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Will a Letterston lad be the youngest ever Grand National winner?

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A JOCKEY from Letterston is aiming to become the youngest rider to ever win the Grand National on Saturday (Apr 14). James Bowen, 17, has already won the restaged Welsh National this year on Raz De Maree, but now hopes for success on Shantou Flyer in his first time racing at Aintree.

The Pembrokeshire teenager would be three months younger than Bruce Hobbs when he won on Battleship in 1938, and is hopeful, saying: “I can’t wait. Shantou Flyer has been there before. I know he pulled up (in last year’s National) but he jumped the fences well and hopefully he can give me a good spin round. He has a chance as well.”

Shantou Flyer, an 8 year old gelding trained by Richard Hobson, has finished runner up on his last four starts, including when Bowen rode him in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham. He pulled up before four out at last year’s Grand National, when trained by Rebecca Curtis, but has been assigned a 3lb lower mark this year.

Hobson describes Bowen as a ‘future champion jockey’ and went on to say: “James rode me a winner on Saturday and deserves his chance. It is nice as a small stable to be able to give him his first opportunity.”

The Bowen family hold some equestrian pedigree, with James’ father Peter training the winner of the Topham Chase four times, and his brother Sean rode in his first Grand National at 17 years old.

The only Welsh trained runner in the Grand National will be Buywise, owned by Hywel Jones of Dinas Powys, and trained by Evan Williams of the Vale of Glamorgan. Mr Jones is a director of TH&L Jones Pharmacies and notably owns Plunkett, the winner of the first race to be staged at Ffos Las in 2009, also trained by Williams.

The Beer & Cider Festival is returning to Ffos Las on Sunday, with seven national hunt jump races as well as live entertainment from The Rookz before and after racing. Hospitality has sold out but general admission tickets are still available from £10 per person.

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Lamphey pull out of league

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LAMPHEY Football Club has announced that they have withdrawn their team from the Pembrokeshire Football League.

The Club has cited a lack of players as a reason for their withdrawal but they are now the third team to have done so in a short space of time.

Last season West Dragons and Angle took themselves out of the league for similar reasons.

It means their last match was an 11-1 defeat to Hakin United in the Senior Cup on Saturday (Nov 10) and their game with Goodwick this weekend has now been cancelled.

The Pembrokeshire Football League confirmed the news on their Facebook page saying: “Just to confirm that this morning the League received the sad news from Lamphey that they are withdrawing from the Pembrokeshire League with immediate effect.

“They are citing lack of players as the reasoning for their withdrawal. The League Tables will be amended accordingly.”

Lamphey had not won in their eight games played but had managed three draws. Those points will now be taken away and it is likely that only one team will be relegated from the first division.

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Veteran Vikings on top

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HAKIN United are top of the Welsh Veterans League following a 6-0 victory over Nelson Cavaliers at the Observatory last Sunday (Nov 11).

The result puts the Vikings one point ahead of current Champions Trefelin BGC, with the Port Talbot outfit having a game in hand.

However, last Sunday, despite the final score, It was Nelson that were missing the early chances with Hakin goalkeeper Jason Morgan saving a one on one and a penalty before Hakin took the lead midway through the first half.

Stuart MacDonald broke down the left and set up Matthew Price for a tap in to make it 1-0.

Minutes later, Hakin doubled their lead as Michael McCarthy headed home a MacDonald corner.

Just before half time, McCarthy put Price in the clear and the striker hammered a shot into the bottom corner to make it 3-0.

Early in the second half, Nelson missed another penalty before Price set up McCarthy to score from close range.

Ali Davies put Leigh Walters through to lift the ball over the keeper for number five and the same two players combined again for Walters to score his second, beating the keeper at his post.

Hakin next play in the Welsh Veterans Cup Preliminary Round away to Pencoed Athletic on Sunday (Nov 25).

Hakin United: Jason Morgan, Gerard Gray, Nigel Delaney, Richard Bland, Adam Collins, Ali Davies, Shaun Mills, Richard Nash, Michael McCarthy, Leigh Waters, Leighton Edwards. Subs: Nigel Armstrong, Matthew Price, Stuart MacDonald, Jamie Phillips, Gary Dawes.

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Blues too good for Neyland

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HAVERFORDWEST closed the gap to leaders Neyland as they condemned them to a second defeat in as many games on Saturday (Nov 10).

The Blues made a good start and it was Craig Barnett who put them into the lead with a try which he then converted. Barnett then added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

Haverfordwest continued to put the pressure on and Barnett extended their lead with a penalty.

Barnett then added two further penalties before half time to give his side a 16-0 lead at the break.

Both sides had chances to score at the start of the second half but errors meant the score stayed the same.

Patrick Bellerby came close to scoring for the All Blacks but Haverfordwest defended well to keep him out.

At the other end a Neyland clearance kick was blocked and kicked on with Barnett giving chase but he was beaten to the ball by Bellerby and Neyland were able to clear.

The visitors then went up the other end and came close to scoring but they gave the ball away. The referee was not happy with the scrums and after three attempts gave a penalty to Neyland from which Luke Griffiths-Dawes dived over. George Evans sent the resulting penalty wide.

Any thoughts Neyland had of making a comeback were quickly dashed as Jamie Zambas increased the home side’s lead with a converted try.

Neyland did pull another try back late on through Craig Power and Evans converted but it wasn’t enough as the Blues saw the game out.

The All Blacks are still top of the table but Haverfordwest are now just a point behind. Milford lie in third, two points behind with two games in hand on their rivals.

The teams are next in action on Saturday, November 24, when leaders Neyland travel to St Davids and Haverfordwest are also away to Llanybydder.

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