Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Like father, like son for Neath winners

THE final West Wales Golf Alliance meeting of the season was a real family affair with Neath father and son, Peter and Jonathan Morgan, claiming first prize at Llantrisant & Pontyclun.

The duo combined to post a winning net score of 65, four-under-par, to win by one stroke from Royal Porthcawl’s Richard Hendicott and Paul Naysmith with host club pro Andrew Bowen and Phil Holiday third on 67.

In the end, just three shots separated the top four home with Gower’s Gavin Godbeer and Llewelyn Miller having to settle for fourth with a round of 68.

The 2012/13 Alliance season starts in September when Glynhir hosts the first of four meetings before the turn of the year. Cradoc, Ashburnham and Neath are the venues for the other three events in October, November and December respectively.

Club competitions have been coming thick and fast as the glorious weather gets golfers out on the course to make the most of the conditions.

At Ashburnham, there was no stopping Sophie Anderson and Olwen Davies in the Easter Greensome Stableford. The duo won the event at a canter with 44 points, eight more than Elizabeth Ervine and Lynette Mortimer in second. Three further back were Jean Peace and Yvonne Williams.

It was a lot closer in the Evan Williams Cup as Andrea Martin shot a net 76 to clinch first prize, one ahead of Eleanor Roberts and two in front of Leena Lodha. In the men’s Colliver Bowl, Jonathan Blewett (net 70) was the stand out performer.

A net 65 gave Kyran Lewis the bragging rights in the Club Medal and GUW qualifier at Derllys Court while the seniors’ third round of the Dawn Patrol competition was claimed by Peter Jones on 43 points.

Strong cross winds resulted in almost 30 players being unable to conclude their round in the second stage of the Millennium Cup Medal at Swansea Bay. But first team players Bryan Ashford and Mike Grieves fared best with Ashford’s net 70 taking top honours.

The Lockley Pairs better-ball medal was won by current club champion and course record holder Ben Hinchey with his partner Clive Adams.

The Ladies’ Eunice Jory four-ball better-ball at Carmarthen was won by Susan Saunders and Ina Davies with 43 points. In a tight finish, they held off Jane Thomas and Jennifer Williams on the back nine. Jean Barratt and Rebecca Robinson were just behind on 42 to take third place.

Mick Fenney’s 40 points gave him the first round of the Seniors’ W L Davies Cup in fine style. Three players scored 38, with Stuart Barclay just about securing the runner-up spot over Tim Harries on last three countback. Simon Barratt was fourth on the same score.

The Seniors ‘C’ team won their match in the South Wales Seniors Classic against Derllys Court by two matches to one, they now play Tenby ‘A’ at home in the next round. The ‘B’ team, playing in the cup, have been drawn to play Neath, also at home, and if either win their matches they will progress to the quarter-finals.

The Members and Guests Open competition over the weekend was a huge success with 140 golfers playing in gorgeous, if windy, conditions with the course looking at its best. The Maridunum Vase was won by Aled and Jane Thomas with an astonishing net score of 62, 12 better than anyone else.

John and Joanne Dive were runners-up with 74.5, beating Clifford and Julia Webb on the back nine.

Matthew Moseley has had a great week in various top class amateur events. On Tuesday, he travelled to Worksop in Nottinghamshire to play in the qualifier for the prestigious Brabazon trophy. Scoring 72, he tied for 11th in a large field and so qualified to play in the trophy proper at Walton Heath later in the year.

Then it was off to Prestatyn to play in the Welsh Open Strokeplay where, after solid rounds of 77, 74, 72 and 75 he finished tied 14th out of 120 golfers and had the added pleasure of playing the final two rounds with Walker Cup captain Nigel Edwards.

A score of 38 points was enough to see Alwyne Pugh to the Prosser Evans Cup at Pennard. Wayne Williams was two back in second and Neil Smitham third with 35. Alastair Verbruggen, John Webb and T Glyn Evans were the best of the rest in divisions one, two and three respectively.

Results

Ashburnham

Evan Williams Cup; 1. Andrea Martin net 76, 2. Eleanor Roberts 77, 3. Leena Lodha 78

Colliver Bowl; 1. Jonathan Blewett net 70, 2. Peter Probert 74, 3. Andrew Leahy 75

Easter Greensome Stableford; 1. Sophie Anderson & Olwen Davies 44pts, 2. Elizabeth Ervine & Lynette Mortimer 36, 3. Jean Peace & Yvonne Williams 33

Carmarthen

Ladies Eunice Jory Fourball; 1. Susan Saunders & Ina Davies 43pts, 2. Jane Thomas & Jennifer Williams 43, 3. Jean Barratt & Rebecca Robinson 42

Maridunum Vase; 1. Aled & Jane Thomas net 62, 2. John & Joanne Dive 74.5, 3. Clifford & Julia Webb 74.5

Seniors WL Davies Cup; 1. Mick Fenney 40pts, 2. Stuart Barclay 38, 3. Tim Harries 38

Junior Open; 1. Tomos Evans net 64, 2. Edwards Rocke 68, 3. Lewis Sizer 70

Super Six Order of Merit; 1. David Thomas net 68, 2. Alan Price 68, 3. Ian Marks 69

Tretower Cup; (div one) 1. Edward Wheeler net 72, Iwan Parry 73, 3. Rhys Linquist 73, (div two) 1. Kevin Edmunds 66, 2. Richard Hopkin 68, 3. Tony Jones 69, (div three) 1. James Bryan 70, 2. Dylan Richards 71, 3. Steve Thomas 72

Derllys Court

Seniors Dawn Patrol round three; 1. Peter Jones 43pts (1st div two), 2. Huw Jones 37 (2nd div two), 3. Roy Gallop 36 (1st div one), 4. Chris Palmer 35 (2nd div one)

Medal and GUW qualifier; (div one) 1. Kyran Lewis net 65, 2. Robert Leefe 66, 3. Phillip Pickersgill 68, (div two) 1. Arwyn Thomas 67, 2. Geraint Jones 69, 3. Idwal Thomas 69, (div three) 1. Raymond Newth 70, 2. Martin Davies 73, 3. Gerald Evans 75

Llantrisant & Pontyclun

West Wales Golf Association; 1. Peter & Jonathan Morgan (Neath) 65, 2. Richard Hendicott & Paul Naysmith (Royal Porthcawl) 66, 3. Andrew Bowen & Phil Holiday (Llantrisant & Pontyclun) 67

Morriston

Llanllienwen Cup; 1. B. Watts & T. James 41pts, 2. C. Marshall & L. Johnson 40, 3. G. Matthews & D. Jones 38

Club Championship Qualifier; 1. M. Williams net 65, 2. L. Davies 69, (0-12 Hcap) 1. N. Morgan 70, 2. I Davies 70

Pennard

Prosser Evans Cup; 1. Alwyne Pugh 38pts, 2. Wayne Williams 36, 3. Neil Smitham 35

Best of the rest; (div one) 1. Alastair Verbruggen 34pts, (div two) 1. John Webb 34, (div three) 1. T Glyn Evans 35

Swansea Bay

Thursday Stableford; 1. D. Gough 46pts, 2. C. Griffiths 42, 3. D. Price 41

Millennium Cup Medal; 1. B. Ashford net 70, 2. M. Grieves 71, 3. R. Baker 72

Lockley Pairs; 1. B. Hinchey & C. Adams net 65, 2. G. Jenkins & D. Wootton 65, 3. A. Crecraft & P. Thomas 66

Monday, 28 May 2012

Neath FC wound up at High Court

NEATH Football Club was wound up at the High Court in London today, it has been confirmed.

The court granted a “usual compulsory order” and an official receiver will now be appointed to deal with the club’s affairs.

A statement on the Neath FC website said their “priorities lie with providing as much support and assistance as we can to all the players and staff who are currently employed by the club.”

The winding-up order was put forward by Barclays Bank with the case having been adjourned earlier this month because paperwork from Barclays was deemed unsatisfactory.

The club had fought off another winding-up order brought by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in March while today’s news comes a week after Neath RFC, which shares the same owner, escaped a similar fate at the High Court.

Neath FC was already reeling from an FAW licensing appeals committee ruling to uphold a decision to demote them from the Welsh Premier League for failing to meet criteria which would have kept them in the division.

“The collapse of the club’s main sponsor in October 2011 caused untold financial problems at the club, however, against all odds and due to the hard work and determination of everyone involved we continued until the end of the season,” said the statement.

“The recent decision by the FAW not to grant the club its domestic and UEFA licenses for next season was another huge blow to us and unfortunately one that we were unable to recover from.

“The club has been advised that an official receiver will be appointed to handle the clubs affairs. In the meantime our priorities lie with providing as much support and assistance as we can to all the players and staff who are currently employed by the club.”

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Dyffryn see off Cimla


In the battle at the summit of Division Four of the South Wales Cricket Association, Dyffryn came away with the spoils in a very entertaining match against Cimla, running out winners by 21 runs.
Dyffryn set a total of 242, as Tim Sheehan blasted an unbeaten half century 64, with Craig Thomas chipping in a useful 29. Arun Rengaswamy was the best with the ball claiming 3-58, while Asim Saleem collected 2-43.
Cimla gave chase but were eventually skittled for 221 in the 45th over, despite an impressive half century from James Hornby (78). Paul Amphlett and Joseph Evans did the damage with the ball, capturing 3-54 and 3-53 respectively.
Newcomers Llantwit Major Cavaliers thumped visitors Ystradgynlais by ten wickets.
Ystrad batted first and were dismissed for 111, the hosts' attack was in no mood to mess around as James Snelson collected 3-15, while Julian Griffiths captured 2-34 and Chris Cousens mopped up the tail end taking 2-8.
The Cavaliers chased down the total in the 19th over knocking 113 without loss. Couses top scored with a half century 56, while Griffiths knocked 53 for the simplest of wins.
Meanwhile, Felinfoel put strugglers Kidwelly to the sword with an eight wicket victory.
Kidwelly batted first notching up 179-7 thanks to a wonderful 99 from Nasir Shaikh that included ten 4’s and two 6’s. But Felinfoel easily chased down the target for the loss of just two wickets, 183-2, with Craig Richards smashing an 89, which included fourteen 4’s and one 6, while Rhys Harris hit 68 to secure a comfortable win.
Elsewhere, Llandeilo beat Llandarcy by 12 runs and Baglan defeated Neath by 75 runs.

Llandudno made to work for victory


Llandudno remain on top of the North Wales Premier Division but were made to work for their two wicket victory at Denbigh.
The hosts, batting first, posted 136 with Harrison Jones producing an unbeaten half century (56). Jack Rimmington was the pick of the bowlers claiming 3-35.
Llandudno gave chase and looked to be in serious trouble at 80-8, but a ninth wicket stand between Luke Regan 31n/o and Rimmington 22n/o steered them home.
Mochdre are snapping at the heels of the leaders thanks to a comprehensive six wicket win at Llay Welfare.
Llay elected to bat and declared on 179-9 in the 46th over, with Jamie Beal striking a splendid 88, while John Lloyd fell just short of a half century. The Mochdre attack was in formidable form with Adam Campion claiming 4-23, while Marcus Adams took 3-35.
The visitors in reply reached their target in the 39th over carding 180-4, Joe Chaplin top scored with 65 but the man of the match had to be all rounder Campion, who backed his fine bowling display up with an unbeaten 40.
Reigning champions Connah’s Quay returned to winning ways with a home victory over Bangor by six wickets, thanks to a scintillating century from Martin Burger.
Bangor posted 182-7d in the 54th over, David Winter hit a quick fire 48 that included five 4’s and one 6, while Simon Murley contributed 35 and Matthew Jackson hit 28. Shane Carlton was the pick of the bowlers collecting 4-42.
The hosts, inspired by Burger’s 106 off only 82 balls that included twenty two 4’s, made light-work of their goal carding 183-4 in the 37th over.
Meanwhile, Menai Bridge are up to third after they thumped Mold by eight wickets.
Mold won the toss and elected to bat but were dismissed for 155, with Tim Coggan in lethal form taking 5-36, while Robbie Jones was also on song claiming 3-32.
It was the dynamic duo in reply for Menai Bridge that saw them home to victory, with Coggan unbeaten on 78 and captain Jones undefeated on 48.
Elsewhere, Pontblyddyn secured a winning draw against Brymbo, with Glenn Chambers' century (111) the highlight of the match.
Finally, Northop defeated St Asaph by five wickets.

Tumble clinch SA Brains Bowl


Tumble narrowly saw off Seven Sisters to bag the SA Brains Bowl title with a 27-26 victory in baking conditions at Loughor.
It was Seven Sisters that raced into an early 16-0 lead but the Magpies showed their determination to claw it back to 16-14 at the break.
The Three West outfit crossed three times with an excellent double from centre Dafydd Pritchard, while wing Ricky Allinson also dancing his way over. Steven Hewitt was in fine form with the boot, adding the extras to all three and firing home a penalty, before fly half James Owen slotted a crucial drop goal to seal the victory.
Seven, who finished runners up in Three South West, also ran in three tries with wing Anthony Llewellyn bagging a brace and flanker Peter O’Sullivan also going over. Mark Smith slotted a solitary conversion and three penalties, as they just fell short.
Llandovery claimed the Tovali Cup in emphatic style on a hot and balmy evening at Broadacre, running out 50-10 victors over Glynneath.
It was a game too far for Glynneath. Their second Cup final in five days, after defeating Maesteg Quins to the Silver Ball crown a few days earlier, they fell away in the final half hour after an evenly matched opening 50 minutes whereby Llandovery led 19-10.
But as the match wore on, gaps began to appear and the floodgates opened as the Church Bank outfit crossed eight times in all, with an impressive display from hat-trick hero and 20 year old centre Jack Roberts, with scrum half Danny Newlands, hooker Gerald Ellis, prop Wyn Jones and back rows Matthew Harbut and Shaun Miles all crossing the whitewash. They also fired home five penalties through Mike Evans (3) and replacement Andrew Claypole (2).
Glynneath, who will be plying their trade in One West next season, will be proud of their performance holding off the Premiership outfit for large periods, wing Jonny Morgan touched down for their only try, while outside half Jack O’Reily added the extras and a penalty.
“We can’t complain about the excellent season we’ve had. It was just a case of a game too far with this match coming too close to the Silver Ball final. The boys were out on their feet at the end but it was a pretty evenly matched contest and they just had nothing more to give in the final quarter”, commented Glynneath Official, Brian Morgan.  

Civil Service make light-work of step up


Swansea Civil Service's ambition of back to back promotions remains on track after they bagged their fourth win in Division Three of the South Wales Cricket Association, defeating Drefach by 47 runs thanks to a six wicket haul from Gruffudd Prydderch.
Civil Service batted first and posted 125, Steven Porter their top scorer hitting 32. Leigh Davies and Greg Owens were the best in attack, both claiming 3-26.
Drefach in reply were dismissed for 77, with Prydderch starring with the ball. Seymour top scored with 43 as the rest of the batting order fell away.
Porthcawl climbed to fourth with a six wicket triumph over Pontyberem at Locks Lane, inspired by a superb century from Steve Doherty.
The visitors, batting first, posted 213-9, with opener Martin Lewis striking a superb 90, while Emyr Lewis contributed 29. Mark Dixon was in fine form with the ball capturing 5-45 from 12 overs.
The Seasiders in reply reached their target in the 40th over carding 215-4, with Doherty producing a tremendous display in smashing his way to an unbeaten 135, including an incredible 98 in boundaries, as he smashed nine 6’s and eleven 4’s.
Maesteg recovered from their loss last week to bag an emphatic 128 run home victory over Pwll.
The Llynfi Valley side amassed 273-7, with captain Andrew King leading from the front with a top draw 88, while Gareth Bailey knocked 51 and 14 year old Steffan Roberts showed great promise as he finished unbeaten on 52.
Pwll were dispatched for 145 in the 30th over despite solid performances from Marcus Leaf (32) and Chris Rowlands (59). Michael Bailey was the pick with the ball taking 4-56, while Roberts continued his impressive display in collecting 3-31.
Elsewhere, Margam are struggling to find their feet in the higher division as they slipped to another loss, going down to Briton Ferry Town this time by 96 runs.
Finally, leaders Hills Plymouth remain unbeaten as they bagged their fourth win with a two wicket triumph at Landore.

Wanderers on course for immediate return


Carmarthen Wanderers leapt to the top of Division Two of the South Wales Cricket Association with a resounding 109 run triumph over Briton Ferry Steel.
The Wanderers, who are aiming to make an immediate return to the top flight, were put in to bat and set a target of 243-4. Daniel Jones knocked 76, while Leighton Walters finished unbeaten on 51.
Steel had no answer at the crease, coming up against an inspired Ian Marsh, who carded remarkable figures of 3-5 from eleven overs, including six maidens, while Walters rounded off a good day's work capturing 3-21. Paul Evans was the only notable performer with the bat knocking 46.
Cowbridge remain level on points with the Wanderers at the top after they recorded a winning draw at home over newcomers Llandysul.
Captain Tom Merilaht lead from the front smashing 113, while Mike Lloyd knocked 59 as the hosts carded 269-4.
Llandysul’s Ben Edkins single handily kept his side ticking over, finishing unbeaten on 111, as the Carmarthenshire side look good value to cement their place in the higher division.
Aberdare climbed to third place thanks to a nine wicket thumping of Gorseinon, with all rounder Mike Roberts stealing the show.
The Swansea side won the toss and decided to bat but were dismissed for 128 in the 49th. Jamie Williams was the best with the bat hitting an undefeated 45, but the real star of the innings was Roberts, who captured 5-28.
In reply, Roberts was once again the stand out performer knocking an undefeated half century (73), as Aberdare cruised to victory carding 130-1.
Elsewhere, newly promoted Bronwydd continue to impress as they saw off Skewen by 39 runs.
The newcomers were put in and they made 125, Byron Jones (32) and John Thorley (27) were the picks with the bat. In attack, David Thomas took a four wicket haul and Mark Lewis mopped up the order capturing 3-8.
Skewen gave chase but were skittled for 86 in the 28th over thanks to some splendid bowling from Steven Williams, who was unrelenting as he claimed 6-18, while Tom Gleeson captured 3-13.
Finally, Morriston moved clear of the bottom tow with a winning draw at Llanelli.

Dafen extend lead thanks to Rowlands' 6 wicket heroics


Reigning champions Dafen extended their lead at the top of Division One of the South Wales Cricket Association to 15 points after they saw off Clydach by 62 runs.
In scorching conditions, Dafen were put in and set a target of 203-9. The always dependable Steven Devonald top scored striking a sizzling 66 that included ten 4’s and two 6’s, while Jamie Mansel knocked a useful 38. Joe Farthing was the pick in attack claiming 4-27 from ten overs, with Steve Reeve also bagging four wickets.
The story of Clydach’s innings was Andrew Rowlands' scintillating six wicket haul, as he destroyed the hosts' batting order to take 6-51, while Phil George also carded impressive figures of 3-51 as Clydach were dismissed for 141. Top scorer for the Tawe Valley side was Sion Jenkins who cracked 51, including five 6’s and two 4’s.
Former Premier League outfit Swansea lost ground on the leaders after they could only record a winning draw over Ynystawe at St Helens.
The hosts notched up 222-6, Gareth Hayden top scored with 57, while Mark Payne (38) and Shasika Rodrigo (36) also produced notable performances. Alex Fletcher was the best with the ball, taking 2-42.
Ynystawe in reply got off to a great start, with opener Andrew Beasly smashing 84, while Rowan Evans hit 44 as they put on 109 for the second wicket. As the wickets began to tumble, however, a solid display by Sion Jones (32) prevented his team from crumbling. The hosts did have two balls for the chance to claim the win but Ynystawe held on for the draw. In attack, Adam Wright was the pick collecting 3-22, while Ed Smith took 3-52.
Meanwhile, Neath leapt to second with a dominant eight wicket victory over Maesteg Celtic.
Celtic, who are still searching for their maiden win, won the toss and elected to bat posting 184-9. Mark Davies was the pick at the crease blasting 65, while Ian Herbert knocked an unbeaten 16 and Tom Morgan chipped in with 15. Neath’s attack were in unforgiving form with Matthew Davies claiming 4-31 and Nathan Aubrey picking up 4-49.
The hosts comfortably reached their goal in the 44th over carding 188-2, Keiron Thomas (77), Jason Arnold (66) and Gareth Davies' 30no did the damage with the bat. There was also reason to celebrate for Celtic’s 15 year old debutant Matthew Griffiths, who captured 2-34.
Elsewhere, Llangennech clinched a winning draw at home against Tata Steel.
The Carmarthenshire side batted first and posted 178-9, Huw Williams was the best with the bat striking 44, while opener Gethin Long knocked 43 and Atif Hameed contributed a solid 34. Kelvin Bartle was once again in fine form with the ball for the visitors claiming 4-35, while Phillip Taylor captured 3-29.
The Port Talbot outfit in reply did look like they were headed for a loss at 124-9, but a determined last stand from Michael Jones, 21n/o, and Nathan Ferrell, 18n/o, meant they avoided defeat. Rhodri Lewis was the pick with the ball carding excellent figures of 5-47, while Hameed and Williams picked up 2-13 and 2-16 respectively.
Finally, Gowerton thumped basement boys Pontardawe by eight wickets.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Treorchy claim Worthington Mid District Cup


Treorchy defied all the odds and thoroughly deserved to defeat the favourites Bargoed and gain the Worthington Mid District Cup in a rousing game played at Sardis Road, Pontypridd.

Bargoed’s season was probably their best-ever, but they had gained no trophy and this looked to be their night.

But, The Zebras had other ideas and clever planning plus some clinical finishing deservedly took them to victory and their magnificent defence meant that Bargoed never came close to scoring a try.

Five penalty goals by fly half Josh Prosser was all that Bargoed had to offer and though they led at 9-8 and 15-13, there was no doubting it was to be Treorchy’s night.

The Treorchy fly half Celyn Ashton had a mixed night of good goals kicked but others missed, including a close-range conversion, and he was also yellow-carded.

It was scrum half Lloyd Williams who proved a deadly attacker, scoring one and playing a large part in another try.

Premiership No 8 Craig Everett was brought into the Treorchy lineup and declared player of the match, but Williams and the lively wing Peter Hutchings were close contenders.

Ashton and Prosser traded penalties before centre Trystan Lazarus ran in for a superb score only for Prosser to kick goals two and three.

Then a Williams break almost gained a try but quick ball was spun for wing Andrew Mallin to score, yet Prosser put Bargoed back in front with goals four and five before and after the interval.

Ashton returned from the sin-bin to place a penalty and restore a Treorchy lead they were now never to lose.

Williams went away for a clever blind-side try that Ashton converted and the latter placed his third penalty before Hutchings tore in for a fourth and fully deserved Treorchy try

The Mid District Cup  was presented to captain Jamie Summers by Mr. Martin Anderson, Regional Director of Molson Coors.

Scorers.
Treorchy  – Tries: T Lazarus, A Mallin, L Williams, P Hutchings. Con: C Ashton. Pens: C Ashton 3.
Bargoed  –  Pens: J Prosser 5.
Referee – Leighton Hodges (Bridgend).

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Rebecca forces her way to national title

CARMARTHEN golfer Rebecca Robinson was pounding the fairways rather than the streets on her way to winning the National UK Police Ladies Championship at Hawkstone Park in Shropshire.

Robinson was the only player representing the Welsh Forces but beat more than 30 other policewomen from across the country to lift the Watkins Trophy, presented to her by Jon Murphy, Chief Constable of Merseyside Police.

Not only did she win first prize, Robinson also qualified as a reserve for the Police team which will play the Army, Navy and RAF later this year.

In the Alun Griffiths Cup at Carmarthen, Andrew Roberts took a leaf out of his female clubmate’s notebook with an incredible performance in division three to finish with a net score of 61!

Before the event Roberts had a handicap of 17 but that has been promptly reduced following his devastating display which was 10 shots better than the next man, Jake Fearn. Back from playing collegiate golf in the US, Matthew Moseley was the best in division one with a net 70.

He was one stroke ahead of Rhys Lindquist with Paul Davies’s 73 good enough for third. Martin dean took the honours in division two, his 69 just edging out Meirion Griffiths with Tony Fairlamb third on 71.

Carmarthen Tigers A took on Haverfordwest in near perfect conditions and took full advantage of playing at home with a 7.5-1.5 victory. The pairings of Berian Jones and Tony Jones, and Huw Smith and Richard Hopkin both won 6&5, Steve Rees and Paul Davies triumphed 4&3 and Ed Wheeler and Adrian Thomas won 3&2.

The Knights’ Gary Thomas Cup was won by Kevin Jones with 37 points. Alan Edwards was runner-up with 36, beating Gruffydd Rees on the back nine.

Two of the club’s senior teams were involved in the first round of the South Wales Seniors Classic Cup. The A team were drawn away to RAF St Athan and local knowledge and two strong pairings proved too much for the visitors who lost 2-1.

The B team fared much better, recording another convincing 3-0 win at home against Pontypridd. Ray Heath and Selwyn Humphreys had a real tussle in the top match where their opponents reeled off four birdies in five holes around the turn. But the Carmarthen duo fought back to win on the 18th.

Tony Fairlamb and Richard Allen had a comfortable 4&3 victory and Stuart Barclay and Simon Barratt again played solid golf to win 3&2.

Chris Edwards’s better back nine gave him the edge over James Duffy in the Sunday Stableford at Langland Bay, both registering 36 points. Ben Hardwidge was third on 35.

Playing off 21, Richard Booth stormed to victory in Swansea Bay’s Memorial Day Stableford event with an impressive 44 points while BM Dobson’s steady net 70 was enough to take the Neath Cup. Wayne Jenkins returned 40 points to win the Thursday Stableford competition.

The May Stableford at Derllys Court produced some excellent scores, the most notable coming from Chris Dunn in division two with a total of 45 points. That was too hot for Michael James and Meirion Evans who both scored 39.

It was closer in division one where Neil Harvey (38) held off Martin Thomas by one point and Robert Leefe was two further back. Robert Rees was top dog in division three with 39 points.

Ann Francis was the winner of the Powell Cup at Ashburnham while Oliver Rumble clinched the Trubshaw Bowl at the same venue and a net 66 gave Craig Jones reason to cheer at The Grove as he clinched the Green Acre Cup by one.

The Two Flag Powerplay at Glynneath didn’t disappoint and the highest score across the three divisions went to Richard Jones in tier two with 52 points. Luke Nezda won in the first division with 48 and John Bowen did likewise with 47 in division three.

Also, Glynneath beat Neath 2-1 at Pennard in the PING Mixed Foursomes and will now go on to play Southerdown in the next round at The Grove.

Four strokes separated the top four in the May Medal and second round scratch qualifier at Pennard. John Beynon, with 65, took first prize followed by Ceri Llewellyn, Andrew Davies and Alun John on 67, 68 and 69 respectively.

Darren Vincent, David Jones and Leighton Pritchard were the best of the rest in divisions one, two and three.

The first Midweek Medal of the year at Southerndown saw a good turnout with a net 68 sealing first place in division one for HJ Evans. Rhodri Stevens carded a net 69 to follow suit in division two, one shot ahead of John Campbell.

Results

Ashburnham

Powell Cup and Medal 4; 1. Ann Francis net 74, 2. Gillian Hart 76, 3. Lynette Bassett 78

Trubshaw Bowl; 1. Oliver Rumble 5up, 2. Jason Rees 3up, 3. Jeff Lowe 3up

Carmarthen

Alun Griffiths Cup; (div one) 1. Matthew Moseley net 70, 2. Rhys Lindquist 71, 3. Paul Davies 73, (div two) 1. Martin Dean 69, 2. Meirion Griffiths 70, 3. Tony Fairlamb 71, (div three) 1. Andrew Roberts 61, 2. Jake Fearn 71, 3. R. Jeff Jones 73

Knights’ Gary Thomas Cup; 1. Kevin Jones 37pts, 2. Alan Edwards 36, 3. Gruffydd Rees 36

Derllys Court

May Stableford; (div one) 1. Neil Harvey 38pts, 2. Martin Thomas 37, 3. Robert Leefe 35, (div two) 1. Chris Dunn 45, 2. Michael James 39, 3. Meirion Evans 39, (div three) 1. Robert Rees 39, 2. Andrew Evans 38, 3. Stewart James 36

Glynneath

Two Flag Powerplay (stableford); (div one) 1. Luke Nezda 48pts, 2. Kerry Diplock 42, 3. Neil Williams 36, (div two) 1. Richard Jones 52, 2. Gareth Leach 44, 3. Craig Davies 42, (div three) 1. John Bowen 47, 2. Stuart Coope 45, 3. Paul Phillips 42

Langland Bay

May Monthly Medal; (div one) 1. J. Matthews net 68, 2. O. Price 68, 3. MJ Sullivan 69, (div two) 1. J. Morse 70, 2. P. Wade 73, 3. JM Rodgers 73, (div three) 1. RJC Morgan 67, 2. M. Ebenezer 69, 3. CD Thomas 73

Saturday Greensome Foursomes; 1. G. Ellis & M. Rees net 65, 2. R. Pothecary & S. Kamil 67, 3. J. Musson & L. Davies 68

Sunday Stableford; 1. Chris Edwards 36pts, 2. James Duffy 36, 3. Ben Hardwidge 35

Pennard

May Monthly Medal & Second Round Scratch Qualifier; 1. John Beynon net 65, 2. Ceri Llewellyn 67, 3. Andrew Davies 68, 4. Alun John 69. Best of the rest; (div one) Darren Vincent 69, (div two) David V Jones 69, (div three) Leighton Pritchard 70. Best gross; Ceri Llewellyn 68

Southerndown

Midweek Medal; (div one) 1. H. Evans net 68, 2. R. Forman 69, 3. Wayne Thomas 71, (div two) 1. Rhodri Stevens 69, 2. John Campbell 70, 3. Derek Williams 70

Swansea Bay

Thursday Stableford; 1. HW Jenkins 40pts 2. D. Couch 38, 3. T. Hubbard 37

Neath Cup; 1. BM Dobson net 70, 2. R. Baker 72, 3. W. Rees 72

Swansea Bay Memorial Day; 1. R. Booth 44pts, 2. N. Bevan 40, 3. W. King 39

The Grove

Green Acre Cup; 1. Craig Jones net 66, 2. Gareth Carter Clare 67, 3. Neil Summers 68

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Cowbridge moo-ve ahead in the table


Cowbridge maintained their 100 percent record in Division Two of the South Wales Cricket Association with a ten run success at Briton Ferry Steel.
Wicket keeper Sam Wood fired 81 for the highfliers while Chris Willey was unbeaten on 28. Strugglers Briton Ferry did push their visitors all the way but their resistance was broken when they lost Craig Evans (63) and Lee Williams (28), losing the final three wickets for just 16 runs.
Carmarthen Wanderers, relegated from the top flight last season, look to be on course to make a quick return after picking up their third win, seeing off Morriston by eight wickets.
The Swansea outfit posted 185-8, Daniel Sutton boasting an impressive half century 76, while opener Ashley Field knocked a solid 38. The Wanderers' attack was in economical form with Ian Marsh 3-39 and Gareth Thomas 2-35 the picks with the ball.
Youngster Daniel Jones proved pivotal in the Wanderers comfortably reaching their target, knocking 187-2 with 16 year old opener Jones carding an unbeaten 92 including 14 boundaries, while Owain Davies hit 70 as the visitors sauntered to victory.
Meanwhile, basement boys Llanelli continue to struggle going down by seven wickets at Gorseinon.
The Scarlets batted first and made 143-8, Adam Coates and Ryan Nicholas both notching up 38. The hosts' Chris Morgan 4-36 and Tom Clarke 3-20 were the best of the bowlers.
Gorseinon got off to a difficult start losing opener Tim O’Kelly for a duck, but a 96 from fourth bat Christopher Morgan and an unbeaten 31 from Kerry Williams saw their side home on 146-3.
Aberdare bagged their second win of the season with a four wicket home victory over Bronwydd.
The Carmarthenshire side were put in and posted 115 thanks to some clinical bowling from the hosts with John Derrick taking 3-14, Mike Roberts 3-23 and Chris Hughes 2-22. Byron Jones was the only notable performer with the bat stroking a solid 38.
In reply, the hosts got off to an extremely shaky start, losing their top three batsmen for ducks, but Steve Manning’s 63 steadied the rocking ship, while Luke Garthwaite finished undefeated on 36 as they carded 119-6.
Elsewhere, new boys Llandysul continue to impress as they remain third after defeating Skewen by two wickets.

Reds book European ticket with play-off win

Llanelli 2 Bala Town 1

LLANELLI had to survive a nervy last few minutes before securing European football at Stebonheath Park next season with a Europa League play-off final victory over Bala Town.

All looked relatively comfortable for Andy Legg’s men as they led 2-0 going into the final 15 minutes after first-half strikes from Rhys Griffiths and Lloyd Grist.

But when Bala striker Lee Hunt side-footed in from close range extra-time seemed a possibility, and had it not been for Llanelli ‘keeper Craig Richards that’s the way the game could well have gone.

Llanelli clung on for the win though and they will now go into the draw for the preliminary round next month alongside fellow Welsh clubs Bangor City and Cefn Druids.

For the Reds, it means European competition for a seventh successive season and another chance to test themselves against a much higher standard of opponent.

Seven-time Golden Boot winner Rhys Griffiths opened the scoring inside five minutes with a neat volley past Terry McCormick following some clever interplay between Jason Bowen and Craig Williams down the right.

One quickly became two on 19 minutes when Grist’s 20-yard free-kick took a wicked deflection off Bala defender John Irving and flew past McCormick.

Bala came back into the game and Richards needed to be on his toes to push away a Mark Connolly effort before the same player brought a superb fingertip save from the ‘keeper, who pushed his free-kick onto the bar.

Hunt and Ian Sheridan led the charge for the Lakesiders after the break but it took half an hour to make a breakthrough when substitute Stephen Brown's right-wing cross was turned in at the near post by Hunt.

Moments later Hunt broke clear and forced Richards into a smart save from point blank range before the youngster got up to smother Brown’s follow-up attempt.

The North Wales outfit knew it wasn’t to be their day when another Connolly set-piece crashed off the crossbar with Richards beaten and Llanelli held out for the remaining few minutes.

Richards and Wood give leaders satisfaction

THREE wickets apiece for Tom Richards and Simon Wood thwarted Haverfordwest’s hopes of toppling Pembroke County Cricket League frontrunners Saundersfoot, who won by 51 runs to stay top.

The hosts must have thought they were in with a chance after bowling the visitors out for 164, Simon Holiday taking 2-24 and Nigel Morgan 2-28.

Dai Davies’s 32 and a knock of 25 from Richards shored up the Saundersfoot innings. In reply, Karl Rhead and Jonathan Strawbridge both made 29 for the home side but Richards and Wood struck at just the right moments to maintain the leaders’ unbeaten start to the season.

Carew are close behind in second and they also won away on Saturday, defeating St Ishmaels by the narrow margin of four runs.

Robbie Hicks cracked 62 and Martin Scourfield finished unbeaten on 30 as Carew made 148-8. Andrew Williams (3-28) was the pick of the St Ishmaels attack.

With Peter Bradshaw (54) and Jonathan Pawlett (40) in good nick, Carew were in danger of slipping to a first defeat of the campaign but 4-23 from Tom Davies helped end St Ishmaels’ hopes and they were all out for 144.

Neyland had no problem seeing off Llangwm by 66 runs. Patrick Bellerby top scored for Neyland with 41 as they made 164-6, Andrew Harries taking 3-21.

And Llangwm were skittled out for 98 with Andrew Miller’s figures of 5-18 taking his side to third in the table. Whitland also tasted success courtesy of a two-wicket win at Cresselly who made 176-8 in their allotted overs.

Top scoring for them was Phil Williams with 41 while David Dunfee and Mark Lee both took three wickets. Whitland had a few nervy moments in reply as Dunfee added 71 with the bat.

In the one remaining match, Narberth moved off the foot of the table with a draw against Lawrenny. Huw Griffiths struck an unbeaten 36 as Lawrenny made 147-7 before Narberth finished their innings on 109-8 with Ian Hughes also 36 not out.

Mansel finds formula to give Dafen pole

REIGNING champions Dafen Welfare are back at the top of the South Wales Cricket Association division one table following a 25-run victory against former leaders Swansea.

Dafen took over in first place from the St Helen’s outfit after bowling Swansea out for 116 as they replied to a total of 141-8.

The Welfare were in trouble at 78-5 but Jamie Mansel came to the rescue with an unbeaten 29 to go with Steve Devonald’s earlier knock of 36.

All-rounder Johnny Hubschmid was again at the heart of everything good Swansea were doing and his three wickets boosted his tally for the season.

But despite Hubschmid making 25 in Swansea’s reply, the visitors suffered something of a collapse, going from 73-2 to 116 all out.

Ynystawe took advantage of Swansea’s setback to take second place thanks to a three-wicket triumph at Maesteg Celtic.

Celtic batted first and were undone by an Alex Fletcher hat-trick in an inspired spell of bowling which saw the paceman take 5-24.

Nick Poole (24), Gareth Hopkins (16) and Ian Herbert (16) took Celtic to 106 all out but that was never really going to be a challenging total.

Ynystawe made it but Phil Poole (3-15) and Roger Barnes (4-30) gave them some nervy moments before finishing on 10707, Sean Jones scoring 26.

Also in the wickets yesterday was Gowerton’s Ian Capon, who took 6-68 in his side’s winning draw against Neath.

Former Glamorgan wicketkeeper Adrian Shaw blasted 72 and Kieran Thomas 80 but Neath had to make do with 203-8 chasing the hosts’ 225-4 in 50 overs.

Paul Rees (66) and Steve Inward (63) provided the backbone of the Gowerton innings as the Neath bowlers were made to toil.

Clydach beat Llangennech with 10 overs to spare, chasing down 155 for the loss of five wickets with James Garland unbeaten on 47. Jason Davies made 46 and Huw Williams took 4-43 for Llangennech.

Batting first, Llangennech turned to Atif Hameed (66) for the bulk of their runs while Dean Kriescher, Matthew Vaughan and Joe Farthing all chipped in with three wickets apiece.

A Scott Jones half-century helped Tata Steel to 183-7 in 50 overs at home to Pontardawe with Matthew Saker (27) and Nathan Ferrell (25) also providing useful knocks.

Replying, Pontardawe were all out for 75 as Michael and Matthew Jones accounted for six batsmen between them with only Rhodri Davies (24) offering any resistance.

Glynneath claim Silver Ball title


Glynneath celebrate their victory


Glynneath captured the Worthington Glamorgan County Silver Ball from last season’s winners Maesteg Quins with a splendid second-half comeback after being 10-0 down at the interval at Llanharan.

It was the first time in 49 years that Glynneath had won the coveted trophy, having won in 1961, 1962 and 1963.
The Quins battled hard to hold on and after an even first 29 minutes, Quins captain and fly half Gareth Lewis laned a penalty and the the first try came seven minutes later.

Glynneath full back David Evans was caught and Quins centre Ryan Lovett beat off defenders to score with Lewis converting.

In the second half, Glynneath used the strong wind well, particularly through their young fly half Jack O’Reilly.
It was O’Reilly’s clever coss-kick that sent wing Jonny Morgan over after 47 minutes and O’Reilly added the conversion.

After 62 minutes, Glynneath were awarded a penalty but as referee Gwyn Morris played advantage, O’Reilly dropped a smart goal.

Glynneath centre Kyle Roberts was unlucky to be red-carded for a second bookable offence, but 14-man Glynneath won it when O’Reilly placed a penalty with eight minutes remaining.

The man of the match award was made by former international referee Cliver Norling who selected the young Glynneath lock Lloyd Bayliss.

The Silver Ball was presented to Glynneath centre and captain Greg Roberts by Mr. Richard Davies, Accounts Manager of Molson Coors.

Runners up Maesteg Quins.


Bowlers on top as Bethesda beat Brymbo

WICKETS tumbled and runs were hard to come by as Bethesda won a low-scoring affair against Brymbo 2nds in division two of the North Wales Cricket League.

Chasing just 65, Bethesda crept home on 69-8 to move to within one point of leaders Buckley, whose match against Northop 2nds was cancelled.

Bottom-of-the-table Brymbo had ‘extras’ as their second best scorer after Matthew Griffiths, who made 20 before being bowled by Dale Davies (2-4).

Richard Williams was the standout bowler, with 5-33 in his 12 overs, as Brymbo really struggled. That said, only two Bethesda batsmen reached double figures – Jonathan Williams (19) and Huw Pritchard (13).

They made hard work of it, but Bethesda, who lost four wickets to Matthew Scott, did enough.

Bodedern are close behind Bethesda in third following a win by four wickets against Carmel & District at Presaddfed.

A slow outfield led to another low-scoring match, which unbelievably was Carmel’s first of the season to actually go ahead in five attempts.

They won the toss and elected to bat but the Bodedern attack limited Carmel to a respectable 117 from their allotted overs. Jonathan Fisher(33) and skipper Gwion Dafydd (29) batted well while Gareth Thomas took 3-22.

In reply, Bodedern’s top order collapsed to the experienced attack of Steve Jones (3-19) and Daf Timothy (2-22) and at one stage were 24-5.

Then up stepped James Jones with a fine knock of 48 not out and he was supported by Brian Hughes (16) and Dewi Hughes (28) to steer Bodedern home.

Elsewhere in division two, Connah’s Quay beat Gwersyllt Park by 38 runs and Dolgellau earned a profitable winning draw against Rhewl.

Bowlers do the damage in Llanrwst win

LLANRWST bowlers Jack Hughes, Jo Maguire and Alwyn Williams teamed up to take nine wickets between them in their club’s 28-run success at Hawarden Park in North Wales Cricket League division one.

Replying to Llanrwst’s 182-8, the hosts could only muster 154 as the deadly threesome took wickets at regular intervals to cement second place in the league table.

Opener Scott Thomas hit five fours and three maximums in his innings of 62 and wicketkeeper Tim Cummins added 43 as Llanrwst took their total above the 180 mark.

Ian Martin kept them in check with 4-34 and although Jason Biddulph (45) and Adam Doyle (30) played well for Hawarden Park, the hosts fell short at 154.

Three wickets for Ashley Wood, including those of both openers, set Menai Bridge 2nds on the way to a three-wicket triumph against Conwy.

One of Wood’s victims, Rajjenu Britto, top scored for Conwy but fell just short of his half-century on 49 with no-one else really doing much with the bat as the visitors reached 150-9.

Ioan Williams claimed the wickets of the top four Menai Bridge batsmen and Phil Wilson took 3-38 as the hosts eased home on 154-7. Nathen Goodright and Cefn Owen, with 40 and 35 respectively, saw Menai Bridge towards the finishing post.

In the division’s only other match to beat the weather, Chirk earned a winning draw against Pwllheli.

Chirk batted first and scored 190-8 declared with captain Shaun Walker leading by example with a knock of 79 and opener Gareth Partridge getting a measured 60.

By the end of play, Pwllheli had reached 156-8, Nadeem Rehman top scoring with 61 and Nick Flack taking 3-38.

Llandudno bowler Kerr in seventh heaven

LLANDUDNO took advantage of Mochdre and Menai Bridge’s games falling foul of the weather yesterday to open up a 12-point lead in the North Wales Cricket League Premier Division.

Captain Jack Rimmington won the toss and decided to bowl against Pontblyddyn at The Oval, and it proved the right choice as the visitors were skittled out for just 74.

Superb figures of 7-36 from Gordon Kerr undid Pontblyddyn, for whom Philip Davies made 28. And Llandudno rattled off the runs in response, Duncan Midgley scoring 48 off 43 as the home side reached their target for the loss of one wicket.

St Asaph produced an excellent batting performance to secure their second win of the season, beating Connah’s Quay by five wickets at Elwy Grove Park.

The Quay set St Asaph an imposing 200 for victory having declared on 199-7 after 50 overs. Ultimately, that was to prove a mistake as home wicketkeeper Grove Venter blasted 84 in a total of 200-5.

Earlier, opposite number David Jones had opened with a 56 for St Asaph and with knocks of 46 from David Fox and 37 from captain David Powell, the home side seemed well set for the win.

But Venter and St Asaph weren’t having any of it and with the keeper in fine form they got the required runs with William Ryan contributing 47 to the total.

It was a lot easier for Denbigh at home to Northop, the hosts bowling out their rivals for 122 before knocking off the runs in 25.2 overs.

A lethal spell of 5-9 saw Chris Campbell rip through Northop’s middle order after Gerallt Lyall had claimed three victims. Replying, William Affleck (48) and Harrison Jones with an undefeated 46 saw Denbigh home by six wickets.

The three remaining matches were cancelled due to the wet weather in North Wales on Saturday.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Ponty pip Llanelli to Premiership crown

Pontypridd 15 Llanelli 13
TWO points separated them in the league table and two points was the difference between Pontypridd and Llanelli last night as the Welsh Premiership title was decided at Sardis Road.

This time the honours went the way of the hosts, five Lewis K Williams penalties taking Pontypridd to a 15-13 victory and denying Llanelli back-to-back play-off final successes.

This year, as last year, Llanelli arrived at the House of Pain having finished runners-up to the Valley Commandos at the end of the regular season but knowing that they beat the home side 24-18 in the same fixture in 2011.

Around 5,000 packed into the famous valleys ground though with the weather getting progressively worse during the night the match wasn’t quite the spectacle most had hoped for. But what the game lacked in tries it made up for in passion and commitment.

In the end, Pontypridd deserved their win, putting behind them their defeat to Cross Keys in the Swalec Cup final and that reverse against Llanelli 12 months ago.

Although the visitors enjoyed more possession in their opponents’ half, it was Pontypridd who took a 9-3 lead into the break after three Williams penalties to one by Llanelli namesake Jordan Williams.

A yellow card for flanker Nic Cudd didn’t have too much of an effect on Llanelli though Jordan Williams did miss two further kicks at goal, one striking an upright, which would have seen the sides level at the interval.

It became 12-3 soon after the restart with Lewis K Williams on target again before Jordan Williams came within inches of grabbing the game’s first try. He fumbled an up and under just inside his own half before breaking through a couple of Pontypridd tackles and kicking ahead. He couldn’t quite get his hands on the ball and the hosts eventually cleared.

Kevin George’s men did score though when the ball was moved wide to the right and No 8 Craig Price had the easy task of crossing in the corner. The conversion was added and Llanelli were 12-10 behind.

A fourth Lewis K Williams penalty on the hour mark eased the pressure but the gap was brought back to two when Jordan Williams made it 15-13. And the drama was far from over.

With only eight minutes left on the clock, Pontypridd replacement Gary Williams, more out of enthusiasm than real malice, left full-back Dan Newton in a crumpled heap after taking out the Llanelli man in the air.

Referee Ian Davies showed no hesitation in giving Williams a red card, but thankfully for Pontypridd his misdemeanour didn’t prove costly and there was an almighty cheer when the official blew his whistle to signal the end of the match.

“This is a fantastic feeling, a great honour and just reward for this squad after a long, hard season,” said Pontypridd captain Chris Dicomidis after lifting the trophy. “Winning the league crown is something so special, as it has been earned the hard way after nine months’ graft.

“It was a difficult game against a fully committed Llanelli team and weather conditions dictated the night, but we dug deep and fronted up to deservedly take the silverware. It just doesn’t get any better than this.”

By David Williams

Friday, 18 May 2012

Champions and leaders set for big clash

REIGNING division one champions Dafen Welfare host table-toppers Swansea tomorrow in the South Wales Cricket Association’s game of the day.

The two clubs meet at Dafen Park having not lost yet this season although a cancelled match means the home side are two places and 13 points behind the visitors.

Swansea, relegated from the Premier League last season, suffered a few jitters at St Helen’s last weekend before chasing the 80 set by Maesteg Celtic.

All-rounder Jonathan Hubschmid has been in form with bat and ball in the early stages of the campaign, scoring 27 and taking 3-12 last time out.

As for Dafen, Nicky Davies, with 40, was their top scorer against Llangennech as the visitors to the Recreation Ground won by 107 runs. Steven Devonald (4-17) and skipper Matthew Evans (6-22) starred with the ball as the hosts were bowled out for 47.

It will no doubt be a much tougher test for the defending champions tomorrow with the encounter likely to be a good indicator as to where the balance of power in division one could lie this season.

Dafen have made four changes to the XI that beat Llangennech with Chris Keen, Andrew Rowlands, Philip George and James Mansel in for Simon Davies, Andrew Herbert, Lewis Brown and Tom Lavender.

Also in the first division tomorrow, second-placed Neath entertain Gowerton, Llangennech go to Clydach, Maesteg Celtic host Ynystawe and Pontardawe travel to Tata Steel looking for the first win of the season.

Teams

Dafen; Matthew Evans (c), Daniel Vaughan (wk), Dafydd Nicholas, Nicky Davies, Steven Devonald, Chris Hudson, Chris Keen, Andrew Rowlands, Philip George, Jamie Mansel, Gareth Hughes

Swansea; (Probable) Josh Hughes, Shashika Rodrigo, Jonathan Hubschmid, Ashley Pass, Gareth Hayden, Mark Payne (wk), Ed Smith, Ceri James (c), Josh Tobin, Bevan Daniels, Adam Wright

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Llanelli hoping history can repeat itself

Welsh Premiership play-off final preview

Pontypridd v Llanelli, Sardis Road, Friday, 7.35pm

BILL Murray’s character eventually got to like Groundhog Day in the 1990s film of the same name.

However, weatherman Phil Connors first had to live through day after day of frustration in the town of Punxsutawney, PA.

If they lose the Welsh Premiership play-off final to Llanelli on Friday night, Pontypridd’s personnel will probably start to feel a bit like the Channel 9 Pittsburgh forecaster.

This time last year the Valley Commandos went into the corresponding clash with the Turks at their Sardis Road home – also the venue for Friday’s encounter – still jubilant having beaten Aberavon to lift the Swalec Cup.

However, they were brought crashing down to earth in the Premiership finale by a Llanelli side boosted by the selection of a collection of players with regional experience.

Friday’s visitors to the House of Pain have the chance to repeat that 24-18 success of 12 months ago, and they looked in ominous form towards the end of the semi-final victory over Aberavon last Saturday.

Pontypridd, who also reached the Swalec Cup final this year before losing to Cross Keys, will need to lift themselves one last time if they are to get anything tangible from this season.

They did finish top of the Premiership table again but will need to be on the ball if they don’t want to spend all of Friday night seeing shadows – a sign of six more weeks of winter according to famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil.

Unlike 2011, when Llanelli ended the campaign 16 points behind Pontypridd, this season saw the sides separated by just two and each beat the other when they had home advantage last autumn, Pontypridd 29-16 at Sardis Road on October 1 and Llanelli 24-16 at Parc y Scarlets on November 26.

The Swalec Cup final aside, Pontypridd have won their last six while the triumph against Aberavon last weekend was Llanelli’s seventh in a row. And for Scarlets director of rugby Anthony Buchanan, his players are ready to go to the well one last time.

“We have a great team spirit in this squad,” he said. “If there’s one thing you need at Sardis Road, it’s team spirit, and I’m sure our players will have it in buckets.

“Pontypridd are a difficult team to play against, with top players and excellent coaches. It’s a tough place to go, but we’re looking forward to it and we’re full of confidence.”

He added: “Pontypridd have won the league and we congratulate them on that, but this is a play-off challenge we want to win. We went to Sardis Road and won last year, and it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

“Pontypridd were the champions by some distance last season, but the Premiership has been much closer this time. Will it make us champions if we win? No. But it will be more pleasing because the gap is so much smaller this time.”

Full-back Jordan Williams starred against the Wizards in the semi-final as his side ran in some delectable tries towards the end of the match. And given Pontypridd’s disappointment at the Millennium Stadium, as well as what happened last season, Llanelli are arguably the marginal favourites this time around.

“If someone had offered us the chance to be in the play-off final at the start of the season, we would have been delighted, added Buchanan. We had a lot of new coaches and young players coming through, and we’re very pleased with how they have progressed.

“They have come into an environment where we have a very solid backbone of players. The likes of Justin James and Adam Powell are the experienced heads, the unsung heroes of the squad. They will play anywhere for you and give their all every time.

“When the young players come up from the academy, that rubs off on them and it makes for an excellent working environment.”

Pontypridd head coach Dale McIntosh is under no illusion how important this game is, even going as far as labelling it as “probably the most crucial 80 minutes for Ponty in the semi-pro era”.

He will have to pick his players up from the setback against Cross Keys and only needs to remind his squad of Llanelli’s visit last May to get them up for this one.

“We will need to fly into Llanelli with no holds barred, that must be our response to last week’s cup final defeat,” he said. “Llanelli are looking sharp at the end of the season and will provide us with a huge challenge.

“I hope that there will be a big turnout for the game and that our supporters can maintain their faith in us as players and coaches. It should be a great spectacle between two teams committed to attacking rugby and a great occasion to end the season.

“We can only give a commitment as a squad that we will turn up and give everything for the club jersey and for the club support.”

David's Williams's prediction - Llanelli by seven points

Williams stars to net championship berth

A BRILLIANT net 57 in near perfect conditions saw Matthew Williams win division one of the White Box Medal at Southerndown to book his place at the Welsh Handicap Team Championship.

John Melville, Mathew Ashong and Nathan Chilcott also qualified for event on June 17 which this year is being staged at Pyle & Kenfig. Nick Golunski and Steve Jones are the reserves.

A bright day with plenty of sunshine and light winds gave the 68 entrants at Southerndown the ideal chance to shoot some low scores and Williams in particular did just that, his gross score of 71 being reduced to 57 courtesy of his 14 handicap.

Melville’s net 70 saw him come second while Ashong’s better back nine gave him third over Jon Davies after both men had fired a net 73. Murat Coskun also performed well, winning division two with a net 69 with Andy Allman (73) second and Tony Jones (74) third.

A terrific display of greensomes medal golf saw Tim Harries and Marc Thomas win the Lyric Cup at Carmarthen.

The duo finished with a net score of 64.2, seeing them finish top of the pile ahead of runners-up Rhys Lindquist and James Bryan (66.6) and third-placed David Lindquist and Graham Owens (67).

In the Knights’ Towy Works Cup, junior Edward Rocke (43) produced a sparkling round to win by four points with Tigers B team captain Gerald Vaughan second on 39 and both Scott Jones and Jake Fearn a further point back on 38. Jones took third thanks to a better back nine.

The Knights’ Order of Merit competition runs over 10 events throughout the season with players gaining points by finishing in the top five places. Although Ewan McLean, Rocke and Alan Edwards have 10 points each as respective winners of the first three competitions, the early leader is Knights skipper Jimmy Myo.

He has 14 points by virtue of finishing second in the Tegfynnydd Cup and third in the Bertie Butters Cup.

The Ladies GUW Centenary Greensomes Qualifier was won by Vicki Thomas and Hawys Jones with 38 points, three ahead of runners-up Cynthia Morris and Edna Morris on 35. Olive Lloyd and Lady captain Ann Heath took third place on 34. The winners will represent Carmarthen in the finals at Llanwern in September.

Jean Barratt won the Gwen Phillips Salver by three shots with an excellent net 70. Carole Fleetwood was runner-up on 73 and Jane Thomas was third, also with 73.

At Pennard, David Jones was the clear winner of the Gallagher Cup courtesy of a net round of 63, four clear of Andrew Thomas, who in turn finished two ahead of Tai Yasuda and Ian Davies, Yasuda getting third on countback.

Lewis Hinds (70), David Carey (71) and Derek Hegarty (70) were the best of the rest in divisions one, two and three respectively.

Two points separated first and second places in the club’s Coronation Foursomes with Angela Pritchard and Sarah Taylor (40) doing enough to win ahead of Fiona Paton and Sally Wintle.

An excellent three-over-par round saw Sam Mears march to victory in the Derby Bowl at Swansea Bay by seven shots. The nine-handicap’s net 66 was far too good for anyone else with Alan Jones and Ian Matthews the next best on 73.

Cerith Davies just shaded the Club Stableford on countback from Ashley Collins after both had carded 38 points. Bryan Ashford was third on 37.

Gill Lennox and Jo Bond are bound for Llanwern but they required countback to see off the challenge of Sue McFadzean and Liz Sparks in the Ladies’ GUW Centenary Greensomes at Langland Bay. The two pairs registered 37 points with Alison Williams and Martina Chanter one back in third.

It was tight at Glynneath too where Luke Nezda did just enough to hold off Glyn Williams in the Sunday Stableford. The former’s 35 points gave him first place in division one, Williams (34) was second and Leighton Rees, also 34, was third.

In division two, for players with handicaps of 13-17, David Meagher’s (37) better back nine saw him edge Craig Davies for first with Mike Evans two points back. Mark Taylor (42) was top of the shop in the high handicap section.

RESULTS

Carmarthen

Lyric Cup; 1. Tim Harries & Marc Thomas net 64.2, 2. Rhys Lindquist & James Bryan 66.6, 3. David Lindquist & Graham Owens 67

Towy Works Cup; 1. Edward Rocke 43pts, 2. Gerald Vaughan 39, 3. Scott Jones 38

Ladies’ GUW Centenary Greensomes Qualifier; 1. Vicki Thomas & Hawys Jones 38pts, 2. Cynthia Morris & Edna Morris 35, 3. Olive Lloyd & Ann Heath 34

Glynneath

Saturday Stableford; (0-12Hcap) 1. Luke Nezda 35pts, 2. Glyn Williams 34, 3. Leighton Rees  34, (13-17Hcap) 1. David Meagher 37, 2. Craig Davies 37, 3. Peter Evans 35, (18-28Hcap) 1. Mark Taylor 42, 2. Simon Mumford 40, 3. Kris Richards 37

Langland Bay

Ladies GUW Centenary Greensomes; 1. Gill Lennox & Jo Bond 37pts, 2. Sue McFadzean & Liz Sparks 37, 3. Alison Williams & Martina Chanter 36

Morriston

Quality Auto Finishers Cup; 1. JP Thomas net 66, 2. AP Perkins 70, (13-28Hcap) 1. RC Howells 67, 2. T Beynon 68

Pennard

Gallagher Cup; 1. David Jones net 63, 2. Andrew Thomas 67, 3. Tai Yasuda 69. Best of the Rest (div one) 1. Lewis Hinds 70, (div two) 1. David Carey 71, (div three) 1. Derek Hegarty 70

Coronation Foursomes; 1. Angela Pritchard & Sarah Taylor 40pts, 2. Fiona Paton & Sally Wintle 38

Southerndown

White Box Medal; (div one) 1. Matthew Williams net 57, 2. Jon Melville 70, 3. Mathew Ashong 73, 4. Jon Davies 73, (div two) 1. Murat Coskun 69, 2. Andy Allman 73, 3. Tony Jones 74, 4. Philemon Williams 76

St Mary's

Club Stableford Seniors); 1. Bob Coombes 40pts, 2. Fred Evans 35, 3. Danny Mead 34

Swansea Bay

Derby Bowl & Pant Y Sais Medals; 1. Sam Mears net 66, 2. Alan Jones 73, 3. Ian Matthews 73

Club Stableford; 1. Cerith Davies 38pts, 2. Ashley Collins 38, 3. Bryan Ashford 37