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Blain heroics set up thumping win

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Carmarthenshire League 1

Pembrokeshire League 7

At Stebonheath Park

PEMBROKESHIRE made the journey to Stebonheath Park in Llanelli to take on their counterparts from the Carmarthenshire League in the rebooted SB Williams Inter- League Cup, and the game lived up to it’s pre-match billing, including everything from top-class saves to a plethora of goals, with a red card thrown in for good measure.

The Pembrokeshire Squad: Training hard on Sunday ahead of the game

The Pembrokeshire Squad: Training hard on Sunday ahead of the game

The hero for the Pembrokeshire side was West Dragon’s goalkeeper Peter Blain, who produced some outstanding saves early on to keep his side in the game, with the hosts looking certain to open the scoring on several occasions in the opening quarter of the game.

Pembrokeshire slowly grew into the game, and perhaps were unlucky not to take the lead when Hakin’s prolific marksman Nicky Woodrow headed home from fellow Hakin player Ashley Bevan’s first time cross, the Swansea linesman however ruled that the striker had strayed offside.

Carmarthenshire had enjoyed a lot of possession down the left hand flank and the visitors right back Steve Allen had found himself under pressure for the majority of the opening period, however when he was eventually awarded some space to attack just before half time, he produced a fine through ball that again set Woodrow free.

Woodrow showed his experience in front of goal by providing a perfect ball to his strike partner Rhys Dalling, who slotted past keeper Darren Greene at the second attempt after Greene had done well to keep out the Goodwick mans initial effort, sending the visitors in at the break a goal to the good.

Carmarthenshire came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second half, determined to get back level in the game, however they were once again frustrated by the incredible Blain.

This led Pembrokeshire manager Gary Dawes to shuffle his pack, as he brought on the experienced Chris O’Sullivan in midfield to sure things up. It immediately paid dividends as Jonny Horgan, who had grabbed a brace on the weekend against Carew, hit a fine volley into the top corner after Woodrow had set him up, to double the visitor’s lead.

Carmarthen were not prepared to just lie down though, and again they tested the abilities of Blain, who kept out a stinging Rob Jones drive, a Louis Jackson freekick and a great effort from substitute Adam Jones in a blistering five minute spell from the home side.

The game turned on it’s head when Pembrokeshire broke away on the counter and with Rhys Dalling clean through on goal, centre back Ashley Thomas in his desperation, had no chance but to haul him down, conceding a penalty, and receiving his marching orders from referee Dave Morgan. Allen stepped up to put his side 3-0 up, and with the game all but gone Carmarthen could’ve been forgiven for giving up.

However they responded almost immediately as Loughor striker Rob Jones turned home an Adam Jones cross to finally breach Blain’s defences, but when Dawes brought on fresh legs in attacking areas, it was curtains for the hosts.

A woeful mistake by goalkeeper Greene allowed Woodrow to grab his first, before Horgan completed his brace with a brilliant chipped finish.

It was left to the Hakin boys to complete the rout as Ben Steele smashed home before Woodrow too grabbed a second to go along with his two assists to complete a hard-earned victory.

Pembrokeshire Coach Steve Briers was delighted with the result and in particular the performance of keeper Blain, and said the county side are already looking forward to their next game:

“It was fantastic to see two top sides going at each other and really showing pride in playing for the badge on the shirt.

“The scoreline suggests that we have ran out as easy winners, but that couldn’t be further from the truth as Carmarthenshire were really a very strong side.

“They were dominant in the opening exchanges and if it wasn’t for Blainy (Peter Blain) then we really would’ve been two-nil down inside the first 20 minutes. “It was a difficult opening period for us and they were particularly strong down the left hand side, with Steve Allen adjusting to their wingers pace and trickery after the opening 10 minutes.

“They created a few clear cut opportunities and really Blainy produced some world class saves that kept us in the game, if those efforts would’ve gone in, which they looked like they were going to, then it would’ve been a completely different game. He really was the man of the match, which is bizarre in a 7-1 win.

“As it was we were still in it and we settled down well after that, and luckily got the goal before the break to give us the advantage, which gave us the confidence to kick on.

“Gary (Dawes) made a tactical change at the break and brought on Chris O’Sullivan to sit in front of the defence. We ran the risk of being overrun on the counter in the channels, but Sully organised everyone well, and his experience really made the difference as we were able to win the midfield battle by having 5 in there.

“It was a great performance in the end with everyone putting in a shift for the badge, and it was great to see.

“We’ll take confidence from this one and look forward to our next game at home on the Meadow.”

Pembrokeshire are next in action on February 24 when they host Neath League at the Conygar Bridge Meadow, Haverfordwest.

Teams:

Carmarthenshire League: Darren Greene (Wellfield): Mark Standen (Seaside); Mike Yates (Seaside); Ashley Thomas (Loughor); Ross Harding (Loughor); Callum Thomas (Seaside); Louis Jackson (Loughor); Matthew Hurford (Loughor); Stuart Rees (Evans & Williams); Rob Jones (Loughor); Matthew Williams (Seaside).

Substitutes: Lee Griffin (Penllegaer); Shaun Rees (Pengelli); Graham Dutton (Penllegaer); Adam Jones (Wellfield); Kellen Johns (Bwlch).

Pembrokeshire League: Peter Blain (West Dragons): Matthew Broome (Hakin United); Nathan Banner (Hakin United); Chris Ormond (Merlins Bridge); Steve Allen (West Dragons): Ashley Bevan (Hakin United); Johnny Horgan (Goodwick United); Rob Morgans (Goodwick United); Ben Steele (Hakin United): Rhys Dalling (Goodwick United); Nicky Woodrow (Hakin United).

Substitutes: Patrick Hannon (Neyland); Sean Seymour-Davies (St Clears); Daniel Bryce (West Dragons); Chris O’Sullivan (Goodwick United); Matthew Price (West Dragons).

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Sport

Scarlets great Jonathan Davies awarded testimonial year

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IT has been confirmed that Scarlets, Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies has been awarded a testimonial year.

‘Foxy’, as he is popularly known, has played 209 games in a Scarlets jersey over 16 seasons, making his debut for the club against Northampton Saints as an eighteen-year-old back in 2006.

From Bancyfelin in Carmarthenshire, Jonathan played his junior club rugby for St Clears and Whitland before coming through the ranks of the Scarlets Academy and going on to become one of the leading centres in world rugby.

He twice toured with the Lions – to Australia (2013) and New Zealand (2017), where he was named player of the series in the epic Test battle against the All Blacks. He has also played 96 Tests for Wales, featuring in two Grand Slam-winning sides, a further two championship wins, and two Rugby World Cups in New Zealand (2011) and Japan (2019). During his time playing for Wales, Jonathan also had the honour of captaining the national side on four occasions.

After a couple of years in France with Clermont Auvergne, he returned to his home club ahead of the 2016-17 campaign and was an integral member of the Scarlets side that lifted the Guinness PRO12 title in exhilarating fashion in Dublin that season.

He continues to be an influential figure and role model in the Scarlets squad at the age of 36.

“Never could I have imagined when I was a kid running out onto the field at Stradey Park after the final whistle, trying to get as many player autographs as I could, that I would be lucky enough to become a player myself and play for the Scarlets, let alone more than 200 times,” he said.

“I have made memories that I will never forget whilst wearing the famous Scarlets shirt. From beating London Irish at the Madjeski in Europe, where travelling support was immense, to my favourite moment, winning the league in 2016-17 alongside team-mates who were also friends.

“I am extremely grateful to the Scarlets for all their support over the years and for awarding me this testimonial year.”

The testimonial year runs from June 2024 to May 2025 and has events planned for Llanelli, Cardiff, London and Dubai. It will also be supporting Jonathan’s chosen charity LATCH, who provide support for children and their families who are being treated by the Oncology Unit at the Children’s Hospital of Wales.

Tim Griffiths, the chair of Jonathan’s testimonial committee, said: “I am proud and honoured to be chair of Jon’s testimonial committee. Jon has been a champion of our national game; one of the modern-day greats of Welsh rugby, who has achieved so much in the jersey of the Scarlets, Wales and the Lions.

“We are looking forward to celebrating all his achievements during an exciting testimonial calendar, while also raising money for the fantastic work of his chosen charity LATCH.”

Scarlets Executive Chairman Simon Muderack said: “We wish Jon all the best for his testimonial year. He is a player who has given much to the game, a proud West Walian who became one of the finest centres in world rugby.”

Welsh Rugby Union CEO Abi Tierney added: “Jonathan Davies has been one of Welsh rugby’s greatest servants. At the peak of his powers he was one of the best centres in the world game over a sustained period of time and he is still delighting fans at Parc y Scarlets on a regular basis.

“Certainly, during that successful Lions tour of Australia in 2013, everyone knew he was one of the first names on the team sheet for the Lions coaches and Warren Gatland has regularly, since, named him as one of the best players he has ever coached.

“Jonathan is a credit to his origins, to his family and to the schools and coaches of his youth, always paying them tribute and often back at the clubs and institutions who supported him as a youngster.

“He is a hugely impressive individual, humble about his achievements as one of the finest professional rugby players Wales has produced and he deserves all the accolades and credit that will follow him in his testimonial year with his beloved Scarlets.”

The JD13 first event, a dinner in the Quinnell Lounge at Parc y Scarlets, will also support the Phil Bennett Foundation and take place in June. Full information on that event will follow.

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Dominant Goodwick crowned Champions

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Another convincing win for Goodwick United this season, this time over Milford United saw them confirmed as first division champions.

The outstanding Goodwick have dominated the first division all season and the league has been over as a contest since around Christmas time. Having not lost a league game and only failed to win two nobody’s come close to challenging them.

We asked the question earlier in the season is this one of the best teams if not the best Pembrokeshire has seen? The West Wales Cup and the treble may have settled this debate however they were unlucky to lose in the semi finals of that competition. The senior cup is still to play for and Goodwick will be strong favourites for this.

Undoubtedly an outstanding team and congratulations to everyone involved from the management to the ground staff and everyone in between.

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Title-Chasing Goodwick Reserves Secure Victory Against Haverfordwest Cricket Club

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In a highly anticipated clash at Phoenix Park, title contenders Goodwick seconds squared off against Haverfordwest Cricket Club in a thrilling encounter.

Fresh from celebrating the triumph of their first team in Division One the previous night, Goodwick seconds, led by captain Kyle Smith, entered the match with high spirits. Despite recent poor weather, Phoenix Park looked great, setting the stage for an exhilarating showdown.

The early exchanges saw both teams displaying resilience, with Haverfordwest Cricket Club showcasing solid defensive prowess. However, Goodwick’s midfield maestro Niall Kinsella orchestrated the play adeptly, supported by the dynamic Ethan Priestley’s commendable efforts.

The deadlock was broken when a contentious challenge in the box led to referee Marty Jones awarding a penalty to Goodwick. Dan Bryce clinically dispatched the spot-kick, giving the hosts a vital lead.

Shortly after, Goodwick doubled their advantage with a clinical finish from Josh Wellan, courtesy of a pinpoint assist from Kinsella. The halftime whistle blew with Goodwick enjoying a 2-0 lead, leaving Haverfordwest Cricket Club with an uphill task.

The second half witnessed Goodwick’s dominance, as Priestley’s energetic display resulted in two more goals, further cementing the home team’s superiority.

Despite the scoreline, both teams exhibited commendable sportsmanship and respect throughout the game, earning praise from the referee for their conduct.

With another successful outing at Phoenix Park, Goodwick seconds have bolstered their aspirations for promotion. The victory serves as a testament to their quality and determination, while Haverfordwest Cricket Club showcased glimpses of promise despite the defeat.

Final Score: Goodwick Reserves 4-0 Haverfordwest Cricket Club.

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