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Hudgell heads Goodwick to Cup glory

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GOODWICK United’s Lee Hudgell headed his side to a second West Wales Cup win in two years as they beat Penlan 1-0 in the West Wales Cup Final at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea.

The Pheonix boys won the Cup in 2016 as part of their historic treble winning season and they were keen to get their hands on the cup once again.

There was a good crowd of 674 and they witnessed a close game which could have gone either way.

Goodwick nearly went ahead after thirty seconds as Jordan Griffiths won the ball and headed on to Lee Hudgell who crossed into the box for Jonny Horgan but his volleyed effort went wide.

With five minutes gone Griffiths played Horgan in down the left but his shot again went just wide of the right hand post.

On eight minutes Wayne O’Sullivan brought down Penlan’s Darren Rowe on the edge of the box giving them a good opportunity. Dale Otten took the kick but Jamees Gwilt made an excellent save to deny him.

Moments later Jordan Griffiths danced his way through a number of players in the box but his shot was eventually saved by Penlan keeper Marcus Collins and the rebound was blocked wide.

Penlan’s Luke Chappell then came close but his curled effort went wide of the right hand post. Luke Dallin also found space down the left but his cross was blocked well by Stefan Hayes.

With twenty minutes gone Chappell won the ball back and Dallin took over but his shot also went wide of the posts.

Goodwick’s Horgan was causing problems down the left and when he was fouled after he made a cross the referee blew for a free kick and Kyle Barrett picked up the first yellow card of the game. The free kick was sent into the box but straight into the arms of the Penlan keeper.

Penlan’s Dallin then passed into the middle for Rowe but his goalbound effort was saved by Gwilt.

Kieran O’Brien then found space to run into the Penlan half and he passed to Griffiths but his shot on the turn was blocked.

Penlan looked to break and a great pass found Barrett but as he was about to pull the trigger, Llyr Tobin got back to make an excellent tackle.

Six minutes before half time, Dallin found Chappell whose shot was saved well by Gwilt but it wouldn’t have counted had it gone in as the linesman flagged for offside.

Dallin was proving a handful for Goodwick and he won a free kick on the left edge of the box which he took and had to be blocked wide by Goodwick’s defenders.

The half time whistle went with the score still locked at 0-0 and both sides were still in with a chance of lifting the cup.

There was a scrappy start to the second half as both sides committed fouls, one of which saw Wayne O’Sullivan booked.

It was Goodwick who had the first real chance of the second half ten minutes in as Hudgell crossed into the box but the ball was headed over by Penlan, away from the waiting O’Brien. From the resulting corner Horgan’s kick was headed in at the front post by Lee Hudgell.

Griffiths then had a chance to double Goodwick’s lead but his effort was blocked wide for a corner.

With twenty minutes to go, Goodwick’s Chris O’Sullivan was injured and he had to be brought off and replaced by Matty Delaney.

Matty was straight in on the action as he beat his man down the left before running into the box and stopping on the byline. Penlan keeper Collins came for the ball and appeared to catch Matty but no penalty was given.

Llyr Tobin was then sent off with ten minutes to go for a second bookable offence and Goodwick would have to hold on with ten men.

Penlan sent a number of crosses into the box but Goodwick dealt with them well. Otten had a chance from one such cross but he gave away a foul as he headed over.

James Gwilt, who had not had much to do, was alert as he punched away another free kick and the rebound was fired over.

Four minutes of added time were signalled and Gwilt again did well to pluck a dangerous cross out of the air.

Gwilt punched another free kick away and that sent Johnny Horgan through but his shot went agonisingly wide of the posts.

Penlan pushed but the final whistle went meaning Goodwick were West Wales Cup Champions yet again!

After the match, the Herald caught up with keeper Gwilt who said: “We’re delighted, the boys worked extremely hard and we ground it out and managed to win the cup.

“I’ve got a great back four in front of me so they make my life easy and we managed to keep them out so it is a great win.”

Chris O’Sullivan added: “It’s great for the club, for what it does throughout the season, it’s a great compliment to our team. It’s a professionally run club and everybody deserves it, they’ve worked hard for it.

“Both teams created a lot of chances first half and could have taken the lead. 0-0 at half time was a bit disappointing because we had some great chances but we knew we were always going to create chances and it was just a case of taking one of those and we know how to see a game out, we’re really well drilled and once we scored I was confident in seeing it through.”

Asked how the sending off affected the team, Chris said: “We work on things like that, we banked up with two banks of four, a coach of mine taught me that really well, Sean Cresser, so that experience in working alongside him helped us today, it worked, we’ve seen it out so it’s great for the club.”

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WALES TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT

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Wales have made one change to their starting XV to face Ireland this weekend with Nick Tompkins, who made a try scoring debut in round one, coming into the side.
Tompkins will line-up at outside centre with George North moving to the wing for the clash in Dublin.
North will line-up in an experienced back-three alongside Josh Adams and Leigh Halfpenny whilst Tompkins will partner Hadleigh Parkes in the midfield. Tomos Williams and Dan Biggar continue their partnership at half-back.
Wales have named an unchanged pack with Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Dillon Lewis in the front-row and Jake Ball lining up alongside captain Alun Wyn Jones.
Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau feature in the back-row.
“We’ve made just one change after a winning start last weekend,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.
“Nick comes into the side, I thought he played exceptionally well when he came on last week so he deserves the start. George, who played really well last weekend at centre, moves back out to the wing.
“On the bench we have a few players back available, Rhys Carre impressed at the RWC and he comes back in. Adam Beard comes in for Cory Hill who picked up a leg injury earlier this week, Gareth (Davies) is fully fit and Owen Williams comes onto the bench and gives us a bit more cover.
“Momentum is important in the Championship, it was nice to get a good winning start under our belts and hopefully we can build on that through the tournament.”
On the bench Rhys Carre joins Ryan Elias and Leon Brown as the front-row replacements with Adam Beard and Ross Moriarty completing the forward contingent. Gareth Davies, Owen Williams and Johnny McNicholl provide the back-line cover.

WALES TEAM TO PLAY IRELAND (Saturday February 8 KO14.15 ITV & S4C)
15. Leigh Halfpenny (86 Caps)
14. George North (92 Caps)
13. Nick Tompkins (1 Cap)
12. Hadleigh Parkes (26 Caps)
11. Josh Adams (22 Caps)
10. Dan Biggar (80 Caps)
9. Tomos Williams (17 Caps)
1. Wyn Jones (23 Caps)
2. Ken Owens (74 Caps)
3. Dillon Lewis (23 Caps)
4. Jake Ball (43 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (C) (135 Caps)
6. Aaron Wainwright (19 Caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (73 Caps)
8. Taulupe Faletau (73 Caps)

Replacements:
16. Ryan Elias (10 Caps)
17. Rhys Carre (6 Caps)
18. Leon Brown (7 Caps)
19. Adam Beard (20 Caps)
20. Ross Moriarty (42 Caps)
21. Gareth Davies (51 Caps)
22. Owen Williams (3 Caps)
23. Johnny McNicholl (1 Cap)

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St Davids flyer starts for Wales

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SCARLETS winger Jasmine Joyce from St Davids has been named alongside Scarlets teammate Hannah Jones in Wales’ starting line-up for Sunday’s Women’s Six Nations Championship opener against Italy at Cardiff Arms Park (1 pm).

The experienced pair missed the side’s five-match autumn series after taking up an opportunity to play for Adelaide University in the Australian national sevens league. Alisha Butchers, who also played for the Adelaide ‘Romas’ has been named on a bench that also includes uncapped Ospreys prop Ruth Lewis.

Coach Chris Horsman says he is pleased with the level of competition in the squad.

“There was debate and competition around every position in the selection meeting, which is exactly what we want,” said the 14-times capped former Wales prop. “We set out to develop strength in depth during the autumn and those games really gave us a chance to look at the group with the 2021 Rugby World Cup in mind.

“There was a case for every player to be involved in some way but we feel this match-day squad is the best placed to make the most of the opportunity this weekend. As in the autumn, we want to go out and perform in every game, improving all the time.”

Italy finished in second place in last season’s competition, beating France comfortably on the way.

“Italy has always been a key match for us and this Sunday will be no different,” added Horsman. “It will be a tough game with no hiding place. We have asked a lot of the players, increasing the intensity of training and they’ve met the challenge head-on. The aim of that is not only to perform under pressure during the Six Nations but also, longer-term, to close the gap on teams above us in the world rankings.

“We are concentrating on ourselves and this week, not looking beyond the challenge of Italy on Sunday.”

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Aber prevail in tough contest

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ON SATURDAY, Aber completed an unbeaten January during which they played four games winning each one. The team’s efforts propelled the club from 8th position, with 20 league points at the start of the month, to 4th position with 38 league points at its close.

In October of last year, Aber had narrowly beaten Gorseinon at the Welfare Ground and this return fixture was by no means as simple as the score suggests.

The visitors started powerfully and were very physical, and the hosts had their work cut out.
From the start Gorseinon varied their tactics, using their big forwards to make inroads into Aber’s defence and then moving the ball wide to exploit opportunities outside.

Early on they could have made more of the overlaps they created but too often cut inside and wasted valuable chances.
So intense was the visitors’ pressure that it took a full ten minutes for Aber to break out of their half own half.
When they did, Steffan Rees put them 3 – 0 ahead with a simple penalty. Gorseinon replied with a penalty of their own from Popham when Aber were penalised for not rolling away.

The score remained at 3 – 3 almost until the interval.

However, with the clock ticking down to half-time, Gorseinon upped their game. After stealing the ball from an Aber attack, they launched an attack of their own.

An attempted catch and drive led to a ruck from which the ball was swiftly moved out to unmarked left wing Thomas to score the game’s first try. Phelps’ excellent conversion gave Gorseinon a lead of 3 – 10 at the interval.

Aber started the second half full of intent and were to maintain this for the full forty minutes. An astute kicking game pinned Gorseinon in the corner of the pitch and allowed Aber to apply the screws.

From a penalty in midfield, Steffan Rees found touch five yards from the visitors’ line. After Gorseinon were penalised at the resulting lineout, Aber chose a scrum. A huge shove enabled No 8, Lewis Ellis-Jones to touch down for the hosts’ first try of the game. The conversion was missed but at 8 – 10 the home side were reaping rewards for their growing dominance.
The score galvanised the home team.

Ian Ellis at full-back was a constant threat to the visitors as he looked for openings to break through their defence or chip ahead to create opportunities for his wingers. After one such break involving Ellis and Matthew Hughes, the ball was moved to the right where Dylan Evans rounded off the move with a fine try. This was very well converted by Steffan Rees and Aber moved ahead for the first time in the game at 15 – 10.

Gorseinon hit back when a failure to gather the ball cleanly from the kick-off led to a ruck from which Aber’s clearance kick was charged down by lock Evans. He gathered the ball and raced on to score a good opportunist try to level the scores at 15 – 15.

Against a determined defence, Aber mounted more and more attacks and it was from a phase of inter-passing down the left side of the field that Matthew Hughes broke through to score near the posts. Rees converted, moving the hosts on to 22 – 15. He added a penalty to increase this lead to 25 – 15 before Adam Carvell pounced on a lax Gorseinon pass, to intercept and score Aber’s bonus try. Steffan Rees added the simple conversion to close the scoring at 32 – 15.

After a two-week break for Six-Nations matches, Aber will face Felinfoel away on February 15.

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