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Fishguard fall short at The Moor

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A MONUMENTAL effort by the Fishguard forwards on the Moors in the several minutes of overtime on Saturday (Feb 17) failed to secure a bonus point for the home side as promotion chasing Pontarddulais took a maximum five points from their 28-20 victory.

The silver streaked No. 8 Simon James claimed a try, his second of the game as the Seagulls never say die attitude epitomised the battle scars of Luke Harding, whose life was remembered with an impeccable minute’s silence for ‘The Gambler’ before kick off.

Luke, since his diagnosis of lung cancer 16 months ago had fought on the coal face every step of the way, raising more than £30,000 for Withybush Hospital but succumbed when his skills were required elsewhere and he knew ‘when he didn’t have the aces’ needed to win the game.

Having secured their third try outside half Kial Keane was unable to convert for the bonus point and referee Darren Randell signalled the end of the Division 2 encounter.

Referee Rendell had irked both sets of supporters during the game, his empathy for the underfoot conditions and numerous marginal decisions on the gain line, perhaps not seen impartially.

The Llanelli butcher did well to keep thirty players on the field as the physical encounter saw several flare ups with handbags flying and his shrill whistle echoing around the Paraddog towards the Irish Sea.

Fishguard line out: Flanker Chris Sousha rises high

Those final minutes saw Fishguard skipper Kevin Walsh elect for two scrums alongside some tap and goes as the visiting defence, so strong throughout the game overstepped the offside line to ignite the blue touch paper.

The opening score came from teenage Pontardullais scrum half Ethan Dunne who marked his senior debut with a try after nearly twenty minutes.

Fishguard had enjoyed possession and territory in the lead up to the try with scrum half Andrew Williams dynamic before full back Liam Lazarus picked up the loose ball inside his own half, kicked over the top from which Dunne won the foot chase with some neat dribbling skills to tumble across the line.

Lazarus converted as he did for all the visitors four tries, alongside a commanding performance in defence and with ball in hand, comfortable to back his own skills, pace and decision making.

Lazarus wasn’t the only player to show an aptitude for direct running, opposite number Mike Jenkins and winger Sam Kurtz were anything but conservative in their running angles and support play, the hosts having flankers Chris Sousha and Luke Freebury on hand to keep their momentum alive.

Keane landed a penalty for a 7-3 score line before the ‘Bont’ crossed for a second try, Lazurus converting his own touchdown after winger Jared Walters created the space.

Second row Jacob Miles began the second period in a marauding style finding centre Gareth Thomas and outside half George Mbjoma willing ally’s as the ‘Ambers’ took control of the game.

Despite calls for offside at a line out and for a knock on in midfield, Thomas was able to cross for a converted try with six minutes played to extend the lead to 21-3.

Some ferocious and uncompromising tackles in midfield from both sides saw the back rows exchanging pleasantries on the ground, the visitors Rhys Samuel and fellow flanker Dean Courtney on par with James et al.

Winger Thomas George rounded off some excellent team play to reduce the deficit with an unconverted try, where hooker Walsh and fellow front row men Ryan McVeigh and Andrew Morrilo found a second wind, allowing centre Ben John and Narberth’s Dan Birch, on permit for a return to action after a metatarsal injury on the opening day of the season some space to run, with Kurtz crabbing in the background to link the play.

Gethin Williams, Thomas and co centre Paul Geary also took the opportunity to take the game forward, their play creating the bonus point try for No 8. Craig Davies, with replacement prop Andrew Williams of Woodpecker Carpentry a splinter in the home defence with his tenacity.

Fishguard to their credit responded by keeping the ball alive despite the fact second rows Jac and Gwylim Evans had parity in the line out, both involved in the open play with Walsh in gaining hard yards.

James scored the first of his brace, which Keane converted to set up the grandstand overtime finish, where John and Jenkins, alongside McVeigh were in the thick of the action to set up the final try from James.

‘You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away and know when to run; no need to count the money’ at this time, more the blessings and the reflection post-match should be on the future and not the past.

Bill Shankley may not have been right with his ramblings and I’m sure Luke will now have told him, his legacy being one of having that final ace.

The Seagulls will carry that with them to Mumbles on Saturday (Mar 3), as they stand four points clear of relegation whilst Pontarddulais will be geared up for a top of the table encounter when Whitland arrive at Coedback Parc.

Sport

Bluebirds prepare for Pontypridd test

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HAVERFORDWEST County will be looking to progress to the next round of the JD Welsh Cup on Saturday (Dec 8), when they welcome Pontypridd Town to the Bridge Meadow.

The Bluebirds enjoyed a thrilling 4-3 win against Swansea University in the last round having previously beaten STM Sports 2-1 away from home in the first round.

They currently sit third in Welsh League Division 1 with seven wins from their ten games so far this season.

They will also be looking for another cup run having already reached the fourth round of the League Cup.

Visitors Pontypridd also enjoyed a thrilling 6-3 win in their second round game with Goytre and they also won 2-1 away from home against Llanidloes Town in the first round.

They may sit second from bottom in Division 1 of the Welsh Leagues but their cup run has shown that they should not be underestimated.

The game is a repeat of the third round tie from last year which Pontypridd won 3-1 and the Bluebirds will be looking to avenge that defeat.

This is the Bluebirds’ only home game in December so make sure you get down to the Bridge Meadow to show your support.

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Sport

Bowen wins Young Sportsman of the Year

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WELSH jockey, James Bowen, 17, has won the Carwyn James Young Sportsman of the Year Award at the Wales Sports Awards on Tuesday, December 4, at The Celtic Manor.

The Awards which are an annual amalgamation of BBC Cymru Wales and Sports Wales to make the biggest Welsh Sporting celebration of the year, it is intended to showcase the best of both elite and grassroot level of sporting achievement.

Speaking to James on his award he said: “It came as a bit of a shock to me, I didn’t realise I had done that well this year”.

Bowen, who has been racing for the past 18 months, at just 16 became the youngest rider to win the Coral Welsh Grand National in 2018 on Raz De Maree. He is no stranger when it comes to awards, recently collecting the Rising Star Award at the inaugural Welsh Horse Racing Awards at Chepstow Racecourse.

On his Rising Star Award James said: “It was exciting to win this award as it’s the first time these awards have been done at the racecourse”.

On his recent career highlights James added: “I would like to thank everybody who has worked with me over the years, and all the trainers who have helped me get here.”

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Sport

A celebration of sport

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INSPIRATIONAL achievements in sport by were celebrated in the prestigious Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2018 on Friday evening.

Fourteen award-winners were announced in a variety of categories, together with the winners of two special awards – the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Special Achievement Award.

Now in its 12th year, the gala ceremony at Folly Farm was hosted by sports journalist Bill Carne and Cllr Huw George and organised by Sport Pembrokeshire, the sport development team at Pembrokeshire County Council.

The event was sponsored by Valero, Sport Pembrokeshire, Western Telegraph, Radio Pembrokeshire and Folly Farm.

The Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Peter and Karen Bowen described by Geoff Williams, Head of Sport at BBC Wales, as a couple ‘at the forefront of British horse racing’.

Presenting them with their award, he said: “Peter and Karen Bowen have transformed a bungalow and a few fields into one of the best yards in the United Kingdom. Their complex at Letterston now boasts over seventy boxes and state-of-the-art all weather facilities.

“But team Bowen is very much a family outfit. Karen was no stranger to the show ring, and is a former champion point-to-pointer. Eldest son Mickey has built a reputation as a successful point-to-point trainer; and Sean and James are both professional jockeys. James became the youngest ever winner of the Welsh Grand National this year, aged just 16.

“They achieved a clean sweep at the recent inaugural Welsh Racing Awards – when Peter won the Welsh Trainer of the Year award; Sean picked up the Welsh Jockey of the Year award and James was honoured as the Rising Star of the Year.

“Incredibly, the stable is now on the verge of achieving a thousand winners.”

The Special Achievement Award, presented by the Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, was presented to 27-year-old footballer Kristian Speake from Crundale.

“The Award is given to a sportsman or woman who has overcome great adversity – and tonight’s winner is certainly no exception,” said Cllr Aden Brinn, Chairman.

“Kristian played for Haverfordwest AFC until last February when he was grievously injured in an incident in the town which resulted in a serious injury to his skull.

“He was in a coma for 24 days in the intensive care unit at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff before being placed on a neurological ward for several weeks.

“Kristian then spent a further six weeks in a special unit in Port Talbot where he underwent extensive physical and cognitive rehabilitation. During this time, he had three eye operations as well as brain surgery in which surgeons fitted a titanium plate in the right side of his head.

“However, there is a happy ending. Though his determination and the support of his family and friends, Kristian has made a miraculous recovery and completed the Cardiff half marathon in October, raising money for the Cardiff and Vale Health Charity as a thank you to all the medical staff involved in his treatment.”

Ben Field, manager of Sport Pembrokeshire, congratulated all the winners, finalists and nominees, and said he was very grateful to the sponsors for their support.

“We received more nominations than ever before this year – 192 – which is a brilliant reflection on how sport is growing and thriving across the county,” he said.

Cllr Paul Miller, Cabinet Member for Sport, Leisure and Culture, added his congratulations and said: “The Sports Awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the amazing achievements of sportspeople across Pembrokeshire, and the very hard work that takes place behind the scenes.

Sport Pembrokeshire Awards 2018 – Winners

Coach of the Year

Simon Roach (Weightlifting)

Female Sporting Achievement

Caryl Jones (Athletics)

Male Sporting Achievement

Seth Morris (Surfing)

Boys (U16) Sporting Achievement

Alex O’Sullivan (Boxing)

Girls (U16) Sporting Achievement

Ella Wintle (Athletics)

Disability Sport Award

Ryan Foot (Rugby)

Junior (U16) Disability Sport Award

Lily Rice (WCMX – Wheelchair Motocross)

Unsung Hero

William McGarvie (Neyland Judo Club)

Club Organiser of the Year

Kathy Hicks (Narberth Netball Club)

Team Achievement of the Year

Neyland Cricket Club 1st XI 2017/2018

Junior (U16) Team Achievement of the Year

Sir Thomas Picton Inclusive Zone Basketball Team 2018

Contribution to School Sport award

Alfie Wheeler (Haverfordwest High VC School)

Student Contribution to School Sport award

Nichola Hayton (Platinum Young Ambassador)

Club of the Year

Strength Academy Wales

Lifetime Achievement Award

Peter and Karen Bowen (Horse racing)

Chairman’s Special Achievement Award

Kristian Speake (Football)

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