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Shock results in West Wales Conference

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THERE were more surprise results in the West Wales Conference last weekend as Aberystwyth slipped to defeat against Talybont while UWA Commoners were also beaten by Tywyn and District.

The weekend’s other result saw Aberaeron extend their lead at the top of the table with victory over Aberystwyth Seconds.

On Sunday (Jul 8), Aberystwyth batted first against Talybont and made a good total of 219-7 from their 40 overs.

Aber lost opener Zaid Khan early on when he was caught by Sojan Varghese off the bowling of Philip Abraham for a score of 9 and Nigel Salmon made 8 before being caught by Abraham off the bowling of Josheff Joshi.

Abraham then trapped Ted Trewella leg before and also bowled Johnny Cordy for a duck. Ioan Morris made 10 but he was also bowled by Anish Kuriakose who later bowled Iestyn Evans for a score of 1.

Rhodri Price batted well at the top of the order as he made 69 before being caught by Abraham off the bowling of Dave Barrow.

Rob Rudge and Ifan Thomas then took Aber past 200 runs with the pair finishing unbeaten on scores of 50 and 31 respectively.

Talybont made a steady start in their reply with Dave Barrow scoring 20 before being caught and bowled by Zaid Khan.

Vinod Matthew made 36 before being caught by Iestyn Evans off the bowling of Nigel Salmon. The runs kept flowing as Josheff Joshi made 44 but he was then caught by Rob Rudge off the bowling of Rhodri Price.

Sojan Varghese was run out by Zaid Khan for a score of 1 and Graison John departed on the same score when he fell to the bowling of Salmon.

Anish Kuriakose then made 14 before being trapped leg before by Salmon.

Phil Abraham had been the mainstay of the innings with a score of 62 but he was eventually removed when Zaid Khan dismantled the stumps.

That left Huw Chambers at the crease and he finished not out on 15 to guide Talybont to victory.

Tywyn earn second win despite Bhatia century

Sunday’s other game produced the second shock result of the weekend as Tywyn and District earned just their second win of the season with victory over second placed UWA Commoners.

This game was a real high scoring encounter with Tywyn posting 292-7 from their 40 overs.

Richard Rees was trapped leg before by Guy Baron early on for a score of 21 but an excellent partnership between Callum Taylor and James Bradbury-Willis followed.

Bradbury-Willis hit six fours and a six in a score of 62 but he was then caught by Jacob Hughes-Pickering off the bowling of Rakesh Bhatia.

Runs continued to flow as Ed Iffla hit eight fours in a score of 41 before he was bowled by Umar Aslam.

Taylor made an excellent century with 18 fours and three sixes, scoring 107 before he was caught by Will Copeland off the bowling of Bhatia.

That did not stop the flow of runs as Dave Jenkins hit five fours and a six as he added 52 runs to the total.

The Commoners hit back late on as Bhatia had Jack Williamson caught by Neil Stent and Matthew Maslin caught by Ravi Mander.

They knew they would then need to bat well to reach their target and the made a good start to their reply.

Neil Stent made 16 before being bowled by Richard Rees and Ravi Mander scored 19 before he was caught by Callum Taylor off the bowling of Rees.

Umar Aslam was run out by Rees on a score of 7 as wickets continued to fall.

Rakesh Bhatia made his way to a half century but then saw Jacob Hughes-Pickering caught by Taylor off the bowling of Jenkins for a score of 20.

Will Copeland scored a quickfire 14 with two fours and a six but he was out to the bowling of Jenkins and Richard Lucas was then bowled by Taylor. Guy Baron scored 16 but he was then run out by Taylor.

Bhatia was the undoubted star of the innings as he made his way to remarkable score of 162 with twenty fours and eight sixes. He was then caught by Jack Williamson off the bowling of Taylor.

With that wicket, the Commoners’ hopes faded and they finished all out on 282, just ten runs short of victory.

Aberaeron ease past Seconds

Saturday’s (Jul 7) game was more straightforward as league leaders Aberaeron earned a ten-wicket win over Aber Seconds.

The Seconds won the toss and chose to bat but they were all out for 107 as Hywel Rees and Sion Lewis both took three wickets.

Ted Trewella was the first to fall when he was caught off the bowling of Simon Mitchell for a duck and he also then bowled Jack Page for a duck.

Dafydd Jones and Zaid Khan offered some resistance but both fell victim to Rees who had them caught by Louis Fice and Chris Strange for scores of 18 and 21 respectively.

Rees then claimed his third wicket as he had Alwyn Davies caught by Neil Snowdon for a score of 8.

Steff Rees then joined in on the action as he had Owen Keyworth caught by Mitchell for a score of 11.

Ioan Morris also offered late resistance with a score of 23 but he was then bowled by Sion Lewis. Steffan Davies was then bowled by Paul Hughes and Tomos Williams fell in the same manner to Lewis.

Lewis then had Bryn Morris stumped by Fice as the Seconds’ innings came to a close.

Aberaeron’s openers J Fice and David Grinszpan were then untroubled in their reply as they guided their side to a comfortable win.

Grinszpan was not out on 46 with seven fours while Fice hit ten fours as he finished unbeaten on 52.

On Saturday (Jul 14), two teams that lost last weekend will be in action as Aberystwyth play host to the UWA Commoners.

On Sunday (Jul 15), Talybont face league leaders Aberaeron and Tywyn & District will be looking for another win when they take on Aberystwyth Seconds.

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Scotland and Wales serve up a thriller

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Scotland 24 – Wales 25

NEVER-DAY-DIE Wales fought back from 17-3 down against a quality Scotland team to gain their second win of this year’s Six Nations.

In the first round game, Wales got dragged into a knock-down-drag-out scrap against Ireland which left them with a long injury list and the need to draw extra players into the squad. With so many key players out injured, the side travelled to Murrayfield bearing the weight of fans hopes rather than expectations.

And what a game those fans got!

A Scottish side full of flair and confidence and a Welsh side with pace at the back and renewed physical presence up front served up a heart-stopping thriller in arctic conditions in Edinburgh.

Scotland were on a high after beating England at Twickenham for the first time in 38 years in the last round. Their pack took England to the cleaners in the Calcutta Cup match and the Scots skilful backline looked sharp with ball in hand.

However, a lack of ruthlessness in their opponent’s twenty-two made the English game closer than it should’ve been and the home side were similarly wasteful with their territorial and possession advantages against Wales.

Too many times the Scots got into Wales’ danger zone only to overplay or misplay the advantage.

With markedly less ball and even less territory, Wales were much more ruthless than the hosts at converting presence in the opposition’s twenty-two into points.

Seeking to win their fifth Six Nations game in a row, Darcy Graham scored Scotland’s first try. Gathering a clever chip over the top by scrum-half Ali Price, Graham shook of Leigh Halfpenny’s desperate tackle and scored under the posts.

Scotland’s second try owed something to luck – both good and bad – Stuart Hogg kicked ahead and gave chase. For all the world. Halfpenny looked to have the ball covered only for it to wriggle free on the greasy surface and he went to ground. Hogg, who is the form fullback in the northern hemisphere, gathered the ball and touched down.

At 17-3 down, Wales were under the cosh but still competitive.

A driving maul from a short lineout saw Wales plough their way up-field in a series of short drives to near the Scottish line. The ball worked across the backline before Nick Tompkins fine pass found Louis Rees-Zammitt lurking with try-scoring intent. From close range, the winger made no mistake and scored the try which sent Wales in at the half 17-8 down.

Wales coach Wayne Pivac changed his half-backs on 51 minutes and was rewarded with an immediate return. Another brilliant driving line-out carved deep into the Scottish 22. Swift ball across the three-quarters released Liam Williams, whose sparkling try was converted by Callum Sheedy to bring Wales within two points.

Shortly afterwards came the moment which left Scots feeling aggrieved. As Wyn Jones challenged for the ball at the breakdown, opposite number Zander Fagerson ploughed into the ruck. Leading with his should he made direct contact with the Welsh prop’s head.

The rules on head contact are clear. Fagerson’s illegal attempt at a clear-out was given a straight red.

As former England prop David Flatman explained after the game: “Zander Fagerson’s red card was a red card. Rugby is changing and, as much as it all seems to be about the elite end of the game, the reality is the exact opposite.
“While the elite game is the most visible, it is rightly being used as a vehicle to make safer all those games of rugby that are played on muddy, isolated fields, away from specialist medical care and high definition cameras.

“Red cards like Fagerson’s are literally designed to make children safer on Sunday mornings.”

To add insult to injury, Wales’ capitalised on their one-man advantage with Wyn Jones touching down after more good close driving work by the Welsh forwards near the Scottish line.

Back came Scotland. Spurning two easy shots at goal, they created space for the ever-dangerous Stuart Hogg to turn on the pace and score a try, which Russell’s touchline conversion made into a four-point lead.

A moment of individual skill by Louis Rees-Zammitt was the standout moment of Wales’ performance. Travelling at full pelt, the Gloucester flyer latched on to Willy Halaholo’s perfectly weighted pass. Without breaking stride, the winger chipped it over the Scottish defence, outpaced Stuart Hogg (no mean feat) and gathered his own kick in Murrayfield’s deep in goal area to touch down.

Still Scotland came again and deep into stoppage time worked the ball to Scotland’s giant winger, Duhan van der Merwe. For all the world, it looked as though the last play of the match would see Welsh hearts broken at Murrayfield. Scrambling back, Owen Watkin produced the perfect tap tackle. With the clock in the red zone, Wales made no mistake in kicking the ball dead to seal the win.

Wales’ bold replacement of both half backs made near the start of the second half, galvanised the Welsh midfield at the expense of kicking reliability. If Wales bring Josh Adams back into the side against England and move Liam Williams to full-back, it is almost certain that Dan Biggar will start at outside half. Callum Sheedy, for all his skill with ball-in-hand, remains too fallible from the tee to be Wales’ frontline kicker.

Apart from an early misfire, Wales’ lineout was vastly improved. After an initial long throw went straight to Scottish hands, hooker Ken Owens and his callers kept it simple. Wales’ forward drives from the lineouts were a significant game-changer for the Welsh pack. The tactic gave Wales’ backs room by sucking in the Scottish defence.

It’s England for the Triple Crown next for Wales and, while England have been unconvincing so far, a Welsh win would still be an upset result. England have power and pace. If they can add precision to the mix, they will take some stopping.

Head coach Wayne Pivac commented: “It’s a very pleasing start, but I think it was evident to everyone that it wasn’t the complete performance.

“At 17-3 down, it wasn’t going to script but the players regathered their thoughts, the leadership on the field was good, and we came away with that score before half time.

“That was vital for us going into the changing room. The players reacted very well after half time, the replacements made an impact, and it was very nice to get the result at the end.”

On Louis Rees-Zammit, Wayne Pivac said: “He was exciting with the ball, wasn’t he? He took his opportunities very well. He’s still got work to do on his game without the ball, and that’s the exciting thing.

“He’s going to be a very exciting player for us going forward.”
Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones added: “We’re well aware there are massive improvements to make.

“You can’t give a team two tries, but I’m pleased with the resilience, character and pride in the jersey we’re still showing. What you’re seeing as well is a product of the experimentation from the Autumn Nations Cup and the hurt we took.

“Irrelevant of the advantage, I’d like to think we were in the ascendancy before the card.

“We’re aware England had a good win and are back on track. We’ll be back in Cardiff, so we’ll regroup and improve on the parts we need to.”

Alun Wyn Jones added: “Louis has been playing well for Gloucester in the Premiership. I’d heard a lot about him and seen a lot of highlights of him. Hopefully, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“I don’t want to heap the pressure on him, I want him to continue in a similar vein.”

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New format for Women’s Six Nations

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The Women’s Six Nations will take place in April in a new and condensed format, while the Under 20’s Six Nations will take place in June and July in the same format as planned but over a condensed, three week period, Six Nations Rugby Limited announced today.

The Women’s Six Nations will be similar to the Autumn Nations Cup in format, with two pools of three and a Grand Final weekend. Wales Women have been placed in Pool A with France and Ireland, travelling to France on the weekend of April 3 before hosting Ireland on the weekend of April 10. Every nation will play a play-off match on the weekend of April 24 against the opposing ranked team from the other Pool – 1 v 1, 2 v 2 and 3 v 3. The detailed fixture dates, venues and kick off times will be announced in due course. The World Rugby U20 Championship has been cancelled for 2021.

Wales Women head coach Warren Abrahams welcomed the announcement of fixtures. “We’re really grateful to the work everyone has done to get us to this position and have some competitive fixtures to look forward to. We’ve all overcome different challenges to get here and the uncertainty has been the toughest part so this news is pretty exciting. France and Ireland are great fixtures to work towards and will provide an opportunity to measure ourselves with the Rugby World Cup coming up in September. It’s very welcome news for women’s rugby in the northern hemisphere.”

Wales U20 head coach Gareth Williams added, “It’s great to learn the rearranged dates for our Six Nations campaign.

“The disruption over the last 12 months is well documented, therefore having these fixtures to look forward to as a development tool for us is exciting and critical. We are now able to adapt our key work with developing players in partnership with the regions, and the summer will give an invaluable period of competition to test that development.”

Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby commented, “We are delighted to make this announcement today and confirm new plans for our Women’s and U20s championships. The promotion and development of rugby at all levels is a key strategic priority for Six Nations. We see huge opportunity for growth in the women’s game in particular and feel it will benefit hugely from having its own specific window and being firmly placed in the limelight.”

“Our priority has always been to deliver two outstanding tournaments but equally ensuring both competitions can be played safely, taking every consideration for player welfare. A significant challenge we faced in rescheduling the Women’s tournament was the limited available window due to World Cup Qualifiers, domestic leagues, rest periods and World Cup preparations for qualified teams. Following consultation with our unions and federations as well as other key stakeholders, it was agreed that April would be the best window in which to stage the championship.

“The U20 Six Nations Championship is also a hugely important competition in terms of player development and for those representing their country at this level it is a major milestone in any career. We look forward to announcing fixture details for the U20’s in due course.”

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Cardigan Golf Club Ladies Section raise funds for RNLI

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EVERY year the Ladies Section at Cardigan Golf Club hold a competition dedicated to the RNLI, and this year they raised a magnificent £122 from donations made by the lady members.

Accepting the cheque on behalf of the RNLI was New Quay RNLI Station Mechanic Bernie Davies, “We would like to thank all the lady members of Cardigan Golf Club who donated to the RNLI. Their generosity is very much appreciated and enables our volunteers to continue saving lives at sea.”

Pam Perry the Lady Captain at Cardigan Golf Club added, “We were thrilled to raise over a £100 with our annual golf competition especially in difficult times.”

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