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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.

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Chairman’s disappointment at Haverfordwest County AFC v Cefn Druids game postponement

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TODAY’S match (Sept 12) between Haverfordwest County AFC and Cefn Druids has been postponed.

The club’s chairman, Robert Edwards, said that he was disappointed to learn the news and stated that the club had followed every single FAW regulation and protocol to the letter.

In an official statement, Mr Edwards said: “The club are extremely disappointed to learn of the postponement of today’s match versus Cefn Druids. It has been a summer of change at the club and we were all looking forward to seeing our hard work played out on the pitch today. The ground staff, coaching team, and Club Secretary have worked tirelessly for the last few weeks, so I am bitterly disappointed for them, and cannot thank them enough for their effort and dedication.

“We would like to make it clear that our club has followed every single FAW regulation and protocol to the letter. Since the resumption of training, we ensured that all rules within the Return to Play guidelines were followed during their respective phases, all players and staff have completed Benchmark COVID-19 questionnaires, and we have spent the previous few weeks guaranteeing that The Bridge Meadow Stadium is a safe environment for football to resume, as per FAW guidelines.

“At all our pre-season games, we ensured that they were correctly sanctioned, and once again, all protocols were followed. We will continue our hard work to ensure that all rules are followed at our club and look forward to getting our campaign underway against Cardiff Met on Tuesday.
“We will not make any further public comment as a club and will be liaising directly with FAW on this matter.”

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Rooks triumph at Treleet

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Alec Colley Cup Final
Carew (95 for 8 and 103 for 8) beat
St Ishmaels (64 for 9 and 106 for 8)
by 29 runs

FAVOURITES Carew won the Alec Cup Final at Treleet on Sunday, August 30, but not without St Ishmael’s second-string showing that they were not be taken lightly.

The decisive period of the match was both sides’ first innings.

Batting first in tricky conditions, Carew struggled against accurate Tish bowling from the outset, with only opener Nick Scourfield providing resistance among the top order batters. And it wasn’t as if Tish didn’t have the chance to deny Carew even that as Danny Flynn dropped Scourfield off opening bowler Kevin Bowen in the Final’s first over.

As it was, Carew stumbled to 45-6 with only five overs of their first knock remaining. It wasn’t until Dai Rees joined Scourfield that the scoring’s tempo increased. Rees hit three sixes on his way to an invaluable 24 before Flynn’s catch off Stuart Carpenter’s bowling. Scourfield also increased his previously sedate progress to add four boundaries in what proved a vital partnership with Rees that helped Carew close on 95-8.

St Ishmaels got off to a rotten a start as Carew’s bowlers exploited conditions. Their innings limped along without a major partnership and only opener Robbie Thomas, along with Steve Williams and Flynn made double figures.

Carew skipper Barry Evans used his nous to end with four wickets, while Kerry Waters applied the squeeze by conceding only ten runs in his spell for the wicket of Ieuan Hawkins. At the end of twenty overs, Tish had struggled to a meagre 64-9, conceding a thirty one run lead to Carew.

With opener Nick Scourfield suffering from a hamstring injury, Carew pressed Morgan Grieve up the order to partner Brian Hall and the pair started off brightly but were separated by Steve Williams before Kevin Bowen claimed Hall’s wicket. St Ishmaels exerted real pressure on the Carew batsmen, with Steve Williams claiming an excellent 3-16.

Carew were indebted to another late innings rally, again featuring Rees, this time in a partnership with Simon Wood. Wood batted cleverly and mixed powerful strokes with some excellent cricket shots on his way to unbeaten 40. Carew’s innings closed on 103-8, setting the underdogs a challenging 135 to win.

After their first innings’ travails, such a chase seemed highly unlikely for Tish. However, Flynn and Rhead were steady at the start before the former’s dismissal by Simon Wood (3-27). Kevin Bowen then gave Tish some real hope with a dashing 25 runs before being caught by Haydn Shapcott off skipper Barry Evans’ slow left-armers.

A rapid-fire partnership of 28 between Ieuan Hawkins and Steve Williams could not stop the inevitable, as Carew had too many runs and just too much experience to lose the match on a tricky drying surface, left damp by recent heavy rain and overnight showers. Tish never gave up fighting and showed real grit and determination before their second innings closed on 106-8, leaving Carew winners by 29 runs.
Umpires Jonathan Willington and Allan Hansen chose Simon Wood as the Man of the Match, a new trophy sponsored by Neyland CC in memory of their late clubman Martin Rees which was presented by Neyland Cricket Club’s Chair, Martin Jones.

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Cricket: Neyland win Harrison Allen

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A BRILLIANT recovery in the field during Haverfordwest’s first innings laid the foundations for a convincing Neyland victory at Cresselly this afternoon.
Neyland, batting first, carved and scampered their way to 142 in their first innings.
Haverfordwest’s reply started in brutal fashion, as Adam James smashed the bowling to all parts, peppering the boundary with a succession of massive hits on his way to a quick fire 34. With the fourth over of the Haverfordwest innings not yet finished, the Town were on 54 and looking like they would set all sorts of scoring records.
Andrew Miller and, particularly, Ross Hardy established a measure of control and sharp fielding squeezed the Haverfordwest batsmen, cutting off boundaries and harrying the batsmen into mistakes.
Neyland reeled in the Town batsmen so successfully that, having looked on course at first for a mammoth score and then a big first-innings lead, they got a slender eight-run lead to take into their second innings.
Neyland started slowly in their second innings before Ashley Sutton and Patrick Bellerby began to step on the gas after Nick Koomen went early. They were particularly severe on veteran spinner Clive Tucker, who took heavy punishment from the pair.
Their good work was carried on by Nathan Banner, who belted a series of massive sixes off Simon Holliday and Clive Tucker, as Neyland posted a massive 214 runs, setting an imposing 222 target.
Despite a rapid start by Potter and an injured Adam James in their second innings, as soon as wickets started to fall, they kept on tumbling as Neyland were sharp in the field and Ross Hardy bowled with great control from the difficult Pavillion End.
The introduction of Andrew Miller from the School End saw him pick up the wicket of Ben Field, who mishit a gentle catch to extra cover.
With him, Haverfordwest’s faint last hope vanished and their innings stuttered to 103-9 leaving them 119 runs adrift and Neyland as Bowl champions.
For his batting in both innings and brilliant fielding, Ashley Sutton was named man of the match.

FULL REPORT IN THIS FRIDAY’S HERALD

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