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Senior Cup Final Preview: Carew v Merlins Bridge

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Carew v Merlins Bridge

Senior Cup Final: Bridge Meadow, Haverfordwest, 2:30pm

ON Saturday (Apr 20), Merlins Bridge take on Carew in the final of the Senior Cup at the Bridge Meadow in Haverfordwest.

In the first of a final double-header, both sides will be doing all they can to get the upper hand and lift the trophy.

The two sides will also meet at the beginning of May in the West Wales Cup Final at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea.

Meetings between the two sides have been close this season with Merlins Bridge earning a 3-1 win at the Racecourse in November while their game finished 2-2 in Carew in January.

Winners: Merlins Bridge celebrate their 2017 victory

Both sides have had a fantastic season with only three losses between them and they currently sit second and third in the Division 1 table.

The Wizards are aiming to claim the League title as well while Carew are also only three points behind the leaders with a game left to play.

Merlins Bridge won the Senior Cup in 2017 and they will be looking to get their hands on the trophy once again.

The Rooks last won the Cup in 1986 and having last reached the final in 2005, they will be keen to make a new piece of history for the club.

Route to the final

The Wizards began their cup run with a comfortable 10-0 win over Cosheston in the first round with Adam Hawkins scoring five times.

They then beat Herbrandston 5-1 in the second round with Hawkins again on target twice with other goals from Nathan Greene, Joe Leahy and Ashley Beck.

In the quarter final they were pitted against rivals Hakin United but the Wizards went through with a 3-2 win at the Racecourse after Nathan Greene scored twice.

They then took on Monkton Swifts at the Bridge Meadow in the semi-final and earned a 3-0 win thanks to goals from Adam Hawkins, Laurie Haworth and Nathan Greene.

Scott Ferney: Scored in each round of the Cup for Carew

Carew began their route to the final with a 2-1 win over Johnston in the first round thanks to two goals from Scott Ferney.

The second round saw them win 4-1 away at Narberth with Jordan Richards scoring twice and Ferney again on target.

They earned a similarly comfortable 7-1 win over Solva in the last eight with Richards scoring a hat trick. Ferney also scored with other goals coming from Iwan Izzard, Sean Whitfield and Lloyd Hughes.

They then played Pennar Robins in the semi-final, also at the Meadow, and earned a 3-1 to book their place in the final. Sam Christopher, Sean Whitfield and Scott Ferney were all on target for the Rooks.

What the managers say

Merlins Bridge boss Matthew Divry told the Herald: “We’re looking forward to it, it’s a game between two very good sides and it should be a good game.

We are more than confident, we’ve been turning up in the big games and we’ve got a wealth of experience in the squad.

Not many of their players have won or played in the Senior Cup Final but it’s all on the day.

We have a confident dressing room and a full squad to choose from and it’s the first of four big games for us. Both sides are evenly matched.”

Carew manager Rob Scourfield told the Herald: “We’re really excited, two of the boys have been in a final before but it will be a completely new thing for the others but we’re really looking forward to it and we have a full squad to choose from.

Our games against the Bridge have been the toughest we’ve faced this season, they are really well-drilled and have lots of experience.

We’re the top goal scorers in Division 1 so we have a goal threat from everywhere and I’m hoping the boys will be on form.

We know they are strong at the back, I have been impressed with their wide players as well and Joe Leahy is up there as one of the best strikers in Pembrokeshire so he is a massive threat, he hit a hat trick against us so we are well aware of that.

It should be a nice day and I hope it’s a really good game of football. Both sides respect each other and it should be a good advert for Pembrokeshire football.”

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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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