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Team of the week: West Dragons FC

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west dragonsTHE history of West Dragons Football Cub spans across a very short period from 2008 to the present day. They were formed in 2008 by brothers Jamie and Lee Palmer, who with great ambition, courage and determination have bought the club to where it is today.

They also stated that the main philosophy of the club was to “give young players the best opportunity to succeed in an environment where they can play with freedom, courage, belief and to be successful”.

The club started the 2008-2009 season in Division 5 of the Pembrokeshire League. During that season the team played their home games in Crundale at the Rudbaxton Community Playing Field. The Palmer brothers approached local businessmen Karl Potter (The Glen, Haverfordwest) who became club chairman – who invested £500 in return for a direct interest in running the club.

Finally Jayne Thomas was added to the committee as club secretary and she stills holds that position today. Other sponsors such as G and G Builders Pembrokeshire Ltd, LNG South Hook invested to help fund facilities and equipment including a sit-down mower much to relief of then part time groundsman who for the first month of the season cut the whole pitch weekly with push on mowers taking an amazing five hours to complete.

Under the management of Jeremy Thomas and Deny Barrett the club began playing in the Pembrokeshire League. In October of 2008, the club made a move to bring in Lee Morgan as manager and finished the season as Division 5 league and cup winners beating St Clears in the final remarkably the club remained not only unbeaten but didn’t draw or lose a game in those respective competitions. Showing ambition the club was helped to success with the likes of Jonathan Clarke, Jay Brockway and Matthew Watters.

During the pre season of 2009-2010, West Dragons made Bob Nelson their new first team manager. After a strong start to the league campaign, West Dragons slumped in a run of games including a two leg cup defeat to Tenby United which ended Nelson’s campaign as manager.

Morgan returned to the helm in November and guided the team to the division title with the clinching victory coming in a game against Clarbeston Road where Simon Thomas scored the winning goal.

Off the field there was also change. Terry Worsley was appointed new club chairman and West Dragons replaced The Glen, Haverfordwest with The Labour Club, Haverfordwest as their new main sponsors. This time local businessman Eddie Wells invested in the club and still to this day does so as the club’s main sponsor. The club also made a ground move to The Pavillion Playing Fields, Portfield after agreeing a lease with Tasker Milward School and Pembrokeshire County Council for the use of the playing field which includes two full size pitches.

The Pembrokeshire League season 2010-2011 for West Dragons started in Division 3. The season ended in promotion with a second place finish in the division. They also managed to secure a division cup win with a 3-2 victory over Broad Haven, after trailing by two goals with only 30 minutes to play.

More history was created with a reserve team being introduced to Division 5 under the guidance of Deny Barrett and an under 14s junior team supervised by Jeremy Thomas and Jamie Palmer with fourth and third place finishes respectively. Off the field committee members were added and Karl Davies became the club’s groundsman on a permanent basis. On to Division 2, Morgan’s ambition was to achieve promotion in season 2011-12. The Dragons more than held their own in this division by comfortably beating teams and were third by Christmas. In February manager Lee Morgan decided to step down due to university commitments.

The committee decided that Jamie and Brother Lee would run the team until the end of the campaign. The Palmers decided to make Chris Darlington club captain and adopt the same style of play Lee Morgan installed. It certainly worked because the Dragons found themselves in another cup final after beating Saundersfoot Sports 2-0 in Division 2 cup semi final, Steven Dockerty and Mike Turpin with the goals. The league campaign ended with the reds narrowly missing out on promotion finishing third in the division.

In summer 2012-13 West Dragons committee appointed Nigel Delaney as their new manager. Delaney was recommended to the club and after meeting him and knowing his footballing background they knew he was right choice to bring club forward. This was Delaney’s first management job after a very successful playing career. Nigel had Mark Falzon helping him train the team for short spell but asked Byron Phillips to assist him. Phillips had recently managed Monkton Swifts.

Under Delaney the Dragons were unstoppable in the league losing only two games all season after comfortably achieving promotion. The target for the club was the achieve promotion but to do it in Delaney’s first season was great achievement.

The Dragons also made it to their first ever senior cup final after beating Hakin United 4-0 on the Bridge meadow in the semi final. The Dragons were the first side since 1989 to reach senior cup final and not to be playing in Pembrokeshire’s top division. The Reds faced Johnston the final at the Bridge Meadow Stadium watched by a record attendance with more than 1400. The Dragons finished runners up in final after losing 3-2. It was great effort by everyone involved with the club, considering the reds were trailing 3-0 at half time we showed great character in second half scoring two goals and giving Johnston a fright when Niall Kinsella hit bar in last 10 minutes of game.

A lot of credit had to go Nigel Delaney after what he achieved in season 2012-13. In this season West Dragons also had a successful season with their second side after manager Mark Hix guided his team to win the Division 5, an ambition the club felt had to be achieved if club was going to progress as a club.

The Dragons under 16s also had brilliant season after winning their league. The club was delighted to win their first junior title and glad the majority of the team has stayed with club in the senior level.

The Juniors also made it to the under 16s cup final but came runners up to Carew losing 2-1 at Marble Hall, Milford Haven. The club also started up a under 10s team and the team was managed by former Dragons player Simon Owens. The reds ambition is to bring juniors through every age group. The start of this season has been a success so far with some impressive performances and causing some shock results. Off the pitch Nigel Delaney decided to step down as manager, but deserves great credit for his effort and dedication he gave to club. Byron Phillips was appointed manager and Ritchie Brill as assistant manager. Phillips assisted Delaney so was the obvious choice to replace him. Mark Hix also stepped down as manager and was replaced by player-manager Dai Upward; Dai captained the seconds to previous season.

Coming up to Christmas break and the Dragons are currently in fourth place in division 1, five points off top of the league and the club is hoping to keep playing the football they have been playing and finish in the highest place they can. The second team is also holding their own in division 4 and hope to continue in the hard work everyone’s put in.

West Dragons would like to wish all their players a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing everyone back in the New Year.

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County go through in MG Cup after thumping Barry

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HAVERFORDWEST County began life under manager Tony Pennock in fine fashion with a 4-2 victory over Barry Town United in the Nathaniel MG Cup second round on Friday night (Aug 5).

A brace from Jack Wilson, along with goals from debutants Lee Jenkins and Rhys Abbruzzese helped see the Bluebirds safely through to the third round.

Josh Graham and Mo Djalo found the net for the Dragons, who reached the semi-final of the competition last season, but it wasn’t enough as County’s extra firepower made the difference.

In front of a crowd of 337 at the Ogi Bridge Meadow, the Bluebirds nearly took an early lead when Wilson got a volley away from inside the area which was pushed away by Cameron Clarke.

The majority of the chances fell the hosts’ way in the first-half, with Jordan Davies trying his luck from distance after Clarke had come off his line and given possession away, before Ryan George’s solo run to the edge of the area ended with the wing-back shooting over the bar.

Jenkins then went close when he rose highest to meet Wilson’s long throw into the area, with his header going narrowly wide of the right post.

It was very nearly 1-0 on the half hour mark when George’s cross into the area picked out Jordan Davies, who directed his header goalwards but saw the ball cleared off the line.

However, just three minutes later, it was 1-0 when the ball was worked out to George on the right side, and his cross picked out the towering Jenkins who powered his header into the left corner to mark his first competitive County appearance with a goal.

Almost immediately after the restart though, the Dragons found an equaliser as a through ball played Graham in, and the forward slid the ball past Lewis Brass for an instant response.

Wilson shot over the bar as Haverfordwest County looked to restore their lead before the break, and while he was off target on this occasion, seven minutes after the restart his header from debutant Jamie Veale’s corner flew into the net to make it 2-1.

And less than five minutes later, the youngster almost doubled the Bluebirds’ advantage when a long ball upfield from Dylan Rees played him in, and an excellent first touch gave the forward a chance to get a chipped effort away which rolled just wide to deny what would have been a spectacular goal.

With the hour mark approaching, George sliced an effort wide of the right post, but just a minute later Abbruzzese was on hand to tap in from point-blank range from Jordan Davies’ pass to join Jenkins in netting on his debut with a goal against his former club.

Pennock’s men were full of confidence at this stage, and they were able to make it tell when Abbruzzese turned provider to set Wilson up to score his second goal of the night with a neat finish from close range to extend the advantage to 4-1.

Gavin Chesterfield’s side pulled a goal back with just over 10 minutes remaining when they were awarded a penalty after Brass was adjudged to have fouled substitute Djalo inside the area, and the forward converted from the spot to make it 4-2.

With the Bluebirds in a comfortable position in the closing stages, Pennock was able to introduce academy product Toby Davies and exciting young prospect Dan James, allowing the pair to play out the final few minutes.

With their passage through to the next round safely secured, the Bluebirds now turn their attention to the start of the new JD Cymru Premier season, which gets under way with a game against Caernarfon Town at the Ogi Bridge Meadow next Saturday, August 13 (Kick-off 14:30).

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Hook seal win in Under 11s final

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Hook (246-6) beat Cresselly (217-10) by 29 runs

THIS year’s final was between the top two sides from both zones with Cresselly beating Haverfordwest in the one semi final and Hook beating Narberth in the other.

The Under11s game is played in a pairs format and Hook Captain Charlie Holder won the toss against his counter part Phoenix Phillips and decided to bowl first.

Some tight bowling from Hook saw St Cresselly lose wickets on a regular basis. The batting pairs of Phoenix and Ollie Toy put on 13, Arthur Jenkins and Elin Edwards 7, Caden Jones and Jack Mears 7 and Cody Jones and Finley Rowlands 7.

For Hook the pick of the bowlers were Olly Nutty 1-11, Rhys Tennick 2-10, Charlie Holder 2-10, Mason Hughes 2-12 and George Wonnacott 3-11. Cresselly finished on 217-10.

After Mondays rained off game where the Cresselly bowlers dominated the Hook batters came in with a bit more determination and Cresselly found wickets a little harder to take despite their best efforts.

Ollie Nutty and Mason Hughes put on 13 for the opening stand followed by Rhys Tennick and George Wonnacott 19, Jack llewellyn and Joe Warrender 14 and Charlie Holder and Oliver Stamp 18.

For Cresselly Jack Mears 1-12 , Phoenix Phillips 1-9 and an excellent direct hit run out, Cadyn Jones 3-8 and no doubt the fieder of the match with two suburb catches was Finley Rowlands.

Hook finished on 246-6.

This final was the inaugural year of the Evan Martin Trophy, a stalwart of Hook CC for many years, and after deliberations with the Umpires the trophy was awarded to a jubilant George Wonnacott of Hook

Again it was great to see a large crowd of knowledgable spectators who certainly saw some entertaining Cricket . It was great to see the two teams enjoying the aftermath game celebrations with Hook playing all sort of games on the field.

In the presentation after the match Martin Jones (Junior Organiser) congratulated both sides on reaching the Final with some excellent play by both and Hook for their victory. Both sides should be proud of their Junior sections.

He thanked Hook for hosting the final including Andrew Thomas & Keith James the grounds staff. Afterwards the Club l refreshments for the players, which was well received.

He thanked Umpires Allan Hansen and Robert Ridge, Scorers Natalie Jones & Jon Willington who all contributed to the evenings entertainment.

Last and by no means least he thanked Sponsors Colin John of Llewelyn Davies & Co Chartered Accountants for his continued and valuable support of Junior Cricket in the County togerther with Richard Merriman County Chairman.

Cresselly Squad: Rhys White, Bobby Shapcott, Mari Cole, Lilly & George

Hook Squad: Dylan Keen, Nico Quinn, Morgan Jones, Rowan Nickerson

Sponsor: Colin John – Llewelyn Davies & Co Chartered Accountants

Umpires: Allan Hansen & Robert Ridge

Scorers: Natalie Jones & Jon Willington

Coaches: Simon Cole/ Christian Phillips and Matthew Holder

Venue: Hook CC

Cresselly Under 11s
Evan Martin Trophy winner George Wonnacott
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Wales senior men’s assistant coach Gareth Williams departs

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GARETH Williams, Wales senior men’s assistant coach with responsibility for the contact area, has left his role to join the Scarlets as defence coach.

Williams departed following the three-Test Series in South Africa where Wales’ senior men’s side secured its first ever win over the Springboks in South Africa in the second Test.

The 40-year old started working as part of head coach Wayne Pivac’s coaching team during the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup and 2021 title-winning Guinness Six Nations campaigns, combining the role with his previous position with the Welsh Rugby Union as head of transitional players and head coach of Wales men’s U20, before being appointed on a full-time basis in June 2021.

Prior to this Williams spent a decade coaching Wales Sevens on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, during which time he helped his country win Rugby World Cup Sevens, as well as assisting Team GB in claiming silver at the Rio Olympics.

Pivac said: “I’d like to thank Gareth for his work over the last two years. It’s a shame to lose one of the coaching team just over a year out to Rugby World Cup, but I understand Gareth’s decision and am pleased for him.

“He’s not going far and it will be great having a good young coach moving from the national team into the regional system to further their development. This is also an important element in increasing alignment between international and domestic rugby in Wales.”

Williams said: “I’m incredibly proud to have been able to work with the men’s national team over the past two years. This is a such a great group of talented and hard-working players and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“It is not an easy decision to leave and I’d like to thank Wayne, the other coaches and staff for all their support during my time with the squad.”

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