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Rugby season arrives

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PEMBROKESHIRE rugby teams will get their seasons underway on Saturday, September 1, with all hoping to have a successful season.

Championship side Narberth had an excellent 2017/18 campaign, finishing second in the table behind runaway leaders Pontypool.

They had 14 wins from their 22 games and they will be looking to go one better this time around. Narberth have played two friendlies prior to the season beating Felinfoel 29-0 and Principality Premiership side Llanelli 17-12.

The Otters begin their season away to Beddau and have already named their team with Nick Gale, Jack Price, Jonathan Rogers and Tom Powell all starting.

In League 1 West, last season’s escape artists Crymych will be looking to achieve a finish similar if not higher than the sixth place they achieved in May.

Crymych were bottom of the table at the end of 2017 with just one win but a remarkable second half of the season saw them pick up ten wins to secure their place in the Division.

They also welcome back Tristan Lewis from Whitland and on Saturday, they get their campaign underway against Tenby United in an exciting Pembrokeshire derby.

Return: Lloyd Thomas

Tenby have had a busy pre-season, making a number of new signings including Lloyd Thomas, a former youth product, who returns at Outside Half. Lloyd transferred to Mahurangi Rugby Club in New Zealand in 2013, representing their premier team 84 times in the North Harbour league and became a firm favourite.

19 year old Second Row Tom Barrass, in his first year out of youth has followed Ossie Boswell from Pembroke Dock to Tenby United having impressed during his 1st XV appearances last season.

Jack Broadhurst, last season’s Narberth Youth Captain and Player of the Year, has also signed having previously represented the Swifts section before heading to Narberth.

Whitland, promoted from League 2 West last season, will be looking to get their season off to a flying start when they take on Gorseinon at home on Saturday.

Gorseinon finished fifth last season and will provide a good test for the Borderers on their return to league 1.

Marc Jones will captain the side for tomorrow’s opener, with Nico Setaro, Scott Buird, Jack Mason and Josh Thomas all in the starting XV.

Fishguard finished last season in ninth place in League 2 West and they will be aiming to achieve a higher finish this time around.

The Seagulls won 18-14 in the Pembrokeshire Cup against Haverfordwest on Tuesday, providing a good test before the start of the season.

Pembroke won the League 3 West A title with just one defeat to their name and they will be eager to get underway in League 2 on Saturday.

Pembroke have welcomed back James Skeels, Daffy Lewis and Mark Williams to their squad and they will be aiming to replicate the achievements of Saturday’s opponents St Clears in their first season at this level.

St Clears enjoyed a successful first season in League 2 last time around and they will be aiming to improve on their eighth place finish.

The Saints parted ways with Head Coach Mike Jones in the summer but have welcomed Tim Poole as their new first team coach with Lee Glanville joining as Defence coach and Rhodri Jones as attack coach.

League 3 West A will once again be a tightly contested league this season with Milford Haven, Laugharne and Haverfordwest again in contention for promotion.

Milford finished second last season and with Pembroke now a league above, they will aiming to get off to a good start against Pembroke Dock Quins at Bierspool.

Nathan Williams has returned to lead Milford while Jamie Lewis will captain the side on the pitch and they will be hoping to have a successful season.

Likewise will be the Quins who had six wins to their name last season but they will be looking to improve on their eighth place finish.

Haverfordwest will also be aiming for a return to League 2 and will be led by captain Matthew Clark.

He is joined by fellow new signings Adam Clark, Craig Barnett, Ashley George, Jamie Barnett, Jack Clancy, Kern Cunningham and Jamie Plumb. All will be hoping they can help the Blues to improve on their fifth place finish from last season.

They begin against a Llangwm side who will be determined to get off the mark early in the season.

The Wasps played Neyland in the Pembrokeshire Cup on Tuesday and pushed them all the way before succumbing to a 29-10 defeat.

Neyland will also be looking to get the season off to a good start on Saturday but they face a long trip to Ceredigion to take on Tregaron.

They had an excellent 2017/18 season with ten wins from their twenty games to achieve a sixth place finish but level on points with Haverfordwest and they will be aiming to improve on that.

St Davids are without a game this weekend but they get their season underway next week (Sept 8) when they travel to Llangwm.

Sport

All Blacks earn third straight win

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NEYLAND sealed their third League win in a row on Saturday (Sept 22) as they beat Llanybydder 22-16 at the Athletic Ground.

It was a closely fought match and the blustery rain and strong wind made conditions difficult for both teams in their attempts to play open rugby.

The home side started well and were rewarded when lively right wing Patrick Bellerby made a strong midfield run to cross for the opening try, converted by fly-half Mark Riley.

Llanybydder then settled, and a good run by centre Arwel Thomas took play deep into the home 22.

Further pressure by the visitors led to two penalties for centre Steff Richards to give a score of 7-6 at the interval.

Neyland controlled possession and territory for most of the second period, with forwards and backs combining well.

Llyr James reaches over to score the last try of the game. Pic. Herald

They were rewarded with two tries for Number 8 Ben Williams and another for replacement hooker Richard Jones as they claimed a bonus point.

However, the visitors, missing a few regulars, responded with a late try for scrum half Llyr James, with an excellent conversion by Richards securing the losing bonus point.

On Saturday (Sept 29), Neyland will look to keep their winning run going when they travel to Cardigan. Llanybydder return to South Pembrokeshire to visit Pembroke Dock Harlequins.

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Sport

Super Solva sink Neyland

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SOLVA pulled off one of the shocks of the Senior Cup first round as they beat Division 1 Neyland 4-2 at the Athletic Ground on Saturday (Sept 22).

The game got underway despite persistent rain and it was the hosts who took the lead.

Solva equalised before Neyland took the lead once more, Ben Fairburn and Mike Chandler scoring for the home side.

Shortly before half time Solva equalised to make it 2-2 and it was all to play for in the second half.

Leon Dinmore scored twice while Gonzalez Rocha and Josh Bland also scored as Solva went ahead in the second half.

Neyland looked to hit back but were unable to find a way past the Solva keeper as a couple of long range efforts flew over in the closing stages.

Solva hung on for a deserved win and will now look forward to their second round game away to Pendine.

Neyland return to Division 1 action on Saturday (Sept 29) as they take on Narberth. Solva will look to build on their Cup win as they host Camrose in Division 2.

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Sport

Senior Cup first round preview

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THE first round of the Senior Cup gets underway on Saturday (Sept 22) as the road to the Bridge Meadow begins.

The standout tie of the round sees Cup holders Hakin United taking on Clarbeston Road in a repeat of last season’s final.

Hakin won the final 7-1 and they will be keen to get their defence of the Cup up and running. Clarby have reached the final for the last two seasons and they will also be looking to get through to the next round.

There is a local derby on offer in Fishguard as they welcome former Senior Cup winners Goodwick United.

Both teams have made excellent starts to their respective seasons and something will have to give for one of these teams to go through.

Keegan Summers and Steve Lewis have both scored seven times for Fishguard and Goodwick will have to keep these two quiet. Jordan Griffiths has also started the season in fine form with eight goals and he will provide the main threat to their rivals.

Division 5 newcomers Newport Tigers will have their first taste of Senior Cup football on Saturday as they travel to Division 1 side Narberth.

Narberth have not won in their opening five games and will be looking to kick start their season with a cup win.

Newport have played three times so far winning just once but they will be keen to cause an upset.

Another side that has had a tough start in Division 1 is Lamphey and they host Division 2 side Letterston who have also made a slow start with just one win from their first five games.

Action from the Senior Cup game between Merlins Bridge and Solva last season

Merlins Bridge have made an unbeaten start to the season with three wins and a draw in their first four games and they will be looking to avoid an upset against Division 4 leaders Cosheston.

Cosheston are also unbeaten and have scored over three goals in each of their three games so far and the Wizards will need to be wary of the threat posed by their opponents.

Division 2 leaders Johnston are at home as they welcome Carew in what should be an excellent game.

Johnston’s Scott Crawford and Ryan Doyle, with nine and seven goals respectively, have started the season in excellent form and they will be hoping they can cause an upset.

Carew had been unbeaten until their loss to St Clears last Saturday and they will be keen to bounce back from that result with a win in the cup.

Neyland earned their first win of the season on Saturday as they beat Milford and they will be looking to back that up as they take on Division 2 Solva.

Solva have made a steady start to their season with two wins and a draw from their opening five games but they also won in their last game on Saturday as they beat Lawrenny 3-2.

Milford v Saundersfoot from last season

Milford United are away to fellow Division 1 side Saundersfoot Sports in a repeat of last season’s first round game which the Sports won at Marble Hall.

Hundleton beat Monkton Swifts in the first round last year and they have a home game against Milford Athletic.

Both sides have made a slow start to the season and will be eager to get their season up and running with a cup win.

Camrose are at home as they take on Pembroke Boro who are yet to lose in Division 3 so far this season.

Llangwm/H’west CC take on Herbrandston while Pendine are at home to Prendergast Villa.

St Clears host Kilgetty and St Ishmaels are at home as they take on Monkton Swifts. James Russell and Dylan Davies have started the season on fire scoring 19 goals between them and Tish will do well to stop them.

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