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Monday, 10 March 2014 20:36

A PRE-HOP BONUS

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Llanelli Town v Cwmaman Institute Llanelli Town v Cwmaman Institute

FRIDAY 7TH MARCH: Stebonheath Park - dry.

LLANELLI TOWN 3 CWMAMAN INSTITUTE 1 (Nathaniel Cars Welsh League Division 3)

It's the weekend of the Welsh Spring Groundhop, and many of us will be spending Saturday and Sunday in the Ceredigion League. But first, on our way west, there's a 'bonus' game in the Welsh League, with Llanelli Town entertaining Cwmaman. A fair number of the Ceredigion-bound groundhoppers are present - a number of us on the Castell Coaches transport that will be ferrying us around all weekend, and this swells the crowd at Stebonheath.

Before the match, those of us who've bought into a one-off hospitality package for the evening assemble in the Jock Stein Lounge: Llanelli chairman David Craddock and secretary Neil Dymock tell the visitors something about the club, and especially its bumpy ride over the past twelve months - relegation from the Welsh Premier, liquidation, reformation as a Carmarthenshire League side until the last minute court instruction that they be admitted to the Welsh League. Questions from the floor refer to the FAW's role in the controversy - but the home officials sidestep them diplomatically, concentrating instead on the positives.

From the warmth of the lounge, we venture out into the chilly evening air to watch fourth-placed Town entertain Cwmaman, who are fighting against relegation. It's not one-sided though - Llanelli play some nice football but Cwmaman are not outclassed. Keeper Waghorn keeps them level until the 22nd minute when a Jamie Evans header puts Town ahead. Liam Samuel doubles the lead before half-time and it seems to be all over. But Cwmaman pull a goal back with a fine strike early in the second half and Llanelli struggle to make the points safe. It eventually takes a penalty, converted by Declan John, to seal the win, but the biggest cheer of the evening is reserved for 16-year-old sub William Davies's debut for the Reds - reportedly the youngest first team player in decades.

Our Friday evening suitably filled, the coach heads west to Carmarthen and our overnight stop before the main business of the weekend...

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