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Scarlets seal victory over Connaught

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By Jonathan Twigg

SCARLETS won their Guinness Pro 14 encounter on Friday (Sept 29) at Parc Y Scarlets 34-27 against a spirited Connaught side in a game which saw the teams share nine tries and secure maximum points.

The first half saw seven of those tries, with the Scarlets leading 26-22 thanks to their fourth try of the night, scored by British & Irish Lions full back Leigh Halfpenny.

The Scarlets had opened the scoring after seven minutes following a clean line out ball from second row David Bulbring, where the ball was moved out to an advancing Rhys Patchell, the outside half running a high attacking line, from which he popped the ball into the hands of centre Jonathan Davies, who broke his tackle and created enough space for winger Johnny Mcnicholl to circle around under the posts for Halfpenny to convert.

From the restart, secured by home flanker Wil Boyde the Scarlets moved the ball along their back division until an unfortunate mix up in midfield between centres Scott Williams and Davies saw the ball pop into the hands of outside half Jack Carty who ran in unopposed under the posts and convert his own try.

The mix up typified the game where many errors restricted the momentum in play, with an expectation that both sides would have been frustrated by their inability to take control of the game despite the fact they served up a nine try thriller.

Wales full back Halfpenny also missed two attempts at goal, the first a conversion of man of the match Stefan Evans try on 17 minutes.

The winger was on hand to finish a move which the Scarlets ran nine passes of play before Williams opened the space for Evans to dance around and finish from 40m out.

With Wales coach Warren Gatland and his management team in the stands Evans has now put himself into the slot to be involved in the Autumn International series as the diminutive winger expressed his desire and hunger to run at the opposition defence line, reflecting images of Shane Williams in his heyday.

Carty brought the score back to 12-10 with a penalty conceded from the scrum, with replacement prop Dylan Evans guilty having just come on for Wales international Rob Evans, side lined with a head injury.

Smarting from the setback of losing Evans and three points the Scarlets won possession back as the half hour mark approached thanks to the endeavours of skipper Ken Owens who charged down a clearance from full back Darragh Leader.

Number 8 Will Boyde combined with Josh McCleod and replacement Evans before further good work from Aaron Shingler and Jake Ball put flanker McCleod clear allowing Rhys Patchell to accept an inside pass from Steff Evans to score and Halfpenny to find his kicking boots gain and convert after missing a 40m penalty on 11 minutes.

Referee Nigel Owens took an age to award the try as the TMO viewed numerous angles of the play much to the discontent of the crowd and whilst applauding the innovative way technology can ‘get the decision right’ thought must be given to keeping the game live.

Connaught came back with a try after some sustained phases of play through their pack to release winger Cian Kelleher after good hands from centre Bundee Aki which Carty converted and a mistake from Mcnicholl allowed visiting number 8 John Muldoon to charge 45m through the midfield, linking well with Aki who was tackled and the ball recycled through the efforts of flanker Jarred Butler allowing winger Tim O’Halloran to score an unconverted try.

With the Scarlets behind for the first time in the match with two minutes of the half remaining the they managed to work space once again for Evans to set his wheels in motion and he drew the covering defence for Halfpenny to score and convert for a half time lead of 26-22.

The second half became a much dourer affair as both coaching teams rung the changes and the handling mistakes which epitomised the absorbing first period were there for the 7693 spectators to witness.

Halfpenny extended the lead close to the hour mark with a penalty as Aki was penalised for a double movement in the tackle, with the game drifting aimlessly as both sides were guilty of kicking possession away to allow them to regroup their defensive patterns.

Scarlets coach Wayne Pivac used all his replacements, the last of which was prop Simon Gardiner, who returned to a Scarlets shirt with just under ten minutes remaining.

The former Wales Under 21 star last played for the Region in September 2011 and after a journey which took him around Britain he has this season put in some excellent performances for Llanelli in the Principality Premiership and deservedly earned a recall to the match day squad.

On 74 minutes Connaught brought themselves back into contention of winning the game thanks to a second unconverted try by O’Halloran after he combined well with fellow wing Kelleher before the crescendo for a nervous home crowd saw replacement back row Irishman Tadhg Bierne stride over after second row Jake Ball collected the ball in midfield and make a 30m unopposed run, for Halfpenny to convert and the game end 36-27.

On Saturday (Oct 7), the Scarlets take on rivals Ospreys in the Pro 14 at the Liberty Stadium, before welcoming Cardiff Blues to Park Y Scarlets at the end of the month after they travel to Toulouse and entertain Bath in the European Cup.

News

Seren shines in shooting sports, breaking records and winning medals

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SEREN THORNE, a young talent from Letterston, has been making waves in the world of 10m air rifle precision shooting. A former student of Ysgol Casblaidd, Ysgol Bro Gwaun, and the sixth form at Haverfordwest’s VC High School, Seren is currently furthering her education in music at Cardiff University. However, it is her achievements in shooting sports that are capturing the nation’s attention.

Seren’s journey in shooting began at the tender age of 8, initially with the pistol as part of her participation in the Pony Club tetrathlon. Her transition to the air rifle in 2020 marked the beginning of an illustrious path in this discipline. Since then, Seren has not only embraced the sport but has excelled at it, demonstrating an exceptional level of precision and composure.

Her hard work and dedication bore fruit in November when she clinched two gold medals at the Welsh Championships. At this event, Seren not only topped the podium but also broke the Welsh and British junior women’s qualification record, setting a new benchmark for aspiring shooters.

However, Seren’s achievements did not stop at the national level. In February, she represented Great Britain at the Junior World Cup in Granada, Spain. There, she added to her medal tally by securing an individual silver medal and breaking the British junior women’s final record. Seren’s success continued as she contributed to a mixed team bronze medal, once again breaking the previous British junior record.

More recently, Seren participated in the British Open Championships, where she was crowned the British junior women’s champion and won the British confined open women’s championship. These victories are a testament to her skill, determination, and the promising future she has in the sport of shooting.

Seren Thorne’s achievements are not just personal victories but also a source of pride for her community in Letterston, her schools, and indeed for the whole of Britain. As she continues to study and train, the nation watches eagerly to see how far this talented young shooter will go.

Seren’s journey in shooting sports is a vivid reminder of the dedication and hard work required to excel at the highest levels, and she is undoubtedly a rising star to keep an eye on in the years to come.

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Sport

Crunch time in local Cup Competitions

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Recently we have lost so much local sport due to weather making pitches unplayable. This weekend however looks more promising and there are some huge cup ties due to take place. We’ve previewed the West Wales Cup and Senior Cup, with the second division cup preview to follow.

The West Wales Cup fifth round sees four Pembrokeshire based teams in action, with one all Pembs tie as Merlins Bridge host Kilgetty. Meanwhile Goodwick United travel to Seaside and Milford United host Penlan.

West Wales Cup Ties –

Seaside vs Goodwick United

Goodwick United are a team nobody wants to face in any competition in current form. However Seaside will be very confident themselves, they sit top of their division and are a massive sixteen points clear of second place. Last time out in this competition they beat Carew 2-1, and haven’t lost a game since October. A real test for Chris O’Sullivans men this one when they travel to Llanelli, I’m sure they’ll have plenty of support on the supporters bus too.

Milford United vs Penlan

Steve Parks and his men have been looking forward to this fixture since it was drawn, they are in excellent form this year and this will be a great match up. Penlan themselves are a strong outfit and beat Evans and Williams last time out in the competition. A mouthwatering match up down at Marble Hall which I’m sure will draw plenty of local support.

Merlins Bridge vs Kilgetty

The league table would suggest the Wizards are the stronger of the two Pembrokeshire teams in this tie. However Kilgetty have a lot of games in hand over the majority of the league and their league position is somewhat misleading. A team with plenty of quality and the hosts will have to be on top form to ensure the visitors don’t upset the party here.

Pembrokeshire Senior Cup Ties

Fishguard Sports vs Clarbeston Road

The hosts are not enjoying much success in their league campaign so far this season. The visitors are on the opposite end of the scale and have impressed in the league this year. Matthew Fox’ team have shown they have the quality to go all the way in this competition and he’ll be hoping for a good performance.

Haverfordwest Cricket Club vs Carew

Third division Haverfordwest Cricket Club are more than a potential banana skin for Carew. The visitors naturally will be confident going into this one however the hosts have plenty of experienced and quality players in their ranks and will be no push overs.

Pennar Robins vs Tenby

Two first division teams who have had two close games already this season. Last time out it was a 2-2 draw and before that Tenby won a close game 2-1. Another close game is to be expected and both teams will be quietly confident of progressing to the latter stages of this competition.

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Sport

Pembrokeshire Football Division One Round Up

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It was once again a weekend where the majority of the county’s scheduled football fell foul to waterlogged and unplayable pitches. A frustrating time for players, club members and referees alike as the last month to six weeks has been very wet and we’ve had a huge number of games called off.

In the first division Clarbeston Road continued their dominance over Hakin United as we reported in our feature game. Two other games were played in the top division Tenby made it three wins in a row when they beat Fishguard 4-2 at the Clicketts. Adam Muskett scored twice, both assisted by the man of the match Jerome Mansbridge who then scored twice to cap off a stand out performance. The result lifts the Seasiders into fifth place, while Fishguard look all but relegated as they sit rock bottom on just four points.

Tenby’s local rivals Kilgetty boosted their league position with an important win over Pennar Robins at Bush Camp. Robins missed a great opportunity to go one up when they were awarded a penalty but Edmundson failed to hit the target from the spot. Josh Bevans goal was enough to secure the three points for the visitors who now only sit two points behind Pennar with four games in hand over them. 

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