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Three horse race at the top

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GOING into the penultimate round of Cricket fixtures just seven points separates the top three teams in Division 1.

Haverfordwest hold a slender two point advantage over second placed Cresselly going into Saturday’s (Aug 18) fixtures.

Not to be ruled out are Neyland and they face a tough test against fourth placed Whitland.

Neyland will be keen to keep the pressure on with victory knowing that they take on Haverfordwest in the last game of the season (Aug 25).

Whitland meanwhile will be aiming to keep themselves in fourth place knowing that a defeat could let in Lawrenny who take on St Ishmaels.

Haverfordwest are at home as they take on Llangwm and will be looking to put themselves in the best position possible going into that final game.

Cresselly’s last game saw them lift the Harrison Allen Trophy and they will be keen to keep up that winning momentum.

Cresselly are away to Kilgetty, who are fighting for their Division 1 survival, in what will be another exciting game.

Kilgetty are 38 points above second from bottom Burton with two games left to play and a win will see them safe and Burton relegated.

However, a win for Burton against already relegated Johnston, coupled with defeat for Kilgetty, will see them close the gap to their relegation rivals.

That will set up an exciting final day with Burton at home to St Ishmaels and Kilgetty away to Whitland.

Who will join Carew in Division 1?

In Division 2, Carew are already promoted as Champions and one of two teams will be joining them next season.

Saundersfoot currently occupy second place and hold a 36-point lead over third placed Kilgetty.

Saturday (Aug 18), sees Saundersfoot travel to Carew in what will be another excellent game. Carew may already be champions but having not lost all season, they will be determined to finish unbeaten.

Prior to last week’s games being abandoned Saundersfoot had won their last seven games, their last defeat coming against Carew, and they will be keen to show why they are gunning for promotion.

Defeat for Saundersfoot would then allow Narberth to close the gap should they beat Cresselly Seconds.

Haverfordwest Seconds sit fourth going into Saturday’s games and they will be keen to stay there with victory away to Hook. A win for Hook could see them go above Haverfordwest into fourth place.

At the other end, Whitland Seconds are already relegated but they could still have a say in who joins them in Division 3 as they host Stackpole.

Stackpole are just four points from safety and a positive result could be enough to see move out of the bottom two should Llechryd lose their game away to Pembroke.

Pembroke are not quite safe themselves with a 34 point game between them and Stackpole but a win could see them secure their Division 2 status for 2019.

Sport

Leahy’s stunning double wins Senior Cup for Wizards

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MERLINS Bridge’s Joe Leahy scored a stunning double late on to help his side to come from behind to beat Carew in the final of the Senior Cup on Saturday (Apr 20).

Another large crowd were in attendance at the Bridge Meadow in Haverfordwest on a glorious day and the game was an excellent advert for Pembrokeshire football.

Carew started the game well and had a couple of chances to go ahead with Sam Christopher nearly going through on goal.

Shaun Whitfield then sent a cross into the box but Jack Christopher headed wide of Gary Thomas’ goal.

The Bridge then threatened as Leahy sent a free kick towards goal but Carew were able to head the ball away.

Sam Christopher then came close as the ball bounced back to him off a Bridge defender but his effort was saved by Thomas.

Laurie Haworth then crossed into the box for Nathan Greene but he again missed the target with his header.

Midway through the first half, Iwan Izzard found Alex Bayley who then played in Sam Christopher who fired into the roof of the net to give Carew the lead.

He nearly then grabbed a second but he saw his header saved by Thomas.

The Bridge nearly got themselves level when Haworth was played in by Ashley Beck but his effort was saved by the legs of Carew keeper Tom Davies.

Half time came with the Rooks still ahead but whilst the game was still only 1-0 the Wizards still had a chance of getting back into it.

They started the second half well with Leahy shooting just wide while Nathan Greene saw a shot blocked on the line by Scott Richards.

Sam Christopher scores for Carew

Leahy had another chance to score but he sent his free kick under the wall and just wide of the goal.

The Bridge brought on Will Haworth and he looked dangerous as he sent a cross into the box that had to be cleared by the Carew defenders.

With four minutes to go the ball fell kindly for Leahy and he fired in an unstoppable shot from 30 yards that went in off the post.

It looked as if extra time would be needed to separate the sides but Leahy had other ideas.

With the clock having just ticked past ninety minutes, Greene headed on for Leahy and he fired in from the edge of the box to put the Bridge ahead.

That sparked wild celebrations amongst the Bridge players but there was still time for Carew to get back level.

Jack Christopher saw a shot saved and he then also headed over as Carew’s time began to run out.

The Bridge looked to keep the ball in the corner and moments later, referee Tom Bevan blew for full time and the Bridge celebrated regaining the Senior Cup, having last won it in 2017.

After the game, Bridge player/manager Matthew Divry said: “I’m delighted, it’s my first season as manager so I’m delighted to have won it.

“We showed great character because our performance didn’t match what we’re capable of but to win it late on with two quality goals shows what this team is about.

“Both sides made it a very good game of football.”

Game winning-hero and Man of the match Joe Leahy added: “It’s amazing. We were 1-0 down for so long and to win it like that is incredible.

“It was a massive team effort from everyone.”

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Senior Cup Final Preview: Carew v Merlins Bridge

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Carew v Merlins Bridge

Senior Cup Final: Bridge Meadow, Haverfordwest, 2:30pm

ON Saturday (Apr 20), Merlins Bridge take on Carew in the final of the Senior Cup at the Bridge Meadow in Haverfordwest.

In the first of a final double-header, both sides will be doing all they can to get the upper hand and lift the trophy.

The two sides will also meet at the beginning of May in the West Wales Cup Final at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea.

Meetings between the two sides have been close this season with Merlins Bridge earning a 3-1 win at the Racecourse in November while their game finished 2-2 in Carew in January.

Winners: Merlins Bridge celebrate their 2017 victory

Both sides have had a fantastic season with only three losses between them and they currently sit second and third in the Division 1 table.

The Wizards are aiming to claim the League title as well while Carew are also only three points behind the leaders with a game left to play.

Merlins Bridge won the Senior Cup in 2017 and they will be looking to get their hands on the trophy once again.

The Rooks last won the Cup in 1986 and having last reached the final in 2005, they will be keen to make a new piece of history for the club.

Route to the final

The Wizards began their cup run with a comfortable 10-0 win over Cosheston in the first round with Adam Hawkins scoring five times.

They then beat Herbrandston 5-1 in the second round with Hawkins again on target twice with other goals from Nathan Greene, Joe Leahy and Ashley Beck.

In the quarter final they were pitted against rivals Hakin United but the Wizards went through with a 3-2 win at the Racecourse after Nathan Greene scored twice.

They then took on Monkton Swifts at the Bridge Meadow in the semi-final and earned a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Adam Hawkins, Laurie Haworth and Nathan Greene.

Scott Ferney: Scored in each round of the Cup for Carew

Carew began their route to the final with a 2-1 win over Johnston in the first round thanks to two goals from Scott Ferney.

The second round saw them win 4-1 away at Narberth with Jordan Richards scoring twice and Ferney again on target.

They earned a similarly comfortable 7-1 win over Solva in the last eight with Richards scoring a hat trick. Ferney also scored with other goals coming from Iwan Izzard, Sean Whitfield and Lloyd Hughes.

They then played Pennar Robins in the semi-final, also at the Meadow, and earned a 3-1 to book their place in the final. Sam Christopher, Sean Whitfield and Scott Ferney were all on target for the Rooks.

What the managers say

Merlins Bridge boss Matthew Divry told the Herald: “We’re looking forward to it, it’s a game between two very good sides and it should be a good game.

We are more than confident, we’ve been turning up in the big games and we’ve got a wealth of experience in the squad.

Not many of their players have won or played in the Senior Cup Final but it’s all on the day.

We have a confident dressing room and a full squad to choose from and it’s the first of four big games for us. Both sides are evenly matched.”

Carew manager Rob Scourfield told the Herald: “We’re really excited, two of the boys have been in a final before but it will be a completely new thing for the others but we’re really looking forward to it and we have a full squad to choose from.

Our games against the Bridge have been the toughest we’ve faced this season, they are really well-drilled and have lots of experience.

We’re the top goal scorers in Division 1 so we have a goal threat from everywhere and I’m hoping the boys will be on form.

We know they are strong at the back, I have been impressed with their wide players as well and Joe Leahy is up there as one of the best strikers in Pembrokeshire so he is a massive threat, he hit a hat trick against us so we are well aware of that.

It should be a nice day and I hope it’s a really good game of football. Both sides respect each other and it should be a good advert for Pembrokeshire football.”

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Castle hosts World Cup trophy

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SCORES of young Pembrokeshire Cricketers will have the chance to play in front of World Cricket’s most famous trophy next month when the ICC World Cricket Trophy Tour visits Pembroke Castle.

The visit coincides with the annual U9 Cricket in the Castle festival that has become such a hit with players and supporters since its inception two years ago.

Players from Neyland, St Ishmaels, Saundersfoot, Haverfordwest, Cresselly, Hook, Lawrenny and Whitland will all be eager to impress in front of the famous trophy that is touring the UK ahead of the ICC World Cricket Cup taking place in England and Wales between May 30 and July 14.

Pembroke Castle lends itself beautifully to host a cricket festival like this,” said Sport Pembrokeshire Cricket Development officer Martin Jones.

From speaking with players and parents in the past I know that they have enjoyed their time playing in the castle grounds and with the ICC World Cricket Cup Trophy paying a visit this year, it will be even more special.

With the introduction of All Stars Cricket, there are more youngsters between the ages of 5-10 playing cricket in the county than ever before which is great to see and bodes well for the health of the sport in Pembrokeshire in years to come.”

For more information about All Stars Cricket visit www.ecb.co.uk/play/all-stars.

For more information about the ICC World Cricket Cup and for when matches take place at the Cardiff Wales Stadium visit www.glamorgancricket.com

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