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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

Vikings up the pressure in Division One race

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MANDERWOOD PEMBROKESHIRE LEAGUE
A BLUSTERY but fine day at the Obs saw Hakin put in the sort of performance that reminds their rivals that the title race isn’t over until the Vikings have their say.
With the top of Division One contested by Goodwick Utd and leaders Monkton Swifts at the start of the day, Merlin Bridge’s storming comeback win against Goodwick meant this win propelled Hakin to second in the table.
With a vastly superior goal difference than Goodwick, with whom they are now level on points, and a better goal difference than the Swifts who lead the table by three points, Hakin will want to extract maximum benefit from the game they still have in hand.
If Swifts slip up against Fishguard Sports on Saturday and Hakin play to form against strugglers St Clears, the Vikings could seize the top spot next weekend.
Strengthened by the return of NIcky Woodrow, Hakin were never really in trouble against mid-table Clarbeston Road, who have been dogged by inconsistency all season and undoubtedly suffered from a recent lack of league football.
The returning Woodrow showed he had not lost his scoring touch, finding the net in typically clinical fashion.
A few tasty challenges in midfield never spilt over into anything more serious than a talking to from the referee to the players involved.
Hakin showed greater variety and poise in their play than Clarby and capitalised on moments of poor control by the visitors to press play upfield at every opportunity.
Cameron Thomas opened the scoring for the home team before Nicky Woodrow popped in a neat finish. Ashley Bevan rounded off a strong display from the Vikings with the third.
Elsewhere in the Division, Monkton Swifts hammered Narberth 7-0 away from home, with goals from Ben Steele (2), Jordan Richards (2), Dillon Davies (2), and Martin Carrol. Meanwhile, a hat trick from Steve Lewis allied to braces apiece for Danny Hopkin (2), Matt Harries (2), and Niall Kinsella (2) and a goal for Karl Headley led Fishguard Sports to a 10-1 hammering of second-from-bottom St Clears, who managed a consolation through Jamie Thomas. Bottom side Saundersfoot were edged out 3-2 at home to Carew and Pennar Robins, with a goal apiece for Craig Asparassa and Josh Clarke, shaded Neyland 2-1.
The day’s remaining top division clash was easily the match of the day. In-form Goodwick made the trip to the Racecourse to face a Merlins Bridge who haven’t given up on their title ambitions.
At one point, it looked like game over for the Wizards as Goodwick took a 2-0 lead. However, the home team muscled their way back into the game to clinch a thrilling comeback with three goals to take all three points.

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Sport

Quins shut out game Llangwm

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Specsavers National League
Division 3A West
Pembroke Dock Quins 39 – Llangwm 0

ON A rare pleasant day for rugby, Quins were made to work hard for their bonus-point victory over a very resilient Wasps side.

The Quins had to wait to get on the scoresheet, after missing a brace of early try-scoring opportunities. However, after pinning the visitors in their 25 for fifteen minutes, blindside wing Aaron Treweeks opened the scoring with a well-taken try after a long period of pressure. Full-back Ben Hathaway missed the conversion.
While the home team continued to dominate territory and possession, Llangwm’s defence held firm until the closing minutes of the half.

First, Quins man-of-the-match Gethin Bradney finished off a fine three-quarter movement to score in the corner. Ben Hathaway missed the tricky conversion. With Quins ten points to the good, Llangwm were desperate to shut the home side out before the half-time whistle. But just before the whistle, the Wasps’ defence backed off Quins’ outside-half Keiron Machin. The young number ten needed no second invitation and sped through to score. Ben Hathaway slotted over the conversion to leave the Quins 17 points to nil up at the half.

As ended the first-half, so began the second.

Centre Jack Price made a fine midfield break and passed the ball from contact to replacement blindside wing Jordan Asparassa. Asparassa made no mistake, streaking over in the corner for his tenth try of the season.

While Ben Hathaway missed the conversion from wide out, it was not long before Quins’ midfield combined again to secure to an all-important bonus point.
Jack Price made another strong break before passing to his fellow centre three-quarter Josh Thomas, who touched down between the posts.
Ben Hathaway must have been grateful for an easier kick at goal and added the extras to give the Quins a 29-point lead.

After conceding so many points in such a relatively short period of play, it would have been easy for Llangwm to give up. However, the Wasps showed real determination to salvage something from the game and spent long periods camped deep in the Quins’ half. For all their endeavour and pressure, however, they could not break down the home defence.

After sucking up Llangwm’s best efforts, Quins broke out of defence and scored the first of two late tries through Jordan Asparassa. As the minutes ticked away, Quins’ hooker Nick Drewett took great delight in scoring his first try for the club after a fine 35-yard run.

That was the last play of the match and Quins, after faltering in recent games, will be happy to be back in winning ways. This Saturday, the Bierspool Men head to St Davids before a tough home fixture against Laugharne which will say much about their progress this year.

Quins Team: Ben Hathaway, Gethin Bradney, Josh Thomas, Jack Price, Arron Treweeks, Kieron Machin, Jake Griffiths, Jack Davies, Nick Drewett, Dai Moseley, Martin Culley, Connor Colmel, Ollie Parsons, Harold Owen and Hywel Baker (Capt)

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Sport

Bluebirds top table for New Year

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JD Cymru Division One South
Haverfordwest County 4 Llanelli Town 1

THE BLUEBIRDS continued their recent run of good results with a 4-1 victory over Llanelli Town.

Despite going down to defeat, the Reds of Llanelli can take consolation from a vastly improved display in which they more than matched the home side box-to-box.

The only element missing from the visitors’ performance was the delivery of a telling final ball which could have led to a goal.

Llanelli’s meagre playing resources are already stretched by a long injury list and, at Bridge Meadow, three development players were in the matchday squad out of necessity.

To add to the problems, the visitors were also without a recognised striker, making the task of attempting to salvage some positive outcome from the contest even more difficult.

In fact, the visitors were the livelier side in the opening stages.

Ryan Hurlow played a ball into the path of Kyle Copp close to goal, but he failed to make a telling contact and a decent chance was lost.
Liam Samuel also posed a threat to the Bluebirds` goal with a run to the edge of the area, but he delayed his shot which was eventually blocked and then cleared out of danger.

The home side countered after a rebound from a Ben Fawcett strike fell to Kurtis Rees. Llanelli’s Lee Bevan acted quickly to alleviate the threat.

Copp and Hurlow combined with the latter forcing a corner which was eventually dealt with, but it was the home side who eventually struck first on 25 minutes when a Kieran Howard free-kick was headed out only as far as Rees who launched a 30-yard high ball into the goalmouth over the head of Kai Rees despite the Reds` keeper best efforts to prevent it finding the net.

A corner to the Bluebirds into the goalmouth was cleared with some difficulty by the visitors` defence, while Rees pulled off an important save by turning over a header from Marcus Griffiths when he connected with another Howard set-piece.

Haverfordwest had a goal disallowed for offside when referee Teifion Cook overruled the assistant referee’s failure to flag.
With the score 1-0 at the half, Llanelli had done well to hold off the league leaders and would have drawn confidence from their display.
Shortly after the kick-off for the second half, came the game’s most controversial moment.

Llanelli keeper Rees bravely put himself on the line to claim the ball from the feet of a Haverfordwest player. Rees was clearly injured and remained prone on the ground when the ball broke free into the path of Haverfordwest’s Howard. With the goalie incapacitated, Howard guided the ball into the back of the visitors’ net.

There was confusion about whether the effort would stand, particularly as Rees continued to receive treatment on the field following his injury while Llanelli players expressed their disapproval to the ref. However, the goal stood and, after further treatment, the shaken Rees was able to resume.

Galvanised by the perceived injustice, Llanelli struck back quickly.

Awarded a free-kick, Copp swung the ball into the Haverfordwest box where Bevan rose highest to head the ball beyond the Bluebirds’ Kyle Stuart to haul the Reds back into the game.

As the game opened up, both sides created chances. For Llanelli, Joe Clarke’s strike from the edge of the eighteen-yard box went wide. Kyle Stuart made a fine save from Copp’s well-struck effort.

With fifteen minutes left, the Bluebirds cutting edge up front proved decisive. The ball was neatly played through to Fawcett, who out-muscled defender Chris Thomas before hitting a low shot past Rees.

The score seemed to take the air out of Llanelli’s sails and Haverfordwest piled on the pressure. An effort from Wilson was well stopped by Rees, while Griffiths was prevented from scoring only by a last gasp tackle from Zac Griffiths. Fawcett saw his finish from an assist by Howard rebound off the top of the crossbar.

With time running out, a ball driven across the face of Llanelli’s goal was met by an attempt to hack it clear by Brown which only ended up in his own net.

The result was hard on the vistors, who for the most part had matched their opponents for effort. At least they have a chance of turning matters around when the sides do it all again on Friday evening (January 3) at Stebonheath, kick off 7.30 p.m.

TEAMS
Haverfordwest County: Stuart; Bradley (Merry, 82); Rowe; Pemberton ©; Howard; Tancock; Watts; Rees; Fawcett; Griffiths; Wilson (Palmer, 68); Subs. not used; Drake; Hughes; Harman.
Llanelli Town: Rees; Griffiths; Brown; Thomas; Bevan ©; Clarke; Copp; Logan; M. Cutler; Hurlow; Samuel.

SCORERS: Haverfordwest County; Rees, 25; Howard, 46; Fawcett, 76; Brown (OG), 90.
Llanelli Town; Bevan, 49.
CARDS: Haverfordwest County; Griffiths.
Llanelli Town; Thomas; Clarke; M. Cutler.
REFEREE: Teifion Cook.

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