

Director of Rugby Mark Hammett said: "All the players and backroom team are excited about launching our home campaign as we look to build on an encouraging victory over Zebre in Italy last Sunday.

"It's important we make our home a tough place for the opposition to visit this season. Turning your home into a real fortress is always your goal.

"As an entire squad we have got to buy into that ethos and ambition. We go out and leave everything on the pitch and nothing to chance.

"Glasgow were exceptional on the first weekend and I felt should have won by a bigger margin at home to Leinster. It's a big challenge for us, but it is one we are relishing as we look to build on last weekend's game in Italy.”

Cardiff Blues:

15 Adam Thomas, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Dan Fish, 10 Rhys Patchell, 9 Lewis Jones; 1 Sam Hobbs, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 3 Adam Jones, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Filo Paulo, 6 Josh Turnbull, 7 Sam Warburton, 8 Manoa Vosawai


16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Taufa'ao Filise, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Josh Navidi, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Richard Smith

Big occasion at the RDS will spur on Scarlets

Scarlets take on reigning champions Leinster at the RDS tomorrow in the second round of the Guinness PRO12.
The Welsh region will be looking to build on the positives, which included four tries, against Ulster at Parc y Scarlets.
Scarlets fullback Liam Williams is named in the starting XV having been cleared of any playing suspension following his red card (after two yellows) in the opening clash against Ulster last weekend.
Scott Williams is joined in the centre by Gareth Owen, who replaces the injured Regan King, whilst Jordan Williams comes in on the wing to replace the injured Michael Tagicakibau.
The only change to the pack sees Aaron Shingler replace Rob McCusker who moves to the replacements bench.
Scarlets Head Coach Wayne Pivac said: "Saturday's game against Leinster should be a good opportunity for us to test ourselves against a very good team away from home.
"For us, it's about concentrating on what we're doing and getting that right, It's still very early. There are lots of improvements to come in this team and we have plenty to build on. Really for us, this time of the year there's a lot of work to do on your own game especially coming in as a new coach.
"All rugby players love playing in front of a big crowd. Bigger the crowd, bigger the occasion and bigger the performance and hopefully we'll be no different. No matter where you play, it's great to play in front of a bumper crowd.”
Scarlets' only loss in their last six PRO12 encounters was to Cardiff Blues on Judgement Day in April whilst Leinster faced a narrow defeat against Glasgow in the opening round of the 2014-15 campaign last weekend.
Scarlets team to take on Leinster at the RDS, Saturday 13th September kick-off 2.40pm:
15 Liam Williams, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Gareth Owen, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Jordan Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Rhodri Williams, 1 Phil John, 2 Ken Owens ©, Rhodri Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 5 Johan Snyman, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 John Barclay, 8 Rory Pitman

Emyr Phillips, Rob Evans, Peter Edwards, Richard Kelly, Rob McCusker, Aled Davies, Steven Shingler, Adam Warren

Thursday, 11 September 2014

New boys Ebbw Vale 'ready for the challenge'

Jason Strange says Principality Premiership new boys Ebbw Vale have nothing to fear as they prepare to make their top flight return after a five-year absence.

The Championship champions begin life back in the Premiership with a home clash against Llandovery on Saturday.

And, despite the fact they will start as firm underdogs, head coach Strange is determined to make sure his side won’t just be making up the numbers.

He said: “We understand the standard is going to be higher in the Premiership, but we’re ready for that challenge.

“It’s great to have a home game to kick things off. We lost to Llandovery narrowly in the cup last year – so that will be in the back of our mind – and I’m sure the supporters will be looking forward to it.

“We are pleased with the way players have come back after the break and their fitness testing was the best in the five years I’ve been here.

“Our approach this season is to concentrate on being the best we can and improving within ourselves.”

Champions Pontypridd host Neath as Premiership returns

A mouth-watering clash between reigning champions Pontypridd and former heavy hitters Neath at Sardis Road is the pick of the games as the Principality Premiership returns on Saturday.

Ponty are gunning for their fourth straight title success while the Welsh All Blacks – who narrowly avoided the drop last season – have been boosted by the return of Rowland Phillips to the club as director of rugby.

Having swept all comers aside in recent seasons – winning the Premiership and SWALEC Cup double back-to-back – Pontypridd are odds on favourites to clean up domestically once again.

But head coach Paul John says they won’t be taking anything for granted.

“The Principality Premiership is now a very good standard and it’s getting harder to win every year – we can’t rest on our laurels,” said John.

“With the success we’ve had over the last couple of seasons, teams will again raise their game every week to try to beat us, but that’s a great challenge.

“It doesn’t get much better than Neath at home to kick off the league season. 

"They have recruited well – both on and off the field – and will want to put last year’s uncharacteristic blip behind them.”

Hoping to help turn five-time champions Neath around after a poor season is Phillips – the man who won four of those titles during his previous six-year stint as head coach before leaving in 2009.

And the former Wales international is confident he can bring the good times back to the club.

He said: “When I was approached to come back to Neath and was outlined the vision for the club over the forthcoming seasons, I jumped at the opportunity to become part of what will no doubt be an exciting time. 

“As everybody in Neath knows – the club, the town, the history, the supporters and the people of Neath have been a huge part of my life and are very close to my heart. 

 “There’s no doubt there’s a lot of rebuilding to be done, but I’m confident that I can work with the coaches and players to bring success back.

“I'm delighted to be part of what I know is going to be another successful chapter in Neath’s great history.”

Welsh internationals return to Dragons starting 15

International stars Hallam Amos and Taulupe Faletau will make their return to the Newport Gwent Dragons starting 15 to take on Welsh rivals the Ospreys on Friday 12th September, KO 19:35.

Amos returns to play for the Men of Gwent after an injury he sustained in June stopped him from going on the Wales Tour to South Africa.  The full-back/ wing underwent successful surgery in June to his shoulder after tearing parts of his labrum. Faletau also returns to the fold after being rested after his time with the International team for the Wales Tour of South Africa against the Springboks.

Director of Rugby Lyn Jones has selected a similar side to the one that was named to face Connacht last weekend, with the exception of three players. Jones has named an international back three with skipper Lee Byrne taking the helm at fullback, alongside wings Hallam Amos and Rodney Parade favourite Aled Brew. The centre pairing remains the same as last weekend with youngsters Tyler Morgan and Jack Dixon being selected. Halfbacks Jason Tovey and Jonathan Evans also retain their places in the team.

There have been no changes made to the props as Boris Stankovich and Lloyd Fairbrother make their second start of the season for the Dragons, they are joined in the front row by hooker Elliot Dee. The second row has one change as Ian Gough steps in to take on his old teammates alongside Rynard Landman. Both flankers, Evans and Cudd get the nod from Jones and are joined in the back row by number 8 Taulupe Faletau.

There have been five changes made to the replacements bench as T. Rhys Thomas, Owen Evans and Dan Way are joined by Andrew Coombs, Andy Powell, Richie Rees, Angus O'Brien and Tom Prydie.

Newport Gwent Dragons Team to face the Ospreys

Lee Byrne ©, Hallam Amos, Tyler Morgan, Jack Dixon, Aled Brew, Jason Tovey, Jonathan Evans; Boris Stankovich, Elliot Dee, Lloyd Fairbrother, Ian Gough, Rynard Landman, Lewis Evans, Nic Cudd, Taulupe Faletau.


T. Rhys Thomas, Owen Evans, Dan Way, Andrew Coombs, Andy Powell, Richie Rees, Angus O'Brien, Tom Prydie.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Merthyr eye top six finish

After an exceptional 2013/14 campaign that saw Merthyr clinch the League and Cup double, the Ironmen will once again be looking to make a mark in their maiden season in the National Championship.
The newcomers started life in the Championship with a hard-fought 28-20 win over Llanharan at the Dairyfield, with ex-Dairyman Rhys Walker crossing for the decisive score for the Ironmen.  
Lee Jarvis’ troops, who clinched the One East crown and Swalec Plate last season, crossed three times through Sam Edwards, Martin Luckwell and Walker, while Steve Lang fired home three penalties and two conversions.
The Dairymen will feel unfortunate not to pick up at least a losing bonus point from the match as they too went over for three touchdowns of their own from Dafi Davies, Jack Davies and Nathan Huish.
Merthyr’s Team Manager Paul Lewis was delighted with his side’s result at Llanharan.
“It’s not an easy place to go and get a result so we were very pleased to come away with the victory. We perhaps weren’t as clinical as we would have liked but it’s going to be a learning curve for the team, the first few matches,” said Lewis.
 “We have a squad of about 27 or 28 and we are still finding our best matchday squad. The coaches are looking to give everyone a run out in the first few matches before settling on a team,” added Lewis
 Flankers Osian Davies and Aaron Harris are the only two players that have moved on, going to Llanelli and Ebbw Vale respectively, while Walker was a summer acquisition from Llanharan.
 Although Merthyr haven’t added many players to the squad, they have added former Blues man Jamie Ringer as a Coaching Advisor.
 “We have a very strong coaching set up with Lee Jarvis, Garry Horrigan and now with Jamie Ringer helping us out, and that is a huge positive for us,” said Lewis.
 The Ironmen will be aiming to consolidate their place in the division but Lewis believes a top six finish is a realistic goal.
 “I think a few of the boys had a bit of an eye opener on Saturday as the standard of rugby has increased, but we managed to retain the majority of our squad from last season.
 “There are a couple of very good sides in this league and we know we will have good weeks, as well as some losses, but we would love to finish in the top half of the table.”
Merthyr play their first home match of the Championship campaign on Saturday when they host Tondu at the Wern. The Waterwheelers themselves will be  hoping to build on their emphatic opening day success when they thrashed Newbridge 62-0.
Matthew Morgan bagged a try treble, Gareth Lindenburn was at the double for Tondu, while Lloyd Elliot, Steve Bevan, Matthew Murphy, Matthew Davies and Gareth Powell also got in on the try scoring act.
Meanwhile, Bargoed opened their account in the best possible way with an emphatic 40-3 home win over Pontypool. Ross Coombes was the star of the show for the hosts as the back row helped himself to a hat-trick, while Pooler had lock Ryan Thomas dismissed early in the second half.
In the day’s other fixtures, ten points from the boot of Ianto Griffiths helped Narberth to a 20-10 success over Bridgend Athletic, North Wales region RGC 14 were 12-6 winners at Blackwood, Swansea dispatched Cardiff Met 34-15 and Tata Steel edged past Glynneath 9-6.

Badgers all sett for new season

Under the direction of Blues Captain Matthew Rees and ex-Pontypridd man Jason Lewis, Pontyclun kicked off their Two East Central campaign with a narrow victory over last season’s Four South East champions St Josephs.

The match was nip and tuck throughout before the Badgers eventually triumphed 20-17, with Lloyd Rose and Carl Jenkins touching down, while Huw Probyn added ten points from the tee including a late penalty from half way.

The Badgers' victory was the only away win in the division on the opening weekend of what will surely be a very competitive league.

Pontyclun Secretary Greg Lamerton was relieved the Badgers picked up a win to start their campaign

“We are definitely happy with the result, it was a tough opening match-up for us. They had a big pack and perhaps we were slightly fortunate to come away with the four points,” said Lamerton.

After acquiring the enviable coaching duo of Blues skipper Rees, who already has some coaching experience under his belt at Tonyrefail, and Lewis, who has a great coaching reputation, you would be forgiven in thinking that players would be flocking to Pontyclun to learn under their tutelage. But Lamerton says that it hasn’t worked out that way.

“We did think having Jason and Matthew, two people who have played and in Matthew’s case still playing at the highest level, might attract a few more players but we actually lost a few players in the summer.”

Pontyclun saw three members of their squad move on to pastures new in the summer with Nicky Theaker joining Llanharan, while Adam Lewis and Adam Court are now playing at Beddau.

However, they have made one new recruit in hooker Sam Grant, who joined the fold from Pencoed.

“We are always looking to strengthen our squad. We train twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Windsor Road,” added Lamerton.

“Hopefully, we have a few players returning from injury which will add to the squad’s depth with Ceiron Jones, Luke Rose and Gavin Pascoe all likely to feature for us soon.”

Pontyclun host last season’s Swalec Bowl champions Clwb Rygbi Cymry Caerdydd this weekend and Lamerton is predicting another close affair.

“They were promoted last season and we are definitely expecting another tough match, but hopefully we can get the win at home,”said Lamerton.

Finally, with top class coaching at hand, what are Lamerton’s expectations for this year’s campaign?

“I think it’s going to be a difficult league as there are some very strong teams, and though we anticipate a mid-table finish for ourselves, we’re certainly not expecting to gain promotion this year,” added Lamerton.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Five-star TNS show no let up

The Welsh Premier League table already has a familiar look about it as the new season kicks into gear.

Champions The New Saints are unsurprisingly leading the way with 10 points from four games after their latest win – a heavy 5-1 success at Gap Connah’s Quay on Friday night. 

A brace from Greg Draper along with efforts from Adrian Cieslewicz, Alex Darlington and Christian Seargeant secured the victory – while Jack Rowlands netted in consolation for the home side.

Airbus UK are second on seven points having played a game less than TNS as goals in each half from Tom Field and Matty McGinn inspired them to a 2-1 victory at Bangor City on Friday night.

Les Davies netted in consolation for Bangor, who are yet to taste a league victory this season having taken just a point from their opening four games.

In yesterday’s games, Newtown came from 2-0 down at half time before edging their seven-goal thriller 4-3 against Prestatyn Town.

Lee Hunt’s first half double looked to have set Town on their way to victory, but that lead was cancelled out by Jason Orwell’s goal on 49 minutes and a David Hayes own goal on 63 minutes.

The visitors were back in front two minutes later through James Stead, but Orwell’s second of the game on 71 minutes levelled matters once again, before Luke Boundford netted a 73rd minute winner.

Port Talbot were 4-1 home winners against newly promoted Cefn Druids thanks to braces from Martin Rose and Luke Bowen.

There are two matches this afternoon, as bottom side Rhyl host Aberystwyth and Bala entertain Carmarthen.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Double winners Cardiff are Miles better

CARDIFF capped a memorable weekend by adding the Welsh Cup to their South Wales Premier Cricket League crown to complete a remarkable double, writes CARL FIELD.

They beat Pontarddulais by 41 runs at the Gnoll on Sunday, just 24 hours after they sealed the league title by defeating Ynysygerwn.

Cardiff won the toss at Neath and opted to bat first as they went for more glory in the cup final.

Opener Adam Miles once again led by example at the top of the order, striking 89 – which included six boundaries – to help his team post 212-6 off their allotted 40 overs.

Miles and opening partner Harry Bowles (36) put on 83 for the first wicket before Greg Holmes took the baton and hit an unbeaten 61 off 62 balls.

Owain Morgan was the best of the Pontarddulais bowlers, collecting 3-31 off his eight overs.

Chasing 213 to win, Pont were always behind the rate and lost two wickets early on – before consolidating – with opener Arwel Thomas and Garry Arrowsmith (30) putting on 68 for the third wicket.

Thomas top scored with 48 before being caught by Miles off the bowling of Tom Barry.

They weren’t helped by the fact four of their top six batsman could only muster nine between them, although there were some cameos down the order, with Owen Morgan (38) the most notable – and was the only Pont player to hit the ball over the rope during his 35-ball knock.

They closed on 171-8 after their allotted 40 overs, with Barry, James Lewis and Mujahid Ilyas all collecting two wickets apiece.