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Bridge taste West Wales Cup glory

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MERLINS Bridge won the West Wales Cup on Tuesday night (May 7) as they beat Carew 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea in an exciting clash.

It was the first time both sides had reached the final and the first ever all-Pembrokeshire final and both were keen to put on a show for the good crowd in attendance.

Both have had excellent runs to the final with Merlins Bridge earning a narrow win against last season’s runners up Penlan Club while Carew have come from behind in two separate games.

Anticipation grew ahead of the match as Carew and Merlins Bridge named strong sides.

For many of the Carew side it was a first taste of the West Wales Cup Final while three members of the Merlins Bridge squad won the cup with Johnston a few years ago.

Merlins Bridge came from behind to beat Carew in the Senior Cup Final in April while their two league encounters finished in a draw and a 3-1 win for the Wizards.

There was a scare for the Rooks with only a minute on the clock as Scott Richards overcooked his back pass and keeper Tom Davies could only kick the ball out of play.

It was Carew who had the first chance as Iwan Izzard won the ball in midfield and passed to Jordan Richards on the edge of the box who wriggled his way past a couple of defenders before shooting just wide of the goal.

Merlins Bridge’s Dai Davies was shown the first yellow of the evening as he brought down Shaun Whitfield but the free kick came to nothing.

Carew again came close as Sam Christopher found Pembrokeshire League top scorer Jordan Richards in the box but he took a touch before seeing his shot saved. He then poked the rebound towards goal but the ball was cleared off the line by a combination of Bridge defenders.

With ten minutes gone, Shaun Whitfield took a throw which came back to him and he crossed into the box but Richards saw his header saved by Gary Thomas.

Carew would have been regretting those missed chances two minutes later as, from a Carew corner, the ball was cleared to Adam Hawkins who found Laurie Haworth on the right and he crossed to the back post for Hawkins to half volley in.

The Rooks were given a free kick just inside the D moments after but Jack Christopher saw his effort hit the wall and his follow up go over the bar.

Joe Leahy then saw a shot saved while Lloyd Hughes saw a shot go wide for Carew.

Alex Bayley then played in Lloyd Hughes and he fired low into the net for a deserved goal to bring the Rooks level.

Hughes then crossed into the box towards the back post but keeper Thomas fumbled the ball, allowing Richards a shot but he was equal to it to keep the scores level.

The Wizards were then given a free kick near the half way line which Leahy sent towards goal and his cross had to be turned over by the Carew keeper.

With just over half an hour gone, Carew’s Jack Christopher was shown a yellow for a foul on Leahy, giving the Wizards a free kick on the edge of the box. Leahy stood over it but saw his effort blocked over the bar.

There was a blow for Carew shortly before half time as Lloyd Hughes had to go off injured and he was replaced by Scott Ferney.

With two minutes to go until half time Sam Christopher crossed into the box for Richards but his shot was blocked with claims of handball waved away.

The half time whistle went with the sides still locked at 1-1 with everything still to play for in the second half.

At the start of the second half Sam Christopher flashed a cross towards goal which bounced out off the angle of post and crossbar.

Zac Rowell then made his way into the box but after he went down he was shown a yellow card for diving.

Nathan Greene then came close for the Wizards but his strong shot was turned over the bar.

Jack Christopher then crossed into the box for Richards but his header was straight at Gary Thomas.

Matthew Divry then crossed from the right for Joe Leahy just inside the box but he flashed a shot just over the bar.

With just over an hour gone Adam Hawkins won the ball back from Jack Christopher and he went on to slot the ball into the bottom left corner to give the Wizards the lead again.

Insult was added to injury for Christopher as he had to go off to be replaced by Max Brindley.

Iwan Izzard then came close to bringing Carew level again but his curling effort was saved by Gary Thomas.

Hawkins was denied the chance of a hat trick as he was then replaced by Will Haworth with fifteen minutes to go.

With nine minutes to go the Bridge made it 3-1 as Ashley Beck played a nice one-two with Nathan Greene and the former finished in similar fashion to team mate Hawkins with the ball going in off the boot of the Carew keeper.

With four minutes to go Carew won a corner which fell to Tom Grover but he fired over the bar.

Both sides made a number of substitutions with Joe Leahy seeing yellow for his slow walk off late on.

The Wizards saw the game out to seal their first ever West Wales Cup win.

After the match, two goal hero Adam Hawkins said: “It’s amazing, it’s my second time winning it, we’ve got an amazing group of lads here.

“We were unlucky with the league but to come away with the Senior Cup and the West Wales Cup this season, you couldn’t ask for much more really.

“They are a quality side and we knew it would be a close game but on the balance of play I think we deserved it.”

Merlins Bridge manager Matthew D’Ivry added: “I am delighted, this group of players deserve it for the hard work and commitment they have shown. We’ve had tough draws in the cup this season but that hard work has paid off.

“Carew are a really good side and we knew they were going to have a good spell in the game. Gary Thomas made a few good saves and towards the end of the first half we started playing our football.

“At half time we were confident that if we came out and started well we would get the right result.”

The two sides also drew praise from Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb who tweeted: “Congratulations to Merlins Bridge for winning the West Wales Cup at the Liberty Stadium. Comiserations to Carew but great to have two Pembrokeshire teams in the final.”

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Chairman’s disappointment at Haverfordwest County AFC v Cefn Druids game postponement

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TODAY’S match (Sept 12) between Haverfordwest County AFC and Cefn Druids has been postponed.

The club’s chairman, Robert Edwards, said that he was disappointed to learn the news and stated that the club had followed every single FAW regulation and protocol to the letter.

In an official statement, Mr Edwards said: “The club are extremely disappointed to learn of the postponement of today’s match versus Cefn Druids. It has been a summer of change at the club and we were all looking forward to seeing our hard work played out on the pitch today. The ground staff, coaching team, and Club Secretary have worked tirelessly for the last few weeks, so I am bitterly disappointed for them, and cannot thank them enough for their effort and dedication.

“We would like to make it clear that our club has followed every single FAW regulation and protocol to the letter. Since the resumption of training, we ensured that all rules within the Return to Play guidelines were followed during their respective phases, all players and staff have completed Benchmark COVID-19 questionnaires, and we have spent the previous few weeks guaranteeing that The Bridge Meadow Stadium is a safe environment for football to resume, as per FAW guidelines.

“At all our pre-season games, we ensured that they were correctly sanctioned, and once again, all protocols were followed. We will continue our hard work to ensure that all rules are followed at our club and look forward to getting our campaign underway against Cardiff Met on Tuesday.
“We will not make any further public comment as a club and will be liaising directly with FAW on this matter.”

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Rooks triumph at Treleet

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Alec Colley Cup Final
Carew (95 for 8 and 103 for 8) beat
St Ishmaels (64 for 9 and 106 for 8)
by 29 runs

FAVOURITES Carew won the Alec Cup Final at Treleet on Sunday, August 30, but not without St Ishmael’s second-string showing that they were not be taken lightly.

The decisive period of the match was both sides’ first innings.

Batting first in tricky conditions, Carew struggled against accurate Tish bowling from the outset, with only opener Nick Scourfield providing resistance among the top order batters. And it wasn’t as if Tish didn’t have the chance to deny Carew even that as Danny Flynn dropped Scourfield off opening bowler Kevin Bowen in the Final’s first over.

As it was, Carew stumbled to 45-6 with only five overs of their first knock remaining. It wasn’t until Dai Rees joined Scourfield that the scoring’s tempo increased. Rees hit three sixes on his way to an invaluable 24 before Flynn’s catch off Stuart Carpenter’s bowling. Scourfield also increased his previously sedate progress to add four boundaries in what proved a vital partnership with Rees that helped Carew close on 95-8.

St Ishmaels got off to a rotten a start as Carew’s bowlers exploited conditions. Their innings limped along without a major partnership and only opener Robbie Thomas, along with Steve Williams and Flynn made double figures.

Carew skipper Barry Evans used his nous to end with four wickets, while Kerry Waters applied the squeeze by conceding only ten runs in his spell for the wicket of Ieuan Hawkins. At the end of twenty overs, Tish had struggled to a meagre 64-9, conceding a thirty one run lead to Carew.

With opener Nick Scourfield suffering from a hamstring injury, Carew pressed Morgan Grieve up the order to partner Brian Hall and the pair started off brightly but were separated by Steve Williams before Kevin Bowen claimed Hall’s wicket. St Ishmaels exerted real pressure on the Carew batsmen, with Steve Williams claiming an excellent 3-16.

Carew were indebted to another late innings rally, again featuring Rees, this time in a partnership with Simon Wood. Wood batted cleverly and mixed powerful strokes with some excellent cricket shots on his way to unbeaten 40. Carew’s innings closed on 103-8, setting the underdogs a challenging 135 to win.

After their first innings’ travails, such a chase seemed highly unlikely for Tish. However, Flynn and Rhead were steady at the start before the former’s dismissal by Simon Wood (3-27). Kevin Bowen then gave Tish some real hope with a dashing 25 runs before being caught by Haydn Shapcott off skipper Barry Evans’ slow left-armers.

A rapid-fire partnership of 28 between Ieuan Hawkins and Steve Williams could not stop the inevitable, as Carew had too many runs and just too much experience to lose the match on a tricky drying surface, left damp by recent heavy rain and overnight showers. Tish never gave up fighting and showed real grit and determination before their second innings closed on 106-8, leaving Carew winners by 29 runs.
Umpires Jonathan Willington and Allan Hansen chose Simon Wood as the Man of the Match, a new trophy sponsored by Neyland CC in memory of their late clubman Martin Rees which was presented by Neyland Cricket Club’s Chair, Martin Jones.

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Cricket: Neyland win Harrison Allen

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A BRILLIANT recovery in the field during Haverfordwest’s first innings laid the foundations for a convincing Neyland victory at Cresselly this afternoon.
Neyland, batting first, carved and scampered their way to 142 in their first innings.
Haverfordwest’s reply started in brutal fashion, as Adam James smashed the bowling to all parts, peppering the boundary with a succession of massive hits on his way to a quick fire 34. With the fourth over of the Haverfordwest innings not yet finished, the Town were on 54 and looking like they would set all sorts of scoring records.
Andrew Miller and, particularly, Ross Hardy established a measure of control and sharp fielding squeezed the Haverfordwest batsmen, cutting off boundaries and harrying the batsmen into mistakes.
Neyland reeled in the Town batsmen so successfully that, having looked on course at first for a mammoth score and then a big first-innings lead, they got a slender eight-run lead to take into their second innings.
Neyland started slowly in their second innings before Ashley Sutton and Patrick Bellerby began to step on the gas after Nick Koomen went early. They were particularly severe on veteran spinner Clive Tucker, who took heavy punishment from the pair.
Their good work was carried on by Nathan Banner, who belted a series of massive sixes off Simon Holliday and Clive Tucker, as Neyland posted a massive 214 runs, setting an imposing 222 target.
Despite a rapid start by Potter and an injured Adam James in their second innings, as soon as wickets started to fall, they kept on tumbling as Neyland were sharp in the field and Ross Hardy bowled with great control from the difficult Pavillion End.
The introduction of Andrew Miller from the School End saw him pick up the wicket of Ben Field, who mishit a gentle catch to extra cover.
With him, Haverfordwest’s faint last hope vanished and their innings stuttered to 103-9 leaving them 119 runs adrift and Neyland as Bowl champions.
For his batting in both innings and brilliant fielding, Ashley Sutton was named man of the match.

FULL REPORT IN THIS FRIDAY’S HERALD

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