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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

Cresselly knock out holders Neyland

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THERE will be a new name on the Harrison Allen Trophy this year after holders Neyland were knocked out by Cresselly on Thursday night (Jun21).

Thursday’s game was a repeat of the 2017 final and Cresselly were keen to exact some revenge for that defeat.

However, such revenge seemed unlikely at the halfway stage as Cresselly were restricted to 112-8 from their 22 overs.

Dan Sutton and Alex Bayley made scores of 12 and 14 respectively before being bowled by Nathan Banner and Nick Koomen.

Iwan Izzard was caught of the bowling of Patrick Hannon and that left Cresselly on 37-3.

Adam Chandler and Phil Williams then shared 42 runs for the fourth wicket as they looked to get the home side going.

Chandler hit 26 for Cresselly but he gave his wicket away as he walked down the wicket to play a shot but he missed the ball and Sean Hannon had an easy stumping.

Ryan Lewis and Dan James were both out without scoring as Neyland continued to bowl well.

Phil Williams added 18 but he was one of three victims to Andrew Miller. Nathan Banner was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed four wickets while Nick Koomen also struck twice.

Neyland would have been confident of reaching their target but an equally as good performance in the field from Cresselly restricted their rivals to 107-7.

In their reply openers Paul Murray scored 12 and Patrick Bellerby added 10 as they shared 29 runs for the first wicket.

Murray was caught by Neilson Cole off the bowling of Mike Shaw and moments later Banner was heading back to the pavilion as he was run out by Ryan Lewis for a duck.

29-2 became 30-3 as Bellerby was caught by Sion Jenkins off the bowling of Lewis. He then claimed his second wicket as he broke a partnership of 15 between Nick Koomen and Gregg Miller with the latter caught behind by Cole.

Nick Koomen had made a patient 23 but was then bowled by Tom Arthur.

Henry Durrant and Scott Jones finished the innings not out on 21 and 23 respectively but it wasn’t enough to take Neyland over the line.

They needed 13 off the last over but were unable to knock off those runs as they finished six runs short of their target.

It means that Cresselly join Llangwm, Lawrenny and Narberth in the last four of the competition and the draw for the semi-finals will be made on Wednesday (Jun 27) at the County Cricket Club meeting.

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Lawrenny and Narberth through to last four

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LAWRENNY are through to the semi-finals of the Harrison Allen Bowl after they beat St Ishmaels in the quarter final on Tuesday (Jun 19).

Division 2 side Narberth also made it through after they beat Burton on with the last ball of the game. Burton had earlier posted 155-8 from their 22 overs.

Narberth were 85-3 at the halfway stage and scores of 42 from Kyle Quartermaine and 29 from Lewis Hough saw the home side through.

At St Ishmaels, it was the home side who batted first and they posted 157-9 in their 22 overs.

Peter Bradshaw and Jack Nicholas opened the batting with a 22 run partnership before Bradshaw was trapped leg before by Rob Williams.

Nicholas and Brennan Devonald then shared 50 runs for the second wicket as they looked to give their side a good platform to build on.

That partnership was broken when Nicholas was bowled by Brad-McDermott-Jenkins for a score of 34.

Tish then lost three more wickets in quick succession as Devonald was caught by Rob Williams off the bowling of McDermott-Jenkins for a score of 23.

Phil Cockburn was then caught by Ryan Morton off the bowling Jamie Lewis and Andrew Williams was then run out by a brilliant throw from Harry Thomas.

That left Tish on 83-5 but a partnership of 24 steadied the ship. Jon Pawlett was then bowled by Morton for a score of 10 but Danny Howells and Andrew Palmer shared another 22 runs for the seventh wicket.

Howells hit three fours and a six in his knock of 34 but was then caught by Joe Kidney off the bowling of McDermott-Jenkins .

He then went on to claim two more wickets of Danny Flynn and Andrew Pawlett, the first of which brought a spectacular catch from Thomas, to finish with excellent figures of 5-32.

Andrew Palmer finished not out on 28 as Tish reached 157-9.

Lawrenny lost Simon Cole early on in their reply as he was caught by Peter Bradshaw off the bowling of Jon Pawlett.

McDermott-Jenkins and Harry Thomas then shared 43 runs for the second wicket but that was brought to an end when the former was caught by Cockburn off the bowling of Andrew Palmer.

Thomas and James Phillips then shared another good partnership of 52 runs as they passed a hundred runs with only two wickets down.

Phillips hit four fours and three sixes in his knock of 42 but he was then caught by Devonald off the bowling of Andrew Pawlett.

Joe Kidney fell soon after when he was caught by Howells off the bowling of Palmer.

Thomas then shared 28 runs with Patrick Elliot who was then bowled by Andrew Pawlett for a score of 12.

Tish were unable to take any further wickets as Rob Williams finished not out on 9 and Thomas not out on 35 to see their side through to the semi-finals.

Wednesday’s semi-final sees Pembroke hosting Llangwm while on Thursday, Cresselly take on Neyland.

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Town on top after beating Neyland

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HAVERFORDWEST are the new leaders in Division 1 after they beat NEYLAND by seven wickets on Saturday (Jun 16).

Neyland batted first but were all out for 93 with Adam James taking four wickets for Town. Nick Koomen and Scott Jones both scored 16 but it wasn’t enough for the visitors.

Simon Holliday then finished not out on 39 while Ben Field also scored 39 as Town reached their target with seven wickets still in hand.

Haverfordwest v Neyland

CRESSELLY slipped out of first place after they suffered a surprise defeat at the hands of LAWRENNY.

Lawrenny batted first and were all out for 184 with Harry Thomas top scoring on 59 and Simon Cole adding 27.

Phil Williams then top scored with 30 runs for Cresselly in their reply but four wickets from Brad McDermott-Jenkins saw Cresselly bowled out for 143.

WHITLAND moved up to third place in the table as they beat KILGETTY by seven wickets thanks to a half century from Dylan Blain.

Kilgetty batted first but were all out for 147 as Ben Harvey and Matthew Davies both took three wickets.

Liam Cullen scored 49 and Ross Hardy added 45 for Kilgetty while only one other batter made it into double figures.

Jonathan Strawbridge then scored 42 in reply for Whitland while Blain finished not out on 57 to guide his side to victory.

LLANGWM made light work of their game against bottom side JOHNSTON as they bowled them out for 75 with Steve James top scoring on 21.

Ollie Davies took five wickets for Llangwm who went on to reach their target inside 13 overs for the loss of just one wicket.

Noah Davies and Will Beresford shared 68 runs for the first wicket before Davies was out to the bowling of Nathan James for a score of 32.

Beresford finished not out on 41 as Llangwm sealed their fourth win of the season.

ST ISHMAELS picked up a welcome win as they beat BURTON by seven wickets to move out of the bottom two.

Burton reached 142-8 in their innings with Luke Hayman scoring 37 and Morgan Scale adding 28 late on.

Andrew Palmer took four wickets for Tish while Jonathan Pawlett also struck twice.

Tish then reached their target with Daniel Richard scoring 40 and Peter Bradshaw finishing not out on 70.

On Saturday, June 23, new leaders Haverfordwest will look to keep hold of top spot when they take on Burton.

Johnston face a strong Whitland side while Lawrenny are at home as they take on Kilgetty.

Cresselly will look to bounce back from Saturday’s defeat when they travel to Llangwm and Neyland will look to put an end to their recent losing streak as they host St Ishmaels.

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