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Whitland remain unbeaten

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By Jonathan Twigg

“A HAPPY camp is a winning camp” according to Coach Gareth Bennett and the GD Harries sponsored ‘Green Machine’ of Whitland were in buoyant mood on Saturday (Nov 4) after they kept their unbeaten start to the season in tact after against previously unbeaten visitors Pontarddulais.

The Borders are committed to play a style of rugby where they are willing to play the situation which falls before them, where a precarious 9-7 lead at half time in the face of a swirling wind could have led to them wilting in the face of a side intent on leaving Parc Llwyn Ty Gwyn with something to show for their efforts.

They scored the only try of the game two minutes before the break when winger Gethin Williams crossed wide out for fellow winger Paul Geary to add a majestic conversion to put the ‘Ambers’ 7-6 ahead, but had to settle for a losing bonus point as the home sides outside half Nico Setaro kicked them to victory with five penalties.

Setaro took a while to settle into the flow of the game as he was guilty of some poor tactical kicking as his side were second best in the early exchanges in all aspects.

The scrum found itself disrupted from the start, as skipper Marc Thomas lost one against the head and throughout the first half they continually failed to secure line out ball which would have allowed them a platform from which to play on the front foot.

Setaro missed an effort from just beyond the 22m line after six minutes before ‘The Bont’ lost influential Loose Head prop Andrew Williams two minutes later as he found himself exposed to some rough treatment on the floor and the ebb of the game swung in Whitland’s favour.

Hooker Thomas was tenacious in his tackling and driving play supported by the ‘boiler house’ veterans Raff Williams and 47 year old Dai Ebsworth.

Ebsworth experience of playing for three decades, including at Narberth was evident both on and off the ball as he became a go to man in the line out which led to a second penalty failed penalty attempt for Setaro after winger Liam Price had run over 25m with the ball in hand.

Fellow winger Sean Coles also combined in a sweeping 50m run with Price and the home pressure finally paid dividends midway through the half when Setaro’s penalty was successful after Pontyates referee Justin Thomas marched forward for ten metres after some dissent.

The visitors were penalised eight times in the first half, mainly for not releasing the player in the tackle as they slowed the game down with many on field injury assessments.

The tactics galvanised Thomas, Ebsworth, Number 8 Jack Mason and flanker Benji Kirk to put in the hard yards for their side and a second Setaro penalty after 32 minutes extended the lead.  Williams try came about thanks to second row Jordan Daniels and flanker Dean Courtney setting a platform for the winger to cross.

In time added on at the end of the first half a counter attack from their own half saw Setaro’s angled kick fielded by full back Aled Stone, a product of the Clubs junior and youth set up.  Instead of putting the ball out of play to end the half he tried to run from within touching distance of his own posts to be caught by the marauding home back row and the resultant penalty from wide out for not releasing allowed Setaro to lead his side from the field with a 9-7 cushion.

Centre Josh Thomas entered the fray after half time for Whitland as ball player Johnnie Thomas moved to the wing to replace Sean Coles, victim of a dead leg.

The second half game management from the home side saw them stifle any effort by Pontardullais to get ahead with some excellent handling and miss moves shipped the ball wide to winger Thomas and Price ensuring the game was played deep in the visitors territory.

Setaro and full back Scott Newton are composite ball handlers and kickers from hand, alongside Thomas and Price as they dictated both the tempo and tactical play which saw them combine and travel at times over sixty metres with ball in hand.

Coach Dan Mason was complimentary of this play as ‘the players are encouraged to express their ability at all times’.

He added: “There may have been a hangover from our last game at Tumble alongside nerves due to the ‘magnitude of the game’ at the start of the afternoon but we are all confident in our own and our team mates skills.  Bennett, added ‘there is no better feeling for a front five forward to get up from the battle on the floor to see the ball 40m downfield and it keeps a spring in our step and a smile on our faces.”

Replacement Thomas also added a new dimension to the play after the break by taking and carrying the ball to the first defender with fellow centre Alun Davies enjoying the freedom created to ensure Setaro and the back three could perform.

Flanker Ryan Michael was instrumental in leading a high defence line alongside scrum half Adam Davies who edged out his more experienced counterpart Adrian Killa or the visitors as the game wore on, which restricted the ability for Stone et al to run back from deep, resulting into the kicks into the hands of Newton, Setaro and Thomas.

Setaro landed two more penalties as the graft of his forwards put their side 15-7 ahead with ten minutes remaining although it could have been different had Geary not slipped when attempting a straight forward penalty attempt a minute later; he made amends with five minutes left after work from Daniels drew Michael offside as his side felt the loss just when his side most needed him most of Number 8 Jacob Miles, an attacking dynamo alongside his scrum half Killa all afternoon.

A vociferous visiting contingent in the stands became frustrated as the play couldn’t transfer to give their idols an opportunity to win the game where a Club spokesman at the end of the game praised ‘Whitland’s second half performance, which ended our unbeaten league start, although the losing bonus point may prove crucial as the season draws to its climax.”

The final word on an absorbing Whitland Ladies sponsored top of table encounter was left to Bennett. “As coaches it’s a case of osmosis as these players just want to take everything we are giving them onto the pitch.  We have no expectations beyond our next game and we are able to use players out of position when the need arises; our philosophy of trying to play rugby beyond our outside centre will remain.”

Next week Pontarddulais entertain St Clears whilst the unbeaten Green Machine travel to Mumbles to take on a side which were unable to field a team last weekend.

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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