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George kicks Wales to victory

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AMY Evans, Player of the match in Wales Women’s dramatic 17-15 win over Scotland, has hailed the vital importance of Wales Women’s last-gasp victory over Scotland in the Six Nations on Friday night (Mar 8).

Rowland Phillips’ side sealed their first victory of the Women’s Six Nations in Glasgow as Lleucu George showed nerves of steel to kick a match-winning conversion with the final action of the match. “It was so important to get the win this evening,” said prop Evans who produced a stand-out display.

“We knew it was going to be a tough match after our last two encounters against Scotland being so close and we’re all elated to get the win. It was a massive defensive battle in Italy and we managed to put some attacking plays together against England.

“This game was about putting those two elements together and we managed to score two tries and keep them out when we needed to. When Scotland scored at the end, our heads dropped slightly, but Elinor Snowsill gathered us behind the posts and said ‘It takes 10 seconds to score a try, we’ve got six minutes left, and we just need belief.

“We all knuckled down, believed in ourselves, and it was just down to pure hard word and graft in the end.” Scotland had led through Jade Konkel’s seventh-minute try, but a penalty, then a try, by Bethan Lewis put Wales ahead.

Sarah Bonner crossed from a line-out to level and Chloe Rollie put the Scots ahead with five minutes left.

But George successfully converted Siwan Lillicrap’s try to give Wales their first win of the campaign. Evans believes Wales can still improve further and will take confidence from their Scotland win.

“We left lots of opportunities out there that we didn’t exploit, but with the conditions we knew it was going to be a close game,” she added. “We needed to keep it tight rather than risk errors by going out wide.

“We pride ourselves on our set-piece. As a prop that’s what I judge myself on. We had a lot of penalties from the scrum which gave us a platform to play from so we are pleased there and our attacking line-outs were really good too.

“We’re looking forward to coming home for our final game against Ireland. It’s another big game and it will be great to finish the Six Nations with a home crowd behind us.

“Ireland is always a big occasion and a game we play with a lot of heart and passion. We’ll go back and work hard this week and give it our all.”

Head coach Rowland Phillips is equally buoyant on the effect the win will have on the squad. It will lift the whole group.

“We’ve spoken a lot about the character of this group in adverse situtations and to come back and score the try and for a a 19 year old on her first start in the centre to slot the conversion epitomises a real never-give-up attitude.

“To get a win is going to help the development of this group no end. Whatever I say is not going to have the same impact as a win. Getting that result creates an extra energy, step in the stride of the players.

“We’ve put a lot of effort in this campaign. We probably created some opportunities that we we didn’t take on Friday, but we knew it wasn’t gong to be easy. Scotland were physical and very direct.

“We put ourselves under pressure but to manage that last block was really pleasing.

“It’s been a tough tournament, starting with France away. Ireland have always stepped up in the Six Nations and it feels better to come home with a first win under our belt. Everyone will be excited now to get on the pitch against Ireland.

“Women’s rugby is really growing and we’ve had some fantastic coverage and profile during this tournament.

“Friday night’s match was probably one for the purist but I think many people would have seen the character of the group during that match, and the attitude and determination of the girls to represent their country. We have a few bumps and bruises which we’ll assess this week but our preparation and conditioning work pre-season has really helped our fitness and you always bounce back quicker after a win!”

Wales Women play Ireland at Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday, March 17, 1.30pm. Tickets available from Cardiff Blues ticket office

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Neyland back on top

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DIVISION 1 Champions Neyland returned to the top of the table on Saturday (May 18), as they beat previous leaders Carew by seven wickets.

Neyland won the toss and elected to field and they took an early wicket when Tom Davies was caught by Sean Hannon off the bowling of Henry Durrant.

Tim Hicks and Ian Sefton then shared 83 runs for the second wicket as they looked to build a platform for the rest of the innings.

Sefton hit six fours and two sixes in his knock of 49 but he was then caught by George Evans off the bowling of Geraint Rees.

Simon Wood then scored 11 but he was also caught by Hannon off the bowling of Tom Pritchard.

Hicks played well for his knock of 55 with four boundaries but he was then caught and bowled by Pritchard, leaving Carew on 144-4.

Luke Hicks had made 12 but he was then stumped by Hannon, giving Pritchard his third wicket.

Shaun Whitfield did not last long in the middle as he was caught by Evans off the bowling of Pritchard.

He then bowled Nick Scourfield for a duck for his fifth wicket to leave Carew reeling on 154-7.

Nick Davies and James Hinchcliffe did their best to stem the flow of wickets as they added 17 runs for the eighth wicket but it was Pritchard who struck again to claim his sixth wicket as he bowled Davies on a score of 14.

Hinchcliffe made 12 before he was caught by Gregg Miller off the bowling of Nick Koomen while Brian Hall was also caught by Miller off the bowling of Henry Durrant.

Ceri Brace finished not out on 10 but Carew had been bowled out for 197.

Neyland made a steady start to their reply as openers Nick Koomen and Ashley Sutton shared 29 runs for the first wicket.

Shaun Whitfield made the breakthrough for the home side as he trapped Koomen leg before on a score of 24.

Soon after, Andrew Miller was caught by Nick Davies off the bowling of Tom Davies on a score of 5 leaving Neyland on 40-2.

However, Ashley Sutton and Henry Durrant then shared a good stand of 66 as they looked to set their side up for victory.

Sutton hit five fours and a six as he scored 46 but he was then bowled by Simon Wood.

Despite picking up their third wicket, Carew found it impossible to remove Durrant or George Evans as they took Neyland to victory.

Evans was not out on 32 with a four and a six while Durrant smashed three sixes and five fours as he finished not out on 73.

Neyland now sit top of the table, a point ahead of Haverfordwest, and on Saturday (May 25) they are at home to Saundersfoot.

Carew will look to bounce back as they travel to Whitland.

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Izzard and Lewis show sinks Tish

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CRESSELLY’s Iwan Izzard just missed out on a century while Ryan and Josh Lewis took six wickets between them on Saturday (May 18) as they helped their side to victory over St Ishmaels.

Tish elected to field after winning the toss and they took an early wicket as Dan Sutton was caught by Harry Nicholas off the bowling of Jordan Milich.

Phil Williams and Simon Cole shared 47 runs for the second wicket before Cole was trapped leg before by Milich.

Another good stand followed as Williams and Iwan Izzard took Cresselly past 100 runs. They were then reduced to 136-3 as Williams, who hit seven fours in his knock of 62, was caught by Phil Cockburn off the bowling of Andrew Pawlett.

Andrew Williams then bowled Alex Bayley and soon after, Pawlett trapped Matthew Morgan leg before to reduce the visitors to 160-5.

At this point, Izzard and Ryan Lewis took over for Cresselly as they smashed 89 runs for the sixth wicket.

Lewis hit five fours and three sixes in his knock of 48 from 25 balls but he was then bowled by Andrew Williams.

Izzard had also batted well as he hit four fours and six sixes in a score of 91 from 88 balls. He was also bowled by Williams as Cresselly finished on a good total of 265-7.

Peter Bradshaw fell early in Tish’s reply as he was caught by Simon Cole off the bowling of Sam Harts.

Harry Nicholas was then run out by Josh Lewis as Tish slipped to 21-2.

Daniel Howells and Phil Cockburn then shared 52 runs for the third wicket as they went in search of victory.

Howells hit four fours and two sixes as he scored 38 but he was then caught by Cole off the bowling of Josh Lewis.

Cockburn made 21 but he was then caught by Alex Bayley off the bowling of Ryan Lewis.

Jack Nicholas scored 11 but was then caught by Dan Sutton off the bowling of Josh Lewis leaving Tish on 100-5.

That soon became six as Josh bowled Dan Richards. Brennan Devonald made 15 but he was then bowled by Ryan Lewis.

Andrew Pawlett offered some resistance as he hit three sixes in a score of 25 but he was then bowled by Josh Lewis.

Iwan Izzard trapped Andrew Williams leg before and then wrapped up the innings as he ran out Jordan Milich.

That meant Tish were all out for 152, giving Cresselly their second win of the season.

On Saturday (May 25), Cresselly are at home to Llangwm while Tish are away to Haverfordwest.

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Holliday takes Town second

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A THIRD century in four games from Simon Holliday helped Haverfordwest to victory on Saturday (May 18), as they beat Saundersfoot by 134 runs.

Haverfordwest won the toss and batted first in Saundersfoot and they made an impressive total of 287-6 from their 45 overs.

They made a great start to their innings as Holliday and Mike Jones shared 108 runs for the first wicket.

Jones hit nine fours and a six as he scored 53 but Nicky Cope then claimed his wicket as he hit the ball into the hands of Neil Powling.

A partnership of fifty followed between Holliday and Lee Summons but the latter was then bowled by Cope on a score of 21.

Holliday had hit nine fours and seven sixes as he smashed his way to a century from 96 balls but he was then caught by John Mansbridge off the bowling of Powling.

Saundersfoot then took two more wickets as Powling bowled Ben Field for a duck and he then took the catch to take the wicket of Danny Potter (12) giving Cope his third wicket.

That left Town on 194-5 but Jake Merry and Adam James were in no mood to sit around.

They continued to find runs as James hit three fours and two sixes in a knock of 35 from 17 balls before being caught by Tom Mansbridge off the bowling of Sam Franklin.

Merry continued and finished not out on 38 after four fours and a six.

That set Saundersfoot 288 to win but after a steady start they lost three quick wickets.

John and Tom Mansbridge opened the batting with 27 runs but John was then caught by Jake Merry off the bowling of Adam James on a score of 14.

Sam Franklin was then out for a duck when he was caught by Huw Scriven off the bowling of Evan Watts and he then claimed his second wicket as he had Tom Mansbridge caught by Lee Summons on a score of 16.

That left the home side on 42-3 but Nicky Cope and Paul Mansbridge shared 37 runs for the fourth wicket.

Paul played a supporting role as he scored five before being bowled by Clive Tucker.

Cope then shared another 45 runs with Yannic Parker but Holliday then made the breakthrough as he caught and bowled Parker on a score of 7.

Cope had batted well for his score of 83 from 58 balls, hitting seven fours and seven sixes, but he was then also caught and bowled by Holliday.

That left Saundersfoot on 140-6 and wickets continued to fall. Neil Powling was bowled by Adam James as was Lewis Catt and Matt O’Neill was then stumped by Huw Scriven off the bowling of Holliday.

Holliday then claimed his fourth wicket to finish with figures of 4-48 as he bowled Tarran Richards.

That left Danny Brace not out on 15 but it was a day to remember for Holliday and co.

On Saturday (May 25), Haverfordwest are at home to Tish while Saundersfoot are away to leaders Neyland.

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