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Dragonhearts edged out by Serbia

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SERBIA recorded a hard-fought 22-20 victory over Wales Dragonhearts in Belgrade on Wednesday afternoon (Oct 3).

It was the first of two tests between the two evenly matched sides. The try count was four-all with both sides each converting twice, and it was only Dzavid Jasari’s 60thminute penalty that gave the home side the win.

Wales selected all of their side from the country’s thriving community game following a successful three-side Origin series, whilst 13 of Serbia’s 17 play their rugby league in Belgrade, eight of them from the country’s champions Red Star, who will be entering the RFL Challenge Cup next season. Serbia also fielded three Australian-based players, two of whom scored tries, who were flown in readiness for Serbia’s full international against France on Sunday.

The home side took the lead on four minutes after Vladimir Milutinovic forced his way over with Milos Zogovic unable to convert.

Then Wales had a 6-4 advantage on 16 minutes after a Connah Harding try that Mike Hurley easily converted.

Serbia regained the lead from kick-off when Brandon Janjic scored near to the corner with Jasari missing the goal on this occasion.

Wales went back into the lead in the 24th minute after Brett Thomas scored in the corner. Hurley’s conversion attempt hit the crossbar and came out.

Serbia had the advantage again five minutes later when Stevan Stevanovic broke through and Jasari converted well.

Wales levelled just after the half-hour when Sam Pridgeon scored a well-worked try in the corner, making it another difficult kick for Hurley who swung the ball wide.

The score remained at 14-all at the break but Serbia regained the lead within a minute of the second half when Jonathan Kresst scored in the corner and Jasari did well to convert.

Wales were soon level. Following a penalty, Shane Lee went on a mazy run to set up Mark Jones to ground just right of the sticks with Hurley converting.

The game stopped for over five minutes after a collision left Wales’ Dafydd Jones having treatment and eventually needing to go off and have stiches – one of many stoppages for injuries and penalties in a half that lasted nearly 55 minutes. When play resumed on this occasion, Jasari kicked a penalty to edge Serbia into a 22-20 lead.

Wales pressed for a winner but the Serbian defence held out well under pressure in the final ten minutes, and when the Dragonhearts gave away a penalty whilst on the attack in the final minute of the game, that was that and the Serbs had secured their win.

Dragonhearts captain Mike Hurley said: “I thought we were the better side, especially in the first half, where it was just errors from us that let Serbia in. Our defence, up against a very big and physical side was outstanding. We stuck to our game plan and it worked, scoring three outstanding tries.

“The second half was a different story and after some positional changes due to injuries, we lost our shape and direction. However, our defence was again tireless and the boys really worked hard.

“The score reflected how close the game was and with Serbia kicking a penalty, it showed how fearful they were of us.

“I think we chased the win too early and with a bit more composure, discipline and structure we should have won the game. We all feel that was a game that got away.

“We will regroup get a couple of training session in and concentrate on the next game on Saturday.”

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Chairman’s disappointment at Haverfordwest County AFC v Cefn Druids game postponement

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TODAY’S match (Sept 12) between Haverfordwest County AFC and Cefn Druids has been postponed.

The club’s chairman, Robert Edwards, said that he was disappointed to learn the news and stated that the club had followed every single FAW regulation and protocol to the letter.

In an official statement, Mr Edwards said: “The club are extremely disappointed to learn of the postponement of today’s match versus Cefn Druids. It has been a summer of change at the club and we were all looking forward to seeing our hard work played out on the pitch today. The ground staff, coaching team, and Club Secretary have worked tirelessly for the last few weeks, so I am bitterly disappointed for them, and cannot thank them enough for their effort and dedication.

“We would like to make it clear that our club has followed every single FAW regulation and protocol to the letter. Since the resumption of training, we ensured that all rules within the Return to Play guidelines were followed during their respective phases, all players and staff have completed Benchmark COVID-19 questionnaires, and we have spent the previous few weeks guaranteeing that The Bridge Meadow Stadium is a safe environment for football to resume, as per FAW guidelines.

“At all our pre-season games, we ensured that they were correctly sanctioned, and once again, all protocols were followed. We will continue our hard work to ensure that all rules are followed at our club and look forward to getting our campaign underway against Cardiff Met on Tuesday.
“We will not make any further public comment as a club and will be liaising directly with FAW on this matter.”

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Rooks triumph at Treleet

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Alec Colley Cup Final
Carew (95 for 8 and 103 for 8) beat
St Ishmaels (64 for 9 and 106 for 8)
by 29 runs

FAVOURITES Carew won the Alec Cup Final at Treleet on Sunday, August 30, but not without St Ishmael’s second-string showing that they were not be taken lightly.

The decisive period of the match was both sides’ first innings.

Batting first in tricky conditions, Carew struggled against accurate Tish bowling from the outset, with only opener Nick Scourfield providing resistance among the top order batters. And it wasn’t as if Tish didn’t have the chance to deny Carew even that as Danny Flynn dropped Scourfield off opening bowler Kevin Bowen in the Final’s first over.

As it was, Carew stumbled to 45-6 with only five overs of their first knock remaining. It wasn’t until Dai Rees joined Scourfield that the scoring’s tempo increased. Rees hit three sixes on his way to an invaluable 24 before Flynn’s catch off Stuart Carpenter’s bowling. Scourfield also increased his previously sedate progress to add four boundaries in what proved a vital partnership with Rees that helped Carew close on 95-8.

St Ishmaels got off to a rotten a start as Carew’s bowlers exploited conditions. Their innings limped along without a major partnership and only opener Robbie Thomas, along with Steve Williams and Flynn made double figures.

Carew skipper Barry Evans used his nous to end with four wickets, while Kerry Waters applied the squeeze by conceding only ten runs in his spell for the wicket of Ieuan Hawkins. At the end of twenty overs, Tish had struggled to a meagre 64-9, conceding a thirty one run lead to Carew.

With opener Nick Scourfield suffering from a hamstring injury, Carew pressed Morgan Grieve up the order to partner Brian Hall and the pair started off brightly but were separated by Steve Williams before Kevin Bowen claimed Hall’s wicket. St Ishmaels exerted real pressure on the Carew batsmen, with Steve Williams claiming an excellent 3-16.

Carew were indebted to another late innings rally, again featuring Rees, this time in a partnership with Simon Wood. Wood batted cleverly and mixed powerful strokes with some excellent cricket shots on his way to unbeaten 40. Carew’s innings closed on 103-8, setting the underdogs a challenging 135 to win.

After their first innings’ travails, such a chase seemed highly unlikely for Tish. However, Flynn and Rhead were steady at the start before the former’s dismissal by Simon Wood (3-27). Kevin Bowen then gave Tish some real hope with a dashing 25 runs before being caught by Haydn Shapcott off skipper Barry Evans’ slow left-armers.

A rapid-fire partnership of 28 between Ieuan Hawkins and Steve Williams could not stop the inevitable, as Carew had too many runs and just too much experience to lose the match on a tricky drying surface, left damp by recent heavy rain and overnight showers. Tish never gave up fighting and showed real grit and determination before their second innings closed on 106-8, leaving Carew winners by 29 runs.
Umpires Jonathan Willington and Allan Hansen chose Simon Wood as the Man of the Match, a new trophy sponsored by Neyland CC in memory of their late clubman Martin Rees which was presented by Neyland Cricket Club’s Chair, Martin Jones.

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Cricket: Neyland win Harrison Allen

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A BRILLIANT recovery in the field during Haverfordwest’s first innings laid the foundations for a convincing Neyland victory at Cresselly this afternoon.
Neyland, batting first, carved and scampered their way to 142 in their first innings.
Haverfordwest’s reply started in brutal fashion, as Adam James smashed the bowling to all parts, peppering the boundary with a succession of massive hits on his way to a quick fire 34. With the fourth over of the Haverfordwest innings not yet finished, the Town were on 54 and looking like they would set all sorts of scoring records.
Andrew Miller and, particularly, Ross Hardy established a measure of control and sharp fielding squeezed the Haverfordwest batsmen, cutting off boundaries and harrying the batsmen into mistakes.
Neyland reeled in the Town batsmen so successfully that, having looked on course at first for a mammoth score and then a big first-innings lead, they got a slender eight-run lead to take into their second innings.
Neyland started slowly in their second innings before Ashley Sutton and Patrick Bellerby began to step on the gas after Nick Koomen went early. They were particularly severe on veteran spinner Clive Tucker, who took heavy punishment from the pair.
Their good work was carried on by Nathan Banner, who belted a series of massive sixes off Simon Holliday and Clive Tucker, as Neyland posted a massive 214 runs, setting an imposing 222 target.
Despite a rapid start by Potter and an injured Adam James in their second innings, as soon as wickets started to fall, they kept on tumbling as Neyland were sharp in the field and Ross Hardy bowled with great control from the difficult Pavillion End.
The introduction of Andrew Miller from the School End saw him pick up the wicket of Ben Field, who mishit a gentle catch to extra cover.
With him, Haverfordwest’s faint last hope vanished and their innings stuttered to 103-9 leaving them 119 runs adrift and Neyland as Bowl champions.
For his batting in both innings and brilliant fielding, Ashley Sutton was named man of the match.

FULL REPORT IN THIS FRIDAY’S HERALD

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