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Strong squad for France opener

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WALES Women head coach Rowland Philips has selected a strong side for the Women’s Six Nations opener in Montpellier on Saturday night (9pm local time).

“We made such huge progress during the autumn – especially against Canada in our final game – that it was important to continue to build on the momentum we created.”

There are two changes and two positional for Saturday’s clash from that previous Wales Test. Scarlets pair Hannah Jones and Alisha Butchers return to the side, Jones will partner Alicia McComish in the centre while Butchers returns from injury to start on the blindside flank. There is a reshuffle in the backrow with Beth Lewis starting at No 8 in place of injured Sioned Harries and Manon Johnes starting on the openside.

“Physicality will be key against France on Saturday,” added Phillips. “That is their strength and they will come out flying. That is an area we have been working on. We’ve prepared for it and now we need to keep our focus from minutes one to 80. Not only do we need to stand up to the physical challenge France will bring but we need to impose our own tempo on the game too.

“Playing France away from home is the only place you’ll experience such a cauldron in terms of the huge crowd and welcome and that’s something the players must embrace and feed off. France are the envy of the women’s rugby world at the moment and our players will certainly gain from the experience.”

The game takes place on Saturday, February 2, 9pm (local time). Live on S4C 8pm GMT:

Team: Lauren Smyth (Ospreys); Jasmine Joyce (Scarlets), Hannah Jones (Scarlets), Alicia McComish (Dragons), Lisa Neumann (RGC); Robyn Wilkins (Blues), Keira Bevan (Ospreys); Caryl Thomas (Dragons), Carys Phillips (capt, Ospreys), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys), Mel Clay (Ospreys), Alisha Butchers (Scarlets) Manon Johnes (Blues), Bethan Lewis (Dragons).

Replacements: Kelsey Jones (Ospreys), Cara Hope (Ospreys), Cerys Hale (Dragons), Natalia John (Ospreys), Alex Callender (*Scarlets) , Ffion Lewis (Scarlets), Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears), Jess Kavanagh (RGC).

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Johnston earn first win

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JOHNSTON secured their first win of the season on Saturday (Aug 10) as they beat Carew seconds by 68 runs.

It brings an end to a long wait for Johnston who went nearly two seasons without victory.

On Saturday they batted first against Carew scoring a good total of 210-9 in their innings.

Gino Cleal top scored for Johnston with 76 runs and there was also a good knock of 44 from Steve James.

Josh Hicks also scored 19 runs as the visitors looked to set a challenging target for their hosts.

For Carew, Rob Hicks was the pick of the bowlers as he finished with figures of 4-22 while Rhys Canton also bowled well for his figures of 2-37.

In reply, Carew’s Yori Hicks scored 62 and Alex Wilkes added 28 but Johnston were not to be denied on this occasion.

Nick Davies was in fine form with the ball taking seven wickets fore the loss of 41 runs. Mark Hicks also took two wickets for Johnston.

They bowled Carew out for 142 and the win also lifts them off the bottom of the table.

Having sealed their first win of the season they will go again on Saturday (Aug 17), when they travel to second placed Narberth.

Carew seconds will look to get back to winning ways when they take on Cresselly Seconds.

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Athletic play Vikings in Joe Lennon final

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MILFORD Athletic will play Hakin United in the Joe Lennon Cup Final on Saturday (Aug 17) after both sides won their respective semi-finals.

Milford Athletic played on Monday (Aug 12) and they beat Herbrandston on penalties after the game finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Hakin played their game on Tuesday (Aug 13) and they overcame Milford United, again by the method of penalties.

On Monday, Division 3 side Athletic took the lead in the first half when Gareth Quirk’s free kick went in despite the Herbie keeper managing to get a hand on the ball.

Keeper Owen Thomas then made a couple of good saves to keep Herbie in the game.

They finished the second half strongly and were rewarded when Marc Boswell’s free kick flew into the net to make it 1-1.

Both sides had further chances but neither could find a winner which meant penalties would be needed to separate the sides.

Athletic keeper Jonathan Pawlett saved McCauley Marshallsay’s spot kick before Callum English fired over to send the Athletic through.

For them, Quirk, Haydn Dimond, Liam Clarke and John Lydon were all on target from the spot.

Tuesday’s sem-final followed a similar story as Scott Reid opened the scoring for the Vikings with a fine strike, only for Milford United to level matters.

Lewys Tee’s goal brought them level at the break to make it 1-1 and that was how it stayed until the final whistle.

Reid came close when a cross was fumbled into his path by the United keeper but he poked the ball wide.

The Vikings also brought on Nicky Woodrow as they went in search of a winner but penalties would again be needed to separate the two sides.

With the score level at 3-3 in the shootout, Joel Codd sent his penalty wide for Milford leaving the hosts with a chance to go through.

Leon Luby kept his nerve to give the Vikings a 4-3 shootout win to send them to the final.

The final will take place on Saturday (Aug 17) at the Obs and kicks off at 2pm.

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Cresselly stun Town

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CRESSELLY’s Dan Sutton scored an unbeaten century to help his side to a ten-wicket win over Haverfordwest on Saturday (Aug 10).

Town batted first on winning the toss and made a good total of 208-2 from their 45 overs.

Simon Holliday and Danny Potter shared 43 runs for the first wicket before Potter was bowled by Ryan Lewis on a score of 23.

Holliday and Dai Davies shared another 99 runs for the second wicket as they continued to put runs on the board.

Davies hit five fours and a six in his score of 47 but he was then caught by Mike Venables off the bowling of Tom Arthur.

Holliday and Ben Field then shared another 66 runs to take Town to their total.

Field finished unbeaten on 38 having hit two fours and a six while Holliday hit five fours and five sixes as he finished not out on 94.

Dan Sutton and Phil Williams began Cresselly’s reply and they were untroubled by Town’s bowling attack.

Williams hit eight fours as he finished unbeaten on 65 but Sutton was the star of the show.

He smashed fifteen fours and five sixes to finish not out on 135 from 122 balls to help Cresselly to their target with time to spare.

The win for Cresselly sees them close the gap to third place Carew to 11 points with the two sides set to play each other on Saturday (Aug 17).

Town will look to bounce back but they face a tough test against newly-crowned Champions Neyland.

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