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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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Three summer tests announced for Wales

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WALES will play three summer tests in Cardiff this July as revised international fixtures have been announced.

Wayne Pivac’s side will face Canada (July 3) and back-to-back games against Argentina (July 10 & 17) at Principality Stadium.

These tests replace the scheduled summer tour to Argentina which has had to be cancelled due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty around travel restrictions.

The Pumas will now travel to Cardiff for two tests against the Six Nations Champions.

Wales will kick off their summer campaign on July 3 at home to Canada. The Canucks who are coached by former Wales captains Kingsley Jones and Rob Howley will visit Cardiff for the first time since 2008.

“We are looking forward to this summer, the opportunity it presents, and we are delighted to have three tests confirmed,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.

“It is disappointing not to have the opportunity to tour Argentina, especially on the back of our 2020 tour to New Zealand being cancelled, but in the current climate it is completely understandable.

“What is important is we have games and as we have said all along, this summer is a huge opportunity for us.   We are delighted and proud to have 10 players selected for the British & Irish Lions, it is reward for all their hard work and we wish them all the best this summer.

“With those players away we always earmarked this summer as an important development opportunity for us.

“It is an opportunity to bring players into this environment, look at them closely and expose them to test match rugby.  It is also an opportunity for current internationals to step-up into further leadership roles, so on both counts it is an important camp for us looking ahead to RWC2023.”

WRU CEO Steve Phillips added: “It is a huge credit to World Rugby that a full schedule of summer international rugby has been achieved against the backdrop of the global pandemic.

“Whilst it is obviously disappointing not to tour, we are delighted in Wales to be hosting Canada and to be able to honour the 2017 San Francisco agreement by hosting the Pumas for back-to-back matches, which will be hugely important to our international player development.

“Wayne has been adamant that his squad needs matches this summer and World Rugby have certainly delivered on that front.

“We are, of course, acutely aware of current restrictions and the ongoing and complex global COVID-19 picture. We will continue to monitor the situation in terms of any potential spectator access, but will remain entirely compliant and vigilant of all restrictions.

“In the current circumstances we are simply delighted to be able to play international rugby and any advance on that will be a bonus.”

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Aber fail to break down ten-man Flint

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ABERYSTWYTH Town and Flint Town United played out a goalless draw on Saturday (May 8).

It could have been much different for Aber, though, as they played against a Flint side who had Ben Amiss sent off in the first half, but they failed to make their advantage count.

With Wales experiencing some unseasonal weather, the Deeside coast was battered by mother-nature in the build-up to the game and full credit must go to the volunteers at the Silkmen for producing an excellent playing surface.

Aber started the game brightly and carved out two great openings in the first five minutes.  Firstly, Louis Bradford volleyed over the bar from close range before some brilliant work down the left from Harry Franklin teed up a cross for Jonathan Evans who’s goal bound header looked to have given the Seasiders the initiative.

However, home stopper Jon Rushton had other ideas, pulling off a sumptuous save down low, pawing the ball away to safety.

After the two quick chances for Aber, Flint settled into the contest and began creating chances of their own.

The home side saw strikes from Alex Jones and Callum Brately fall narrowly wide of the post before creating their best opportunity of the half with 23 minutes having elapsed.

Great play down the right flank saw the ball land to Ross Weaver. His strike, via a deflection from Black and Green defender Ian Kearney forced Connor Roberts into a great stop.

Franklin was causing problems for the Silkmen and Aber’s most likely route towards victory looked to be coming down his wing. He had a glorious opportunity to give Aber the lead but couldn’t keep his effort under the crossbar. He did have the ball in the back of the net but an early flag from the linesman denied him his fourth of the season.

The game’s flashpoint came with just seconds to go until the break. A heavy tackle in midfield from Ben Amiss on Jamie Veale, sparking a 19-man melee in midfield and saw referee Bryn Markham Jones reach for his red card for the Flint Town United striker.

With Aber having a numerical advantage, they enjoyed more of the ball in the second stanza but could only create sporadic chances against a well drilled and organised back line. Mathew Jones saw a strike fall narrowly over the bar whilst Kearney’s header from a corner landed on the roof of the home net.

To their credit, Flint did look to gain a winner of their own and had spells of pressure but like their opponents, they couldn’t break down an organised Seasiders’ defence. The lively Jones for the hosts came closest with his header going wide of the far post.

Gavin Allen introduced Owain Jones and Marc Williams as well as Jamie Reed late on in search of the go ahead goal but despite the addition of additional fire power, there was to be no late drama.

Jon Owen saw a shot well stopped by Rushton whilst Jenkins tried to connect with a Jack Rimmer cross in the final minute but could only make connection with the home keeper, earning himself a yellow card in the process.

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Scarlets convincingly beat Ospreys

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Rainbow Cup • Scarlets 22 – Ospreys 6

SCARLETS delivered a dominant derby performance to claim their first victory of the Rainbow Cup campaign, beating the Ospreys 22-6, at a rain-soaked Parc y Scarlets.

Prop Alex Jeffries scored the only try of the match, with full-back Leigh Halfpenny delivering a typically dead-eyed goal-kicking display in atrocious conditions.

The platform was laid by the Scarlets pack, with skipper Ken Owens, Blade Thomson and Aaron Shingler to the fore; the man of the match Kieran Hardy mixed up his game intelligently, while a much-improved defensive display saw the visitors restricted to just two kicks at goal from fly-half Luke Price.

It was the Ospreys who opened the scoring with a penalty from the boot of Price on two minutes, but the Scarlets responded strongly with Halfpenny levelling on 17 after the visitors were caught offside.

The outstanding Jonathan Davies looked like he made it over the whitewash after bursting through a couple of tackles, but the television match official adjudged the Wales centre had lost the ball as he slid over the whitewash and the score was chalked off.

Nevertheless, the Scarlets continued to boss proceedings.

With the Ospreys falling foul of Scottish referee Ben Blain, Halfpenny added a couple more penalties and an impressive half for the home side was capped when Jeffries crossed two minutes before the interval

A well-worked line-out move saw Davies burst onto a pass from Owens, breaking through a couple of tackles before feeding the tight-head prop on his inside.

Jeffries still had plenty to do but showed a superb turn of pace to race clear 20 metres to the whitewash to touch down against his former side.

That made it 16-3 at half-time with the Scarlets seemingly in firm control.

The visitors, looking for their first PRO14 win at Parc y Scarlets since 2015, did enjoy more of the game in the second period.

Price reduced the arrears with a penalty and it needed some superb defence to keep the Ospreys line-out maul at bay.

Another Halfpenny penalty five minutes from time extended the lead to 22-6 to ensure a comfortable victory and a seasonal double over the Scarlets’ arch-rivals.

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