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Whitland one win away from title

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WHITLAND moved to within one win of the League 2 West title after they beat Fishguard 46-26 at The Moors on Saturday (May 5).

The Borderers were beaten by Hendy in their previous game but bounced back and now just need to win their final game at home to Mumbles on Saturday (May 12) to seal the title.

Fishguard sit seven points above second from bottom Amman United and the two teams meet next Saturday.

Whitland began Saturday’s game well but after a pass was knocked forward, Fishguard had a scrum. However, a Seagulls infringement gave the ball back to the visitors and from the resulting scrum Adam Davies picked the ball out before passing to Liam Price who went over in the corner.

Nico Setaro’s conversion went wide and the Borderers held a 5-0 lead with ten minutes gone.

Just a minute later Setaro burst through a couple of tackles and offloaded to Jonny Thomas who touched down under the posts giving Setaro an easy conversion.

Fishguard looked to respond and came close on a number of occasions. On one occasion, they were held up illegally and Mike Jenkins sent a penalty through the posts to put the Seagulls on the board.

Whitland then went up the other end but after another foul, Setaro had a chance to extend their lead but his penalty went wide.

Setaro then made amends a minute later as he sent a penalty through the posts for a 15-3 lead.

From the kick off Whitland knocked the ball on giving Fishguard possession and after kicking to touch, Mike Jenkins offloaded for Jamie Lewis who scored in the corner. Jenkins then added the extras to bring the Seagulls to within five points of their opponents.

Fishguard came forward again with Chris Shousha making a darting run and after losing one of his boots he was brought down. Another Whitland foul saw Jenkins send a penalty through the posts to make the score 13-15 to the visitors.

Whitland again responded but Fishguard’s Luke Freebury intercepted the ball illegally, according to the referee and Whitland had another penalty which Setaro scored.

On the stroke of half time, Whitland kicked the ball forward and Seagulls’ Robbie Jones struggled to take the ball cleanly in the bright sun. That put Fishguard back and Whitland were able to win the ball back. Setaro again broke the tackles and passed to David Ebsworth who was brought down before the line but was still able to reach over for the try.

The conversion caused a moment of controversy as it was given by the Whitland touch judge and not given by the Fishguard touch judge. After the confusion was cleared up the conversion was not given and Whitland held a 23-13 lead at the break.

In the second half, Mike Jenkins went on a mazy run but he was penalised for holding onto the ball. Whitland chose to kick to touch but the kick didn’t go out and Fishguard attacked again.

They were then given a penalty and Jenkins again sent the penalty through the posts to bring them to within seven points of their opponents.

Whitland responded in kind and a penalty from Setaro restored his side’s ten point lead.

A knock on from Whitland saw Fishguard pick the ball up and play the advantage but they were unable to break through.

Whitland had a scrum five metres out but Setaro’s clearance kick barely cleared the 22 and Fishguard attacked again. They came close but a knock on ended their attack.

Moments later Setaro broke out and a series of passes found Jonny Thomas who touched down in the right corner. Setaro added the extras for a 33-16 lead.

Another penalty from Jenkins closed the gap once more and with ten minutes to go, Fishguard attacked and the ball was played to Osian Lewis who went over in the corner for a try. Jenkins added the extras to bring the Seagulls back to within ten points of Whitland.

Five minutes from time Setaro added another penalty and with the clock ticking over the 80-minute mark Sean Coles intercepted the ball in his own half and ran on to score the try. Setaro added the extras giving Whitland a 46-26 victory.

Sport

Scarlets make five changes for Cardiff Blues clash

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Scarlets show five changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup clash with Cardiff Blues at Parc y Scarlets (15:00; Premier Sports),

Interim head coach Dai Flanagan has reshuffled his side, giving opportunities to centre Ioan Nicholas and lock Josh Helps.

It will be 23-year-old Nicholas’s first PRO14 appearance since October 2019, having been frustrated by injury this season. Helps comes into the starting XV for the first time since November.

In the back three there is one change with Johnny McNicholl replacing fellow Wales international Steff Evans on the left wing. The only other switch behind the scrum is the inclusion of NIcholas for Tyler Morgan to partner Jonathan Davies in midfield. Angus O’Brien and Kieran Hardy continue their half-back partnership.

Up front, Ryan Elias again swaps with Ken Owens and resumes the captaincy after leading the side for the first time in the opening round match against the Dragons. He packs down in between Rob Evans and Alex Jeffries, the scorer of the only try of the game in last weekend’s 22-6 win over the Ospreys.

Helps and Lewis Rawlins combine in the second row, while injuries to Blade Thomson and Uzair Cassiem see Ed Kennedy handed the No. 8 jersey. Kennedy, Aaron Shingler and Jac Morgan make up the back row.

There are two of Warren Gatland’s 2021 Lions selections on the bench in Ken Owens and Gareth Davies. Steff Thomas, Javan Sebastian, Morgan Jones, Iesyn Rees, Dan Jones and Joe Roberts provide the rest of the replacement cover.

Both the Scarlets and Blues have a win apiece after the opening two rounds of the Rainbow Cup.

Scarlets team v Cardiff Blues (Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup; Parc y Scarlets, Sat, May 15, 15:00 Premier Sports)
15 Leigh Halfpenny; 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Ioan Nicholas, 11 Johnny McNicholl; 10 Angus O’Brien, 9 Kieran Hardy; 1 Rob Evans, 2 Ryan Elias (capt), 3 Alex Jeffries, 4 Josh Helps, 5 Lewis Rawlins, 6 Aaron Shingler, 7 Jac Morgan, 8 Ed Kennedy.
Reps: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Javan Sebastian, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Iestyn Rees, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Dan Jones, 23 Joe Roberts.

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Sport

Newtown hold on to beat Haverfordwest

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NEWTOWN secured seventh place in the JD Cymru Premier Play-off conference as they beat Haverfordwest County 2-1 at the Bridge Meadow.

The Robins had beaten the Bluebirds 6-1 at Latham Park a few weeks ago but it was much different this time around.

Newtown took the lead as early as the second minute as they won a corner which was sent into the box for Tyrone Ofori who flicked the ball in.

The Bluebirds battled for a way back into the game and came close when the ball was played over the top for Jack Wilson but it just ran away and the Newtown keeper Dave Jones was able to gather the ball.

On 17 minutes, the Bluebirds won a corner which Elliot Scotcher sent into the box and Danny Williams headed in to the far corner to make it 1-1.

Newtown were then given a free kick in a dangerous position which captain Craig Williams sent into the box. Kieran Mills-Evans chested the ball down at the back post and Bluebirds keeper Wojciech Gajda made a good save to push the ball away.

There was another chance for Newtown soon after as Tyrone Ofori saw his header pushed wide by Gajda.

From the resulting corner, Shane Sutton headed home to put Newtown back in front.

The Bluebirds then had a chance to get level but Dan Summerfield sent a rasping drive just over the bar.

With half an hour gone, Alaric Jones sent a ball into the box but Corey Shephard saw his header saved by Dave Jones.

Both sides battled away with Scotcher sending a drive over from the edge of the box.

However it remained 2-1 to the visitors as the half time whistle went.

Newtown had a great chance to extend their lead at the start of the second half as Williams sent a corner into the box but Mills-Evans headed just wide.

The Bluebirds looked to get back in the game but despite getting into some promising positions, they were unable to test the Newtown keeper.

With twenty minutes to go a Bluebirds throw was headed on to the back post. Danny Williams headed towards goal and thought it had gone over the line but Dave Jones made a fantastic save to keep Newtown ahead.

Sub Cameron Keetch then had a great chance to level for the home side but he headed wide.

As the game entered the final stages, rain became harder making things difficult for both sides. Newtown were still searching for a third and nearly had it when the ball was played in to Breese into the box but he shot wide.

The Bluebirds were also looking for a late equaliser but as time ran out they resorted to long balls which Newtown were able to deal with.

The visitors kept the ball in the corner late on but the Bluebirds were able to get the ball out as they looked for one last chance.

It never came and the visitors held on to secure seventh place in the table.

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Neyland through in Village Cup after beating Bronwydd

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NEYLAND made it through to the next round of the Village Cup as they beat Bronwydd by 98 runs on Sunday (May 9).

No cricket had been possible in Pembrokeshire on Saturday because of heavy and persistent rain but some great work meant that their cup game could go ahead.

Before the game got underway, a minutes silence was held in respect of former Bronwydd CC player Aled John, who recently passed away.

Bronwydd won the toss and elected to field first which came as no surprise and they were able to restrict Neylad to a score of 160-9 in their 40 overs.

After losing Patrick Bellerby and Ashley Sutton early on, to the bowling of Clive Tucker, Neyland were sitting on a score of 23-2.

However, a stand of 54 between Nick Koomen and Brad McDermott-Jenkins put the hosts in a good position.

Koomen had reached 38 with six fours but he was then bowled by Josh Rencken and wickets continued to fall.

Nathan Banner departed for a second ball duck when he was bowled by Matthew Bagshaw and the same bowler then did the same to Ross Hardy.

McDermott-Jenkins had hit six fours in his score of 40 but he then fell to the bowling of Rencken and Neyand had slipped to 99-6.

Andrew Millers (1), George Evans (11) and Lewis Page all fell to the bowling of James Dickson as Neyland were in danger of being bowled out.

It was left to brothers Sean and Patrick Hannon to steady the ship as they shared 29 runs for the final wicket.

Both finished on scores of 15 not out with Sean hitting a six while Patrick’s score came from only 14 balls.

It meant that Bronwydd would need 161 to progress to the next round.

They made a steady start to their reply but when Josh Rencken was caught by Patrick Bellerby off the bowling of Nathan Banner on a score of 19, wickets began to tumble.

Jacob Jenkinson made a score of 15 but he was then stumped by Sean Hannon off the bowling of Andrew Miller.

Miller also picked up the wicket of Oliver Furneaux before Ross Hardy trapped James Dickson leg before to leave the visitors on 51-5.

Hardy then did the same to Carwyn Jones and he also bowled Iwan Davies as the game started slipping away for Bronwydd.

Miller then picked up his third to finish with figures of 3-11 from his eight overs while Hardy returned to pick up his fourth to finish with impressive figures of 4-5 from seven overs, five of which were maidens.

McDermott-Jenkins wrapped the game up with the wicket of Colin Tucker as the hosts secured an excellent win.

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