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Sport

Skudder’s try hat trick in Blues victory

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Written by Jonathan Twigg

HAVERFORDWEST travelled to Pill Parks, Llangwm on Saturday (Sept 23) and returned with a convincing 54-5 victory to keep their 100% Division 3A West league record intact thanks to a hat trick of tries from winger Ben Skudder.

Skudder was part of a back division which dominated the game for the ‘Blues’ as outside half Matthew Davies pulled the strings for centre pairing of Gareth John and Dane Pindair to cause problems all afternoon for the hosts.

In fairness to the Wasps they battled hard to the end and ensured their more ‘millionaire’ opponents didn’t get it all their own way as the scoreline suggests, especially in the game’s opening quarter when outside half Louis Murphy had three kickable penalty attempts to chalk his side on the scoreboard.

Llangwm, whilst disjointed in their phased build up play drew the Haverfordwest defence line into conceding numerous penalties.

Time after time the visitors were guilty of being penalised for over running the offside line or holding in the tackle, with referee Davies warning skipper Alun Harries of his concern.

An outline of the Blue inability to master the referees requirement resulted in occasions where they were marched back 10m for verbally berating his decisions, where fifteen penalties were conceded in the first 25 minutes. From one such offence of not releasing the player in the tackle centre John was sin binned with his side leading 7-0, after he had converted a fine try by full back Ollie Hughes.

Davies had pushed a 25m drop out deep into the Llangwm half which saw home full back Steve Picton caught by hooker Ryan Palmer as he ran the ball back on 12 minutes. Second row Adam Williams picked up and drove on from the ruck, before a half break from scrum half Richard James saw Pindair break through two tackles on the crash ball. The Blues forwards quickly recycled the ball for Davies to put Hughes in space and he rounded the covering tackles wide out to score.

An impatient Haverfordwest prevented them delivering a much larger winning margin as they endeavoured to push boundaries in the aim of scoring from early phase possession. Coaches Bruce Evans and Simon Le Petit would have been frustrated with this lack of composure which saw promising attacking movements halted by handling errors.

With John out of the game following his tackle to stop home centre Josh Hicks strong run over 30m through the midfield, it did have the desired effect to settle their play into a composed rhythm.

This resulted in the second score of the half, an opening effort for Skudder who responded to James’ tap and go from a penalty following a scrum offence for pushing early by the home pack.

Ben Skudder: A hat trick of tries for the Blues

Davies accepted the ball from James feeding dynamic flanker Morgan Layton, who rumbled 15m upfield before Pindair’s quick hands put full back Hughes in space.  He drew last man Picton with a beautiful timed pass to Skudder who raced over from 35m before Hughes slotted over the conversion in John’s absence.

Haverfordwest, buoyed by this second score when reduced to 14 men kept the same game plan causing Llangwm to miss tackles through Jack Griffiths, Hicks, Murphy and Picton which allowed Haverfordwest to dominate the territory as half time approached.

Back to full strength prop Ritchie Little was instrumental in setting a platform for Davies to dance over with five minutes of the half remaining, although John missed the simplest of his kicks to leave the half time score 19-0 in the Blues favour.

The second half started as the first had finished with the visitors on the front foot, although the game didn’t gain momentum with both packs at fault for ‘early engagement’ penalties which riled the partisan supporters of both camps.

Encounters between the two sides over the years have been feisty and the traditional ‘Bishop Cup’ fixtures on Boxing Day attracting four figures crowds revelling in their time out of the house during the Yule tide period.  Banter at these games is second to none and both sides buy into the occasion and raise their game.

‘Harfat’ landed their bonus point try as the hour mark approached after Hicks was isolated in possession and the ball swiftly moved out to the hands of Davies and John for Pindair to put winger Rhys Baker over towards the play park corner for John to superbly convert, where he didn’t miss another kick all afternoon.

The versatile Hicks, playing at Centre having started the season as a second row was taking the game to the visitors, where the rest of the home side, second Row Ashley James and skipper James Lewis apart failed to respond. Hicks surprisingly lacked some football skills when leading the foot race with James as he was quickest to respond to his skipper and hooker Aled Morgans work on the ground.

The strong running centre did get his sides score on 65 minutes when a poor kick from Pindair was collected by number 8 Ian Griffiths who with his fellow back row of James Lewis, skipper and namesake, playing on permit from Whitland allowed Hicks some momentum in midfield.  He left John and Skudder in his wake as he thundered over from 25m, with Picton missing the conversion.

The smarting Blues quickly regrouped after allowing their defences to be breached and two minutes later from a scrum, Davies and John combined to put Pindair into space and he broke a tackle from Gavin Jenkins to stroll in from 15m and the lead was 33-5.

With ten minutes remaining Skudder scored his second try after good work again by hooker Palmer on the floor ensured space was created wide out for Skudder to finish under the posts.

Home second row James again came to the fore, in his first game of the season to allow his side to gain territory from their limited possession, with the game drifting towards a mundane finish as fitness impacted on the skill level alongside the continual run of replacements.

The final score of the afternoon came with a minute of play remaining, after a mazy Baker run over 35m resulted in a Llangwm scrum as Josh Atherton was penalised for holding the ball.

The Blues pack managed to get ‘one against the head’ allowing skipper Harries to pick up from the base of the scrum, feeding the ball back inside to James to get a pass away to the ‘loitering’ Skudder who pinned back his ears over 20m for his hattrick and push the scoreboard over the 50 point mark.

Coaching gurus Evans and Le Petit were delighted with the win post-match, identifying the work rate of flanker Layton in the same breath as Skudder for his finishing and ball players Davies and Hughes for their awareness in getting the ball wide to players in space. “We didn’t want to get embroiled in a dog fight, which many of these local derbies can become” said Evans. “Our game plan was disrupted, maybe by the occasion as we weren’t willing to build the phases required to create the scoring opportunities.”

News

Free disability sports event heads to Pembroke Leisure Centre

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PEMBROKE Leisure Centre will play host to a free disability sports and physical event later this month with lots of sports and activities to try.

The insport series, in partnership with Disability Sport Wales, Sport Pembrokeshire and Pembrokeshire Leisure is an inclusive sport and physical activity event.

It offers opportunities for disabled young people (ages 5 years+) and adults across Pembrokeshire and friends and family are welcome.

On offer to try are: boxing, boccia, swimming (on a separate first come first serve booking basis), football, wheelchair rugby, target shooting, adaptive bikes, cricket, golf, multisport, and more.

The event takes place Pembroke Leisure Centre, on Wednesday May 29th between 10am-2pm.  

Booking for the event and swim places is required.

For more information please contact: Jess West from Sport Pembrokeshire byemail [email protected] or by calling 07795305871.

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News

Two changes to Scarlets side for Zebre match-up

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HEAD coach Dwayne Peel has made two changes to his Scarlets starting XV for Friday’s BKT United Rugby Championship round 17 clash with Zebre Parma at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi (19:35 BBC Wales).

Alex Craig has recovered from a hamstring issue to take his place in the second row, while behind the scrum Ioan Lloyd replaces fellow Wales international Sam Costelow at fly-half.

Ioan Nicholas, Tomi Lewis and Ryan Conbeer continue in the back three; Johnny Williams again partners Eddie James, while Lloyd links up with the experienced Gareth Davies at half-back.

In the pack, the front row of Kemsley Mathias, skipper Ryan Elias and Harri O’Connor get the nod to start again. Craig partners Morgan Jones at lock, while Taine Plumtree, Dan Davis and No. 8 Carwyn Tuipulotu are selected in the back row.

On the bench, Wales U20s centre Macs Page – part of Llandovery’s Indigo Premiership title-winning side last weekend – is set to make his URC debut.

Scarlets scrum and contact skills coach Emyr Phillips said: “We are looking to build some momentum in these last two games to fire us into pre-season. We are encouraging the boys to play high-tempo rugby and get the ball moving because that’s when we are at our best. We know Zebre will bring emotion to the game and we need to match that.”

Scarlets team to play Zebre Parma at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on Friday, May 17 (19:35; BBC Wales)

15 Ioan Nicholas; 14 Tomi Lewis, 13 Johnny Williams, 12 Eddie James, 11 Ryan Conbeer; 10 Ioan Lloyd, 9 Gareth Davies; 1 Kemsley Mathias, 2 Ryan Elias (capt), 3 Harri O’Connor, 4 Alex Craig, 5 Morgan Jones, 6 Taine Plumtree, 7 Dan Davis, 8 Carwyn Tuipulotu.

Reps: 16 Shaun Evans, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Sam Wainwright, 19 Jarrod Taylor, 20 Ben Williams, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Sam Costelow, 23 Macs Page

Players unavailable because of injury

Tom Rogers, Sam Lousi, Vaea Fifita, Steff Evans, Joe Roberts, Josh Macleod, Teddy Leatherbarrow, Jac Davies.

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News

Charity football match scores big for mental health awareness

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IN an inspiring display of community spirit and sportsmanship on Friday (May 10), the Ogi Bridge Meadow stadium hosted a charity football match that saw local mental health charity, Give The Boys A Lift (GTBAL), triumph over 2Wish, with a final score of 5-1. The event drew a large crowd, who gathered to support both organizations dedicated to mental health and well-being.

GTBAL, a renowned Pembrokeshire charity known for its efforts in mental health advocacy, put on a strong performance, leading to a decisive victory that was met with enthusiastic applause and cheers from the spectators. The match not only provided an evening of thrilling sports action but also raised significant awareness and funds for the causes represented by the two teams.

Maria Elena Smith, a spectator and supporter, praised the event, commenting, “Amazing effort from everyone involved. As always, the charities that support so many families and individuals have come out in force. Well done all and thank you for all the support.”

Adrian Smith, another attendee, highlighted the importance of the charities’ work, stating, “Don’t underestimate what both these charities do. It was a fantastic evening raising awareness.”

The event served as a reminder of the vital role these organizations play in the community, offering support and resources to those facing mental health challenges. Congratulations to all involved for a successful event that went beyond just a game, fostering community unity and support for pivotal causes.

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