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Bhatia and Stent send Commoners top

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ABERYSTWYTH University Commoners sit top of the West Wales Conference after they earned a six wicket victory over Aberystwyth Seconds on Sunday (May 20).

The Commoners won the toss and elected to field first and that proved to be a good decision as they bowled Aber’s Seconds out for just 110.

Anthony Evans fell early when he was caught by Neil Stent off the bowling of Ian Lawton for a duck.

Tom Constantine fell for a score of 2 as he was caught by Chris Ward to the bowling of Lawton before Ceri John and Alwyn Davies offered some resistance.

Davies made 16 but he was then caught by Bill Somerfield off the bowling of Ward.

None of the Seconds’ other batsmen made it into double figures with M Hughes the next highest scorer on 8. He was caught and bowled by Somerfield while Ward also trapped Mel Jones leg before.

Steffan Davies, Dylan Jenkins and Titus Mathew all fell cheaply to the bowling of Josh Wills while Emlyn Mainwearing was run out by Umar Aslam.

Ceri John was the mainstay of the Seconds’ innings as he made his way to a score of 63 and their total could have been a lot lower had it not been for him. John was eventually caught by Rakesh Bhatia off the bowling of Aiden Reveley.

The Commoners got off to an excellent start with Neil Stent and Bhatia putting on an excellent opening stand.

Bhatia hit eight fours and two sixes as he scored 56 before being caught by Alwyn Davies off the bowling of Tom Constantine.

The Seconds looked to take more wickets and they had Will Copeland caught by Mel Jones off the bowling of Ioan Morris for a score of 7.

Constantine also bowled David Wilcockson and had Josh Wills caught and bowled but they were unable to remove Neil Stent who played a patient knock of 39 with five fours to guide his side home.

The Commoners replaced Aberaeron at the top of the table who beat Aberystwyth’s first team on Saturday (May 19).

ABERAERON batted first and made an excellent total of 242-9 from their 40 overs.

J Fice and David Grinszpan made an excellent start as they shared 149 runs for the first wicket.

Fice hit eleven fours in a knock of 73 before he was stumped by Robert Rudge off the bowling of Mark Evans and Grinszpan fell soon after when he was bowled by Titus Mathew having hit nine fours in a knock of 64.

Hywel Rees was then caught by Mark Evans off the bowling of Mathew for a duck and Dave Floyd only scored 1 before he was caught by Joel Dixon off the bowling of Ted Trewella.

Chris Strange hit three fours and two sixes in a knock of 31 before he edged to Rudge off the bowling of Trewella.

Neil Snowdon also fell cheaply when he was caught by Zaid Khan off the bowling of Mark Evans and Khan then bowled Jacob Jenkinson who hit three fours in a knock of 21.

Simon Mitchell was also out for a duck as he trapped leg before by Evans before Hughes and S Jenkinson finished not out on 10 and 7 respectively to end the innings on 242-9.

Aber knew they faced a tough test in their reply but none of their batsmen could match the early scoring of Fice and Grinszpan.

Mark Evans only made 13 before he was bowled by Neil Snowdon and Joel Dixon was stumped by Dave Floyd for a duck, also off the bowling of Snowdon.

J Cordy and Zaid Khan offered some resistance before Cordy was bowled by Paul Hughes for a score of 24.

Ted Trewella was caught by Snowdon off the bowling of Hywel Rees for a score of 6 before Khan had to retire hurt on 36 (seven fours) in what was a blow to Aber.

Ben Dimmock, Steffan Davies and Ioan Morris all fell for a combined score of 9 to the bowling of Paul Hughes and Titus Mathew was bowled by Simon Mitchell for a score of 4.

Robert Rudge finished not out on 20 (three fours) but it wasn’t enough for Aber as they were bowled out for 122.

In Sunday’s other match, Talybont were victorious by 14 runs over Tywyn and District.

Talybont batted first and were all out for 191 from 40 overs before they restricted their opponents to 177-9.

Ben Barrett top scored for Talybont with 52 before he was out to the bowling of Ted Hughes.

Joshy made 21 before he was caught by Callum Taylor off the bowling of Richard Rees and Anish Kuriakose made 14 before he was out to the same bowler.

Grayson made 22 and Phil Abraham added 24 as Talybont kept the scoreboard ticking over. Tibin made 20 before he was trapped leg before by Dave Jenkins.

Jenkins was the pick of the bowlers for Tywyn as he took five wickets for the loss of 22 runs.

Tywyn lost Niki Williams early in their reply for a score of 9 when he was bowled by Robim Woodford and Alex York was trapped leg before by the same bowler for a score of 10.

Callum Taylor scored 24 before he was out to the bowling of Tibin while Dylan Wlliams scored 21 before he was bowled by Woodford.

Dave Jenkins scored 14 as he was also out to the bowling of Woodford who later claimed figures of 5-30 with the wicket of Morgan York.

Richard Rees and James Bradbury-Willis both finished the innings not out on 22 and 33 respectively but it wasn’t enough to take Tywyn to victory as Talybont bowled well.

The teams have a week off before returning on Saturday, June 2 when Talybont face Aberaeron and UWA Commoners take on Aberystwyth

On Sunday, June 3, Aberystwyth Seconds host Tywyn & District.

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Sport

Cave Celebrates in Cork

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WELSHMAN Tom Cave took his first British Rally Championship win in a four-wheel-drive car on the West Cork Rally last weekend (March 16/17).

Along with co-driver James Morgan, the pair won the event by a mere 4.8 seconds in their Hyundai i20 R5 from reigning champion Matt Edwards (Ford Fiesta R5) in second, while defending Irish Tarmac champion Josh Moffett (Ford Fiesta R5) rounded out the podium.

Cave’s win was the first BRC win for the Korean manufacturer Hyundai since David Higgins in 2004.

The Clonakilty Park Hotel West Cork Rally formed the second round of the BRC for the very first time and the event provided two-days and over 200km of exciting rallying action. On some of the most iconic roads in Irish rallying, the weather also provided a formidable challenge as a wet and slippery first day was coupled with a flat-out blast on bone-dry asphalt on the second.

FIA World Rally Championship regulars Craig Breen and Paul Nagle took a comfortable overall win, but it was the fight in Britain’s premier rallying series that kept everyone on the edge of their seats right until the end.

Defending Irish Tarmac Champion Josh Moffett with Keith Moriarty on the notes were quickest out the blocks – making their aspirations very clear and over the course of the opening five stages pulled out a 14.4 second lead. However, driveshaft woes forced them into two-wheel-drive on stage six – dropping them down to third and out of the leading battle.

Desi Henry was another driver keen to make his mark this weekend but unfortunately, he and navigator Liam Moynihan crashed out of second on the first loop of stages in their Skoda Fabia R5, thankfully both were unhurt.

Up stepped 2018 British Rally Champion and series leader Matt Edwards and co-driver Patrick Walsh in their Pirelli-supported Ford Fiesta R5. The Welsh crew were building the pace as the opening day unfolded and went into the overnight halt with a slender lead over Tom Cave.

Cave had a heart-wrenching time on the opening round in Wales when the 27-year-old suffered a double-puncture, denying him a second-place finish. On the Tarmac of round two, the Michelin-supported driver put his Cambrian nightmare behind him as he set about his first R5 win in the BRC.

It was set-up nicely going into the final day as the two Welsh crews went head-to-head for the BRC win. Cave woke up in an inspired mood to go eight seconds quicker than Edwards and leap-frogged the M-Sport star in the process. The tussle for victory was to be a seesaw affair as the duo traded times and positions all afternoon with only 4.9 seconds going into the final stage.

Despite Edwards’ best effort, Cave was to be too strong this weekend and he and James Morgan won the BRC section of the event by 4.8 seconds to take their first BRC win together. After coming so close to an event win in recent times, Tom was elated at the finish.

“The feeling of finally winning in the BRC again is a brilliant to be honest. It was a difficult first day against the elements, but we pushed on hard on the second day to get past Matt [Edwards]. We gave it everything and we have been rewarded with first place BRC, so James and I are both very, very happy.

“After the pace on day one I felt there was more to come and we had a good feeling on the first stage on the second day and we took a lot of time out of Matt. Once that happened, I thought, lets keep pushing and we have been rewarded. I would like to thank everyone behind me for making this happen.”

As for the title, this gets his title back in the right direction.

“It’s heading the best way possible now and round one is way behind me and we always look forward. We are back in the mix and now it’s important to finish the Pirelli Rally which is up next and keep moving forward to close the gap to Matt at the top of the points standings.”

Matt did all he could, but a strong second place stretches his championship lead going into the Pirelli International Rally – the event he won last year. Josh Moffett’s rhythm was effected after his driveshaft issues, but did enough to round out the final rostrum position.

Elsewhere, Marty McCormack and Barney Mitchell couldn’t quite repeat their podium secured on the first round in their Skoda Fabia R5, but they can be happy with a fine fourth, while Jonny Greer and Kirsty Riddick (Ford Fiesta R5) chalked-up their first finish of the season as they rounded out the top-five.

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Phillips: We’ve got a big match in us

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WALES Women head coach Rowland Phillips believes his side can raise their game for their final Women’s Six Nations Test, against Ireland on Sunday (Cardiff Arms Park, 1.30).

Phillips has made two changes to the starting line-up with Elinor Snowsill starting at 10 and Alisha Butchers slotting back into the back row at blindside flanker.

Phillips said, “We want to capitalise on the confidence we’ve gained from the win over Scotland.

“We’ve shown a huge amount of character throughout this tournament – to hold Italy out at the end of that game and to come back from behind to win in Scotland showed remarkable attitude – and skill for such a young side.

“Despite that, I don’t feel we have shown how good a side we are and we’d like to do that on Sunday.

“Ireland are in a similar place as us. They played well against France last weekend. They have a strong back row and players who can make a difference. We certainly won’t be under-estimating them.

“However, we want to focus on ourselves, show what we can do with the ball and produce a better all-round performance. There’s a big game in us and hopefully we can showcase that on Sunday.”

Alisha Butchers, who earns her first start in the tournament since the opening round, is looking forward to some home comforts.

“Being at home lifts us girls massively. We’ve only had one home game this year and although England were tough opposition, we lifted our performance for our home support.

“Travelling away isn’t always accessible for our families so having them there boosts us. I love having my mum and dad and my brothers and sisters there, I can’t wait. There’s very much a family feel ethos and hopefully we can produce an entertaining game.”

“Last week’s game was really exciting and a good stepping stone for us. Moving forward I think we need to stick to our game plan, carry on working on our physicality and keep building as a team.

“Our performance was good last weekend but it can an still be better. We can use the confidence and momentum created by that victory to up our game and also spread the ball a bit more.”

Alisha is now working as a Hub Officer at Y Pant and Bryn Celynnog schools in the Pontypridd area, increasing the range of opportunities for girls to engage with rugby.

“I love it. I’ve already seen a huge increase in the number of girls playing the game and that inspires me – the thought that I’m having an impact on the next generation. They are both brilliant schools and we are getting 40 or more girls training now which is fantastic.

“Traditional 15 a side full-contact rugby isn’t for everyone so we make sure there are different formats and different opportunities all girls to enjoy taking part. A lot of them enjoyed the Rookie Rugby events we held recently, some play touch rugby, others enjoy crash mat rugby which is an introduction to contact or full contact rugby for the more established players who are keen.

“Hopefully a few of the girls – and boys – from the schools will come and support us on Sunday and bring their parents along to see what our game is all about. A few of the girls have role models within the squad, some are inspired by our captain Carys Phillips so I’ve promised they can have some photos after the match.”

Tickets available to print at home from www.cardiffblues.com/tickets and from 10am Sunday at the WRU shop, Westgate Street.

Wales Women V Ireland (Sunday, March 17, 1.30pm, Cardiff Arms Park):

Lauren Smyth (Ospreys); Jasmine Joyce (Scarlets), Hannah Jones (Scarlets), Lleucu George (Scarlets), Jess Kavanagh (RGC); Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears), Keira Bevan (Ospreys); Caryl Thomas (Dragons), Carys Phillips (capt, Ospreys), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Gwen Crabb (Ospreys), Mel Clay (Ospreys), Alisha Butchers (Scarlets), Bethan Lewis (Dragons) Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys)

Replacements:

Kelsey Jones (Ospreys), Cara Hope (Ospreys), Cerys Hale (Dragons), Alex Callender (Scarlets), Manon Johnes (Cardiff Blues), Ffion Lewis (Scarlets), Robyn Wilkins (Blues), Lisa Neumann (RGC)

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Borth comeback stuns Abermule

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BORTH United welcomed Abermule to a cloudy Uppingham Fields on Saturday (Mar 9).

The match got off to a sensational start as the alert Nick Mumby gave the visitors the lead with a low shot into the bottom corner after two minutes.

However, Borth responded within a minute as Guto Huws cut in from the left wing and scored with a cool finish at the near post.

The hosts made the most of the wind on their backs as Sam Chapman broke free of the defence and scored with a rasping drive into the net.

Within a minute Chapman scored again with an identical goal to his first to give Borth a handy 3-1 lead at half time.

Abermule with the advantage of a stiff breeze held the upper hand as the second half progressed and created some good goalscoring chances.

Borth’s defence were more than capable of safeguarding Ben Willis’s goal yet Abermule reduced the deficit on seventy minutes with Ricky Davies scoring with a deft finish.

As they searched for a late equalizer they were open to a Borth counter attack and in the last minute Zak Douglas cut in from the right wing and fed a through ball for Ryan Davies to slide the ball past the keeper and guarantee the three points for Borth.

Saturday’s win will give Borth fresh impetus of giving promotion chasing Hay St. Mary’s a tough match at Uppingham Fields on Saturday (Mar 16), ko 2.30pm.

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