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Seagulls’ six-try victory over Bont

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By Jonathan Twigg

FISHGUARD all but secured their Division 2 West status on Saturday (Mar 24) with a bonus point victory in their 34-20 defeat of Pontyberem.

The Seagulls ran in six tries to open up a nine point gap between themselves and the relegation trap door and now stand two points adrift of their visitors, who have played three games more both having notched six wins this season.

Led by hooker Gavin Walsh, Fishguard’s success can be attributed to a dominant forward performance where they were tenacious on the floor around the key battle ground of the rucks and mauls, controlling the scrum which put pressure on the visitors’ set piece and gained parity at the line out.

The back row of Chris Sousha, Luke Freebury and number 8 Simon James supported their more youthful back division by making the hard yards whilst being on hand to secure phase after phase of ball to keep the momentum going forward.

The opening score of this Travis Perkins sponsored game came after 13 minutes when flanker Sousha touched down, the try set up by debutant full back Robbie Jones, the Chairman’s son drafted in from the youth side and his pace, verve and confidence to run 40 meters reminiscent of a bygone era when ‘JJ’ himself flew down the wing.

James, centre Tom George and scrum half Andrew Williams supported man of the match Jones’ momentum where the mobility of home props Andrew Morillo and Ryan McVeigh saw them on the fringe of an exciting move.

Outside half Alun George, who had narrowly missed a penalty attempt four minutes earlier, landed the conversion, a feat he repeated five minutes later when centre Ben John finished off another passage of play with a mazy run over 30 metres with two hand offs, after James capitalised on a loose clearance from the Bont’s full back Rhodri Lewis, the number 8 setting flame haired winger Dylan Thomas, playing on permit from Crymych blazing down the touchline.

Pontyberem needed a foothold in the game but were reduced to 14 men when number 8 Wayne Williams was yellow carded by Cefn Cribwr based referee Huw David for a high tackle during the build up to the third try, skipper Walsh completing another forwarded orientated drive after ball had been secured in the line out by second row Gwilym Evans, who was instrumental in the driving maul alongside Morrillo and McVeigh.

The blue and black shirts sponsored by Jewsons gained some composure as the half time whistle approached, flanker Dion Robinson a go to man in the line out for hooker Ben Morris and scum half Adrian Williams pulling the strings to motivate his side as any good skipper should. Outside half Domonic Sauro slotted over a penalty as the home side strayed offside and their discipline in defence breached as they came from the side of rucks to illegally stop the visitors’ drives.

Number 8 Williams returned to the fray tidied up neatly at the base of a backwards moving scrum either side of half time, the early stages of the second half scrappy and unstructured much to the despair of passionate home coach Huw Evans, who could see the danger signs of the play suiting the Pontyberem game plan better.

The pack, with second row Matthew Lloyd and prop James Prosser marauding in midfield, put fellow prop Dan Suaro across the whitewash for Dominic to convert, alongside another penalty for 19-13.

Fishguard second row Jac Evans, a key line out man and ball carrier was lucky not to spend time in the sin bin when he tackled centre Gwion Jones in the air as the Pontyberem side had the wind both behind them in terms of play and figuratively in their sails, something Evans vociferously explained to his side as the final quarter approached.

His words were rewarded when the forwards secured a bonus point fourth try, Walsh getting his name on the score sheet for a second time burrowing through after James had set up the attacking ruck. Prosser responded for Pontyberem making yardage, supported by second row Alex Williams and back row man Pete Suaro, as the deficit was reduced to four points with a converted try for centre Dafydd Lloyd.

Experience counts: Try scoring skipper Gavin Walsh & Number 8 Simon James

Wingers Dave Evans and Rhys Armstrong had ball in hand for the ‘Bont’ with the game on a precipice, the next score crucial. It came to the home side as they took advantage of a turnover deep in their own half and young Jones backed his skill set and pace to create an overlap, centre George beautifully drawing the final defender on halfway to set winger Liam Wilkes away down the touchline to cross wide out with eight minutes remaining, to compensate for a similar move just minutes before when he was recalled for a foot in touch.

George didn’t have his kicking boots on in the second half but his maturity to influence open play, with confidence in the final throws of the game saw a sixth try a minute from the end, McVeigh the recipient as James, Freebury and Sousha came to the fore, certainly a backrow at this level to be on par with any.

The midfield axis, John either side of the George brothers and Jones from full back bodes well for the Seagulls, thankfully for coach Evans, who has very little hair left to tear out. This isn’t down to alopecia, contributing for his entertaining apoplectic demeanour, knowing his side now go on their travels for the next four fixtures, heading next to Parc Gryffyd Jones for a key encounter with St Clears on Easter Saturday.

Pontyberem returned to the Gwendraeth Valley with nothing to show for their efforts on the Moors, having consolidated well on going 19-0 down, despite struggling in the scrum set piece, to have an opportunity to win the game. The key moment when they turned the ball over for Jones to open the play in his own 22 yard metre area a point of reflection, as they head to Loghour on Easter Saturday (Mar 31), the home side failing to fulfil their fixture at Hendy due to player numbers available.

That ensuing points deduction draws Loughor back into the group with the Bont, both hanging a lingering eye on the relegation trap door.

Sport

Neyland back on top

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DIVISION 1 Champions Neyland returned to the top of the table on Saturday (May 18), as they beat previous leaders Carew by seven wickets.

Neyland won the toss and elected to field and they took an early wicket when Tom Davies was caught by Sean Hannon off the bowling of Henry Durrant.

Tim Hicks and Ian Sefton then shared 83 runs for the second wicket as they looked to build a platform for the rest of the innings.

Sefton hit six fours and two sixes in his knock of 49 but he was then caught by George Evans off the bowling of Geraint Rees.

Simon Wood then scored 11 but he was also caught by Hannon off the bowling of Tom Pritchard.

Hicks played well for his knock of 55 with four boundaries but he was then caught and bowled by Pritchard, leaving Carew on 144-4.

Luke Hicks had made 12 but he was then stumped by Hannon, giving Pritchard his third wicket.

Shaun Whitfield did not last long in the middle as he was caught by Evans off the bowling of Pritchard.

He then bowled Nick Scourfield for a duck for his fifth wicket to leave Carew reeling on 154-7.

Nick Davies and James Hinchcliffe did their best to stem the flow of wickets as they added 17 runs for the eighth wicket but it was Pritchard who struck again to claim his sixth wicket as he bowled Davies on a score of 14.

Hinchcliffe made 12 before he was caught by Gregg Miller off the bowling of Nick Koomen while Brian Hall was also caught by Miller off the bowling of Henry Durrant.

Ceri Brace finished not out on 10 but Carew had been bowled out for 197.

Neyland made a steady start to their reply as openers Nick Koomen and Ashley Sutton shared 29 runs for the first wicket.

Shaun Whitfield made the breakthrough for the home side as he trapped Koomen leg before on a score of 24.

Soon after, Andrew Miller was caught by Nick Davies off the bowling of Tom Davies on a score of 5 leaving Neyland on 40-2.

However, Ashley Sutton and Henry Durrant then shared a good stand of 66 as they looked to set their side up for victory.

Sutton hit five fours and a six as he scored 46 but he was then bowled by Simon Wood.

Despite picking up their third wicket, Carew found it impossible to remove Durrant or George Evans as they took Neyland to victory.

Evans was not out on 32 with a four and a six while Durrant smashed three sixes and five fours as he finished not out on 73.

Neyland now sit top of the table, a point ahead of Haverfordwest, and on Saturday (May 25) they are at home to Saundersfoot.

Carew will look to bounce back as they travel to Whitland.

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Sport

Izzard and Lewis show sinks Tish

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CRESSELLY’s Iwan Izzard just missed out on a century while Ryan and Josh Lewis took six wickets between them on Saturday (May 18) as they helped their side to victory over St Ishmaels.

Tish elected to field after winning the toss and they took an early wicket as Dan Sutton was caught by Harry Nicholas off the bowling of Jordan Milich.

Phil Williams and Simon Cole shared 47 runs for the second wicket before Cole was trapped leg before by Milich.

Another good stand followed as Williams and Iwan Izzard took Cresselly past 100 runs. They were then reduced to 136-3 as Williams, who hit seven fours in his knock of 62, was caught by Phil Cockburn off the bowling of Andrew Pawlett.

Andrew Williams then bowled Alex Bayley and soon after, Pawlett trapped Matthew Morgan leg before to reduce the visitors to 160-5.

At this point, Izzard and Ryan Lewis took over for Cresselly as they smashed 89 runs for the sixth wicket.

Lewis hit five fours and three sixes in his knock of 48 from 25 balls but he was then bowled by Andrew Williams.

Izzard had also batted well as he hit four fours and six sixes in a score of 91 from 88 balls. He was also bowled by Williams as Cresselly finished on a good total of 265-7.

Peter Bradshaw fell early in Tish’s reply as he was caught by Simon Cole off the bowling of Sam Harts.

Harry Nicholas was then run out by Josh Lewis as Tish slipped to 21-2.

Daniel Howells and Phil Cockburn then shared 52 runs for the third wicket as they went in search of victory.

Howells hit four fours and two sixes as he scored 38 but he was then caught by Cole off the bowling of Josh Lewis.

Cockburn made 21 but he was then caught by Alex Bayley off the bowling of Ryan Lewis.

Jack Nicholas scored 11 but was then caught by Dan Sutton off the bowling of Josh Lewis leaving Tish on 100-5.

That soon became six as Josh bowled Dan Richards. Brennan Devonald made 15 but he was then bowled by Ryan Lewis.

Andrew Pawlett offered some resistance as he hit three sixes in a score of 25 but he was then bowled by Josh Lewis.

Iwan Izzard trapped Andrew Williams leg before and then wrapped up the innings as he ran out Jordan Milich.

That meant Tish were all out for 152, giving Cresselly their second win of the season.

On Saturday (May 25), Cresselly are at home to Llangwm while Tish are away to Haverfordwest.

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Sport

Holliday takes Town second

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A THIRD century in four games from Simon Holliday helped Haverfordwest to victory on Saturday (May 18), as they beat Saundersfoot by 134 runs.

Haverfordwest won the toss and batted first in Saundersfoot and they made an impressive total of 287-6 from their 45 overs.

They made a great start to their innings as Holliday and Mike Jones shared 108 runs for the first wicket.

Jones hit nine fours and a six as he scored 53 but Nicky Cope then claimed his wicket as he hit the ball into the hands of Neil Powling.

A partnership of fifty followed between Holliday and Lee Summons but the latter was then bowled by Cope on a score of 21.

Holliday had hit nine fours and seven sixes as he smashed his way to a century from 96 balls but he was then caught by John Mansbridge off the bowling of Powling.

Saundersfoot then took two more wickets as Powling bowled Ben Field for a duck and he then took the catch to take the wicket of Danny Potter (12) giving Cope his third wicket.

That left Town on 194-5 but Jake Merry and Adam James were in no mood to sit around.

They continued to find runs as James hit three fours and two sixes in a knock of 35 from 17 balls before being caught by Tom Mansbridge off the bowling of Sam Franklin.

Merry continued and finished not out on 38 after four fours and a six.

That set Saundersfoot 288 to win but after a steady start they lost three quick wickets.

John and Tom Mansbridge opened the batting with 27 runs but John was then caught by Jake Merry off the bowling of Adam James on a score of 14.

Sam Franklin was then out for a duck when he was caught by Huw Scriven off the bowling of Evan Watts and he then claimed his second wicket as he had Tom Mansbridge caught by Lee Summons on a score of 16.

That left the home side on 42-3 but Nicky Cope and Paul Mansbridge shared 37 runs for the fourth wicket.

Paul played a supporting role as he scored five before being bowled by Clive Tucker.

Cope then shared another 45 runs with Yannic Parker but Holliday then made the breakthrough as he caught and bowled Parker on a score of 7.

Cope had batted well for his score of 83 from 58 balls, hitting seven fours and seven sixes, but he was then also caught and bowled by Holliday.

That left Saundersfoot on 140-6 and wickets continued to fall. Neil Powling was bowled by Adam James as was Lewis Catt and Matt O’Neill was then stumped by Huw Scriven off the bowling of Holliday.

Holliday then claimed his fourth wicket to finish with figures of 4-48 as he bowled Tarran Richards.

That left Danny Brace not out on 15 but it was a day to remember for Holliday and co.

On Saturday (May 25), Haverfordwest are at home to Tish while Saundersfoot are away to leaders Neyland.

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