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Whitland beat Saints in derby

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Whitland              31

St Clears               10

League 2 West

By Jonathan Twigg

THE Bois Pwll Trap sponsored Whitland side gained the bragging rights in the first league encounter against St Clears on Saturday (Sept 9) when they gained a bonus point victory at Parc Llwyn Ty Gwyn by running in four tries.

For the opening 20 minutes of the game the visiting ‘Boars’ found it difficult to establish a pattern which would give a platform from which scrum half Llyr Ebsworth and half back partner Shane Morgan could gain momentum.

Home skipper Marc Jones chose to keep the look for five points through dominant line outs play, turning down kickable penalty attempts. Second rows, veterans Dai Ebsworth and Raff Williams were the targets for hooker Jones in these early exchanges with the opening score arriving after six minutes when prop Aaron Mayne crashed over from close range following a pass by scrum half Adam Davies following second phase ball from the set piece.

This was a just reward for the opening period of pressure with outside half Nico Setaro pushing his conversion attempt across the goal and striking the left hand upright.

Centre Johnnie Thomas made space from the restart and with runners on his shoulder either side as he sped over the halfway line timed a pass to winger Sean Coles who was caught and bundled into touch 20m short of the whitewash by visiting skipper Matthew Lewis.

Whitland debutant Josh Thomas: Direct running at the St Clears defence

Geraint Jones did have an attempt at goal into a driving wind blowing towards the ‘Town’ end as number 8 Tomas Rees, Ebsworth and prop Alun Davies created the goal attempt when the home side were penalised by referee Jason Summers for offside.

Setaro scored to make it 8-0 after sixteen minutes when he struck a penalty from the 10m line which sailed through the posts as punishment for St Clears being offside at the ruck and both sets of forwards were happy to exchange pleasantries with each other as they wrestled for dominance.

After 25 minutes Morgan and Mike Georgiou were able to create an opening for outside centre Wayne Rice to break through into the Whitland 25, with the supporting Dafydd Waters pulled by home full back Scott Newton, resulting in another flurry of fists with Newton and second row Walters receiving yellow cards, but Jones couldn’t punish with three points.

Ebsworth, alongside flankers Dafydd Page and Courtney Bowman gained belief in their ability to keep the ball in hand and gaps emerged which allowed the visitors to create an attacking platform for the first time in the game, supported when skipper Lewis opted for Jones to kick for the corner as opposed to another difficult attempt at goal in the squally weather conditions.

Without influential veteran second row Carwyn Davies, being treated for an on field injury the ‘Boars’ won the ball through Rees and it was being recycled by his fellow forwards before they relinquished possession through stamping at the ruck, allowing Setaro to clear for Whitland from the danger area.

As half time approached Setaro stretched the lead with another penalty on 32 minutes after Jones, alongside the back row had moved the game into the St Clears 25 with some smooth handling, securing a penalty for offside.

From the restart, the ‘Engine Room’ of Williams and Ebsworth secured crucial yardage allowing Setaro space to run at the defence line, chip over, collect and from the ensuing ruck on 30m, slot over a penalty as St Clears were once again penalised for offside.

With both sides now back to full numbers and the scoreboard showing 17-3 in Whitland’s favour the next score was going to be decisive with five minutes of the half remaining, which came in a fortuitous way for Whitland when Ryan Michael gathered and ran in unopposed from 10m for Setaro to convert, making it 24-3 at half time.

That Michael was unopposed came about as Setaro set himself for a drop goal attempt, which was touched in flight by St Clears hands and it looped over the retreating Whitland forwards into his hands, with no St Clears cover around to prevent the score.

Credit to St Clears who emerged from the half time break with energy to use the elements in their favour, with heavy drizzle mixing with the wind allowing Davies and hooker Alan Proctor to make gains into home territory.

Walters, a sniping Ebsworth and Andrew Howells carried this momentum forward to pull Michael offside, from which Jones thumped the right hand upright from nearly 40m.

Further penalties followed for St Clears, with Morgan taking the initiative to keep the ball alive and play move back and forth across the pitch as St Clears drove forward but didn’t have the crucial points needed to influence the outcome of the game.

A line out on 20m was again secured by Davies, returning to the Club he served so well a decade ago and when the ball was released from the driving maul Morgan was held up two meters from the line.

A penalty for offside in front of the post was turned down by Lewis in favour of an attacking scrum, which wheeled around for number 8 Rees to pick up, put Ebsworth into a half gap and from the ensuing ruck Page was guided over the line by his fellow forwards, for Jones to add the extras.

With both sides making substitutions the game as a spectacle became disjointed and the weather didn’t help the tired minds as there were ball handling errors which prevented either side establishing any sustained impetus.

Whitland do possess a back division which has thoughtful and skilful three quarters, who play off each other to create chances for their outside runners; typified when Newton entered the line from a slick pass from Setaro on 70 minutes, popping the ball to Josh Thomas who crashed through the defence line.

The ball was recycled quickly allowing Setaro and Newton to create space for Johnnie Thomas to glide through and from 35m out once again time a pass to the Coles who raced clear, avoiding the despairing effort of last man Lewis to touchdown under the posts for the bonus point try. Setaro ended the games scoring on 31-10.

Whitland coaches Gareth Bennet and Dan Mason were happy to secure a bonus point victory when they spoke after the match. “It was a niggly game which we expected” said Mason “but credit to our lads for holding their composure and backing their own ability when the game demanded.”  Bennett was also praise worthy of his sides “efforts to keep the ball in hand, which produced four tries and a maximum point haul from the game.  The fourth try built around our midfield ball handlers resulted in seven points and was just reward for the boy’s efforts.”

Visiting coach Mike Jones acknowledged his side found it difficult to get into the game in the first quarter as the step up in standard meant they “took time to adjust to their new surroundings.”   He went further to “praise all my players for their efforts as we did get opportunities in difficult positions and on another day the three missed penalties pop over and the game is different at 17-12.  We made too many errors and Whitland have an experienced side which disrupted our ability to use front foot ball.”

When the game was completed both teams received resounding applause from a large and appreciative crowd of more than 800, buoyed from the half time singing of match sponsor Cor Meibion Hendy-Gwyn.

Whitland travel to Trinity Fields tomorrow to take on Carmarthen Athletic, the only other unbeaten side in the division alongside themselves, after they beat Fishguard 28-21 at the Moor last Saturday.  Experienced level three official Andrew Miles from Hook, will oversee this top of the table fixture.

Sport

Harries steers Pembroke into Duggie Morris Cup final

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PEMBROKE sealed their place in the Duggie Morris Cup final on Wednesday night (Jun 29) as they beat Narberth by eight wickets.

The match was originally due to take place on Tuesday but heavy rain forced the game to be moved.

Played at Carew in front of a good crowd, Narberth batted first and made a good score of 165-7.

Narberth lost Richard Adams early on when he was caught by Jonathan Rogers off the bowling of Alan Webster on a score of 13 and Rob Smyth also claimed the wicket of Lewis Hough.

Kyle Quartermaine hit five fours and two sixes in his score of 44 from 23 balls but he was stumped by Phil Hay off the bowling of Steve Durston.

Loui Davies hit three fours and a six in his score of 48 but he was trapped leg before by Steve Durston.

Jordan Howell hit a four and a six in his score of 30 but he was bowled by Jack Harries. Rogers and Harries also claimed a further wicket each late on as they kept Narberth’s total down.

In reply, Jack Harries and Jonathan Rogers made an excellent start as both reached their half centuries.

Rogers hit six fours and three sixes in his score of 65 from 44 balls before he was bowled by David Johns.

Luke Butler made a quick score of 10 before falling to Ben Quartermaine but Harries was able to steer Pembroke to victory.

He hit seven fours and four sixes in his score of 83 not out from 58 balls to see Pembroke into their first final, in any competition, in 17 years.

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Neyland book place in Duggie Morris final

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NEYLAND are back in the final of the Duggie Morris once again after beating holders Lawrenny in the semi-final on Thursday night (Jun 30).

Lawrenny had broken Neyland’s dominance of the competition with their win last year and Thursday’s game was another exciting clash between the pair.

Neyland won the toss and chose to bat but they could only score 136-7 from their 20 overs.

They lost opener Patrick Bellerby early on when he was bowled by Rob Williams and soon after, fellow opener Paul Murray was caught by Steve Lewis off the bowling of Jamie Lewis.

That left Neyland on 15-2 but Andrew Miller and Ashley Sutton shared 47 runs for the third wicket.

Miller hit a four in his score of 25 but he was caught off the bowling of Finley Lewis.

Sutton and Gregg Miller added another 41 runs for the fourth wicket but Steve Lewis trapped Sutton leg before to reduce Neyland to 103-4. Sutton had hit three fours and a six in his run-a-ball score of 44.

Miller clubbed two fours and two sixes in his score of 26 from 16 balls but he was then bowled by Ryan Morton.

Patrick Hannon hit two fours in a score of 10 but he was also bowled by Harry Thomas who also bowled Lewis Page.

Jack John and Sean Hannon then took Neyland to their total, the latter finding a crucial boundary in the latter stages, as Lawrenny were set 137 to win.

Kyle Marsh started well for Lawrenny, hitting five fours, four of them coming in a row at the start of the third over, but with the next ball he was then caught by Sean Hannon off the bowling of Gary Lloyd.

Marsh had scored 22 from his 15 balls and soon after he departed, Lloyd trapped Harry Thomas leg before for a duck.

Steve Lewis was out for a score of 13 to Andrew Miller and his wicket saw Lawrenny slip to 36-3.

Troy Purslowe and James Phillips then added 34 runs for the fourth wicket. Purslowe hit two fours and a six in his score of 22 but he was then caught by Patrick Hannon off the bowling of Miller.

Ryan Morton came in and hit a six but he was then caught by Patrick Bellerby, again off the bowling of Miller.

At the start of the eighteenth, Lawrenny needed 37 to win but had James Phillips well placed on 29 from 22 balls.

However, the game changed in the space of two balls. Joe Kidney was bowled by Patrick Hannon and with the next ball, Phillips was run out by Ashley Sutton.

It happened again in the nineteenth over as Sean Hannon had Finley Lewis caught by brother Patrick and on the next ball, he had Jamie Lewis caught by Gregg Miller.

There was to be no hat trick but the four wickets in quick succession had seen Lawrenny slip to 105-9.

In the last over, Jack John had Rob Williams caught by Sutton to bring the game to a close.

Neyland will now look forward to the final against Pembroke, to be played in Burton on Sunday, July 17.

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Division 2 round-up: Johnston win by one run and Herbie win again

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JOHNSTON boosted their hopes of getting out of the bottom two in Division 2 on Saturday (Jun 25) as they beat Lamphey by only one run.

Lamphey won the toss and chose to field but Johnston made a good score of 235-9 from their 45 overs.

Their score was underpinned by an excellent century from Josh Hicks who scored 110 before he was out.

Gary James added 51 and Chris Fitzpatrick added 30 as Johnston posted their second highest total of the season.

David Blackwell finished with 2-17 while Grant Cole claimed 2-28 but David Dredge was the pick of the Lamphey bowlers with 3-42.

In reply, Dredge scored 78, Peter McGilloway scored 26 and there were scores of 43 from Nick Shelmerdine and 20 from Rob Mathias.

Cole finished unbeaten on 26 but it wasn’t enough as Johnston’s bowlers did just enough to seal the win.

Andrew Harries took 3-22 and Lee Summons also claimed three wickets while John Summons finished with 2-17.

Herbie beat Whitland by seven wickets

Herbrandston remain in second place in the table as they beat Whitland to earn their seventh win of the season.

Whitland batted first but were restricted to 142-8 as Kristian Bennett (2-22), Paul Nicholas (2-15) and Charlie Malloy (2-44) all took two wickets.

Wayne Howells was Whitland’s top scorer with 31 while Gethin Scourfield added 27 and Ian Taylor scored 23.

In reply, a score of 58 from Jack Nicholas helpe Herbie on their way while Alan McClelland added 32.

Malloy added to his earlier wickets with 25 not out which, despite wickets for Howells (1-28), Scourfield (1-26) and Luc Owen (1-30), got Herbie to victory inside 30 overs.

Llanrhian seal fifth win

Llanrhian earned their fifth win of the season on Saturday as they beat Pembroke by 63 runs.

Llanrhian batted first and they made a good score of 220-7 in their innings, Ben Jones top scoring with 53.

Paul Lewis added 35, Ewan James scored 26 while there were scores of 24 from Tom Clarke and 23 from Jack Jones.

Andrew Price claimed four wickets for Pembroke while Steve Durston struck twice and Pat Barnaby also picked up one wicket.

Price then scored 31 in Pembroke’s reply and Durston added 19. Paul White top scored with 60 but it wasn’t enough as they were bowled out for 157.

Jack Jones claimed figures of 3-42 while Clarke took 2-30. Dafydd Williams, Gwynant Watson and Jon Strawbridge all claimed a wicket each.

Carew seconds fall short against Hook

Hook also earned their fifth win of the season on Saturday as they beat Carew second by five runs.

Carew won the toss and chose to field and they bowled Hook out for 132.

Barry Evans took 2-19 for Carew while Ethan Hall had 2-34 but Max Brindley starred as he finished with four wickets for the loss of three runs.

Dafydd Bowen and Jacob Lay both made scores of 30 while Jake Wicks scored 24 and Seth Willington added 17.

Carew though were unable to reach their target, despite scores of 41 from Scott Richards and 48 not out from Hayden Shapcott.

Matthew Holder tok 2-36 for Hook while Callum James (1-14) and Harry Makepeace (1-15) also bowled well as Carew could only finish on 127-7.

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