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Team of the week: West Dragons FC

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west dragonsTHE history of West Dragons Football Cub spans across a very short period from 2008 to the present day. They were formed in 2008 by brothers Jamie and Lee Palmer, who with great ambition, courage and determination have bought the club to where it is today.

They also stated that the main philosophy of the club was to “give young players the best opportunity to succeed in an environment where they can play with freedom, courage, belief and to be successful”.

The club started the 2008-2009 season in Division 5 of the Pembrokeshire League. During that season the team played their home games in Crundale at the Rudbaxton Community Playing Field. The Palmer brothers approached local businessmen Karl Potter (The Glen, Haverfordwest) who became club chairman – who invested £500 in return for a direct interest in running the club.

Finally Jayne Thomas was added to the committee as club secretary and she stills holds that position today. Other sponsors such as G and G Builders Pembrokeshire Ltd, LNG South Hook invested to help fund facilities and equipment including a sit-down mower much to relief of then part time groundsman who for the first month of the season cut the whole pitch weekly with push on mowers taking an amazing five hours to complete.

Under the management of Jeremy Thomas and Deny Barrett the club began playing in the Pembrokeshire League. In October of 2008, the club made a move to bring in Lee Morgan as manager and finished the season as Division 5 league and cup winners beating St Clears in the final remarkably the club remained not only unbeaten but didn’t draw or lose a game in those respective competitions. Showing ambition the club was helped to success with the likes of Jonathan Clarke, Jay Brockway and Matthew Watters.

During the pre season of 2009-2010, West Dragons made Bob Nelson their new first team manager. After a strong start to the league campaign, West Dragons slumped in a run of games including a two leg cup defeat to Tenby United which ended Nelson’s campaign as manager.

Morgan returned to the helm in November and guided the team to the division title with the clinching victory coming in a game against Clarbeston Road where Simon Thomas scored the winning goal.

Off the field there was also change. Terry Worsley was appointed new club chairman and West Dragons replaced The Glen, Haverfordwest with The Labour Club, Haverfordwest as their new main sponsors. This time local businessman Eddie Wells invested in the club and still to this day does so as the club’s main sponsor. The club also made a ground move to The Pavillion Playing Fields, Portfield after agreeing a lease with Tasker Milward School and Pembrokeshire County Council for the use of the playing field which includes two full size pitches.

The Pembrokeshire League season 2010-2011 for West Dragons started in Division 3. The season ended in promotion with a second place finish in the division. They also managed to secure a division cup win with a 3-2 victory over Broad Haven, after trailing by two goals with only 30 minutes to play.

More history was created with a reserve team being introduced to Division 5 under the guidance of Deny Barrett and an under 14s junior team supervised by Jeremy Thomas and Jamie Palmer with fourth and third place finishes respectively. Off the field committee members were added and Karl Davies became the club’s groundsman on a permanent basis. On to Division 2, Morgan’s ambition was to achieve promotion in season 2011-12. The Dragons more than held their own in this division by comfortably beating teams and were third by Christmas. In February manager Lee Morgan decided to step down due to university commitments.

The committee decided that Jamie and Brother Lee would run the team until the end of the campaign. The Palmers decided to make Chris Darlington club captain and adopt the same style of play Lee Morgan installed. It certainly worked because the Dragons found themselves in another cup final after beating Saundersfoot Sports 2-0 in Division 2 cup semi final, Steven Dockerty and Mike Turpin with the goals. The league campaign ended with the reds narrowly missing out on promotion finishing third in the division.

In summer 2012-13 West Dragons committee appointed Nigel Delaney as their new manager. Delaney was recommended to the club and after meeting him and knowing his footballing background they knew he was right choice to bring club forward. This was Delaney’s first management job after a very successful playing career. Nigel had Mark Falzon helping him train the team for short spell but asked Byron Phillips to assist him. Phillips had recently managed Monkton Swifts.

Under Delaney the Dragons were unstoppable in the league losing only two games all season after comfortably achieving promotion. The target for the club was the achieve promotion but to do it in Delaney’s first season was great achievement.

The Dragons also made it to their first ever senior cup final after beating Hakin United 4-0 on the Bridge meadow in the semi final. The Dragons were the first side since 1989 to reach senior cup final and not to be playing in Pembrokeshire’s top division. The Reds faced Johnston the final at the Bridge Meadow Stadium watched by a record attendance with more than 1400. The Dragons finished runners up in final after losing 3-2. It was great effort by everyone involved with the club, considering the reds were trailing 3-0 at half time we showed great character in second half scoring two goals and giving Johnston a fright when Niall Kinsella hit bar in last 10 minutes of game.

A lot of credit had to go Nigel Delaney after what he achieved in season 2012-13. In this season West Dragons also had a successful season with their second side after manager Mark Hix guided his team to win the Division 5, an ambition the club felt had to be achieved if club was going to progress as a club.

The Dragons under 16s also had brilliant season after winning their league. The club was delighted to win their first junior title and glad the majority of the team has stayed with club in the senior level.

The Juniors also made it to the under 16s cup final but came runners up to Carew losing 2-1 at Marble Hall, Milford Haven. The club also started up a under 10s team and the team was managed by former Dragons player Simon Owens. The reds ambition is to bring juniors through every age group. The start of this season has been a success so far with some impressive performances and causing some shock results. Off the pitch Nigel Delaney decided to step down as manager, but deserves great credit for his effort and dedication he gave to club. Byron Phillips was appointed manager and Ritchie Brill as assistant manager. Phillips assisted Delaney so was the obvious choice to replace him. Mark Hix also stepped down as manager and was replaced by player-manager Dai Upward; Dai captained the seconds to previous season.

Coming up to Christmas break and the Dragons are currently in fourth place in division 1, five points off top of the league and the club is hoping to keep playing the football they have been playing and finish in the highest place they can. The second team is also holding their own in division 4 and hope to continue in the hard work everyone’s put in.

West Dragons would like to wish all their players a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing everyone back in the New Year.

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Sport

Kidney and Buckle see Lawrenny into final

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LAWRENNY made it through to the final of the Duggie Morris Cup on Tuesday (Jun 25) as they beat Whitland by three wickets in Kilgetty.

Whitland were asked to bat first after Lawrenny won the toss and they made a good start with Dylan Blain and Jack Bowen sharing an opening stand of 48 runs.

Blain made 27 but he couldn’t add to his score as he was caught by Tom Cole off the bowling of Brad McDermott-Jenkins.

Bowen then shared another 39 runs with Geraint Jones, who scored a century earlier in the tournament.

This time though, Jones could only score 17 before he was caught by Cole off the bowling of Harry Thomas.

Bowen then reached his half century and moved on to a score of 76 with four fours and five sixes but he was then bowled by Kurtis Marsh to leave Whitland on 141-3.

Marsh then also bowled Jonathan Thomas on a score of 17 as Whitland’s innings began to fade.

Nathan Evans and Martin Thomas were both run out late on as they looked to put more runs on the board.

That saw them finish on 156-6 and Lawrenny got off to similarly good start in their reply as openers Kurtis Marsh and Brad McDermott-Jenkins shared 59 runs for the first wicket.

McDermott-Jenkins smashed five fours and three sixes as his score of 40 came from only 17 balls but he was then bowled by Wayne Howells.

James Phillips was caught by Nathan Evans off the bowling of Jonathan Thomas and soon after Marsh was caught and bowled by Greg Sleep on a score of 32.

Howells then bowled Harry Thomas for a duck to leave Lawrenny on 92-4.

Steve Lewis and Tom Cole were both run out as Lawrenny slipped further into trouble on 116-6.

Joe Kidney and Ryan Morton shared another 15 runs for the seventh wicket but Matthew Davies then had Morton caught by Bowen.

James Buckle joined Kidney at the crease, and after surviving a few close calls, they saw Lawrenny to their target with three balls to spare.

Buckle finished not out on 18 while Kidney hit three fours and a six as he finished unbeaten on 30.

Lawrenny now await the winners of the tie between holders Neyland and Haverfordwest which takes place in St Ishmaels on Thursday (Jun 27).

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Hook close the gap

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HOOK closed the gap to the top two in Division 2 on Saturday (Jun 22) as they beat Carew seconds by seven wickets.

Carew were restricted to 148-9 in their innings as Hook bowled well with Dai Hopkins and Aled Phelps both claiming two wickets each.

Callum James also bowled well as he finished with figures of 1-12 from his spell.

Haydn Shapcott top scored with 52 for Carew while Rhys Grigg scored 36 and Morgan Grieve added 20 runs to their total.

Carew’s Kerry Waters and Barry Evans each picked up a wicket in Hook’s reply but they were unable to stop the home side reaching their target.

Aled Phelps scored 40 for Hook and Jamie Phelps top scored with 71 to help them to victory.

Brennan Martin also scored 22 as Hook earned 29 points for the win.

They remain third in the table but they now sit just 16 points behind second placed Llechryd with the two teams playing each other in Llechryd on Saturday (Jun 29).

Elsewhere, Carew seconds will look to bounce back when they travel to leaders Narberth.

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Devonald stars as Tish beat Burton

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ST ISHMAELS moved up to fifth place in Division 1 on Saturday (Jun 22) as they beat Burton by four wickets.

Tish won the toss and elected to field and they did well to keep Burton to a score of 143-9 in their 45 overs.

Burton did their best to claim the win but Tish’s Daniel Richards finished unbeaten to see his side over the line.

Burton were in trouble early on as Jonathan Venables was bowled by Brennan Devonald and Jordan Milich then had Toby Hayman caught by Philip Cockburn.

Devonald then also bowled Matthew Webb as Burton were reduced to 11-3.

Morgan Scale and James Davies shared 21 runs for the fourth wicket but Andrew Pawlett then had Davies caught by Andrew Williams.

Scale hit two fours and a six as he made a good score of 25 but he was then bowled by Pawlett as Burton slipped to 48-5.

Pawlett then claimed his third wicket as he bowled Will Ridge and he soon had his fourth as he had James Scale caught by Williams.

Burton were in trouble on 84-7 but Luke Hayman and Dan Llewellyn shared 42 runs for the eighth wicket.

Hayman hit five fours in his score of 55 but he was then stumped by Jack Nicholas off the bowling of Andrew Williams.

Iestyn Evans was then bowled by Harry Nicholas but Llewellyn finished not out on 17 to ensure Burton batted out their overs.

Peter Bradshaw and Harry Nicholas got Tish off to a steady start in their reply as they shared 38 runs for the first wicket.

Bradshaw made a score of 21 but he was then caught by Iestyn Evans off the bowling of John Scale.

Harry Nicholas made 18 but he was bowled by Morgan Scale. Morgan then claimed his second as he bowled Phil Cockburn.

John Scale then claimed the wicket of Daniel Howells as Tish were reduced to 60-4.

Brennan Devonald and Jack Nicholas then shared 54 runs for the fifth wicket as they looked to put their side in a good position.

Devonald hit eight fours and a six in his score of 49 from 41 balls but he was then caught by Luke Hayman off the bowling of James Davies.

Dan Llewellyn then trapped Jack Nicholas leg before on a score of 15 to leave Tish on 136-6.

Daniel Richards then hit four fours as his score of 18 not out came from only eight balls.

That saw Tish to their target and the win sees them move up to fifth place in the table.

On Saturday (Jun 29), Tish are at home to Saundersfoot while Burton travel to Haverfordwest.

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