Sunday, 30 December 2012

Wet weather continues to cause chaos

The weather was once again the big winner in another weekend of Welsh rugby decimated by the rain, and with Plate and Bowl matches still yet to be played from December 15th, fixture chaos is sure to ensue come the end of the season.
No matches from the Championship made it to the field of play while Pontypridd’s clash with Cardiff in the Premiership also fell foul of the weather.
In the only Swalec Plate game to be played, Ammanford, looking to repeat their success from two years ago, saw off the elements and the lower league Morriston 20-10 to keep their Millennium dreams a reality.
The One West side were on top throughout and their early dominance rewarded them with a penalty try, as well as two penalties and a conversion from the boot of Rhidian Morris. Morriston showed more attacking promise after the break but a further touchdown from Ammanford’s centre Chris Moore put the game out of reach of the Three South West hosts.
Ammanford will now visit either Mumbles or Waunarlwydd in round three.
In the only Swalec Bowl tie to reach the field, non-league Cardiff Medicals reached the fourth round of the competition, with three penalties from Adam French enough for the visitors to earn a 9-9 draw at Taffs Well. The Students went through courtesy of being the away team after the sides could not be separated after extra time.
Cardiff Medics reward is a tie against either Treharris or Abercwmboi.
Rhiwbina are the new leaders of Division Two east after they recorded a 38-17 bonus point win at Abercynon.
Fly half Josh Davies made light work of the heavy conditions to dance his way to a brace, while wing Brett Chatwin and prop Paul Smith also crossed. Stalwart Richard Saltmarsh had a fine day with the boot adding 15 points, while Jake Silcox slotted a penalty.
Abercynon played their part in an entertaining encounter but ultimately ended the day empty-handed, despite touchdowns from Luke Davies, Paul Coomer and Ryan James.
Llandeilo had no answer to the pace and power of visiting Amman United as the highfliers swept to a 29-8 triumph.
United’s Dean Williams was the hat-trick hero, while Russ Smith bagged a brace for the visitors, as they went back to the summit of the table.
Llandeilo meanwhile remain rooted to the bottom of the table with Craig Griffiths getting their solitary try of the afternoon.
In the battle at the bottom of Five South West, Ystradgynlais gave themselves some breathing space as they narrowly saw off Banwen 10-7. A try from Mike Anthony and five points from the boot of Cellan Morgan was enough for Ystrad.
St Davids finally notched up their first win of the season as they edged to a home 18-14 win over Bynea. Neal Matthews and Phill Lamb touched down for the hosts, while Jonathan Thomas added eight all-important points with the boot.
St Albans moved out of the drop zone in Five South East thanks to an emphatic 50-18 success over fellow strugglers Pontllanfraith. The Buns helped themselves to seven tries with Bobby Elliot, Lewis Wright and David Mulward amongst the scorers.
Elsewhere, Bryncethin have leapt to second in Four South West after they out-muscled Pyle 23-12.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Welsh Premiership -Boxing Day Round Up

Bedwas will ring in the New Year top of the Welsh Premiership after they defeated the conditions and visitors Bridgend 20-13 at the Bridge Field to take a six point lead at the summit.
Ravens' new signing, Lewis Williams, who signed from Pontypridd last week, impressed on his d├ębut in guiding the visitors to a 13-3 half time lead through two penalties and a conversion of Steve Winn’s try.
The hosts, with the wind at their backs in the second half, regrouped and hit back through a penalty try and  a touchdown from replacement scrum half Tom Rowlands. Young fly half Ethan Davies, who has been thrown in at the deep end since Bedwas stalwart Richard Powell suffered an arm break, continues to do well, adding the extras to both and slotting a late penalty to add to his first half effort.
Although Bedwas now sit six points ahead, they will be looking over their shoulder at the ominous sight of reigning champions Pontypridd in second who have three games in hand over the Bridge Field outfit.
At the other end of the table, two Aberavon old boys came back to haunt them as Neath recorded a 22-7 victory at the Talbot Athletic Ground.
In a typical local derby, there was plenty of passion on show with three yellow cards in the opening half alone. The Wizards led 7-3 at the break thanks to a late Mathew Jenkins converted try, but the visitors always looked the more threatening.
Former Aberavon scrum half Chris Morgans put Neath back in the lead with Aaron Bramwell also crossing, while ex Wizard John Leyshon rubbed salt in the wound with a late try.
In the West Wales derby, Llandovery missed out on the chance to go second after they slipped to a 12-3 loss to Carmarthen Quins as Dan Newton booted his side to their sixth win of the season.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Swalec League Round Up

There were a few rearranged matches in the lower leagues with Dunvant inflicting Haverfordwest’s tenth defeat of the season in Two West with a 22-3 triumph.
Llandaff North secured the bragging rights over Llandaff with a narrow 11-8 home victory. Howell Jenkins crossed for the hosts' only try of the match, while two penalties from Daniel French proved pivotal.
Barry are up to fifth in Four South East courtesy of a bonus point success at league strugglers Penygraig. The Bombers ran in four tries through Tom Poole, Alan Evans, Danny Ryan and Rhys Hardy.
Blaengarw remain rooted to the bottom of Five South Central as they slipped to a 35-7 home loss to Treherbert.
Further west, there were big wins for Five West pacemakers Gowerton, who thumped Pembroke Dock Quins 56-0, and Bynea, who ran in six tries as they defeated Llangwm 40-19
Trefil leapt to second in Six East thanks to a convincing 29-5 home victory over Girling. Matthew Davies, Matthew Hurley, Jake Flowers and Alex Jones all crossed for the hosts.
In a low scoring encounter in Six South Central, Llandrindod Wells edged past Wick 9-5 with Jack Holden’s three penalties enough to secure victory.
Finally, Tonmawr continue their revival, albeit in Six West, as the Whitworth outfit notched up their ninth win in defeating Llansawel 41-0.

Swalec Championship Round Up

Only two matches in the Swalec Championship got the green light on Saturday as the deluge of rain dampened Ebbw Vale’s chances of returning to the top spot at Bonymaen, while Tata Steel’s clash at Whitland was also called off.
Newbridge, who have stuttered in the league of late, produced a gritty performance as they defeated visiting Blackwood 24-11.
In terrible conditions, both sides fell foul of the referee with Blackwood garnering three yellows, while Newbrige had two sent to the bin.
It was the hosts that had the lead at the interval, with Andrew Coupe crossing outwide and a penalty from Neil Burnet giving them an 8-3 advantage.
Burnett continued to notch up the penalties but a mistake on Newbridge’s line helped Blackwood back into the match as Mark Williams mopped up the loose ball to cross unopposed.
However, in an almost carbon copy, Blackwood fumbled in their 22 and Ryan Lee pounced to seal the victory for the hosts, a win that sees them move back up to third in the table.
In the day’s other fixture, Llanharan produced some quality rugby despite the heavy ground to comfortably run out 28-13 winners over Glamorgan Wanderers at the Dairyfeild.
The Dairymen opened the scoring through full back Josh Austin, while quick thinking led to the hosts' second as back row Scott Malone crossed from a tap penalty to seem them take a 13-3 lead at the break.
As the game advanced, the pitch deteriorated and with it becoming very much a battle up front, the Dairymen’s talismanic captain Nathan Huish came to the fore, as he set up Lewis Young’s score and rounded off a fine performance with a try of his own, crashing over from close range.
The loss sees the Wanderers remain in danger at the bottom as they slumped to their eighth defeat, their solitary try of the match coming in the second half when prop Will Griff John went over.

Tycroes surge into Round 4

Tycroes continued their scintillating form to surge into the Swalec Bowl fourth round, thumping local rivals Cefneithin 55-0, as the Four West trailblazers look to navigate a route to the Millennium Stadium.
Dean Bromham helped himself to 25 of his side's points through a brace, six conversions and a penalty, while Richie Williams, Owen Evans, Gareth Jones, Tristan Morgan, Dan Edwards and Mike Hopkins also crossed in the rout.
Shotton Steel were also comfortable winners as they put visitors Rhosllaneruchgog to the sword in a 57-5 walloping. Shotton bagged eight tries with outside half Stephen Ellson amassing 22 of his team's points.
Staying up north, Richard Jasper claimed 13 points as he helped Llangollen past Newtown 25-15, while COBRA defeated Colwyn Bay 16-5.
Meanwhile, Four West strugglers Aberaeron brought some cup cheer to their supporters as they ran in six tries to see off visiting Llangadog 41-0, Owain Williams, Tudur Jenkins and Leighton Daniel were amongst the tries for Aber
Staying west, a hat-trick from Lee Bates helped Trimsaran on their way to a 36-20 triumph over Abercrave. The Lone Wolves outscored their rivals five tries to three with Joe Jones and Aaron Evans also crossing for the visitors.
Five South Central’s Rhigos put in a valiant effort at the higher league Llantwit Major but eventually succumbed 24-16. Llantwit ran in three tries through Ryan Evans, Marcus Pearce and Darren Joy as their dream of reaching the Millennium Stadium continues.
Newport Saracens saw off their Five East rivals 20-10 to make safe passage into the fourth round draw, Liam Foley and Josh Brew were among the scorers for the Saracens.
Elsewhere, there were safe passages to the fourth round without a try being scored as Denbigh, Glyncorrwg and Wattstown were given walkovers by Harlech, Alltwen and STAR respectively.
Finally, both holders Glyncoch and runners up New Tredegar will have to wait to see if they can go on another Cup run as their two matches fell victim to waterlogged pitches.

Pontarddulais dump Quins out of Cup

The weather played havoc with the fixtures for the second round of the Swalec Plate competition with around half being called off, but there were still enough shocks and late drama to be had.
Aberavon Quins, who remain rooted to the bottom of One West, probably could have used a Cup run against some lower league opposition to build some confidence, but sport is a cruel mistress and they were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition by Three West’s Pontarddulais 25-16.
Jonathan Lloyd took home the plaudits, his goal kicking the key to Pontarddulais’ success as he fired home six penalties and converted a Craig Davies try to amass 20 points in a man of the match performance.
Meanwhile, high-flying Seven Sisters had too much fire power for Ystalyfera who crashed 25-6, John Hapgood, Alun Jones, Dan Norton and Anthony Llewellyn crossing for the home side.
In the eagerly anticipated showdown in the north, reigning division one champions Caernarfon were no match for current league leaders and last year’s runners up Nant Conwy as they stormed through 29-3.The visitors crossed five times, with Gethin Jones grabbing a brace. 
Elsewhere, Ruthin were too strong for Dollgellau, who went down 31-3, Pwllheli won 18-6 at Bala, while Aaron Roberts and Owain Jones each crossed twice in Bro Ffestiniog’s 40-20 win over struggling Llangefni.
One East’s Treorchy were tested early on in their match against Nantymoel but the Zebras eventually ran away with it 31-10.
Speedster Peter Hutchings grabbed a brace, while Josh Lewis, Jamie Summers and prop Simon Collins also crossed for the Zebras.
Rhiwbina won 19-6 at near neighbours Cardiff Quins in muddy conditions at the Diamond Ground.  All the scoring came in the first half with the Squirrels crossing for three tries through Richard Saltmarsh, Pat Howell and Brett Chatwin.
In the two all-One West clashes, Loughor defied league position to inflict a 16-12 defeat on Tondu at Pandy Park, while Kidwelly beat local rivals Llangennech 15-10.
Finally, defending champions Penallta will play their second round tie next weekend after their match against Penarth was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Bargoed leave it late at Bonymaen

Leaders Bargoed had a lucky escape as a late touchdown by Andrew Mcloughlin edged them to a last-gasp 10-9 victory at battling Bonymaen.
It was the full back’s second try of a tight game as Bargoed fought back from a 6-0 half time deficit to stave off only a second defeat of the season and hold on to top spot.
Richard Cunniffe’s penalty hat-trick seemed enough to give the Swansea side a shock triumph before Mcloughlin struck five minutes from time to spare the visitors blushes.
Ebbw Vale remain in hot pursuit after a crushing 62-11 defeat of Llanharan. Scrum half Chris Thomas crossed twice to lead a nine try spree in another sparkling bonus point performance.
There was a much closer contest in Cardiff as the students of Cardiff Mets fought off the challenge of Newbridge to win 12-0 and move above their Gwent rivals. Defences were in control and it was the boot of Matt O’Brien that made the difference, his four successful penalties giving the hosts the verdict.
A brace of touchdowns by Narberth flyer Tom Bonnell steered the Otters to a 27-6 bonus point victory over struggling Pontypool, Alex Jenkins and Steve Martin also crossing for the west Wales outfit.
Meanwhile, Bridgend Athletic stole a tense 28-24 success at Blackwood to move up a place and away from the danger zone. Although the visitors lost out on the try count, the kicking of Steve Lewis proved decisive, his 13 points adding to tries from Nick Hinton, Griff Davies and James Old. Centre Rhys Humphreys crossed twice for Blackwood, with Chris Jones and Greg Callow also crossing but they finished on the losing side.
Glamorgan Wanderers slipped a place as they crashed 60-15 at Tata Steel, who crossed the whitewash eight times, Simon Evans getting a hat-trick and Ben Davies a brace.
Whitland continue to prop up the table after they went down 17-6 to Beddau, Tom Benjamin accounting for all the Beddau points.

Ystrad Rhondda cruise to crushing win

Leaders Ystrad Rhondda continue to run riot at the top of Division One East with a 41-19 home triumph over Ynysybwl.
The pacemakers have been running in tries for fun so far this season and didn’t disappoint the home crowd, crossing six times as centre Sean Webber bagged a brace and Nick Eaves, Nathan Hughes, Gerwyn Davies and Chris Clayton also went over. Rhys Truelove added four conversions and a penalty.
Bwl played their part in an entertaining encounter, with Gareth Davies, Nathan Ellis and Nathan King on the scoresheet for the visitors, but ultimately left empty-handed.
Garyn Daniels was the hero of the hour at the Oval where his second half try double led Treorchy to a narrow 12-10 win against third placed Rhydyfelin.
It was the visitors that got off to the better start, leading 10-0 at the interval thanks to a Keiran Phillips touchdown and five points from the boot of Josh Jones. However, the Zebras came out firing after the break with the prop forward Daniels coming up trumps for the hosts, while Jordan Lloyd added the all important conversion.
In an almighty scrap at Heol y Cyw, it was the Cockerels that prevailed with an 18-7 success over Gilfach Goch.
The Cockerels outscored their rivals two tries to one in a fiery encounter with Kyle Lowry and Adam O’Driscoll touching down for the hosts.
Even at this half way stage of the season, strugglers Tredegar look a sure fire bet to go down as they suffered their eighth consecutive defeat in a 79-12 thumping at Rumney.
Soloman Matthews and Lawrence Facey grabbed try trebles as Rumney helped themselves to 12 tries.
Meanwhile, title contenders RGC 1404 picked up their eighth victory as they dispatched Mountain Ash 54-10, crossing for eight tries in total with Harry Evans, Mike Jones and Kelvin Davies amongst their scorers.
Finally, a Gavin Jones brace and the nerveless boot of Andre Soroko saw Penallta edge past Merthyr 18-13.

Tondu dig deep to see off local rivals

Trailblazers Tondu were made to dig deep for their tenth win of the season as they ground out a 6-3 victory over local rivals Kenfig Hill.
The Waterwheelers, who had their unblemished start ended last time out, hosted their bitter adversaries in what was a ferocious forward duel.
Chances were at a premium and it soon became evident the match would be decided with the boot. Kenfig Hill’s Nicky Giles slotted their only points of the match, but two Paul Smithson efforts ensured the home support were not left disappointed.
There was late drama at the Recreation Ground where a last minute touchdown for Waunarlwydd winger Dan Fox pinched the points, as they defeated Glynneath 17-16.
Glynneath looked to be in full control after Greg Roberts crossed, and Corey Jenkins added three penalties and a conversion to outgun Lee Evans’ four penalties for the hosts.
However, the Green and Blacks wouldn't go away and Fox was on hand to cross out wide and send the home support delirious.
Meanwhile, Cwmllynfell continued their rich vein of form as they eased to a 49-10 win at Ammanford.
Bowdy Davies bagged a brace as the Blues helped themselves to eight tries, while Ryan Bayliss, John Jones and Craig Kelly were also amongst the scorers.
On the Attack: Kidwelly try scorer Steff Evans tests the Athletic defence.
In a West Wales showdown, there was nothing to split Kidwelly and Carmarthen Athletic with the scores tied 14-14.
The Black and Ambers went over twice through Steffan Evans and Chris Eldred, while Gareth Rees added the extras to both.
Collison: Carmarthen lock Steven Morse looks to bulldoze his way clear
Athletic’s solitary touchdown came through Chris Francis, while Scott Maynard found the target with three penalties.
Lock Chris Eldred crosses for the Black and Amber's second score
Elsewhere, Skewen look in real danger of relegation as they slipped to their ninth defeat losing out 17-12 against Llangennech.
The cold weather got the better of the day’s other fixture as Aberavon Quins' home clash with Loughor was postponed.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Cardiff maintain unblemished record

Cardiff City Ladies continue to blow away all opposition in the Welsh Women’s Premier League, demolishing Llandudno Junction 11-1 as they maintained their unblemished record with a fifth straight victory.
Danielle Broadhurst and Catherine Walsh both helped themselves to hat-tricks in the one-sided rout, Hattie Powell struck a brace while Emma Jones, Amy Wathan and a Claire Colville own goal completed the scoring for the hosts.
Llandudno did manage a Hollie Farr strike just before the interval but it proved to be little consolation as the capital side looked very much like champions elect.
It is the other Cardiff side that head the table though, with student outfit Cardiff Met three points clear as they picked up their sixth win, defeating visiting Llanidloes 3-1 but were made to work for their victory.
Gemma Lloyd found the target for the visitors after 21 minutes but a second half fightback led by striker Hannah Billingham (2) took the fight out of their opposition, and the Met made sure of the points five minutes from time when Adele Hooper tapped in.
Meanwhile, a fourth win of the season looked on the cards for Port Talbot Town when Courtney Thomas gave them the lead at Wrexham, but their advantage was short-lived with the North Walians cruising to a 5-1 success.
Elsewhere, a Laura Pennington treble helped Northop Hall dispatch Caernarfon Town 5-0, while a late Stacey John effort saw Newcastle Emlyn bag a 1-0 triumph at Aberystwyth.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Welsh Premiership Friday Night Round Up

Cross Keys heaped more woe on basement boys Swansea at Pandy Park as the Keys swept to a bonus point 48-0 drubbing of the visitors.
Byron Hayward’s tenure as successor to Mark Ring got off to a positive start as his accomplished new charges ran in six tries against the hapless All Whites.
Fly half Steffan Jones provided the inspiration for the hosts notching up 28 points, completing a penalty hat-trick inside 22 minutes before crossing for the first Keys converted try, after Gareth David had charged down an attempted Swansea clearance.
Having established a 16 point cushion, Rob Nash’s men were kept at bay until two minutes before half time, when a neat attack down the right flank paved the way for hooker Gerwyn Price to crash over and Jones to add the extra points.
It was more of the same after the interval as Jones again took centre stage to charge down a kick and cross under the posts for a third converted Keys touchdown.
The hosts racked up further tries from Dorian Jones, replacement lock Sean Higgins and a second by Price, with Jones adding a fourth penalty to complete a landslide victory.
Neath fly-half Dai Langdon kept the visitors' scoreboard ticking over
Neath once again showed their battling qualities as they recorded back to back wins for the first time this season to complete a league double over Carmarthen Quins with a 17-12 triumph.
A second half touchdown from winger Elliot Jones proved to be the difference in the end, in a match dominated by boot.
In a tight contest, Quins’ Jack Maynard and Neath’s Dai Langdon exchanged penalties as the scores were tied 6-6 at the break.
Jack Maynard clears Carmarthen's lines.
After the interval it was very much a shoot out between the two fly halves, as Maynard kicked his side into a 12-9 lead and the Welsh All Blacks were reduced to 14 with John Leyshon being sent to sit on the sidelines for ten minutes for a technical offence.
With the odds against them, however, Neath struck through speedster Jones turning the match on its head as he crossed for a blistering try outwide to put the visitors back in front.
Strong defence: Neath halt Rheon James in his tracks
Neath will be pleased with the way they closed the match out with Langdon adding his fourth penalty late on to condemn Quins to two successive narrow defeats at home.

Bedwas went clear at the top of the Premiership thanks to a convincing 30-9 win over Gwent rivals Newport at the Bridge Field.

Replacement fly half Ethan Davies bagged 17 points through five penalties and a conversion.
Matthew Pewtner touched down and Bedwas were awarded a penalty try converted by Richard Powell who subsequently went off to make way for Davies.
Scott Sneddon landed two penalties for Newport and Tom Hancock one.

Reigning champions Pontypridd ominously moved up to second in the table as they overcame early pacesetters Llandovery 19-12 at Church Bank

Huw Dowden scored the only try of the match in a tense affair and the rest of Ponty’s points came from the boot of Dai Flanagan. who kicked a conversion and four penalties.
All of the Drovers' points were contributed by James Garland, who landed four penalties, as they salvaged a losing bonus point.

Llanelli meanwhile maintained their unbeaten run at Parc y Scarlets in the league as they saw off strugglers Aberavon 26-11.
It was a case of keeping up with the Joneses and the Wizards failed that test, as scrum half Ryan Jones danced his way over before the break, while Dion Jones showed some deft football skills to dribble his way over, and Owen Williams once again impressed as he bagged 16 points through four penalties and two conversions.
 Aberavon, who have now gone five games without a victory, did score a consolation try eight minutes from time as flanker Chris Davies was driven over from a five-metre lineout.

Finally, Cardiff did just enough to see off visitors Bridgend at the Arms Park edging to a 19-16 success.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Narberth beat battling Beddau

Otters flanker Wayne Williams evades the Beddau defence to score a breakaway try

Narberth were made to work hard for their eighth win of the season as they battled to a 30-15 home win over Beddau on Wednesday night.
On the attack: Beddau scrum half Hywel Chatham spins the ball wide.
The Green and Golds, who had made the long journey West midweek, made the brighter start, but a converted try from the Otters' winger Jonny Morgan put the visitors on the backfoot.
However, Beddau hit back through a well-worked Dan Fox touchdown, only for it to be cancelled out by a breakaway Wayne Williams score for the hosts, with James Russell once again adding the extras.
Making hard yards: Otters prop Steffan Jones took some stopping by the Beddau defence
After the interval, three Russell penalties gave Narberth some breathing space but a lovely effort from David Francis, converted by Hywel Chatham, brought Beddau back into contention. The Otters, however, quickly reasserted themselves to quash any comeback as, after putting the Beddau line under increasing pressure, they were eventually rewarded with a penalty try which Rhys Roberts duly converted.
Bargoed once again reign supreme at the summit after they eased to a 31-12 win at Glamorgan Wanderers.
The Blues ran in five tries in all and had wrapped the bonus point up before the break - James Pizey, Lewis Protheroe, Grant Rogers, Andrew McLaughlin and Dafydd Carter touched down for the visitors.
The Wanderers did manage two tries of their own either side of the interval through Tom James and Owen Marshall.
Meanwhile, Tata Steel returned to winning ways in emphatic style as they wrapped up an eight try 58-0 demolition of struggling Whitland.
Fly-half Simon Evans was in fine form showing great feet to dance his way to a hat-trick, while scrum half Martin Luckwell and winger Gbemi Fisher bagged braces, with Fisher’s second being a length of the field solo score. Flanker Iwan Hopkins got Tata’s other try.
In a tight contest at Pontypool Park, it was Cardiff Met that picked up the points, with a 19-6 triumph over their hsosts.
On a bitterly cold evening, both sides took a while to thaw out with Clayton Gullis’ penalty the only score of the half as Pooler led 3-0 at the break.
With neither side dominating proceedings, Pontypool’s Josh Faletau fell foul of the referee and got ten minutes in the bin, as the Students didn't let the numerical advantage come to nothing, adding 7 points through a penalty try that Marc Cooke converted.
The visitors, now in the ascendancy, crossed twice more in quick succession through James Beale and Cameron Setter to seal the seventh win of their campaign.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Principality Premiership Friday predictions

Bedwas v Newport

Two teams in form meet at the Bridge Field with table toppers Bedwas unbeaten in five and Newport without a loss in three.

The visitors’ games at home to Aberavon last weekend was postponed because of a sodden Rodney Parade pitch so they may have lost a bit of match sharpness in the meantime.

Bedwas edged the reverse fixture in Newport 26-25 in September so they might have a slight psychological advantage as they go for a league double.

Verdict – Bedwas by three points

Cardiff v Bridgend

Both sides lost last time out but that blip came at contrasting times for these two clubs.

While Bridgend’s lacklustre defeat to Llanelli was their first after four straight wins, Cardiff’s defeat at Llandovery was a fourth in the last five.

Cardiff still hold the upper hand over their opponents in the table, one place and three points ahead of the Ravens in eighth.

Verdict – Cardiff by five points

Carmarthen Quins v Neath

Neath’s narrow victory against Swansea last Saturday was vital to the confidence levels at the club as it arrested a run of six consecutive losses.

That win was Neath’s only one on the road this season while the Quins will want to get back to winning ways after defeats to Bedwas and Llanelli.

Verdict – Quins by 10 points

Cross Keys v Swansea

After taking on title contenders Pontypridd and Llandovery in their last two games, matches they lost and won respectively, Keys have what should be a much easier task on Friday.

With just one victory this season it’s no surprise that Swansea are at the bottom of the table but if they pick up a couple of points at Pandy Park and other results go their way they will send Aberavon to last place.

Verdict – Cross Keys by 15 points

Llandovery v Pontypridd

Many will see this as a potential dress rehearsal for May’s grand final as second hosts third at Church Bank.

With only one defeat each this season these are the two toughest teams to beat in the league and with a game in hand over the Drovers and two over Bedwas, Pontypridd know a win on Friday would probably see them become slight favourites for the title.

Verdict – Llandovery by four points

Llanelli v Aberavon

Aberavon have no league win in four while Llanelli are going for four successes on the bounce and home advantage will make them favourites here.

Llanelli took the spoils 26-6 at Aberavon in September and even though the latter is struggling near the foot of the table they do have a match in hand over the teams around them.

Verdict – Llanelli by 10 points

By David Williams

Championship Midweek Predictions

Glamorgan Wanderers v Bargoed
With Wanderers languishing fourth from bottom and their rivals Bargoed just one point off the top, it is hard to see anything other than a win for the visitors tonight. Bargoed were too strong for highfliers Newbridge last time out and they can reclaim top spot with a win here as leaders Ebbw Vale have a night off.
Verdict – Bargoed by 20 points

Narberth v Beddau
I’m sure Beddau won’t be too pleased with the WRU’s scheduling as the Green and Golds have to make a long trip West mid-week and I think they will start as underdogs at the Lloyd Lewis Ground as a result. The Otters left it late to beat the Dairymen last week but I don’t see this contest being as close.
Verdict – Narberth by 7 points

Pontypool v Cardiff Met
The students have been a surprise package this year as, after a mediocre season in One West last year, the Cyncoed outfit have performed well and I expect them to rack up their seventh win of the season. Pontypool always start well but just can’t seem to maintain their standard for 80 minutes and I don’t think they’ll come away with anything from this encounter.
Verdict – Cardiff Met by 10 points

Tata Steel v Whitland
Tata, after looking like they were going places in the league, will have been disappointed to lose to Cardiff Met at home last time out and I expect a reaction from the Port Talbot side. The Borderers have won only once this season, admittedly against Ebbw Vale, but I really don’t see them picking anything up from this match.
Verdict – Tata Steel by 15 points

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Welsh Premiership Predictions

Carmarthen Quins v Bedwas

Friday night will see the first return fixtures in the Premiership. Leaders Bedwas, determined to maintain their reign at the head of the table, will be looking to complete the double over the Quins after their opening day 22-16 win.

The hosts, meanwhile, haven't played since their 20-8 loss at Llanelli two weeks ago and will be glad to return to the comforts of Carmarthen Park, where they will undoubtedly provide a stern test for the league leaders.
The match will be a close one but I think the Quins will just clinch it as they set out with a point to prove.
Verdict - Carmarthen Quins by 3 points.

Llandovery v Cardiff
After an emphatic start, early pacemakers Llandovery have been brought back down to earth with successive draws, followed by a loss at Cross Keys last week.
However, the highfliers are unbeaten at home this season and will start as favourites to extend that record against Cardiff, who have only won once away so far.
The Blue and Blacks have appointed Mark Ring as their new backs coach and will be hoping to test the Drovers' defence, but I think this Llandovery side will have more than enough fire power to see off their visitors from the capital.
Verdict - Llandovery by 8 points

Llanelli v Bridgend
Bridgend go into the match high in confidence on the back of four consecutive victories and they will be hoping to maintain that momentum tomorrow when they travel to Parc y Scarlets, as they look to do the double over their West Walian opponents.
Llanelli haven’t had a match in two weeks and should be raring to go, especially in the knowledge that a win would take them right back into the mix at the top end of the table.
I think Llanelli will end Bridgend’s streak, but the Ravens will make it a tight contest and they should come away with a losing bonus point.
Verdict - Llanelli by 6 points

Pontypridd v Cross Keys
As we approach the half way mark of the season, Ponty look to be in a strong position as they bid to retain their Premiership crown sitting just two points off the top, but also with two games in hand.
Encounters between these teams are usually physical affairs and they both come into the match on the back of impressive wins. Ponty will be looking to do the double over the Keys after they convincingly defeated them 28-3 on the opening day of the season.
Ponty must start as favourites in front of a home Sardis Road crowd, but their rivals that sit one place lower than them in the league, will put up a fight as they look to continue the form that saw them inflict Llandovery’s first defeat of the season last week.
Verdict - Pontypridd by 7 points

Swansea v Neath
Both these sides go into the match low on form and low in confidence, with the All Whites propping up the table on a meagre seven points, while Neath sit  just three points and two places higher.
This match could prove pivotal to both sides as they try to claw themselves back up the table and turn their failing seasons around.  Swansea picked their solitary win back at the start of the season, while Neath’s ill-discipline has proved costly too many times thus far.
This will be a dogged fight - Swansea showed some promise against Bridgend last week but have ultimately forgotten how to win, and I think their wait for a second victory will go on as I feel Neath will just sneak it.
Verdict - Neath by 3 points

Newport v Aberavon- Sunday 2.30 ko
The Black and Ambers have surprised many do far this season and go into this match on the back of three wins. For Aberavon meanwhile, after a great season last year in finishing third, they have so far struggled having claimed just the one win.
The Wizards will be hoping to stop their run of five losses on the road but although they have shown glimpses this season, they have yet to put in a full 80 minute performance away from the TAG and I can’t see a change in fortune for the Wizards on the road
Verdict - Newport by 8 points

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Seddon rules the roost as Denbigh go try crazy

A STUNNING haul of 35 points from Tom Seddon, including two tries, 11 conversions and a penalty, helped Denbigh annihilate Llanidloes 105-8 in Two North with the division’s frontrunners scoring 16 tries.

Dafydd Cartwright was the only man to score a hat-trick but Dan Jones, Dwayne Speakman-Jones, Jamie Winning and Dan Mars-Jones all crossed twice.

Second-placed COBRA made hard work of their home encounter against bottom club Colwyn Bay before coming out on top 21-15 but without the extra bonus point.

Stephen Alson was Shotton’s man of the match as he scored two tries and kicked a conversion and two penalties in a 28-27 away success over Rhyl, for whom Paul Sellward went over for a hat-trick. Machynlleth and Abergele also won yesterday.

Andrew Duggan’s try and five Rob Lloyd penalties saw Builth Wells maintain their lead in Two West with a hard-fought 20-15 win at Maesteg Quins while Nelson beat Rhiwbina 25-21 to do the same in Two East.

Seven Sisters are only two points behind Builth Wells following a 34-22 win over Maesteg. They bagged a bonus point too with tries for Dan Short, Gareth Wyn Thomas, James Pike and Dan Norton.

Tylorstown are still waiting to get off the mark this season in Two East, their latest defeat, 29-10, coming at the hands of Abercynon while Rhymney celebrated just a second win this season with a 32-18 defeat of Llantrisant, Steve Knight, Mark Titcombe and Dafydd Hellard the men to score the tries for the Brewers.

The big battle in Three South East between the top two, Pontyclun and Dowlais, went the way of the latter 10-6 while in Three East Caerphilly overcame Risca 20-15 thanks to tries from Lloyd Thomas, Oliver Griffiths and Gareth Harrison.

Croesyceiliog and Abercarn lost at Abergavenny and Pontypool Utd respectively but did manage to rescue a losing bonus point. Tom Rees and Josh Hisman were Abergavenny’s match winners as they won 17-12 and Matthew Prosser and Robert Tovey were on the mark for Pontypool as they triumphed 15-9.

In Three West, Amman Utd are the new pacesetters after a 34-10 bonus-point win at home to Llanelli Wanderers with Shane Williams’s brother-in-law Andrew Lacey among the tries. Newcastle Emlyn drew level on points with Tenby Utd thanks to a narrow 16-14 win over their rivals.

Dan Davies and Dan Colley traded tries but crucially Rhydian Harris converted Davies’s and Tom Lewis didn’t convert Colley’s. Two tries for centre James Owens put Tumble en route to a 26-10 triumph at home to Gorseinon.

Trebanos pulled 10 points clear in Three South West after beating closest rivals Ystalyfera 28-13, Mumbles thrashed Aberavon Green Stars 50-17 and Morriston edged out Brynamman 10-5.

Penlan’s push for successive promotions shows no sign of stopping, their ninth straight victory in Four South West this term was a 57-0 thrashing of Abercarn. Dafydd Pritchard (2), Steven Williams (2), Luke Davies, Nathan Llewellyn, Simon Bevan, Dean Davies and Robert Green were their try scorers.

The match of the day in Four West turned out to be a classic as leaders Tycroes got the better of third-placed Trimsaran 33-25 with Stuart Mander crossing for two of Tycroes’s four tries.

Steff Howells did the same for Hendy as Aberaeron were beaten 23-19, Jamie Herbert was also at the double for Furnace Utd in a 23-10 win against Betws and Rhydian Davies and Llyr Davies both bagged a brace for Llanybydder as Laugharne were ousted 37-19.

While Oakdale held New Tredegar to a 20-20 draw in Four East, leaders Cilfynydd opened up a six-point gap at the top as they toppled Monmouth 26-8. Nathan Pearce’s two tries helped Blaenavon to a 39-3 victory over Machen.

In Four South East, Old Illtydians bagged a bonus point to draw level with Wattstown at the top. Tom Wheeler (2), Geraint Webb, Phil Morse, Adam Staniforth, Dave Jones, John Manders and Alessandro Abet were in try-scoring form for the Illtydians as they saw off Penygraig 55-8.

Dan Morgan grabbed a hat-trick for Banwen in their 31-20 win against Llangadog in Five South West, but Nathan Jenkins went one better, scoring four times for Penybanc as they consolidated top spot with a 90-0 blitz of Cwmgwrach.

Tom Edmunds outdid brother James with three and two tries respectively for Swansea Uplands as they saw off Pontyates 52-19 in Five West. Two of Gowerton’s nine tries fell the way of Gareth John as they defeated Bynea 60-5.

A narrow 15-13 away win against Brynithel gave Five East frontrunners Nantyglo an eighth win out of nine this season while Matthew Oatey, Tom Owen, Craig Cox, Matthew Morgan and Richard Wanklyn (2) took Pontrhydyfen to a 39-5 win over Ferndale in Five South Central.

Top try-scorer of the day was Crickhowell’s Joe Powell whose five tries helped his team beat Llandrindod Wells 45-5 in Six South Central. Cambrian Welfare overcame Cefn Fforest 32-3, Tom Evans crossing twice, in the same division while in Six East, Gavin Evans was among the tries for Blaina Utd in a 29-15 win on the road at Malpas.

Finally, in Division Seven there was a first point of the season, albeit a losing one, for Old Tylerians as they went down 19-17 to Sea View, Abersychan beat Newbridge Utd 8-7 and the other games were postponed.