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Sport

Skudder’s try hat trick in Blues victory

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Written by Jonathan Twigg

HAVERFORDWEST travelled to Pill Parks, Llangwm on Saturday (Sept 23) and returned with a convincing 54-5 victory to keep their 100% Division 3A West league record intact thanks to a hat trick of tries from winger Ben Skudder.

Skudder was part of a back division which dominated the game for the ‘Blues’ as outside half Matthew Davies pulled the strings for centre pairing of Gareth John and Dane Pindair to cause problems all afternoon for the hosts.

In fairness to the Wasps they battled hard to the end and ensured their more ‘millionaire’ opponents didn’t get it all their own way as the scoreline suggests, especially in the game’s opening quarter when outside half Louis Murphy had three kickable penalty attempts to chalk his side on the scoreboard.

Llangwm, whilst disjointed in their phased build up play drew the Haverfordwest defence line into conceding numerous penalties.

Time after time the visitors were guilty of being penalised for over running the offside line or holding in the tackle, with referee Davies warning skipper Alun Harries of his concern.

An outline of the Blue inability to master the referees requirement resulted in occasions where they were marched back 10m for verbally berating his decisions, where fifteen penalties were conceded in the first 25 minutes. From one such offence of not releasing the player in the tackle centre John was sin binned with his side leading 7-0, after he had converted a fine try by full back Ollie Hughes.

Davies had pushed a 25m drop out deep into the Llangwm half which saw home full back Steve Picton caught by hooker Ryan Palmer as he ran the ball back on 12 minutes. Second row Adam Williams picked up and drove on from the ruck, before a half break from scrum half Richard James saw Pindair break through two tackles on the crash ball. The Blues forwards quickly recycled the ball for Davies to put Hughes in space and he rounded the covering tackles wide out to score.

An impatient Haverfordwest prevented them delivering a much larger winning margin as they endeavoured to push boundaries in the aim of scoring from early phase possession. Coaches Bruce Evans and Simon Le Petit would have been frustrated with this lack of composure which saw promising attacking movements halted by handling errors.

With John out of the game following his tackle to stop home centre Josh Hicks strong run over 30m through the midfield, it did have the desired effect to settle their play into a composed rhythm.

This resulted in the second score of the half, an opening effort for Skudder who responded to James’ tap and go from a penalty following a scrum offence for pushing early by the home pack.

Ben Skudder: A hat trick of tries for the Blues

Davies accepted the ball from James feeding dynamic flanker Morgan Layton, who rumbled 15m upfield before Pindair’s quick hands put full back Hughes in space.  He drew last man Picton with a beautiful timed pass to Skudder who raced over from 35m before Hughes slotted over the conversion in John’s absence.

Haverfordwest, buoyed by this second score when reduced to 14 men kept the same game plan causing Llangwm to miss tackles through Jack Griffiths, Hicks, Murphy and Picton which allowed Haverfordwest to dominate the territory as half time approached.

Back to full strength prop Ritchie Little was instrumental in setting a platform for Davies to dance over with five minutes of the half remaining, although John missed the simplest of his kicks to leave the half time score 19-0 in the Blues favour.

The second half started as the first had finished with the visitors on the front foot, although the game didn’t gain momentum with both packs at fault for ‘early engagement’ penalties which riled the partisan supporters of both camps.

Encounters between the two sides over the years have been feisty and the traditional ‘Bishop Cup’ fixtures on Boxing Day attracting four figures crowds revelling in their time out of the house during the Yule tide period.  Banter at these games is second to none and both sides buy into the occasion and raise their game.

‘Harfat’ landed their bonus point try as the hour mark approached after Hicks was isolated in possession and the ball swiftly moved out to the hands of Davies and John for Pindair to put winger Rhys Baker over towards the play park corner for John to superbly convert, where he didn’t miss another kick all afternoon.

The versatile Hicks, playing at Centre having started the season as a second row was taking the game to the visitors, where the rest of the home side, second Row Ashley James and skipper James Lewis apart failed to respond. Hicks surprisingly lacked some football skills when leading the foot race with James as he was quickest to respond to his skipper and hooker Aled Morgans work on the ground.

The strong running centre did get his sides score on 65 minutes when a poor kick from Pindair was collected by number 8 Ian Griffiths who with his fellow back row of James Lewis, skipper and namesake, playing on permit from Whitland allowed Hicks some momentum in midfield.  He left John and Skudder in his wake as he thundered over from 25m, with Picton missing the conversion.

The smarting Blues quickly regrouped after allowing their defences to be breached and two minutes later from a scrum, Davies and John combined to put Pindair into space and he broke a tackle from Gavin Jenkins to stroll in from 15m and the lead was 33-5.

With ten minutes remaining Skudder scored his second try after good work again by hooker Palmer on the floor ensured space was created wide out for Skudder to finish under the posts.

Home second row James again came to the fore, in his first game of the season to allow his side to gain territory from their limited possession, with the game drifting towards a mundane finish as fitness impacted on the skill level alongside the continual run of replacements.

The final score of the afternoon came with a minute of play remaining, after a mazy Baker run over 35m resulted in a Llangwm scrum as Josh Atherton was penalised for holding the ball.

The Blues pack managed to get ‘one against the head’ allowing skipper Harries to pick up from the base of the scrum, feeding the ball back inside to James to get a pass away to the ‘loitering’ Skudder who pinned back his ears over 20m for his hattrick and push the scoreboard over the 50 point mark.

Coaching gurus Evans and Le Petit were delighted with the win post-match, identifying the work rate of flanker Layton in the same breath as Skudder for his finishing and ball players Davies and Hughes for their awareness in getting the ball wide to players in space. “We didn’t want to get embroiled in a dog fight, which many of these local derbies can become” said Evans. “Our game plan was disrupted, maybe by the occasion as we weren’t willing to build the phases required to create the scoring opportunities.”

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Sports awards judges announce the finalists

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Pictured are the finalists in last year’s Junior Disability Sport Award; Lily Rice, Libi Phillips, and Michael Jenkins (winner) with Jess West from Disability Sport Wales

THE FINALISTS for the 2020 Sport Pembrokeshire awards have been announced.

The judging panel considered the 120 nominations and has named the 26 finalists following a selection meeting.

Ben Field, manager of Sport Pembrokeshire, said: “Once again, the quality of the nominees was enormously high and it was a challenge to narrow it down to three finalists in each category.

“We are very pleased that people took the time to nominate so many deserving winners.”

As there will no ceremony at Folly Farm this year, following a social media campaign profiling the finalists, the winners will be announced on the Sport Pembrokeshire Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages on Friday, November 27 at 7:00 p.m.

The announcement will also reveal the winners of three further categories – the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Chairman’s Special Achievement Award and the School Award.

Winners will be contacted in due course, to arrange delivery of trophies and a socially distanced photograph.

The awards are organised by Sport Pembrokeshire, Pembrokeshire County Council’s sport development section. 

They are sponsored by Sport Pembrokeshire, Valero, The Western Telegraph, Folly Farm and Radio Pembrokeshire.

The awards aim to recognise those people who have excelled in sport over the last 12 months, or who have given their time to coaching and organising grassroots sport.  

Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2020 – Finalists

(In alphabetical order)

Junior (U16) Sporting Achievement of the Year

Kelci Francis (Dance)

Rhys Llewellyn (Cross Country / Athletics)

Lucy Wintle (Athletics)

Club of the Year

Fishguard & Goodwick Jemima Rowing Club

Fishguard Sports AFC

South Pembs Golf Club

Junior Disability Sport Award

Bleddyn Gibbs (Weightlifting)

Saskia Webb (Swimming)

Young Volunteer of the Year

Lucy Harding

Melody Street

Casey Stuchbury

Team of the Year

Haverfordwest High U13’s Football Team

Milford Haven School U13’s football team

Pembrokeshire Short Mat Bowls Team

Adult Sporting Achievement of the Year

Luke Harries (Golf) 

Josh Macleod (Rugby)

Stephen Varney (Rugby)

Disability Sport Award

Fishguard Thunderbolts

Gaynor Martin (Rowing)

Jake Richards

Unsung Hero

Nick Daley (Pembroke Dock Cricket Club)

Brian Millard (Fishguard Thunderbolts)

Steve Williams (Hundleton Cricket Club)

Coach of the Year

Derek Hart (Badminton)

Justin Head (Weightlifting)

Alison Marsh (Milford Tigers Swimming Club)

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Pembrokeshire Schools rugby present county ties

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PEMBROKESHIRE SCHOOLS RUGBY have presented their under 15’s team with their county tie’s after the season came to a sudden halt when the country was put into lockdown back in March.

Taking to their Facebook page, the organisation said: “Congratulations to the Pembrokeshire Schools Boys U15s from the 2019/20 season who were presented their ties over the last week. We apologise for the delay, as we had hoped to have a more formal event but with current restrictions it was not possible.

“We would like to once again congratulate all the boys on their efforts from last season, for which seems a long time ago now, but will hopefully live long in the memory of coaches and players. We were fortunate to have a strong and diverse cohort of boys this year who showed a lot of ability on the field, as well a positive attitude off it. One thing that really stood out this year was the attitude of boys who were not always involved or selected, but continued to travel, support the team and compete at training. This display of commitment and attitude epitomised the work ethic and unity of the team, one for which as coaches we are truly thankful. Despite the abrupt end of the season, we can undoubtedly categories the year as a great success and delighted to have been a part of the boys’ rugby journey. We hope that the recommencement of rugby is now closer than it is further away, and look forward to seeing the boys progress in the future and staying involved in the game.

“As stated previously the desire and commitment of ALL the boys this year has been unquestionable, however would like to recognise and acknowledge some of the achievements from last year.”

Individual awards presented to players.

Despite a halt to the season – The under 15’s were presented with their county ties

The club Awards and Recognition are as follows;

Players Player – A prestigious award as voted by his peers goes to Macs Page this year. Macs came into the squad whilst at U14s and showed great ability, with his desire to take on defenders and score tries. Macs has evolved his game this last year, playing predominately at full back, with an unmatched ability to kick the ball out of hand as well as off the kicking T and counter attack. Macs continued to score many match defining scores this year and was an exciting player to watch.

Forward of the year – As voted by the coaches forward of the year goes to Alfie Evans-Fecci. The forward pack has been tremendously competitive this year with many able players. However, Alfie in particular has shown great versatility and attitude in make the transition form number 8 to loose head prop with support from his school and county. In addition to this Alfie has continued to make an impact around the field most notable for his strong carries and big hits. We hope he continues to excel in this transition.

Back of the year – As voted by the coaches back of the year goes to Iolo Griffiths. Likewise with the forward pack the competition in the backline has been fierce. Iolo has impressed with his illusive and direct running ball hand, as well his competitiveness and line speed in defense. A notable memory of Iolo has his excellent interception away to Carmarthen School which he received the ball in his own 22 showing great athleticism to score in the oppositions corner. A very talented all round sportsman indeed.

Co-Captains this year – We would like to congratulate both James Price and Rhys Richards for their work as co-captains this year. As many will know the role of captain goes beyond the performances on the field, for which they both excelled on and off the pitch. We have been really impressed with the communication and leadership these boys have shown, which can often go unmissed. We firmly believe the attitude and personality of these boys set a high standard for the rest of the boys to follow and was big contribution to our success last year

RAG honors – Finally we would like to congratulate backrow Jac Delaney on his achievements being involved in the Scarlets West set and later full combined Scarlets U16s squad last year, all a year young. Jac was also involved at U14s and has developed both on and off the field over the last few years, bringing great leadership to the squad and physicality. We hope he continues to develop in this vein and gain further honors.

The club added: “A massive thanks goes to the coaching and school staff who have made last years program possible, ensuring that the boys have the best opportunity on and off the field. We would like to acknowledge that this is voluntary role for all coaches, and we are grateful for their commitment and hope that the boys appreciate it. Thanks to co head coaches Chris Shousha and Steve Martin, Aled Waters, Joe Poole, Morgan Lewis, Gethin Vobe and the school staff of schools who help co-ordinate, develop and forward players.

Ysgol Greenhill School players with their tie’s

“Thanks goes to the parents who have supported the program, we appreciate it is a task to ferry the boys to training and support at games as well as helping cater for some games. You feel the delight and dismay at every score just like us, but have always conducted yourselves in a fine manner and shown positive enthusiasm to support the boys and coaches.

“Thanks also goes to our sponsors; Edwards Bros (Tiers Cross), Tees R us (Haverfordwest), SAW Cymru and The Gourmet Pig. The sponsorship these generous businesses have given is truly invaluable.

“A final thanks goes to Tenby United RFC who played host for the majority of our home fixtures, despite rain, sun or hail the pitch was always in excellent condition and you showed the boys great hospitality and courtesy.

“We imagine some form of rugby will develop in the new year, and encourage the boys to begin to the prepare themselves and to continue to train so, if they aren’t already. We are unsure how the pathway will unfold, but regardless of this we hope to see the boys engaged in the future whether it be at school, club, youth, college or university. We also look forward to welcoming players from Year 10 and 9 whenever that may be when rugby resumes. In the meantime, we hope you all remain safe and well with the build up to Christmas.”

Ysgol Bro Gwaun have paid individual support for their students.

A spokesperson from the school said: “Congratulations to the following boys that received their county ties this week.

“Di awn Jac Delaney, Ethan Sapsford, Dan Page, Bryn Thomas, Dylan Scott and Dan Cleary.

“The boys were part of a successful Pembrokeshire Schools squad that reached the semi finals of the National Morgan Griffiths Plate competition before the season was suspended.

“These young men have also been fantastic role models and ambassadors for rugby in the local community. We wish them all the best in the future on and off the field. “

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Commissioner welcomes ‘Premier League Kicks’ to Dock

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ON FRIDAY (Nov 13), Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn visited Pembroke Dock, to attend the launch of the new Premier League Kicks initiative in the area.
Over 90 young people from the Pembroke Dock area took part in the first session on Friday evening and will continue to participate on a weekly basis.  During the sessions, the young people take part in various practical activities, such as football coaching sessions, as well as informal sessions that address crime issues.
The Premier League Kicks is free of charge for all involved, and is funded through the Police and Crime Commissioner and run in partnership with Swansea City Football Club Community Trust.
Whilst attending the first session on Friday evening at Ysgol Harri Tudor, Pembroke Dock, PCC Dafydd Llywelyn said “I am privileged to be here on the opening night, to see for myself the positive influence an initiative such as the Premier League Kicks is having on the youth here, and the wider community.
“As a sports enthusiast, and having played football at many levels in my youth, I am fully aware of the influence that sport and exercise have on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities in general.
“This initiative will have a positive impact on the town and especially the children involved and wish them all the best of luck.”
Superintendent Ross Evans who has been leading and co-ordinating the setting up of the initiative locally in Pembroke Dock on behalf of Dyfed-Powys Police said “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Premier League Kicks and to welcome them to Pembrokeshire for the first time.
“The launch of this scheme is a huge boost for young people in Pembroke Dock and also for the local area itself.
“I would like to wish everyone taking part good luck, we all hope that they make the most of this great opportunity of free coaching by a world famous brand”.
The initiative is run through the English Premier League’s ‘Kicks’ national program, and is delivered locally by Swansea City Football Club Community Trust. The program aims to use football and sport in general to inspire youth living in deprived areas.
Craig Richards from the Swansea City FC Community Trust, said “Premier League Kicks provides free weekly football sessions and educational workshops to young people, giving them opportunities, support and pathways to reach their full potential and divert them away from crime or criminals. It was a pleasure to welcome the Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn to Seaside Kicks session to see so many young people having great fun in a safe environment”.
PCC Dafydd Llywelyn is also funding the same initiative in the Llanelli area in partnership with Swansea City FC Community Trust.  PCC Llywelyn said: “Seaside Kicks was launched in Llanelli in January this year, to engage the youth of the Glanymor and Tyisha area in positive activities. More than 150 young people in the area participate on a weekly basis with the Seaside Kicks, and I’m proud to see the impact the scheme is having on young people in the area, and expect to see the same here in the Pembroke Dock area”.

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