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Cooke’s classy strike denies Goodwick

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THE first midweek evening games in the Division 1 title race threw together an interesting conjuncture on Tuesday (Mar 27) as West Wales Cup finalists and current league leaders were held to a 2-2 draw by Senior Cup Finalists Clarbeston Road.

With two of the chasing pack, Merlins Bridge and Hakin United due to meet at the Racecourse, the postponement because of a waterlogged pitch at 3pm sees the Phoenix Lads still in pole position after a performance that lacked any zest and panache, which they have shown in recent weeks.

The game saw the hosts have five changes from their side, with prolific striker Jason Griffiths missing but it had little impact as they played with gusto and no small measure of guile to outwit and out battle a Goodwick side who had five players with Welsh Premier League experience and a clutch of others destined to reach such heights if their desire remains.

Player Manager Matthew Ellis and his central midfield sidekick Mike Turpin won the key battle ground nullifying the influence of Chris O’Sullivan and skipper Adam Raymond, Ellis pulling passes over a variety of distances allowing young striker Steffan Thomas and Matthew Davies a free reign to torment the Goodwkick back line.

The opening goal came midway through the opening period when Davies was felled in the penalty area by centre half Scott Delaney, referee Alan Boswell having little hesitation in pointing to the spot and Davies, a battling throne all night, dusted himself down to drive a thunderous effort beyond James Gwilt.

An equaliser came on the stroke of half time, goalkeeper Lee Scott having made an outstanding save minutes earlier from a Jordan Griffiths header, O’Sullivan delivering a free kick deep to the far post and it was headed back across the six yard line by Delaney for midfielder Kieran O’Brien to head home, giving his side some momentum and direction going into the second half.

Neither side could effectively influence the play to take the game by the horns, Goodwick superior in terms of possession and territory but failing to create the clear cut chance they needed as young full back Josh Wood and centre half Tom Glover repelled the attacks.

The outlet for Goodwick was Lee Hudgell, the former Haverfordwest wideman receiving balls into feet or through the inside left channel, his endeavour on the back of a brace of goals on Saturday, delivering a cross into the home penalty box after 53 minutes which saw a richote fall to the feet of fellow winger Johnny Horgan, whose right foot shoot, whilst not cleanly struck found the back of Lee Scott’s net for a 2-1 lead.

The game was one which referee Boswell had to work hard at to keep the lid on as tackles, abrasive challenges were judged on their merits, although questioned from both sides, Hudgell and O’Sullivan having half chances which didn’t fall their way.

Goodwick were enjoying a period of play deep in the Clarby half, striving for the third goal which would have ended the contest but carelessly saw Raymond surrender possession and full back Wood went marauding away to find Ellis in the ‘Quarter Back’ position.

The player manager found the feet of Thomas from 45 metres, his effort stemmed before the ball fell to winger Ieuan Cooke. He cut in from the left touchline, dropped his shoulder to create a pocket of space and drove a curling shot beyond a grasping Gwilt into the top corner for an equaliser fitting of any occasion.

Goodwick were rocked and momentum lost, Hudgell yellow carded for a cynical trip as Wood broke away, his side perhaps finding the emotional rollercoaster they have been on in recent weeks difficult to comprehend against a side willing and able to meet them toe to toe.

Substitute Rhys Dalling made an appearance for Goodwick alongside Matty Delaney and Steven Dockerty, all three adding some bounce, Dalling creating half chances and spurning an effort when he created an opportunity to shoot with ten minutes remaining as Clarby veteran Dan Rees was summoned from work to make an appearance at the heart of defence.

Clarby were incandescent that striker Thomas was called back when he had wriggled free to go one on one with Gwilt after a foul by Wayne O’Sullivan, the Goodwick followers also hollering for a free kick when young Delaney was on the receiving end of a strong challenge from Glover, Matty’s elder brother Scott talking himself into Boswell’s notebook for his vociferous commentary.

The game ended with in the gloomy evening air with a nervous tension amongst the Goodwick eyes as they await Merlins Bridge arrival, possibly without O’Sullivan who went off carrying his shoulder and knowing their performance was below par for their high standards, perhaps lethargic be it due to physical or probably mental fatigue.

Clarbeston Road are playing with a style and flair which sees them enjoying their football, much to the pleasure of the village faithfull out in support. Competition for places is key and with a second consecutive cup final appearance looming on Saturday (Apr 21) the one club not one team ethos shines through.

Elsewhere in the division on Tuesday evening, Carew put six past a hapless Angle outfit who have conceded 30 goals now in their last three outings without reply, Jack and Sam Christopher scoring for the Rooks alongside Iwan Izzard, Scott Fearney, Jordan Richards and Zac Rowell.

The Pembroke derby game saw striker Sam Soutcott return to his former club and score a brace for Pennar Robins, livewire midfielder Billy Davies and Jason Evans replying for the Stags. Monkton Swifts moved into second place a point behind Goodwick, although they have player four more fixtures, winning 3-2 at Marble Hall against Milford United.

Both teams have Welsh league pedigree before they relinquished their positions in the new millennium, the Robins now nine points from safety and securing their divisional status next season, with just six games remaining. Lewis Tee and Liam Parr found the back of the net for the home side, Matthew Davies, Ryan Griffiths and Sean Jones seeing the Swifts home to victory.

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Scotcher’s stunner earns draw for Bluebirds

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A STUNNING free kick from Elliot Scotcher earned Haverfordwest County a 2-2 draw against Trefelin BGC in their first pre-season friendly on Saturday (Jul 21).

The Bluebirds finished second in Division 1 last season while their visitors to the Bridge Meadow won the Welsh League Cup last year, beating Llanelli Town in the final.

Haverfordwest manager Sean Cresser, with Wayne Jones back as first team coach alongside him, had a full squad to chose from which included former Hakin players Ben Fawcett and Jack Wilson and other new signings Elliot Thomas, Antonio Facciuto and former Swansea City and Llanelli Town star Lee Trundle.

A good crowd gathered to watch the first friendly of the season but they witnessed the Bluebirds go behind in the opening minutes.

Jordan Edwards put Trefelin ahead after he capitalised on an error at the back to poke the ball in.

Steffan Williams hit the post for the Bluebird as they continued to search for a way back into the game.

The Bluebirds levelled after half an hour after Lee Trundle was brought down in the box, earning his side a penalty. He picked himself up to smash the ball into the net for his first goal for Haverfordwest.

On the stroke of half time the away side went ahead again as Shaun Best scored with an excellent lob.

It was all Bluebirds at the start of the second half as Steff Williams and Lee Trundle both saw efforts saved. Elliot Scotcher also tried his luck from long range but his shot was punched wide.

Ben Fawcett crossed into the box but Trundle was unable to get on the end of it to tap it in.

Trundle was again brought down, this time on the edge of the box, but he sent the resultant free kick way over the bar.

The returning Facciuto then set up another chance but a fierce strike cannoned back off the post.

Substitute Jack Wilson almost made an immediate impact but his shot was again pushed wide by the keeper.

With ten minutes to go, the Bluebirds were given another free kick on the edge of the box and Scotcher fired the ball into the top right hand corner.

Ben Fawcett saw a late shot saved and he was also inches away from connecting to a dangerous looking cross which just evaded him.

The game finished 2-2 and the Bluebirds will feel good having got their pre-season campaign underway with a good result.

They will look to get more match fitness in on Wednesday (Jul 25) as they take on Pembrokeshire League side Goodwick United at the Bridge Meadow.

On Saturday (Jul 28), Haverfordwest County are at home as they take on Welsh Premier League side Aberystwyth Town.

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Haverfordwest face Whitland in Alec Colley Final

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HAVERFORDWEST will play Whitland in the Final of the Alec Colley Cup after both sides won their respective semi-finals this week.

On Tuesday (Jul 17), Whitland took on Carew in Johnston and after winning the toss they invited Carew to bat.

They lost Luke Hicks early on when he was bowled by Iestyn Scourfield but Scott Richard and Brian Hall shared 44 runs for the second wicket.

Richards made 16 before he was bowled by Wayne Howells.

Hall then shared another good stand of 53 with James Hinchcliffe as they helped Carew past 100 runs.

Hall hit eight fours in a knock of 54 from 42 balls but he was then caught by Conor Bowen off the bowling of Jack Bowen.

That left Carew on 106-3 and seemingly on course for a big total. Hinchcliffe scored 29 but he was then bowled by Jack Bowen.

Rob Hicks added 14 before being bowled by Scourfield and Dai Rees was then run out by Jack Bowen.

Jacob Knox and Morgan Grieve finished not out on scores of 3 and 6 respectively as Carew posted 147-6.

Openers Wayne Howells and Jack Bowen then got Whitland off to an excellent start to their reply as they shared 51 runs for the first wicket.

Howells hit four fours in a knock of 21 but the partnership was brought to an end when he was bowled by Rob Scourfield.

Bowen then shared another 44 runs with Iestyn Scourfield who only scored 14 before he was caught by Scott Richards off the bowling of Knox.

Ed John scored 12 as he shared another 30 runs with Bowen but John was caught and bowled by Iori Hicks.

Bowen smashed four fours and five sixes in his knock of 76 from 48 balls but he then hit the ball to James Hinchcliffe, giving Knox hi second wicket.

Adam Davies was then run out by Carl Thomas but scores of 5 not out from Martin Thomas and 12 not out from Gethin Scourfield saw Whitland into the final.

On Thursday (Jul 19), Haverfordwest took on Cresselly in Pembroke Dock.

Cresselly batted first but scored 131-9 as Scott Arthur played well despite wickets falling around him.

Chris Phillips bowled well for Town before Nitin Mathias and Dai Davies saw them into the final with some good batting.

The final will be played at Pembroke on Sunday, August 12.

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Town back on top as Neyland beat Cresselly

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THE top three in Division 1 are now separated by just four points following Saturday’s (Jul 14) results.

Haverfordwest moved back to the top of the table with a ten wicket win at home to Johnston while Neyland beat Cresselly to bring themselves back into the title race.

Johnston batted first and had it not been for a score of 65 from Hafiz Farooq, their score could have been a lot less than the 148 they posted.

Simon Holliday took four wickets for Town who then had Dai Davies and Ben Field finish unbeaten as they comfortably secured the win.

Cresselly batted first against Neyland but they were restricted to 170-9 with Simon Cole top scoring on 77.

There were three wickets for Henry Durrant who later finished not out on 20 see Neyland to victory. Andrew Miller scored 37 and Paul Murray scored 29 earlier in Neyland’s run chase.

It is the second time this season that Cresselly have been top going into the weekend’s fixtures only to find themselves knocked off top spot following a defeat.

Elsewhere, there were three centuries in the game between Llangwm and Kilgetty in a thrilling encounter at Pill Parks.

Matthew Kiff scored 105 for Llangwm in their total of 297-5 but it wasn’t enough as Ross Hardy scored 106 and Kurtis Marsh finished unbeaten on 113 to see Kilgetty to victory.

Whitland remain in fourth place after they beat St Ishmaels by 114 runs.

It was a day for the batsman as Matthew Davies finished not out on 101 while Jack Bowen added 58 runs.

That saw Whitland to an excellent total of 310-7 but Tish were unable to replicate that score. Daniel Howells did score 73 for the home side but they were eventually all out for 196.

Lawrenny earned an eighth win of the season on Saturday as they beat Burton by two wickets.

Burton batted first but were all out for 142 as Brad McDermott-Jenkins took three wickets for the visitors. Richard Jones was Burton’s top scorer with 40 runs.

Lawrenny had scores of 71 from Steve Lewis and 44 from Steve Campbell as they reached their target despite three wickets apiece from Jack Davies and Johnnie Scale.

Those results mean Haverfordwest are top of the table by a point from second placed Cresselly and by four points from Neyland.

Whitland are sixteen points behind Town in fourth place and cannot be counted out of the title race just yet.

At the other end, Johnston’s defeat means they are now 120 points from safety and with only 150 points left to play for, it seems they are destined for Division 2 cricket next season.

On Saturday (July 21), new leaders Haverfordwest are away as they take on Kilgetty. Neyland are also away as they take on Johnston while Cresselly visit St Ishmaels.

Whitland are at home to Burton and Lawrenny host Llangwm.

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