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Welsh Athletics celebrate success

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MORE than 200 people from all four corners of the country headed to the Vale Resort Hotel in Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan on Saturday evening (October 19) to attend the annual Welsh Athletics National Celebration Awards Dinner for 2019.
The evening celebrated all the successes and achievements that happened across the sport of athletics in Wales over the last 12 months with a large number of athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and club & group representatives in attendance.
There were twenty-eight awards up for grabs with an expert panel deciding on who the worthy winners were for each one. The awards were across a variety of categories…from clubs, groups and volunteers to officials, coaches and athletes.
Altogether, 22 individuals, 5 clubs and 1 group shared the awards on offer and were welcomed to the stage to be recognised for their contributions.
Hosts for the evening was ever-present Rob Cole and joining him on the stage this year was Mica Moore. Sam Gordon, Jeremiah Azu, Steve Perks, Matt Newman, James Williams, Dafydd Trystan and Kelly Southerton were others who spoke throughout the evening.
It was fantastic to receive confirmation a fortnight ago from the new Chair of Welsh Athletics, Steve Perks that Carmarthen & District Harriers Athletics Club had been nominated to receive the Welsh Athletics Junior Off-Track Club of the Year award at this year’s awards dinner in the Vale Resort Hotel.
Present from the athletics club on the evening and joining other deserving winners from across Wales were Jake Morgan (Club Chairman), Cressy Morgan (Club Secretary), Richard Jones (Club Treasurer), Alison Thomas (Officials Secretary), Neil Thomas, David Toogood, Carol Jones and Delyth Brown (Club Endurance Coaches), Dafydd Jones and Frank Morgan (Club under 15/17 Endurance Athletes) and Nathan Jones (Club Media Officer).
Cross Country and Road Running successes in 2018 and the start of 2019 from endurance young members contributed to the club winning this award in 2019.
The Welsh Athletics Clubs Cross Country Championships came to Pembrey Country Park in Carmarthenshire for the first year back in February and saw the under-11 boys, under-13 boys, under-15 boys and the Female Master 40 teams come away with gold medals on home turf whilst there were bronze medals for the under-11 girls.
The under-13 boys and under-15 boys were victorious at the 2018 Welsh Athletics Road Relay Championships to match their cross-country championships titles. Back in September, the under-11 boys and under-13 boys came away with comfortably victories at the recent 2019 edition of the Road Relays Championships and have got off a great start to the 2019 winter season in October.
The under-11 boys and under-13 boys also became John H Collins Gwent Cross Country League team champions backed up by second place for under-13 girls and third for the novice girls.
Two of Carmarthen Harriers’ endurance athletes Dafydd Jones and Frank Morgan, both pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Bro Myrddin were there to go up and collect the award on behalf of the whole club.
Another to be recognised locally in West Wales was coach Kevin Evans who continues to coach athletes at the track in Carmarthen and a great supporter of the club. After collecting the Endurance Performance Coach of the Year in 2018, Evans was the recipient of the “International Performance Coach of the Year” this time around.
President the award on stage was local Carmarthenshire athlete and one of Kevin’s training group, Dewi Griffiths who hopes to be back to full fitness soon.
International athletes in Wales voted for their “Athletes’ Athlete of the Year” and announced as the winner was Pembrokeshire Harriers’ Heather Lewis, who enjoyed a great season on the race-walking circuit. Elsewhere, James Tomlinson was the “Junior Track & Field Athlete of the Year.” It was a double success here with his coach Paul Jensen, the “Track & Field Performance Coach of the Year”.
Swansea Harriers picked up both the “Off Track Club of the Year” in the older categories whilst the juniors enjoyed success too and as a result, won the “Junior Track & Field Club of the Year”.

 

photo credit: welshathletics.org

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Vikings up the pressure in Division One race

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MANDERWOOD PEMBROKESHIRE LEAGUE
A BLUSTERY but fine day at the Obs saw Hakin put in the sort of performance that reminds their rivals that the title race isn’t over until the Vikings have their say.
With the top of Division One contested by Goodwick Utd and leaders Monkton Swifts at the start of the day, Merlin Bridge’s storming comeback win against Goodwick meant this win propelled Hakin to second in the table.
With a vastly superior goal difference than Goodwick, with whom they are now level on points, and a better goal difference than the Swifts who lead the table by three points, Hakin will want to extract maximum benefit from the game they still have in hand.
If Swifts slip up against Fishguard Sports on Saturday and Hakin play to form against strugglers St Clears, the Vikings could seize the top spot next weekend.
Strengthened by the return of NIcky Woodrow, Hakin were never really in trouble against mid-table Clarbeston Road, who have been dogged by inconsistency all season and undoubtedly suffered from a recent lack of league football.
The returning Woodrow showed he had not lost his scoring touch, finding the net in typically clinical fashion.
A few tasty challenges in midfield never spilt over into anything more serious than a talking to from the referee to the players involved.
Hakin showed greater variety and poise in their play than Clarby and capitalised on moments of poor control by the visitors to press play upfield at every opportunity.
Cameron Thomas opened the scoring for the home team before Nicky Woodrow popped in a neat finish. Ashley Bevan rounded off a strong display from the Vikings with the third.
Elsewhere in the Division, Monkton Swifts hammered Narberth 7-0 away from home, with goals from Ben Steele (2), Jordan Richards (2), Dillon Davies (2), and Martin Carrol. Meanwhile, a hat trick from Steve Lewis allied to braces apiece for Danny Hopkin (2), Matt Harries (2), and Niall Kinsella (2) and a goal for Karl Headley led Fishguard Sports to a 10-1 hammering of second-from-bottom St Clears, who managed a consolation through Jamie Thomas. Bottom side Saundersfoot were edged out 3-2 at home to Carew and Pennar Robins, with a goal apiece for Craig Asparassa and Josh Clarke, shaded Neyland 2-1.
The day’s remaining top division clash was easily the match of the day. In-form Goodwick made the trip to the Racecourse to face a Merlins Bridge who haven’t given up on their title ambitions.
At one point, it looked like game over for the Wizards as Goodwick took a 2-0 lead. However, the home team muscled their way back into the game to clinch a thrilling comeback with three goals to take all three points.

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Quins shut out game Llangwm

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Specsavers National League
Division 3A West
Pembroke Dock Quins 39 – Llangwm 0

ON A rare pleasant day for rugby, Quins were made to work hard for their bonus-point victory over a very resilient Wasps side.

The Quins had to wait to get on the scoresheet, after missing a brace of early try-scoring opportunities. However, after pinning the visitors in their 25 for fifteen minutes, blindside wing Aaron Treweeks opened the scoring with a well-taken try after a long period of pressure. Full-back Ben Hathaway missed the conversion.
While the home team continued to dominate territory and possession, Llangwm’s defence held firm until the closing minutes of the half.

First, Quins man-of-the-match Gethin Bradney finished off a fine three-quarter movement to score in the corner. Ben Hathaway missed the tricky conversion. With Quins ten points to the good, Llangwm were desperate to shut the home side out before the half-time whistle. But just before the whistle, the Wasps’ defence backed off Quins’ outside-half Keiron Machin. The young number ten needed no second invitation and sped through to score. Ben Hathaway slotted over the conversion to leave the Quins 17 points to nil up at the half.

As ended the first-half, so began the second.

Centre Jack Price made a fine midfield break and passed the ball from contact to replacement blindside wing Jordan Asparassa. Asparassa made no mistake, streaking over in the corner for his tenth try of the season.

While Ben Hathaway missed the conversion from wide out, it was not long before Quins’ midfield combined again to secure to an all-important bonus point.
Jack Price made another strong break before passing to his fellow centre three-quarter Josh Thomas, who touched down between the posts.
Ben Hathaway must have been grateful for an easier kick at goal and added the extras to give the Quins a 29-point lead.

After conceding so many points in such a relatively short period of play, it would have been easy for Llangwm to give up. However, the Wasps showed real determination to salvage something from the game and spent long periods camped deep in the Quins’ half. For all their endeavour and pressure, however, they could not break down the home defence.

After sucking up Llangwm’s best efforts, Quins broke out of defence and scored the first of two late tries through Jordan Asparassa. As the minutes ticked away, Quins’ hooker Nick Drewett took great delight in scoring his first try for the club after a fine 35-yard run.

That was the last play of the match and Quins, after faltering in recent games, will be happy to be back in winning ways. This Saturday, the Bierspool Men head to St Davids before a tough home fixture against Laugharne which will say much about their progress this year.

Quins Team: Ben Hathaway, Gethin Bradney, Josh Thomas, Jack Price, Arron Treweeks, Kieron Machin, Jake Griffiths, Jack Davies, Nick Drewett, Dai Moseley, Martin Culley, Connor Colmel, Ollie Parsons, Harold Owen and Hywel Baker (Capt)

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Bluebirds top table for New Year

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JD Cymru Division One South
Haverfordwest County 4 Llanelli Town 1

THE BLUEBIRDS continued their recent run of good results with a 4-1 victory over Llanelli Town.

Despite going down to defeat, the Reds of Llanelli can take consolation from a vastly improved display in which they more than matched the home side box-to-box.

The only element missing from the visitors’ performance was the delivery of a telling final ball which could have led to a goal.

Llanelli’s meagre playing resources are already stretched by a long injury list and, at Bridge Meadow, three development players were in the matchday squad out of necessity.

To add to the problems, the visitors were also without a recognised striker, making the task of attempting to salvage some positive outcome from the contest even more difficult.

In fact, the visitors were the livelier side in the opening stages.

Ryan Hurlow played a ball into the path of Kyle Copp close to goal, but he failed to make a telling contact and a decent chance was lost.
Liam Samuel also posed a threat to the Bluebirds` goal with a run to the edge of the area, but he delayed his shot which was eventually blocked and then cleared out of danger.

The home side countered after a rebound from a Ben Fawcett strike fell to Kurtis Rees. Llanelli’s Lee Bevan acted quickly to alleviate the threat.

Copp and Hurlow combined with the latter forcing a corner which was eventually dealt with, but it was the home side who eventually struck first on 25 minutes when a Kieran Howard free-kick was headed out only as far as Rees who launched a 30-yard high ball into the goalmouth over the head of Kai Rees despite the Reds` keeper best efforts to prevent it finding the net.

A corner to the Bluebirds into the goalmouth was cleared with some difficulty by the visitors` defence, while Rees pulled off an important save by turning over a header from Marcus Griffiths when he connected with another Howard set-piece.

Haverfordwest had a goal disallowed for offside when referee Teifion Cook overruled the assistant referee’s failure to flag.
With the score 1-0 at the half, Llanelli had done well to hold off the league leaders and would have drawn confidence from their display.
Shortly after the kick-off for the second half, came the game’s most controversial moment.

Llanelli keeper Rees bravely put himself on the line to claim the ball from the feet of a Haverfordwest player. Rees was clearly injured and remained prone on the ground when the ball broke free into the path of Haverfordwest’s Howard. With the goalie incapacitated, Howard guided the ball into the back of the visitors’ net.

There was confusion about whether the effort would stand, particularly as Rees continued to receive treatment on the field following his injury while Llanelli players expressed their disapproval to the ref. However, the goal stood and, after further treatment, the shaken Rees was able to resume.

Galvanised by the perceived injustice, Llanelli struck back quickly.

Awarded a free-kick, Copp swung the ball into the Haverfordwest box where Bevan rose highest to head the ball beyond the Bluebirds’ Kyle Stuart to haul the Reds back into the game.

As the game opened up, both sides created chances. For Llanelli, Joe Clarke’s strike from the edge of the eighteen-yard box went wide. Kyle Stuart made a fine save from Copp’s well-struck effort.

With fifteen minutes left, the Bluebirds cutting edge up front proved decisive. The ball was neatly played through to Fawcett, who out-muscled defender Chris Thomas before hitting a low shot past Rees.

The score seemed to take the air out of Llanelli’s sails and Haverfordwest piled on the pressure. An effort from Wilson was well stopped by Rees, while Griffiths was prevented from scoring only by a last gasp tackle from Zac Griffiths. Fawcett saw his finish from an assist by Howard rebound off the top of the crossbar.

With time running out, a ball driven across the face of Llanelli’s goal was met by an attempt to hack it clear by Brown which only ended up in his own net.

The result was hard on the vistors, who for the most part had matched their opponents for effort. At least they have a chance of turning matters around when the sides do it all again on Friday evening (January 3) at Stebonheath, kick off 7.30 p.m.

TEAMS
Haverfordwest County: Stuart; Bradley (Merry, 82); Rowe; Pemberton ©; Howard; Tancock; Watts; Rees; Fawcett; Griffiths; Wilson (Palmer, 68); Subs. not used; Drake; Hughes; Harman.
Llanelli Town: Rees; Griffiths; Brown; Thomas; Bevan ©; Clarke; Copp; Logan; M. Cutler; Hurlow; Samuel.

SCORERS: Haverfordwest County; Rees, 25; Howard, 46; Fawcett, 76; Brown (OG), 90.
Llanelli Town; Bevan, 49.
CARDS: Haverfordwest County; Griffiths.
Llanelli Town; Thomas; Clarke; M. Cutler.
REFEREE: Teifion Cook.

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