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Three Nations golds for Croft twins

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YEARS of dedication to a punishing training schedule paid off in style for Crymych’s remarkable 17-year-old Croft twins on Saturday (May 4) when both stood together on top of the Three Nations Championships podium for the first time at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens.

Southpaw Ioan proved king of the 60kg division, having overcome European champ Adam Azim (Pinewood Star) in the semi-finals en route to winning his second gold in the Three Nations, formerly known as the Great Britain championships.

Croft simply proved too good for Scotland’s Robert Hewitt in Saturday’s final and the unanimous points verdict was never in doubt.

Cardigan ABC head coach Guy Croft looked on in pride as Ioan’s twin Garan subsequently overcame Scotland’s Reese Lynch on a split decision in the 64kg final to make it a Three Nations double.

“This was Garan’s first Three Nations gold after being so close so many times,” he said.

“For me this was the culmination of eight years’ hard work, to get the boys on the podium together.”

An old rival of Ioan’s, Azim had beaten the Welsh teen in close bouts on their previous two encounters after really setting the benchmark in the 60kg class for the last three or four years.

The reigning European champion was looking to capture his fourth Three Nations title, only for Ioan to find his range immediately with straight sharp jabs and back hands.

“In the first round Ioan came out as sharp as I’ve ever seen him,” recounted Croft senior. “It was soon clear to me he was in control.

“Adam is usually a lightning-sharp counter puncher, but Ioan was in and out with his own shots without getting caught – the first round was close but I felt Ioan had edged it.

“The second  continued much the same way with Ioan taking more and more control while Adam started getting frustrated and making errors.

“The third saw Ioan completely dominate, landing a string of accurate straight backhands which Adam couldn’t seem to avoid.” The decision went to Ioan on a 4-1 split decision, only the English judge voting against the Cardigan ABC boy.

Following Friday’s semi-final drama, Saturday’s finals proved something of an anti-climax as far as Ioan was concerned as he comfortably secured the gold on a unanimous decision against the outclassed Hewitt.

Then it was the turn of Garan who produced a workmanlike display to edge out Scotland’s Reese Lynch whose awkward, spoiling style made for a messy encounter.

Garan, however, still enjoyed some success by landing the cleaner shots, taking the fight to his opponent.

The twins are now taking a well-earned break prior to moving up in weight. Cardigan ABC club-mate Mikey O’Sullivan competes in the Welsh Schoolboy championships next week.

Cardigan ABC are on the hunt for new members. Training nights in the gym off Maesyrhaf are Tuesdays and Thursdays (7pm-8.30pm).

Sport

Bush qualifies for Paralympic games

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PEMBROKESHIRE’s Para-taekwondo star Matt Bush has qualified for the Tokyo Paralympic games this summer.

At the European Paralympic Qualification tournament, Bush, who is the current world champion, beat Hungary’s Zoltan Kiss 29-1 in the +75kg final.

Para-taekwondo will make its debut at this summer’s Paralympics with the competition set to take place from September 2-4.

Bush, from St Clears, became Britain’s first ever world champion in the sport in 2019 began his latest tournament in fine style, seeing off Roman Ivaniuk of Ukraine 38-2 in the semi-final.

Matt told BBC Sport that it felt ‘so good’ to have secured his spot in the team.

The heavyweight athlete has made quite the mark on the mats. He has medalled at the Korean Open, Oceania Para Taekwondo Championships and the Pan America Para Taekwondo Open.

The GB team for Tokyo will be officially announced later this summer.

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Sport

Lawrenny through in Village Cup

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LAWRENNY are through to the next round of the Village Cup after they beat Llandysul on Sunday (May 9).

Both teams were rained off the previous day but some good work meant that the game was able to go ahead.

Llandysul batted first but were bowled out for 82 in 26.3 overs as Jamie Lewis took five wickets for the visitors.

He went on to finish with figures of 5-22 from his seven overs while the home side’s top scorer was captain Llew Hughes who made a score of 20.

Lawrenny did not have it all their own way in their reply as Rhys Jones bowled well to finish with figures of 3-10.

However, an excellent knock of 52 from Harry Thomas steered Lawrenny to their target inside the 24th over.

Elsewhere, Carew’s game away at Drefach was called off while Cresselly had already received a bye to the next round.

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Lawrenny earn big win over Whitland

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LAWRENNY got their 2021 season off to the perfect start on Saturday (May 1) as they beat Whitland by 189 runs.

Whitland won the toss and elected to field but they could only watch as the home side piled on the runs before being bowled out for 264.

Kyle Marsh top scored with a score of 81 while Kurtis Mars also scored 45.

Tom Cole added 32 and James Phillips chipped in with a score of 29 as they batted well.

Wayne Howells and Jonathan Thomas finished with identical figures of 2-27 as Whitland’s bowling did at least keep the score below 300.

Whitland knew they would need to bat well to knock off the runs needed but came up against Ryan Morton who took four wickets for the loss of 17 runs.

Kurtis Marsh also claimed two wickets without conceding any runs as the visitors chances got smaller and smaller.

Geraint Jones did score 30 for Whitland but that was as good as it got as they were bowled out for just 75.

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