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Seasiders sink Aber

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By Jonathan Twigg

TENBY welcomed an Aberystwyth team, which boasted the best defensive record having conceded just one try on average in Division 1 West this season, to Heywood Lane on Saturday (Sept 30) and ran out 33-7 winners scoring four tries to secure maximum points in a fully committed performance.

Not having played each other for twelve seasons in a league fixture, home skipper Johnnie Morgan elected for his side to play against the elements in the first period, where heavy rain before kick-off and a driving wind off the sea meant the hosts would have to be at their best defensively to keep the ‘Bluebears’ at bay.

Tenby did more than that as they showed a willingness to move the Jewsons sponsored ball through the hands of their back division

The Aberystwyth side relied heavily on keeping the ball close to their pack of forwards although scrum half Gruf Jones was often passing over 20m to the aligned ‘pods’ which restricted the pace and drive which his side required to penetrate the stoic home defence, where young hooker Kyle Hamer and prop Rob Luly stood out alongside the back row of Andrew Cooke, Barry Parsons and number 8 Roy Osborn.

Using the wind, territory was with Aber during the first half with centre Tom Evans creating an opportunity through some strong running for wing Gwern Penri, who spilled the scoring pass with the line beckoning.

The handling error was something the visitors suffered from throughout the game and may have been a reason why they kept the ball tight, although both Jones and his half back partner Llyr Thomas may well reflect on their game management further.

Winger Josh Thomas, playing on permit from Whitland made ground into the home midfield close to the midway point of the first half, combining in midfield with Evans and linking in hooker Owain Bonsall to where a resultant penalty attempt by Thomas was missed.

The opening score of the game came after 22 minutes when Tenby second row Dewi Davies secured lineout ball outside his 22m line, allowing full back Morgan to clear the ball 40m upfield.

The home pack caught opposition full back Casmir Yandell on the halfway line and wrestled possession back to scrum half Matthew Morgan to make 15m as he danced around the periphery of the ensuing ruck.

His pass found the hands of supporting half back partner Ashley Sutton who escaped the clutches of would be tacklers to run in from 30m under the posts and convert his try’

The half continued in the same pattern for Aber as they tried to run ball back from their own half when perhaps some leadership from the half backs to play in the 22m may have reaped rewards; number 8 Lee Evan managed to put Carwyn Evans in space but his hands let him down, as did Penri when he had a 10m clear run to the line for him to spill the crucial pass.

Referee Justin Williams had given both sides every opportunity to play as he used advantage and consistently applied the laws for the teams to know who was in charge and following his whistle to start the second half, with the elements in their favour and leading 7-0 Tenby took advantage straight away from the kick off when Lee Gower spilled Sutton’s restart.

After several phases of play deep in their opponents 22, Sutton pinged a drop goal wide of the posts before a second try was scored through the hands of Yanik Parker.

The winger rounded off a move where Hamer, Clarke created a channel for centre Jack Guerreio to enter at pace and put Parker beyond the last defender although Sutton could add the extras as he pushed the conversion across the posts.

Aber, through Bonsall and Evans, had a pack of forwards which had parity with their home counterparts in the loose and at line outs, plus dominating the scrum, where they had considerable advantage to push the home eight backwards.

Not being able to capitalise on this, a third Tenby try arrived as they gained possession deep in their own half.

Mathew Morgan took the ball off Parker before centre Moritz Neuman was one on one against Yandell as Full-back Jonny Morgan appeared outside him to create the extra man and score under the posts. Sutton added the conversion for a confident home side to lead 19-0, putting behind them the three defeats they have encountered in a row,

The bonus point came for the now dominant home side, who had stopped another Aber forward drive through Evans, Bonsall and Robbie Parry, returning the ball to the opposition 22.

Second row Williams secured crucial ball and his fellow forwards went through four phases of controlled drives before Osborne burrowed his way over the line for Sutton to again convert.

Aber came back once again through Bonsall, whose efforts made him stand out for the visitors, from which the ball was recycled across the line.

Thomas was hauled down just short of the line by Sutton, as Tenby reshuffled their back line all game to let their heavy hitters cover the inside channels and Sutton didn’t let the side down with his tackle.

Tenby were guilty of some handling errors as they made replacements during the final quarter, and from one such misplay Aber had an attacking 5m scrum from which the home eight pushed through once again the home pack, which captain Lee ‘Truck’ Evans picked up at the base of the scrum and touch down for Thomas to drop through the conversion.

The restart for Aber was once again a disaster as prop Jamie Plumbridge and second row Bryn Shepherd lacked communication and the loose ball was thrust into the hands of a marauding Tenby pack.

Establishing a strong attacking platform through several rucks centre Neuman set up the final scoring move with a strong run, where Sutton looped around prop Rob Clarke to the offload the ball to replacement winger Jordan Asparrasa who potted over and Sutton added the coup de grace to a fine Tenby performance.

Home coach Chris James was jubilant in his post-match analysis ‘as his side stood up to the task. We worked hard on our defence game this week in training after some less than brilliant performances which have cost us dearly, but today we were excellent. Johnnie [Morgan] elected to play into the elements on winning the toss and it set us up from the start, with strong tackles and a well organised defence line.”

James went on that to say: “We worked hard to gain parity against a renowned physical visiting set of forwards and we were able to develop as the second half went on, so much so we dictated much of the final part of the game when the heavens opened.

Prop Rob Luly epitomised our work rate as he kept his composure in our under pressure scrum whilst also being a stand out performer in the loose, so he will enjoy the steaks provided by Heywoods Butchers as he was deservedly man of the match.”

Tenby head to Llanelli Wanderers tomorrow (Oct 7) in a WRU Plate match against a side they defeated 42-23 on the opening day of the season.

Aber head coach Andrew Barlow acknowledged his side “didn’t take advantage of the wind in the first half as we tried to run from deep when perhaps we should have played the percentage game more.

“It hasn’t helped that we have a few injuries in our back line and today we had a back three who not trained together, but no excuses as we were roundly defeated against a side who play good rugby on an outstanding surface, despite the weather.”

Sport

Ruthless Mariners power past Saints

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MILFORD Haven put in a ruthless display as they scored seventeen tries to beat St Davids 119-5 at the Obs on Saturday (Jan 5).

The Mariners were right at it from the kick off and did not let up as they held a 63-5 lead at the break.

James Trueman scored a hat trick of tries for the home side and he also went on to kick each of his 17 conversion attempts for a club record haul of 49 points.

Dan Jenkins also crossed for three tries while Dan Birch, Sam Dolling and Brandon Cooper all scored twice for the home side.

The Saints, to their credit, kept going and were rewarded in the first half when Josh Strangwood crossed for a try.

Jamie Lewis, Dewi Williams, Ryan Mansell, Dan McClelland and Steve Martin all got their names on the scoresheet to seal an emphatic victory.

The win keeps Milford top of the table by a point from rivals Neyland and on Saturday (Jan 12), they will face a sterner test as they travel to Laugharne.

The Saints remain third from bottom in the table and on Saturday they are at home to third placed Haverfordwest.

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Sport

Trundle leaves Bluebirds

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HAVERFORDWEST County have confirmed that star signing Lee Trundle has left the club.

The news was announced on Sunday, December 30, and the former Swansea City player has since signed for Welsh League Division 3 side Trefelin BGC.

In a statement released by the Bluebirds they thank Lee for his time at the club in which he scored 12 goals in all competitions.

A spokesperson for the club said: “Due to increasing work commitments, Lee Trundle has decided to leave Haverfordwest County and his last game was on Friday evening (Dec 28) at Ton Pentre where he scored two goals taking his tally for the Bluebirds to twelve in all competitions this season.

“Whist his stay at our club was shorter than we would have hoped, we fully understand his decision and everyone at the football club would like to thank Lee for his time here and the way he has conducted himself both on and off the field of play. Lee leaves with our sincere best wishes.”

Lee commented on Haverfordwest County’s Facebook page saying: “Good luck the rest of the season boys. Great club run by great people. Wish you all the best on the race for the league title this year.”

Fans of the club have also commented saying they are ‘gutted’ to see him leave and that he will be missed.

As well as Swansea, Lee has also played for Wrexham, Bristol City and Leeds United in his career.

It was announced in May 2018 that Trundle would be joining the Bluebirds having helped Llanelli Town to promotion to the Welsh Premier League.

Lee now joins a team that sit top of Division 3 and his inclusion is likely to give a further boost to their promotion hopes.

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Late Smith penalty seals Pembroke win

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A LATE penalty from Toby Smith earned Pembroke a 15-13 victory in a hard-fought encounter with Pembrokeshire rivals Fishguard on Saturday (Dec 29).

It was an excellent game between two good teams with Pembroke feeling a little rusty having not played for three weeks while the heavy pitch suited a Fishguard side who were looking to avenge their narrow 16-17 defeat at home to Pembroke earlier in the season.

There was no sign of rustiness however as the home side started the game well and could have gone ahead but Johnny Palmer was held up over the line.

Sean Dalling also looked to be free but he was ankle tapped near the line and the Seagulls were able to recover.

Having weathered the early storm the Seagulls then took the lead as Andrew Williams touched down under the posts. Kial Keane then added the extra two points.

Pembroke responded well and were soon back on level terms as Dan Colley ran a good line off Toby Smith to touch the ball down under the posts. Smith then added the extras.

The home side then went ahead as a good break by Tom Lewis set up captain Scott Powell who crashed over. This time the conversion was missed by Pembroke held a 12-7 lead.

They could have had a third try soon after as Dan Colley touched down but it was ruled out for a marginal forward pass.

The Seagulls then narrowed the gap as Keane scored a penalty and the score at half time was 12-10 in Pembroke’s favour.

In the second half Fishguard came at Pembroke well and they took the lead with another penalty from Keane to make it 12-13 to the visitors.

It was an evenly contested half but it was Pembroke who had the final say as Smith sent a penalty through the posts in the last minute to seal a 15-13 victory.

Pembroke’s win keeps them fourth in the table and they will look for another win on Saturday (Jan 5) as they host Carmarthen Athletic.

Fishguard will look to get back to winning ways as they travel to Burry Port who sit just below them in the table.

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