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Town take tenth Bowl title in thriller

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HAVERFORDWEST won the Harrison Allen Bowl on Saturday (August 31), after they beat Lawrenny in a thrilling final played in Cresselly.

Overnight and early morning rain had threatened to delay the start of the game but the sterling work of the Cresselly groundsmen ensured the game would start on time.

It was Lawrenny who batted first after Town won the toss and chose to bowl.

Kurtis Marsh and Brad McDermott-Jenkins got Lawrenny going with some fine hitting as the pair shared 93 runs for the first wicket.

Those runs came inside the first ten overs but it was Marsh who departed as he saw his shot caught by Mike Jones giving Simon Holliday his first wicket of the day.

McDermott-Jenkins then reached his half century as he and Harry Thomas continued to pile on the runs, taking Lawrenny past 150.

Brad had smashed his way to a score of 76 but then saw himself bowled by Lee Summons.

Town then began to hit back as Summons bowled James Phillips before Adam James did the same to Ryan Morton and Joe Kidney.

Harry Thomas finished unbeaten on 53 however as Lawrenny’s opening 22 overs came to a close with them on 192-5.

Town knew they would need to bat well if they were to keep the lead down, or even build a lead.

They made a blistering start too, Adam James reaching his half century in just the sixth over.

Lawrenny then made the breakthrough as Brad McDermott-Jenkins caught and bowled Simon Holliday on a score of 10.

James Buckle then took an excellent catch to dismiss Danny Potter and give McDermott-Jenkins his second wicket.

At the start of the ninth over, James smashed three big sixes in a row but then saw himself caught by McDermott-Jenkins on 84 as Marsh picked up the crucial wicket.

Marsh then bowled Dai Davies and McDermott-Jenkins then bowled Dan Field to leave the Town on 96-5.

Lee Summons and Jake Merry looked to rebuild and the pair shared 25 runs for the sixth wicket.

Merry then walked down the pitch to play a shot but missed and he couldn’t get back in time as James Phillips knocked the bails off to give Marsh his third wicket.

Mike Jones was then caught by James Buckle off the bowling of Ryan Morton and Archie Thomas was caught by Morton off the bowling of Rob Williams.

Jack Scriven then edged behind to Phillips and with the penultimate ball, Clive Tucker was run out by Buckle.

That left Summons not out on 25 but Town had been bowled out for 149, giving Lawrenny a lead of 43 at the half-way stage.

Marsh and McDermott-Jenkins began again for Lawrenny as they looked to increase their lead.

However, in the second over, Town got the early wicket they wanted as Tucker bowled McDermott-Jenkins.

Marsh was joined in the middle by Harry Thomas and the pair batted well together taking the lead past 100.

They put on 64 runs for the second wicket but Holliday made the breakthrough as he had Thomas caught by Adam James on a score of 33.

Town then struck again as James Phillips hit the ball to Mike Jones who clung on to give Holliday his second wicket.

Holliday then had another as he had Steve Lewis caught by Adam James and he soon had a fourth as he had Joe Kidney caught by Jake Merry.

That left Lawrenny on 91-5 after 14 overs and their lead was only 134.

Holliday wasn’t finished there either as he then ran out James Buckle who had set off for a run that wasn’t there.

Marsh then reached his half century but then saw Ryan Morton trapped leg before by Adam James on a score of 15.

Marsh made his way to a score of 58 but then missed as he came down the wicket for a shot and was stumped by Scriven.

That left Lawrenny on 130-8 with their lead on 173.

Skeels hit a six but a mix up with Tom Cole saw the latter run out by Archie Thomas.

Thomas then had Rob Williams caught by Jake Merry as Lawrenny were bowled out for 143.

That meant that Town would need 187 to win their tenth Bowl title and they would need to go some too to do it.

James and Holliday did indeed go some as the pair shared 104 runs off the first ten overs with some excellent hitting.

Holliday reached a score of 43 but then saw himself caught and bowled by McDermott-Jenkins.

James had smashed his way to a score of 81 from only 44 balls but he was then caught by Ryan Morton off the bowling of McDermott-Jenkins.

That left the Town on 129-2 but Danny Potter and Archie Thomas shared twenty runs for the third wicket.

Morton bowled Thomas but Danny Potter and Dai Davies continued to put runs on the board as the game went down to the wire.

Potter and Davies both cracked maximums as Town edged closer to a remarkable victory.

Potter finished not out on 37 while Davies hit the winning four to finish not out on 15 and spark scenes of celebrations amongst Town players and supporters.

It was a cracking final and a great advert for Pembrokeshire cricket and Lawrenny will feel desperately unlucky to have missed out two years in a row.

Town captain Danny Potter claimed the Bowl for the third time as Captain and for the tenth time in the club’s history.

Adam James was named man of the match shortly after for his knocks of 86 off 33 in the first innings and 81 off 44 in the second.

Sport

WALES TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT

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Wales have made one change to their starting XV to face Ireland this weekend with Nick Tompkins, who made a try scoring debut in round one, coming into the side.
Tompkins will line-up at outside centre with George North moving to the wing for the clash in Dublin.
North will line-up in an experienced back-three alongside Josh Adams and Leigh Halfpenny whilst Tompkins will partner Hadleigh Parkes in the midfield. Tomos Williams and Dan Biggar continue their partnership at half-back.
Wales have named an unchanged pack with Wyn Jones, Ken Owens and Dillon Lewis in the front-row and Jake Ball lining up alongside captain Alun Wyn Jones.
Aaron Wainwright, Justin Tipuric and Taulupe Faletau feature in the back-row.
“We’ve made just one change after a winning start last weekend,” said Wales head coach Wayne Pivac.
“Nick comes into the side, I thought he played exceptionally well when he came on last week so he deserves the start. George, who played really well last weekend at centre, moves back out to the wing.
“On the bench we have a few players back available, Rhys Carre impressed at the RWC and he comes back in. Adam Beard comes in for Cory Hill who picked up a leg injury earlier this week, Gareth (Davies) is fully fit and Owen Williams comes onto the bench and gives us a bit more cover.
“Momentum is important in the Championship, it was nice to get a good winning start under our belts and hopefully we can build on that through the tournament.”
On the bench Rhys Carre joins Ryan Elias and Leon Brown as the front-row replacements with Adam Beard and Ross Moriarty completing the forward contingent. Gareth Davies, Owen Williams and Johnny McNicholl provide the back-line cover.

WALES TEAM TO PLAY IRELAND (Saturday February 8 KO14.15 ITV & S4C)
15. Leigh Halfpenny (86 Caps)
14. George North (92 Caps)
13. Nick Tompkins (1 Cap)
12. Hadleigh Parkes (26 Caps)
11. Josh Adams (22 Caps)
10. Dan Biggar (80 Caps)
9. Tomos Williams (17 Caps)
1. Wyn Jones (23 Caps)
2. Ken Owens (74 Caps)
3. Dillon Lewis (23 Caps)
4. Jake Ball (43 Caps)
5. Alun Wyn Jones (C) (135 Caps)
6. Aaron Wainwright (19 Caps)
7. Justin Tipuric (73 Caps)
8. Taulupe Faletau (73 Caps)

Replacements:
16. Ryan Elias (10 Caps)
17. Rhys Carre (6 Caps)
18. Leon Brown (7 Caps)
19. Adam Beard (20 Caps)
20. Ross Moriarty (42 Caps)
21. Gareth Davies (51 Caps)
22. Owen Williams (3 Caps)
23. Johnny McNicholl (1 Cap)

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St Davids flyer starts for Wales

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SCARLETS winger Jasmine Joyce from St Davids has been named alongside Scarlets teammate Hannah Jones in Wales’ starting line-up for Sunday’s Women’s Six Nations Championship opener against Italy at Cardiff Arms Park (1 pm).

The experienced pair missed the side’s five-match autumn series after taking up an opportunity to play for Adelaide University in the Australian national sevens league. Alisha Butchers, who also played for the Adelaide ‘Romas’ has been named on a bench that also includes uncapped Ospreys prop Ruth Lewis.

Coach Chris Horsman says he is pleased with the level of competition in the squad.

“There was debate and competition around every position in the selection meeting, which is exactly what we want,” said the 14-times capped former Wales prop. “We set out to develop strength in depth during the autumn and those games really gave us a chance to look at the group with the 2021 Rugby World Cup in mind.

“There was a case for every player to be involved in some way but we feel this match-day squad is the best placed to make the most of the opportunity this weekend. As in the autumn, we want to go out and perform in every game, improving all the time.”

Italy finished in second place in last season’s competition, beating France comfortably on the way.

“Italy has always been a key match for us and this Sunday will be no different,” added Horsman. “It will be a tough game with no hiding place. We have asked a lot of the players, increasing the intensity of training and they’ve met the challenge head-on. The aim of that is not only to perform under pressure during the Six Nations but also, longer-term, to close the gap on teams above us in the world rankings.

“We are concentrating on ourselves and this week, not looking beyond the challenge of Italy on Sunday.”

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Aber prevail in tough contest

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ON SATURDAY, Aber completed an unbeaten January during which they played four games winning each one. The team’s efforts propelled the club from 8th position, with 20 league points at the start of the month, to 4th position with 38 league points at its close.

In October of last year, Aber had narrowly beaten Gorseinon at the Welfare Ground and this return fixture was by no means as simple as the score suggests.

The visitors started powerfully and were very physical, and the hosts had their work cut out.
From the start Gorseinon varied their tactics, using their big forwards to make inroads into Aber’s defence and then moving the ball wide to exploit opportunities outside.

Early on they could have made more of the overlaps they created but too often cut inside and wasted valuable chances.
So intense was the visitors’ pressure that it took a full ten minutes for Aber to break out of their half own half.
When they did, Steffan Rees put them 3 – 0 ahead with a simple penalty. Gorseinon replied with a penalty of their own from Popham when Aber were penalised for not rolling away.

The score remained at 3 – 3 almost until the interval.

However, with the clock ticking down to half-time, Gorseinon upped their game. After stealing the ball from an Aber attack, they launched an attack of their own.

An attempted catch and drive led to a ruck from which the ball was swiftly moved out to unmarked left wing Thomas to score the game’s first try. Phelps’ excellent conversion gave Gorseinon a lead of 3 – 10 at the interval.

Aber started the second half full of intent and were to maintain this for the full forty minutes. An astute kicking game pinned Gorseinon in the corner of the pitch and allowed Aber to apply the screws.

From a penalty in midfield, Steffan Rees found touch five yards from the visitors’ line. After Gorseinon were penalised at the resulting lineout, Aber chose a scrum. A huge shove enabled No 8, Lewis Ellis-Jones to touch down for the hosts’ first try of the game. The conversion was missed but at 8 – 10 the home side were reaping rewards for their growing dominance.
The score galvanised the home team.

Ian Ellis at full-back was a constant threat to the visitors as he looked for openings to break through their defence or chip ahead to create opportunities for his wingers. After one such break involving Ellis and Matthew Hughes, the ball was moved to the right where Dylan Evans rounded off the move with a fine try. This was very well converted by Steffan Rees and Aber moved ahead for the first time in the game at 15 – 10.

Gorseinon hit back when a failure to gather the ball cleanly from the kick-off led to a ruck from which Aber’s clearance kick was charged down by lock Evans. He gathered the ball and raced on to score a good opportunist try to level the scores at 15 – 15.

Against a determined defence, Aber mounted more and more attacks and it was from a phase of inter-passing down the left side of the field that Matthew Hughes broke through to score near the posts. Rees converted, moving the hosts on to 22 – 15. He added a penalty to increase this lead to 25 – 15 before Adam Carvell pounced on a lax Gorseinon pass, to intercept and score Aber’s bonus try. Steffan Rees added the simple conversion to close the scoring at 32 – 15.

After a two-week break for Six-Nations matches, Aber will face Felinfoel away on February 15.

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