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No Christmas cheer for Crymych

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By Jonathan Twigg

THE final Crymych game before the Christmas break, sponsored by Haverfordwest Coin Machines, in Division 1 West on Saturday (Dec 16) saw leaders Dunvant maintain their position with a 38-7 victory at Parc Lloyd Thomas as the home side remain anchored to the foot of the table with six points from seven fixtures.

Dunvant came down from the Championship last season and have been a side who have enjoyed dining at the top table of Welsh rugby in years gone by, when their Broadacre home on the outskirts of Swansea became a fortress and they are in prime position for a swift return to that level if they continue their form in 2018.

Dunvant arrived at the foot of the Preseli Hills driven to ensure they didn’t return East with anything other than maximum points from this fixture and on winning the toss they chose to play with the elements at their back on the newly laid pitch, absorbing the ball in the wintry conditions and looking to punch holes through the home defence line.

The opening score came in a fortuitous way when home scrum half Dafydd Phillips pinged a flat pass back to his half back partner Jake Jenkins only to see it deflect off the head of visiting prop Connor Bucket for his team mate, flanker Ben Davies, on permit from Premiership side Swansea to slide over from 5m.

Winger Sam Evans duly converted from the left of the posts and it was Evans alongside centre Mitchell Ford who were eager to make inroads via the left channels as the yellow and greens dominated the possession.

Skipper Ford was vocal in his encouragement of the forwards who had dominance at the set piece scrum where the young Crymych pack couldn’t hold their opponents heavier and co-ordinated impact.

Home number 8 Osian Davies was required to pick up from the base of a pressurised scrum for most of the match and in the opening half the Dunvant back three were constantly able to isolate him and recycle the ball.

Further first half scores arrived through scrum half Ben Lay after Evans received the ball from elegant full back Sam Hawkes, before feeding second row Gethin John on the outside who popped a pass to Lay who ran around to touchdown under the posts for Evans to convert for 14-0.

Scrum half Phillips was an energy catalyst for the home side where his side were guilty of not ensuring their clearance kicks reached the safety of the touchline which allowed Hawkes, Evans and fellow winger Mark Robbins the opportunity to run the ball back.

In contrast visiting outside half Alan Williams Parry, a seventh generation player to wear the Dunvant colours constantly kept the pressure on the home side with deft kicks to ensure his forwards were hunting downfield for long periods in Crymych territory, which in the conditions was motivation enough for them.

Crymych did have a penalty attempt when number 8 Davies was held after being tackled only for Jenkins to push the opportunity wide after 25 minutes which only acted as a spur for the visitors to renew their focus and play in the Crymych 22m area.  Prop Callum Llewellyn on permit from Birchgrove was more than the cornerstone of the scrum set piece, where they gleaned penalties as he was in the thick of the offensive play which required Davies and his back row colleagues Sion Collella and Llyr Davies to tackle like demons for the Bulls.

The final score of the first half came with five minutes remaining on Ammanford based referee Jason Griffiths watch and was scored wide out by second row Gethin John to ensure his side started the second half 19-0 ahead, despite Evans missing the conversion and a last minute penalty attempt, which in the conditions meant it was probably more than enough to sustain victory.

The outcome of the game was certainly known just before a quarter of an hour of the second half when Hawkes entered the line after Llewellyn had set Williams Parry away on a thundering run down the channel.

He drew the gain line, dummied across Ford for co centre Danny Davies to break the first defence line and Hawkes rounded off the move for 24-0 and a visiting side bonus point. Crymych needed a foothold in the game which they found difficult as Williams Parry was definitive in his defensive kicking, playing rugby out of their danger area, a lesson Crymych may heed after their efforts in the first half.

The pendulum did sway towards the Bulls when after a period of forward pressure opposition flanker Davies was yellow carded for offside.

Phillips chose to take a tap penalty from which space opened enough for the young Davies to find a head of steam and break through from 10m and score under the posts for Jenkins to convert and reduce the score to 24-7.

A second Dunvant yellow card followed three minutes later to Ford for a high tackle which even under the new stricter code of officiating seemed harsh and replacement front row forward, veteran Andrew Fletcher enjoyed a run in the conditions which allowed him to roll back the years to his Cardigan heydays.

This impact from the bench served to ensure the visitors dug deeper and hooker Ceri Davies and prop Bucket did the hard graft to minimise any Crymych drives, with Williams Parry key in orchestrating his sides play.

He was responsible for initiating a 70m break away try, with some deft hands and support play to set his half back partner into space on the touchline and centre Danny Davies duly crossed for Evans to convert at 31-7.

Evans looked an accomplished player with ball hand, shrewd in reading the game situation and with an enduring accuracy when kicking goal; he also showed some astuteness with two minutes of play remaining, running onto a clearance 40m from the Crymych try line and showing football skills akin to Gareth Bale with a chip half- volley over the Cymych back line to then win the sprint for a touchdown.

He dragged himself out of the surrounding ditch after spraying into it such was his momentum to convert the try for a personal haul of 13 points and a maximum point victory for his side.

Coach Jay Parry was ‘full of praise for both sides for the match in the conditions, where the majority on show were local lads.”  He acknowledged they had left Crymych too much to do after opening up a 24-0 lead in the second half.

Home coach Neil Machin was frustrated by what he described as “Individual skills which let us down, where they punished us and at this level it’s a harsh lesson to learn.”

He added: “We never gave up and have a young team which is developing and with experience we will capitalise on sides going down in numbers.  We had Elaijah Torau and Rhys Davies packing down in the second row from our second string alongside a youth based back row and hooker Lee Grififths, all of whom are developing confidence.”

The mountain men will travel now up the coast road for a fixture against Aberystwyth on Saturday (Dec 30), hoping for a return to the side for the injured centre Ifan Phillips and a direction where game management may reap its rewards against a home side in mid table after a 22-7 defeat in Penclawdd on Saturday.

Sport

Scotcher’s stunner earns draw for Bluebirds

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A STUNNING free kick from Elliot Scotcher earned Haverfordwest County a 2-2 draw against Trefelin BGC in their first pre-season friendly on Saturday (Jul 21).

The Bluebirds finished second in Division 1 last season while their visitors to the Bridge Meadow won the Welsh League Cup last year, beating Llanelli Town in the final.

Haverfordwest manager Sean Cresser, with Wayne Jones back as first team coach alongside him, had a full squad to chose from which included former Hakin players Ben Fawcett and Jack Wilson and other new signings Elliot Thomas, Antonio Facciuto and former Swansea City and Llanelli Town star Lee Trundle.

A good crowd gathered to watch the first friendly of the season but they witnessed the Bluebirds go behind in the opening minutes.

Jordan Edwards put Trefelin ahead after he capitalised on an error at the back to poke the ball in.

Steffan Williams hit the post for the Bluebird as they continued to search for a way back into the game.

The Bluebirds levelled after half an hour after Lee Trundle was brought down in the box, earning his side a penalty. He picked himself up to smash the ball into the net for his first goal for Haverfordwest.

On the stroke of half time the away side went ahead again as Shaun Best scored with an excellent lob.

It was all Bluebirds at the start of the second half as Steff Williams and Lee Trundle both saw efforts saved. Elliot Scotcher also tried his luck from long range but his shot was punched wide.

Ben Fawcett crossed into the box but Trundle was unable to get on the end of it to tap it in.

Trundle was again brought down, this time on the edge of the box, but he sent the resultant free kick way over the bar.

The returning Facciuto then set up another chance but a fierce strike cannoned back off the post.

Substitute Jack Wilson almost made an immediate impact but his shot was again pushed wide by the keeper.

With ten minutes to go, the Bluebirds were given another free kick on the edge of the box and Scotcher fired the ball into the top right hand corner.

Ben Fawcett saw a late shot saved and he was also inches away from connecting to a dangerous looking cross which just evaded him.

The game finished 2-2 and the Bluebirds will feel good having got their pre-season campaign underway with a good result.

They will look to get more match fitness in on Wednesday (Jul 25) as they take on Pembrokeshire League side Goodwick United at the Bridge Meadow.

On Saturday (Jul 28), Haverfordwest County are at home as they take on Welsh Premier League side Aberystwyth Town.

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Haverfordwest face Whitland in Alec Colley Final

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HAVERFORDWEST will play Whitland in the Final of the Alec Colley Cup after both sides won their respective semi-finals this week.

On Tuesday (Jul 17), Whitland took on Carew in Johnston and after winning the toss they invited Carew to bat.

They lost Luke Hicks early on when he was bowled by Iestyn Scourfield but Scott Richard and Brian Hall shared 44 runs for the second wicket.

Richards made 16 before he was bowled by Wayne Howells.

Hall then shared another good stand of 53 with James Hinchcliffe as they helped Carew past 100 runs.

Hall hit eight fours in a knock of 54 from 42 balls but he was then caught by Conor Bowen off the bowling of Jack Bowen.

That left Carew on 106-3 and seemingly on course for a big total. Hinchcliffe scored 29 but he was then bowled by Jack Bowen.

Rob Hicks added 14 before being bowled by Scourfield and Dai Rees was then run out by Jack Bowen.

Jacob Knox and Morgan Grieve finished not out on scores of 3 and 6 respectively as Carew posted 147-6.

Openers Wayne Howells and Jack Bowen then got Whitland off to an excellent start to their reply as they shared 51 runs for the first wicket.

Howells hit four fours in a knock of 21 but the partnership was brought to an end when he was bowled by Rob Scourfield.

Bowen then shared another 44 runs with Iestyn Scourfield who only scored 14 before he was caught by Scott Richards off the bowling of Knox.

Ed John scored 12 as he shared another 30 runs with Bowen but John was caught and bowled by Iori Hicks.

Bowen smashed four fours and five sixes in his knock of 76 from 48 balls but he then hit the ball to James Hinchcliffe, giving Knox hi second wicket.

Adam Davies was then run out by Carl Thomas but scores of 5 not out from Martin Thomas and 12 not out from Gethin Scourfield saw Whitland into the final.

On Thursday (Jul 19), Haverfordwest took on Cresselly in Pembroke Dock.

Cresselly batted first but scored 131-9 as Scott Arthur played well despite wickets falling around him.

Chris Phillips bowled well for Town before Nitin Mathias and Dai Davies saw them into the final with some good batting.

The final will be played at Pembroke on Sunday, August 12.

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Town back on top as Neyland beat Cresselly

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THE top three in Division 1 are now separated by just four points following Saturday’s (Jul 14) results.

Haverfordwest moved back to the top of the table with a ten wicket win at home to Johnston while Neyland beat Cresselly to bring themselves back into the title race.

Johnston batted first and had it not been for a score of 65 from Hafiz Farooq, their score could have been a lot less than the 148 they posted.

Simon Holliday took four wickets for Town who then had Dai Davies and Ben Field finish unbeaten as they comfortably secured the win.

Cresselly batted first against Neyland but they were restricted to 170-9 with Simon Cole top scoring on 77.

There were three wickets for Henry Durrant who later finished not out on 20 see Neyland to victory. Andrew Miller scored 37 and Paul Murray scored 29 earlier in Neyland’s run chase.

It is the second time this season that Cresselly have been top going into the weekend’s fixtures only to find themselves knocked off top spot following a defeat.

Elsewhere, there were three centuries in the game between Llangwm and Kilgetty in a thrilling encounter at Pill Parks.

Matthew Kiff scored 105 for Llangwm in their total of 297-5 but it wasn’t enough as Ross Hardy scored 106 and Kurtis Marsh finished unbeaten on 113 to see Kilgetty to victory.

Whitland remain in fourth place after they beat St Ishmaels by 114 runs.

It was a day for the batsman as Matthew Davies finished not out on 101 while Jack Bowen added 58 runs.

That saw Whitland to an excellent total of 310-7 but Tish were unable to replicate that score. Daniel Howells did score 73 for the home side but they were eventually all out for 196.

Lawrenny earned an eighth win of the season on Saturday as they beat Burton by two wickets.

Burton batted first but were all out for 142 as Brad McDermott-Jenkins took three wickets for the visitors. Richard Jones was Burton’s top scorer with 40 runs.

Lawrenny had scores of 71 from Steve Lewis and 44 from Steve Campbell as they reached their target despite three wickets apiece from Jack Davies and Johnnie Scale.

Those results mean Haverfordwest are top of the table by a point from second placed Cresselly and by four points from Neyland.

Whitland are sixteen points behind Town in fourth place and cannot be counted out of the title race just yet.

At the other end, Johnston’s defeat means they are now 120 points from safety and with only 150 points left to play for, it seems they are destined for Division 2 cricket next season.

On Saturday (July 21), new leaders Haverfordwest are away as they take on Kilgetty. Neyland are also away as they take on Johnston while Cresselly visit St Ishmaels.

Whitland are at home to Burton and Lawrenny host Llangwm.

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