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Aber seal another thrilling win

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ABERYSTWYTH Town secured their fifth straight JD Welsh Premier League victory as Declan Walker’s injury time header secured a phenomenal 3-2 win at Maes Tegid on Saturday afternoon (Nov 17).

Neither side were able to stamp their authority on the opening stages of the game, with clear cut chances at a minimum in the first 15 minutes.

On 21 minutes, Aber created their first opening as Mathew Jones’ whipped corner kick was headed wide by Declan Walker.

At the other end, Henry Jones wasted a good opportunity for Bala as his scuffed effort struck the post, before Steven Tames gave the hosts the lead on 28 minutes when he converted Evan Horwood’s free kick at the back post to make it 1-0.

The visitors struggled to find their usual creativity in the final third, as Ryan Edwards tried his luck from range but saw his effort fly over the crossbar.

On the stroke of half time, Aber went close to finding an equaliser as Paulo Mendes flicked the ball on for Ash Ruane, who saw his header bounce just wide of the post and the hosts would enter the break with a slender advantage.

At half time, manager Nev Powell and assistant Gavin Allen opted for a change in formation as Rio Ahmadi replaced Mendes and went to play through the middle with Ruane.

Photo by Darren Harries

There was an instant improvement from the Seasiders as they began to force the play with an increased tempo and intensity.

On 53 minutes, Ruane darted into the penalty area before seeing his dangerous cross well cleared by Danny Gossett. Soon after, the visitors made their second substitution as Geoff Kellaway replaced Joe Phillips, and no more than 60 seconds later the Aber wingman was in the thick of the action.

In the 58th minute, Steff Edwards surged down the left flank before curling an inviting ball into the penalty area where the Kellaway Express was waiting at the back post to volley home and make it 1-1.

The goal sparked great celebrations with the players and travelling supporters, who suddenly sensed something special could be happening at Maes Tegid once more.

No sooner than 6 minutes later, the Seasiders took the lead as Wes Baynes swung in a right footed free kick towards Ruane, who looped a brilliant header over Bala ‘keeper Morris and into the far corner to make it 1-2.

Suddenly, the visitors were dominant as the hosts began to bombard Terry McCormick’s box with long balls and throw ins.

On 77 minutes, Bala’s sustained pressure told as Mike Hayes played in Sean Smith, who’s low cross found its way to the back post where Tames was on hand once more to tap home for 2-2.

It was cruel on Aber who’d deservedly gone in front after an excellent second half performance.

The Seasiders could easily have sat back and began to hang on for what would have been a creditable point, but instead they continued to press forward with courage and purpose.

Henry Jones wasted another good opportunity for the hosts on 86 minutes, as his header bounced wide of the post, before the fourth official indicated a minimum of 4 minutes added time.

In the third of those four minutes, Rio Ahmadi held the ball up superbly in the channel before skipping beyond Stuart Jones. The Aber number 9 surged into the penalty area before teeing up an inch perfect cross to the back post where Declan Walker rose highest to power the ball into the net and send the away supporters into raptures and make it 2-3.

It was another fantastic victory for Nev Powell’s side, who enjoyed their celebrations once more with their supporters at full time.

The victory lifts Aber up to fifth place in the JD Welsh Premier League table, level with Bala and just three points off the top of the table.

The Seasiders now enjoy a 2 week break before they return to action against Carmarthen at Park Avenue in another crunch clash on Friday, November 30.

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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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