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Otters seal bonus point victory

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By Jonathan Twigg

A GD Harries sponsored Narberth maintained their second place in the Championship at the Lewis Lloyd Ground on Saturday (October 28) with a bonus point 27-3 victory over bottom side Glynneath.

Head coach Sean Gale was delighted with the result saying his players ‘delivered all I asked of them’.

He added: “We were expecting a gritty performance from Glynneath but we knew we had a strong set piece which would allow us to maintain enough possession to press for victory. We are a developing side with many new faces gelling together and we are in the same position as last year. We could have been more clinical with our execution as we tried to keep the ball in hand but it’s important to remember we took maximum points.”

Defending into a strong breeze the dominant set piece came to the fore from the start as the Otters forwards disrupted their opponents scrum with captain Alex Jenkins and his fellow second row Ryan Banner winning the early line out battle.

Glynneath were robust in their tackling, rowing very close to a line which referee Chris Oliver monitored carefully. Full back Ianto Griffiths pinged over his first penalty attempt for an indiscretion after ten minutes when visiting hooker Craig Tennant was deemed to have committed a high a tackle.

Flanker Pat Roberts alongside props Bradley Davies and Tom Slater made inroads into the visitors’ territory and the pressure of swift hands and a visionary performance from outside half Jack Rogers eventually saw the game’s opening try just beyond the quarter of an hour mark.

Jenkins again won clean line out ball before picking up a pass after his fellow forwards went through several phases of gaining yards close to the halfway line. He made 20 metres before finding wing Liam Hutchings on the outside who drew the final man after a 25 metre blast, putting number 8 Richie Rees clear into the 22 and a 10-0 lead thanks to the trusty left boot of Griffiths extended.

Glynneath got themselves on the scoreboard five minutes later when centre Jack O’Reilly kicked a penalty in front of the posts after the home pack were guilty of putting hands in a ruck after Tennant and flanker James Perry drove the red and blacks back into the game.

Narberth’s game management suited the conditions as they defended a strong breeze, working around scrum half Nick Gales lead with close passing to their surrounding ‘pods’.

This frustrated the visitors with further indiscretions conceded as their passion affected their play and hooker Tennant saw yellow for holding the ball after a tackle ten metres short of his own line, from which Rogers set up an attacking line out.

The ball was moved around the field as the Otters burrowed for a try, which came with a minute of the half remaining.

Glynneath were punished after their scrum disintegrated without Tennant and Gale took a quick penalty to thrust towards the line, Roberts on his shoulder to set up time for Rogers to put a cross field kick into the hands of winger Hutchings to cross wide out, for a 15-3 half time lead.

An expectant home crowd anticipated the blue and blacks to cruise towards victory in the second period although this didn’t materialise as rugged defence accompanying a plethora of stoppages for injuries sustained by Glynneath prevented any continuity.

They failed to take the ball further than the home 22 yard line not allowing much action for the ‘Balcony sponsors’, The Glenn Hotel to watch over as their ‘mine host’ Slater plied his trade below.

For the final fifteen minutes the side who have popular entertainer Max Boyce as their President opted for uncontested scrums which diminished a threat from the back row of Roberts, Rees and flanker Tom Powell playing off the front foot.

Griffiths at full back was playing with a skills set which would fit at a higher level and the introduction of a dynamic replacement scrum half Lewys Gibby asked questions of a tiring side, with Hutchings and centre pairing Paul Davies and Joe Hutchings finding space to run into.

Replacement Ryan Davies finished off a move after man of the match Roberts again did the hard yards for a 20-3 lead and the finale was completed to cement the bonus point victory as the game edged towards its end as the flanker claimed a try of his own. He intercepted the ball as Glynneath ran the ball from deep and coasted in under the posts for Griffiths to convert.

Narberth make the trip to Port Talbot on Saturday (Nov 4) to take on Tata Steel, two places and two points below them.

Sport

Pembroke and Crymych learn Bowl and Plate opponents

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PEMBROKESHIRE sides Crymych and Pembroke have learned their opponents in the next rounds of the WRU Plate and Bowl respectively.

Crymych will play the winners of the tie between Cwmgors and Penallta who play each other two days before Christmas on Saturday, December 23.

Pembroke meanwhile have been drawn away to COBRA in the last 16 of the WRU Bowl.

League 1 West side Crymych put in an excellent performance on Saturday (Dec 9) as they beat Tondu 27-25 in a thrilling encounter in the third round of the WRU Plate.

Luke Rogers and Matthew Davies both scored late tries for Crymych to put them into the lead and they held on to go through.

Pembroke were in action in the WRU Bowl against Carmarthenshire side Laugharne and battled well to come away with an excellent 32-22 victory.

Dom Colman, Dan Colley, Tom Lewis, Luke Hartland and Toby Smith were all on the score sheet for Pembroke as they played well throughout the match.

Sadly for Whitland, they bowed out of the WRU Plate as they were beaten 27-24 at home by Nant Conwy.

All Plate and Bowl ties will take place on Saturday, January 13.

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Winter Nationals success for Pembrokeshire swimmers

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY SWIMMING (PCS) took away 13 medals from the Swim Wales Winter Nationals held at the Wales National Pool over the weekend of Friday (Dec 1) to Sunday (Dec 3).

The National championships were an opportunity for the countries best swimmers to post times as they aimed to achieve qualification for the Commonwealth Games next year on the Gold Coast, Australia.

The Pembrokeshire team, led by coach Craig Nelson and his Assistant Sam Jones returned with five gold, four silvers and four bronze medals, where Jones proudly commented: “Overall the Championships were another great display from the swimmers, as they developed our success from the Summer Open Meet in August.

“These results ensure we are now seen as a force to be reckoned with in Wales as we were competing against the best in Wales at all age groups and it was the first experience for our newest squad members to compete at this level.”

The Pembrokeshire coaches have also worked hard to build a team spirit off the pool deck, where the training sessions whilst being physically challenging are times when there is also an opportunity for some rest and recuperation.

“Sunday was Funday at the Championships” laughed Jones “and we were definitely one of the teams who entered into the Christmas spirit, where swimmers, coaches, parents and Swim Wales officials from the County dressed in their Christmas clobber.

“Such opportunities build the confidence and enjoyment of the whole squad and the hours of training the swimmers put in are rewarded in the window of opportunity when we can all enjoy the moment, before returning to the rigours of training and focusing again, even with Christmas approaching.”

Swim Wales Winter Welsh Meet 2017 Finals Results

Rory Andrews: (11-12) 50m Freestyle 7th; 200m Butterfly Silver medal; 200m Freestyle Silver medal;  100m Freestyle Bronze medal; 50m Freestyle 8th

Sean Barrett: (14-15) 50m Breast stroke Bronze medal; 200m Butterfly 4th; 100m Breast stroke Gold medal

Charlotte Whalley: (13-14) 200m Backstroke Silver medal; 200m Freestyle 8th; 50m Freestyle 7th; 100m Backstroke Gold medal; 50m Backstroke Gold medal

Arabella Haley: (15-16) 200m Backstroke Gold medal

Henry White: 200m Backstroke (13-14) 8th

Rhys Davies: 200m Backstroke (open) Gold; 100m Breaststroke 4th; 50m Backstroke 5th

Louisa Twigg: 200m Butterfly (15-16) Bronze Medal; 200m IM Silver medal; 200m Breast stroke Bronze medal

Josh McDowell: (11-12) 200m IM 7th; 100m Breast stroke 4th

Bethan Jones: (13-14) 50m Butterfly 8th

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Sport

40 not out for Haverfordwest Cricket Club

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HAVERFORDWEST Cricket Club celebrated the 40th Anniversary of their Clubhouse on the Racecourse on Friday (Dec 8) when over 90 people attended an event which also raised funds for Prostate Cancer.

Haverfordwest, who are the oldest cricket club in Wales and will be celebrating their bi centenary in 2024 welcomed Glamorgan CCC President Alan Jones as guest speaker, who was accompanied by the well-respected St Helens Balconier John Williams .

The Clubhouse was officially opened in 1977 by former Glamorgan captain Wilfred Wooller, although the Clubs own President Jim Williams pulled the first pint in an unofficial opening for the Town Mayor, former Club Captain and player Don Twigg MBE.

The Clubhouse extension was officially opened by Jones, who at that time in 1982 was the Glamorgan opening batsmen and his return was greeted warmly, alongside fellow guests, Mayor Alan Buckfield and his wife Gill and Pembroke County Cricket Club Chairman Paul Webb and his wife Janice.

The Mayor had welcomed guests to his Parlour for an official visit prior to them arriving for the excellent fare provided by Pete and Kay, after which Jones regaled those present with memories of his cricketing days with Glamorgan and answered numerous questions which came from the floor, hosted by MC Bill Carne.

Amongst the throng of past and present players memories were shared of Harrison Allen triumphs alongside historic days which included the opening of the current ground in 1981 when a Mayor XI, led Peter Lewis played against the Clubs First XI.

Young an Old: Alan Jones pictured with Don Twigg MBE, oldest surviving Club Captain and Evan Watts, current Welsh U13 international

This followed a game between the then Youth XI, captained by Alan Sexton taking on a ‘past players side’ in the September sunshine, captained by Alfie Webb the then Chairman of Preseli District Council.

Another game which stood out in the memories of those present was one when a Sam Whitbred Lord Taveners XI, captained by Tom Cartwright and including Jones alongside other icons of the game in 1986 when the Town were led by wicketkeeper/batsman Phil Jones.

Haverfordwest also had a strong history of touring, taking in places around Gloucestershire, Hereford and South Wales but also travelled to play Perth, the oldest cricket club in Scotland in 1979.

They went further afield in 1986 to tour America, returning unbeaten from Philadelphia where current Glamorgan CEO and former County and England opening batsman Hugh Morris was a tour member and current first team player Ben Field a youthful six year old!

The host club, Haverford based at Meirion, Pennsylvania royally welcomed the tourists with dinners, official welcomes and fun days but the cricketers ensured they reserved enough energy to record three victories.

Haverfordwest also welcomed West Indian Henderson Springer as a professional between 1992 and 1995 and won three consecutive first division titles, a Harrison Allen Bowl, DR Morris Cup, two Alec Colley Cups, an Ormond Youth triumph but lost to Briton Ferry Steel in the Welsh Cup final at Ebbw Vale.

During that period Springer accumulated 2937 runs with a highest score of 92, took 43 catches and 168 wickets, with his best being 4-5 from 815.4 overs bowled.

He was also revered as a catalyst in attracting youngsters to the Club for coaching and the Bajan, who went on to coach the West Indian side after successfully leading his native Barbados in the Currie Cup and ‘Springs’ remains in close contact with many stalwarts from ‘yester-year’.

Haverfordwest currently have four senior teams playing in the Pembrokeshire League, age group teams from their Under 19’s down to Under 9s in their ‘Blue Lightning’ Youth section and are also the current Pembrokeshire Indoor campions and will be playing Gorseinon Cricket club shortly to see who would represent Wales in the National Indoor Championships at Edgbaston.

The evening gave an opportunity for Clubs award winners to receive their trophies but the main winner was Prostrate Cancer, who received a substantial donation from the evening.

Roger Thomas, the Cricket secretary who co-ordinated the evening stated: “It’s been a super night and the laughter from young and old was great to listen to. We have donated to the Professional Players Benevolent Fund as Alan wouldn’t accept anything from us tonight and of course we are proud to contribute to the Pembrokeshire branch of Prostate Cancer.

“We couldn’t have done this tonight without the unstinting work carried out by Mark Coneybeare, our Club steward and I’m looking forward to building on the success of tonight as we approach our bicentenary in 2024 and then the 50th Anniversary in 2027.”

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