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Rooks stand tall over Giants

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CAREW ensured there would be a first all Pembrokeshire West Wales Cup Final on Wednesday night (Mar 27) as they beat Giants Grave 4-2 at Garden Village.

They will now play Merlins Bridge in the final at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday, May 7, days after the two sides also meet in the Senior Cup Final.

The Rooks beat Giants Grave 5-2 on their way to the semi-finals in last years competition but were expecting it to be much tougher this time around.

However, the Pembrokeshire side blew their Neath opponents away in the first half, coming from behind to lead 4-1 at the break and that was enough to seal their passage to the final.

Giants Grave struck first as they were awarded penalty after only seven minutes when Iwan Izzard was penalised for a handball. Richard Evans slotted the penalty home.

The Rooks looked to get back into it and they eventually levelled just before the half hour mark when Sam Christopher scored after being played in by Alex Bayley.

Three minutes later Carew were ahead as Lloyd Hughes’ shot was fumbled in by Grave keeper Keiron Hyde.

They were not done there and four minutes after Christopher scored his second to make it 3-1.

Three minutes before half time Carew had their fourth as Hughes rounded the keeper to score his second of the night.

It was an excellent period for the Rooks and one that all but secured their place in the final.

However, they knew they would face a strong fight back from the Grave and they seemed determined to get back into it.

Eight minutes into the second half they did pull a goal back when Richard Evans scored a free kick from 20 yards to make it 4-2.

Try as they might the Grave were unable to add to their scoring and Carew saw the game out.

Speaking to the Herald after the game, assistant coach Jeremy Griffiths said: “It’s a bit surreal, a strange feeling but we are elated. We’ve been building for the last two-three years and we’ve finally got there.

“It’s a great honour for the club, it was our third time in the semi-finals so it was third time lucky for us and we look forward to taking on Merlins Bridge at the Liberty.

“We knew Giants Grave would come at us in the first quarter and they took the lead but they had a little wobble and we took full advantage and we scored some good goals.”

Carew: Tom Davies, Shaun Whitfield, Jack Christopher, Max Brindley, Zak Rowell, Iwan Izzard, Ian Darbyshire, Lloyd Hughes (James Hinchliffe 83), Alex Bayley, Jordan Richards (Tom Grover 86), Sam Christopher.

Subs not used: Ben Evans, Scott Richards, Haydn Shapcott.

Giants Grave: Keiron Hyde, Dan Williams, Simon Hanford, Ross Hobson, Chris Mahoney, Ross Davies (Josh Davies 65), Dean Evans, Luke Pearson, Tim Stephens, Richard Barness (Rob Canny 59), Richard Evans.

Subs not used: Jack Surman, Adam Llewellyn, Anthony Price.

Sport

Division 3: Three-horse race

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THE Division 3 title race and promotion will be decided on Saturday (Aug 24) with three teams all still in the hunt.

Last week, Llanrhian, who had been top prior to their game, saw their match at Llangwm Seconds called off after they claimed their pitch was wet.

Herbrandston then beat Lamphey to move top of Division 3 while the Stags picked up enough points to knock Llanrhian down to third.

Going into the final round of games, Herbrandston are 19 points ahead of Lamphey and 22 points above Llanrhian.

Herbie face a trip to Narberth Seconds knowing a win will see them crowned Champions while a draw would also be enough.

A defeat could allow Lamphey in to be crowned Champions but that would also rely on Herbie not picking up more than 11 points.

Lamphey face fourth placed Laugharne in what is likely to be a tough game for both sides.

Llanrhian still have an outside chance of claiming the title but they would need to rely on Herbie and Lamphey losing their games.

Llanrhian will look to put last week’s disappointment behind them as they host Stackpole.

A win for Llanrhian coupled with a Lamphey defeat or draw could still see them promoted.

Elsewhere, the bottom four sides play each other with one final relegation place to be decided.

Whitland seconds currently sit second from bottom and they travel to fourth from bottom Haverfordwest thirds.

A win for Whitland could move them above Town and if Llangwm also won that could see Town drop down a Division.

Llangwm seconds take on already relegated Lawrenny seconds. Llangwm sit eight points above Whitland and know anything other than a win could let Whitland go above them.

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Division 2: Narberth and Llechryd face off for title

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LLECHRYD will host Narberth on Saturday (Aug 24) with the winners being crowned champions of Division 2.

Both will be playing their cricket in Division 1 next season but the destination of the title will be decided on Saturday.

Going into the game, Llechryd sit top of the Division, 17 points ahead of Narberth. A home win will see Llechryd crowned champions but should Narberth take the win it will be they who go up as champions.

When the two teams met earlier in the season it was Narberth who came out on top with a seven wicket win.

With promotion and relegation decided there is little for the others to play for but some can still improve their final positions.

Pembroke sit third and on Saturday they are away to Kilgetty knowing if they slip up, Hook could claim third place if they beat Carew Seconds.

Relegated sides Johnston and Cresselly seconds will play each other at Glebelands with the winners earning their second win of the season.

Pembroke Dock also take on Haverfordwest seconds and a win for Town in that game will see them jump above the Dock.

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New Solva kit to continue Luke’s Stand Up To Cancer message

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THE family of inspirational cancer fundraising campaigner Luke Harding has donated a new kit to Solva AFC in his memory, which features four words that perfectly sum up the way he battled the illness – Stand Up To Cancer.

Luke, who played for Solva for around a decade, raised more than £30,000 for Withybush Hospital’s Ward 10 and local charities following his diagnosis with stage four lung cancer in 2016.

Medi George, Secretary of Solva AFC said: “Luke played football with the same dedication and energy with which he battled cancer and it is an honour for our club to be able to continue his message in this way.

“We are extremely grateful to Alex, Peter and the Harding family for this kind gesture and it is fitting that our players were able to wear the kit for the first time in the final of the first annual Luke Harding Memorial Cup.”

The kit was unveiled at Fishguard Sports’ ground before the final of the competition, with Goodwick United 2nds running out eventual 3-1 winners against Solva 2nds. The tournament also included Fishguard Sports and Letterston, which Luke also represented.

Ruth Amies, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Wales, said: “We are extremely grateful to Luke’s family and to Solva AFC for supporting Stand Up To Cancer which funds life-saving research in Wales and across the UK. The new kit is a wonderful tribute to Luke who fundraised tirelessly throughout his diagnosis and we are thrilled the players wore the new kit for the first time this week.”

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