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Pembroke open with a win

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PEMBROKE put in an excellent display on Saturday (Sept 1), as they kicked off their League 2 West campaign with a 29-20 win over St Clears.

There were new faces among both sides and a good crowd gathered to watch the game.

Pembroke opened proceedings and enjoyed the best of the opening exchanges although the visitors were not helped when one of the new faces, Rhys Strawbridge was presented with an early ten minute rest on the sidelines when he incurred the referee’s displeasure after only six minutes of play.

In a rare visit to the home side’s half after seventeen minutes, scrum half Owain Davies scored an opportunist try for the visitors to record the first of the new season but within a minute Pembroke struck back when fly half Toby Smith touched down close to the posts allowing an easy conversion for full back Luke Hartland to edge into the lead.

Pembroke continued to press and with Smith controlling affairs with excellent tactical kicking varied with good interplay with his lively backs another try was no surprise ten minutes later from prop Dom Colman and although the kick from the touchline was not successful a useful lead of 12 points to 5 was established at half time.

Two minutes into the second half fly half Dan Griffiths reduced the arrears for the visitors with a penalty and the balance of play shifted with the visitors matching the host’s efforts, particularly up front with the pack much the stronger.

Despite this improvement however the home backs looked dangerous whenever in possession from anywhere on the park and within ten minutes two tries orchestrated by outside half Smith exposing the Saints defence stretched the lead to 22 points to 8.

The visitors kept on battling and they were rewarded for their efforts with a try from second row Dafydd Walters converted by Dan Griffiths.

With the final whistle imminent Pembroke settled matters with another try thanks to their back division once again and at 29 points to 15 recorded the bonus point.

Saints responded once again and outside centre Will Davies touched down to reduce the arrears but with a losing bonus point maybe the only consolation available, perhaps providing some consolation, unfortunately the conversion was missed and the visitors left reflecting on a curious game when the result could have been worse that it was.

On Saturday (Sept 8), Pembroke are away to Pembrokeshire rivals Fishguard while St Clears will look to bounce back as they host early league leaders Carmarthen Athletic.

Sport

Seagulls earn comeback victory

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Specsavers National League
Division 2 West
Pontyberem 10 – Fishguard & Goodwick 31
ANYONE leaving Pontyberem’s Recreation Park after 15 minutes couldn’t be blamed for thinking a Pontyberem victory would be the end result. However, rugby matches last 80 minutes.
Straight from the start, Pontyberem put the Seagulls on the back foot and played with control and flair.
Fishguard rapidly slipped to a ten-point deficit through a Sion Nicholas try and a further five points from the boot of the home team’s skipper, centre Mike Sauro.
The tide turned when Pontyberem were hit with a pair of yellow cards, which allowed the Seagulls to turn the game’s momentum around. Fishguard managed to turn the screw with their advantage, crossing for
During the opening section of the game the Bont played with control and quite a bit of flair, resulting in them hitting Fishguard with a ten-point onslaught, through a Sion Nicholas try, and a further five points from the boot of centre and skipper Mike Sauro. However, with two yellow cards being awarded against Pontyberem, the tide turned.
And Fishguard took full advantage by turning the screw, crossing for 2 tries of their own.
The first came as visitors’ skipper Chris Shousha took a quick tap penalty and steamed over for an unconverted try. Outside half Mick Jones slotted over a penalty to pull the Seagulls within two points before rounding off a sweeping movement which started inside his own half with a fine score.
Although Pontyberem were strong in scrum and effective in the lineout, they were unable to convert good first-phase possession into any meaningful threat. Their failure was largely down to excellent work by Fishguard’s back row and former Pontyberem player Nick Setaro’s kicking game.
The Whitland player, on loan to Fishguard, pinned Pontyberem back with some smart tactical kicking and showed Pontyberem how to turn field position into points by scoring a brace of drop goals.
As the game wore on, Fishguard capitalised on errors by the home team to build a dominant position.
Despite sterling work in the tight, Pontyberem continued to be undone by their own mistakes, excellent jackalling work by Fishguard’s loose forwards, and opportunism.
Skipper Shousha scored his second try after good handling released him in space down the right flank. Mick Jones obliged with the extras to give the Seagulls a comfortable cushion entering the final quarter of the game.
Pontyberem seemed to run out of ideas and Fishguard managed to get that all-important bonus-point score when a clever cross-kick by Setaro found Daf Ridgeway in space. The Seagulls’ winger made no mistake and scored the game’s final try to take Fishguard to a 31-10 lead, which stayed the final score of the match.
This Saturday (Nov 23), Pontyberem make the journey down to Milford Haven and will want to ensure they turn up for the full eighty minutes. Meanwhile, Fishguard have the chance to add further momentum to their season, welcoming basement team Loughor to the Moors.

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Sport

Welsh Athletics celebrate success

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MORE than 200 people from all four corners of the country headed to the Vale Resort Hotel in Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan on Saturday evening (October 19) to attend the annual Welsh Athletics National Celebration Awards Dinner for 2019.
The evening celebrated all the successes and achievements that happened across the sport of athletics in Wales over the last 12 months with a large number of athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and club & group representatives in attendance.
There were twenty-eight awards up for grabs with an expert panel deciding on who the worthy winners were for each one. The awards were across a variety of categories…from clubs, groups and volunteers to officials, coaches and athletes.
Altogether, 22 individuals, 5 clubs and 1 group shared the awards on offer and were welcomed to the stage to be recognised for their contributions.
Hosts for the evening was ever-present Rob Cole and joining him on the stage this year was Mica Moore. Sam Gordon, Jeremiah Azu, Steve Perks, Matt Newman, James Williams, Dafydd Trystan and Kelly Southerton were others who spoke throughout the evening.
It was fantastic to receive confirmation a fortnight ago from the new Chair of Welsh Athletics, Steve Perks that Carmarthen & District Harriers Athletics Club had been nominated to receive the Welsh Athletics Junior Off-Track Club of the Year award at this year’s awards dinner in the Vale Resort Hotel.
Present from the athletics club on the evening and joining other deserving winners from across Wales were Jake Morgan (Club Chairman), Cressy Morgan (Club Secretary), Richard Jones (Club Treasurer), Alison Thomas (Officials Secretary), Neil Thomas, David Toogood, Carol Jones and Delyth Brown (Club Endurance Coaches), Dafydd Jones and Frank Morgan (Club under 15/17 Endurance Athletes) and Nathan Jones (Club Media Officer).
Cross Country and Road Running successes in 2018 and the start of 2019 from endurance young members contributed to the club winning this award in 2019.
The Welsh Athletics Clubs Cross Country Championships came to Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire for the first year back in February and saw the under-11 boys, under-13 boys, under-15 boys and the Female Master 40 teams come away with gold medals on home turf whilst there were bronze medals for the under-11 girls.
The under-13 boys and under-15 boys were victorious at the 2018 Welsh Athletics Road Relay Championships to match their cross-country championships titles. Back in September, the under-11 boys and under-13 boys came away with comfortably victories at the recent 2019 edition of the Road Relays Championships and have got off a great start to the 2019 winter season in October.
The under-11 boys and under-13 boys also became John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League team champions backed up by second place for under-13 girls and third for the novice girls.
Two of Carmarthen Harriers’ endurance athletes Dafydd Jones and Frank Morgan, both pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Myrddin were there to go up and collect the award on behalf of the whole club.
Another to be recognised locally in West Wales was coach Kevin Evans who continues to coach athletes at the track in Carmarthen and a great supporter of the club. After collecting the Endurance Performance Coach of the Year in 2018, Evans was the recipient of the “International Performance Coach of the Year” this time around.
President the award on stage was local Carmarthenshire athlete and one of Kevin’s training group, Dewi Griffiths who hopes to be back to full fitness soon.
International athletes in Wales voted for their “Athletes’ Athlete of the Year” and announced as the winner was Pembrokeshire Harriers’ Heather Lewis, who enjoyed a great season on the race-walking circuit. Elsewhere, James Tomlinson was the “Junior Track & Field Athlete of the Year.” It was a double success here with his coach Paul Jensen, the “Track & Field Performance Coach of the Year”.
Swansea Harriers picked up both the “Off Track Club of the Year” in the older categories whilst the juniors enjoyed success too and as a result, won the “Junior Track & Field Club of the Year”.

 

photo credit: welshathletics.org

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Sport

Rain, rain, go away…

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LAST WEEK, two Manderwood Pembrokeshire Football League games dodged the rain.
After a week in which torrential rainfall was interrupted only by the occasional deluge, only one fixture was completed.
You have to feel for poor St Florence.
Through rain and tempest, they made the trip north to Solva, only to come away on the wrong side of a 9-1 shellacking by the home team.
Solva’s goals came courtesy of Joe Nash, Rhys Rivers, Tom Goodson, a hat-trick from Liam Thomas, two goals from Josh Bland, and one from James Griffin. Jake Webster scored the visitors’ only goal.
Every other game in Pembrokeshire was washed out. League organisers will be hoping that the weather breaks soon to allow the season to get back on track.
Solva’s victory was not the only game of football played in Pembrokeshire, however.
Once more Goodwick United defied the weather and completed a handy 3-1 win over Rockspur Fords in the West Wales FA Cup.
The visitors, who play in the Swansea League Division One, are a form team and must have fancied their chances at Phoenix Park. Goodwick are a tough team to beat, however, and they contested fiercely in appalling conditions for football.
Goals from Rhys Dalling and James Bryan gave Goodwick a 2-0 half-time lead.
On a blustery and soaking wet afternoon, Goodwick simply played the conditions better and there was more than enough niggle to go round in the slippery conditions.
Even conceding an early spot-kick midway through the second half didn’t deter Goodwick. With the score at 2-1 and time ticking down, a Jordan Griffiths free-kick snaked its way into the visitors’ net to clinch the tie 3-1 and leave Goodwick a step closer to a final at the Liberty Stadium next year.
Clarby Road were glad to have two pitches available for them. With the first team pitch unplayable, the second team one was judged fit for play for the second round WWFA Cup fixture against Llanelli’s Camford team.
While the conditions were foul, the pitch held up well.
As the halfway point in the first period approached, Ben John produced a screamer from outside the area to give Clarby the lead. One became two shortly afterwards when Matt Griffiths headed home a well-directed corner. Shortly before half-time, Ben John added another goal to give the homesters a 3-0 lead.
Undeterred, Camford scrapped hard in the second half and pulled a deserved goal back with a fine strike from Ben Bowler.
Clarbeston Road repelled another promising Camford attack before regaining a three-goal cushion, as Ben John completed a fine hat-trick.
With conditions closing in, Joules Ward added a fifth for the home team.
A final result of 5-1 in increasingly poor conditions was a fair reward for Clarby, even if it left an always striving Camford a little short-changed.

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