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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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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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