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The Dragon Round Up: The Super G

Super G

What a topsy-turvy weekend for Welsh cycling king Geraint Thomas!

Firstly, the former Tour de France winner was denied a first Grand Tour stage win since 2018 by just a measly one second!

Thomas thundered through the stage nine time trial at the Giro d’Italia at a fail old lick, only to be denied late on by Remco Evenepoel when the world champion finished a single second inside Thomas’s time.

That must have been hard to bear for Cardiff’s finest, but at least he was consoled by the fact that he went from fifth to second in the overall standings, just 45 seconds behind Evenepoel.

But later on Sunday evening, there was more drama off the bikes when Thomas suddenly went into the leader’s pink jersey.

Belgian Evenepoel tested positive for Covid 19 and had to withdraw from the tour, leaving Thomas as the new race leader, three seconds ahead of Primoz Roglic.

Date with the Drovers

We now know the line-up for the Indigo Welsh Premiership final on Sunday, May 21, where Cardiff will face Llandovery at the Arms Park.

Both clubs came through sometimes nervy semi-finals at the weekend, but the right clubs won in the sense that Cardiff topped the table in the regular season and Llandovery finished second.

The Blue and Blacks beat Newport 21-7 at the Arms Park, where the live S4C cameras couldn’t get in with their broadcast trucks because of the Beyonce concert next door at the Principality Stadium.

If Queen Bey had a quick peep through the gate, she would have seen Steve Law’s men repeat their WRU Premiership Cup final victory over the Black and Ambers.

Newport coach Ty Morris admitted: “Credit to Cardiff, their defence was excellent and every time we made a dent they found a way to scramble and snuff out the danger.

“They scored two breakaway tries, we got over their line twice and were held up, so it was a game of small margins. They probably controlled the breakdown area better than us and that was a point of difference.

The Drovers had to work harder for their win over a determined Merthyr side, but they made it in the end, 16-13.

The Ironmen had a kickable penalty chance near the end, which would have tied the scores and forced extra time.

But they chose instead to kick to the corner, messed up the line-out drive, and their goose was cooked.

Zac Attack

Zac Jones . . . the guy loves a penalty.

Or rather, he loves saving them.

The Haverfordwest County goalkeeper saved from Newtown’s Aaron Williams to ensure County won the JD Cymru Premier European play-off, 4-3 in the shoot-out.

It means New Zealander Jones and the Pembrokeshire club can look at some summers travels, as they will be in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League 2023-24 campaign.

It was the Zac attack all over again as the same keeper had been the hero in the play-off semi-final win, when he saved three penalties against Cardiff Met.

Sophie, So Good

When Sophie Ingle was a little girl in Barry, she used to dream of playing at Wembley and winning the FA Cup.

Well, now that dream has been fulfilled three times as the Wales captain helped Chelsea lift the trophy again at Wembley at the weekend for the third successive year.

Ingle came on as a substitute for the Blues, who beat Manchester United 1-0 thanks to a goal from  Aussie star Sam Kerr.

So, another medal for Ingle who can put it on the mantlepiece, next to the others, and alongside her OBE, which she also received from the Prince Of Wales earlier this year.

Van Man Timm

Glamorgan are up to second place in the LV= County Championship Division Two table after Timm van der Gugten took five wickets to help beat Worcestershire.

The bowler ended with figures of 5 for 48 as Glammy notched an emphatic 10-wicket victory at Sophia Gardens with a day to spare.

Van der Gugten is finding himself more of a front line bowler with the county these days since the departure of veteran Australian fast bowler Michael Horgan.

“I’ve probably bowled a bit more this season already [after the departure of Michael Hogan],” said the Dutch international, who was raised in Sydney.

“He would have been our go-to guy but I’ve enjoyed bowling with the new ball again and things have fallen my way.”

Tommy Ache

It wasn’t to be for Wales flanker Tommy Reffell, whose Leicester Tigers side were beaten 21-13 by Sale Sharks in a tense Gallagher Premiership semi-final.

Reffell was the pick of the Leicester forwards and his form on his 100th appearance for the club will have encouraged Wales coach Warren Gatland , who included Reffell in his extended World Cup training squad, named last month.

But at least Gatland will not have to worry about Reffell getting injured in the Twickenham final as the Tigers were undone by their old boy, George Ford.

Sale head coach Alex Sanderson called Ford “a little pocket of calm amid the chaos” as they squeezed the semi-final at a sold out AJ Bell Stadium.

Making his Mark

Mark Hughes already has plenty of Wembley memories as a player, but few fewer as a manager, yet that could be about to change.

The former Wales striker guided Bradford City to a 1-0 victory in their League Two play-off semi-final first leg against Carlisle.

Now, Sparky just has to get the Bantams firing again in the return leg and he can start getting measured for a Wembley suit and a possible promotion to League One.

Jamie Walker scored the only goal after 18 minutes to give Bradford the edge for the return at Brunton Park next Saturday.

Hughes said: “I thought physically we stood up to the challenge.

“We’ve got the advantage albeit just by one goal. But we will go there and be positive. We know we can cause Carlisle problems.”

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