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Sport

Wales end Autumn Internationals with win

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By Jonathan Twigg

THE final game of Wales Under Armour Autumn International series saw Wales beat South Africa 24-22 at the Principality Stadium on Saturday (Dec 2).

That was thanks to, in no small part, a man of the match performance from debutant Scarlets centre Hadeligh Parkes, three years to the day since the New Zealander signed for the Scarlets and become eligible for his adoptive county.

The hosts ended the series on a high with victory over the 2007 World Cup winners, their third consecutive such victory despite fielding a side which had seven changes from the opening game defeat 29-21 to Australia.

A forward-orientated outfit, the South African set piece couldn’t dominate a Welsh pack well led by skipper Alun Wyn Jones, where the embattlement of the mauls was an area of contention for French referee Jerome Garces.

Wales have tried this Autumn to play an open and expansive style favoured now by coach Warren Gatland although the jury is still out on whether it will see its rewards at the 2019 world cup.

The opportunity to expose both new and inexperienced players to international rugby was a bold one from Gatland where his plans were also hampered by injuries although he was aware that his army of English based players, Talupe Faletau apart couldn’t play in.

The pack chosen by Gatland, skipper Jones and Faletau apart mustered 66 caps between and epitomises how the Welsh management team viewed the games as ensuring Wales have strength in depth moving forward.

Saturday’s starting XV included seven Scarlets which kicked off the game, with another two appearing from the substitute’s bench. Centre Scott Williams, departing next season for the Ospreys, scored the opening try for the second successive week and erased any concern over his future selection in Welsh squads after he was omitted in the initial draft selection by Gatland.

Another to benefit from a run in an international jersey was winger Steff Evans who is mercurial with the ball in hand as spectators anticipate what he can produce but he is still at a schoolboy level when it comes to defensive work and tactical understanding.

That will develop as he builds a working relationship as part of a back three which must include former Scarlet Liam Williams and Leigh Halpenny who on Saturday had a welcome return to form as his prodigious accuracy with the boot had come under scrutiny.

Evans may find himself out of the side come the six nations as Hallam Amos would be ahead of him and George North would be in contention.

Parkes’ first game for his adopted country will be one to remember as he partnered club colleague Scott Williams and five Scarlets in the back line, a tribute to the work current Scarlets coaches, headed by Wayne Pivac are doing in West Wales.

The thirty year old makes key decisions with calm acuity and scored two first half tries after Williams had crossed the whitewash in the fifth minute.

Wales’ new style has struggled to score tries, having crossed the whitewash just five times prior to this game and the opening try came from Williams after a cross kick by Dan Biggar was caught by Amos who flew from out wide gaining 30m finding Williams on his shoulder to glide in from 20m and Halfpenny added the extras for 7-0.

Three minutes later following the Men of Harlech turning over possession outside the Springbok 22m box, Biggar cleverly varied his play putting in a deft grubber kick and Parkes collected from 10m capitalising on the visiting defence being at sixes and sevens, to score a debut try under the posts for 14-0.

The Springboks have struggled on their tour of the northern hemisphere, losing 38-3 to Ireland on their opening game and skipper Eben Etzabeth needed his side to get their A game in motion, where they were 5kg a man heavier upfront.

After 18 minutes but a prolonged review by the TMO saw Springboks hooker Malcolm Marx effort ruled out as he was deemed to have been held up over the line and their efforts were wasted when from the ensuing attacking Scrum 5 Williams intercepted to put Steff Evans off and running over 50m as play swung from one 22m box to the other.

Wales were in control and the dynamic Biggar rifled a bullet kick over 65m which forced full back Andries Coetzee to fall over the touchline and allow Wales the line out throw for another attacking position where Parks was strong and direct in looking to break the gain line.

South Africa lacked a leader behind the pack, where Marx scooped a low ball and combined well with back row man Siya Kolisi to gain 25m to establish a foothold in the game when a high tackle resulted in outside half Handre Pollard reducing the deficit to 14-3 after half an hour.

Two minutes later, Coetzee was far too relaxed in clearing the ball as Biggar charged down his kick, which resulted in a second try by Parkes when Faletau collected the bouncing ball and pop it inside for the Kiwi to score under the posts and a 21-3 lead.

Like the week before Wales had the majority of possession and territory but this week had turned this into points although worryingly for defence coach Shaun Edwards they allowed the visitors back into the game before half time when a break out of defence by winger Dillyn Leyds took play 50m up field where the kick ahead bounced kindly for fellow winger Warrick Gelant touchdown and Pollard convert for a half time score of 21-10.

Skipper Etzebeth didn’t appear after the half time oranges, replaced by Oupa Mohoje and he galvanised the side alongside Marx and immediately reduced the deficit when Pollard scored an unconverted try 21-15.

Scarlets prop Rob Evans, an undoubted cornerstone of the Welsh side for years to come with an unbuckling presence at the set piece and a mantra as a silky, mobile ball handler, was replaced by team mate Wyn Jones and outside half Rhys Patchell appeared for an injured Biggar.

From his first touch Patchell was ‘Biggaresqe’ finding Amos with a cross field kick whilst being is all hands with tricks in the mix where he called the shots for a back line which now included six Scarlets in the back division.

Upfront another to establish a high profile in the Autumn Series, flanker Aaron Shingler was a tower of strength alongside his skipper Jones in securing line out ball, although he would have an honest reflection over the tackle area which became a key battle ground as the aerial game worked well to keep the red tide moving forward.

As the second half wore on the South African side came more into the ascendency to deservedly take the lead when centre Jesse Kriel, his sides current leading try scorer crossed wide out, before Pollard landed a superlative conversion for a 22-21 lead.

Wales for the second half had been off the pace and the momentum they derived in the first half to score three tries had dried up as they were starved of possession.

Tried and tested in previous games Wales sought out Faletau as a wide receiver as they tried to break up the games pattern, with Shingler leading a line out drive for a Halfpenny penalty to regain the lead 24-22 with 15 minutes left to the satisfaction of the majority of the 65317 crowd.

Kolisi was a strong presence for the green shirted Springboks whilst immense work from Wyn Jones in the loose was a welcome sight for his team mates as Patchell sent play back over half way line.

Winger Leyds, normally full back had an aura about him when running with ball in hand and there was an international debut at scrum half for Louis Schreuder where Jones was again to the fore with some thumping tackles in a sturdy Welsh defence.

For the final five minutes Wales required composure and guile, which came through a solid scrum and Patchell putting the ball deep into the opposition half to secure victory.

Thoughts move now to the Six nations championship, which will open on Saturday (Feb 3) when Gregor Townsend inspired Scotland are welcomed to Cardiff as Wales will look to develop from their fifth place in the table last season.

Scotland cannot be underestimated after their dismantling of Australia a fortnight ago whilst also running the All Blacks close the week before. If Wales come through that on the front foot they travel to Twickenham the week after for an evening kick off where Gatland will be picking his side on a ‘horses for courses’ format and the squad will be reflective of this.

Another stern test awaits the Welsh Dragons at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin when Ireland will be the opponents before a Cardiff return on Sunday March 11 against Italy for an afternoon kick off and the final game the following Saturday when ‘Les Blues’ are hosted for a 5pm kick off.

Sport

Duggie Morris Cup: Tish go through after beating Kilgetty

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ST ISHMAELS booked their place in the quarter finals of the Duggie Morris Cup with a seven-wicket win over Kilgetty on Wednesday night (May 18).

Tish won the toss and chose to bowl first in tough conditions but they were able to bowl Kilgetty out for 104.

Kilgetty struggled early on and were reduced to 13-4 after three overs as Brennan Devonald claimed three wickets in four balls.

The visitors battled back well though and a score of 18 from Iori Badham and 46 not out from Ollie Gamble gave them something they could defend.

Devonald finished with excellent figures of 4-11 while Andrew Pawlett claimed 2-17 and Lewis Rhead also took two wickets.

Rhead then got Tish going with a score of 32 before he was sent back to the pavilion.

Devonald then finished not out on 17 and Philip Cockburn was unbeaten on 32 as Tish reached their target in the 17th over.

The win sets up a quarter final tie against the winners of the tie between Pembroke and Lamphey which is being played on Thursday, May 19, after being cancelled because of the rain on Tuesday.

The night’s other game between Pembroke Dock and holders Lawrenny was called off because of the rain and will be replayed on Thursday, May 19.

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Community

Get Active with Pembrokeshire Leisure!

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Haverfordwest Leisure Centre

PEMBROKESHIRE Leisure have launched their new streamlined membership and pricing structure.

Membership options on offer to new customers have been reduced to make joining easier.

If you are a current member with a live membership, you will not be affected by the change. The new Active Memberships include Active Individual, Active Junior and Active Household. They will replace the previous Gold, Silver and Bronze memberships.

The pricing will also be made simpler by removing loyalty options. If you’re an existing loyalty subscription user you will continue to benefit from the loyalty price until the current subscription expires.

Gary Nicholas, Leisure Services Manager for Pembrokeshire said; “In order to simplify our pricing structure and as a reflection of current cost of living challenges, we have reviewed and changed our charges to provide excellent value to all our users.

He continued: “Pembrokeshire Leisure continues to offer our Passport to Leisure scheme to support those most in need, as well as offering the Welsh Government funded Free Swimming for the 60+ and 16 & under, Active for Life Programme and the National Exercise Referral scheme.

“Our facilities and services are here to provide active and social opportunities to everyone in our communities as we aim to promote and support a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle.”

If you would like more information, please visit https://pembrokeshireleisure.co.uk/news/

You can now buy Active Memberships online or in any of our leisure centres.

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News

Mixed medal competition at Tenby Golf Club

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SUNDAY 15th MAY 2022 – How lucky were we to be playing golf on Tenby’s magnificent links course on such a lovely day? The Mathias Thomas family have a long association with Tenby Golf Club, and the mixed competition today was to play for their trophy, donated by the daughter, Joanne Haigh, in 1978.

Her father, Mathias Thomas was a solicitor in Tenby, living in what is now Tenby House, and in 1907 he owned the golf club.

He and his son Byam and daughter Joanne were all category one golfers with illustrious careers in golf.

Today we played for their trophy which looks like our very own ‘Claret Jug’.

There were a few moans from the men when they realised, they had to play off the white tee boxes; a few moans from the ladies about it being a medal round; but once out in the sunshine that was all behind us.

The pin placements were very tricky having not been moved since yesterday’s prestigious Golden Eagle competition, so there were no twos recorded today.

However, four pairs were lucky enough to win their entry fees back in the draw. They were Idwal David and Sarah Waring, Mike and Nicola Anthony, Paul and Roz Jenkins and Rob Berry and Gill John. The dry conditions and a tricky wind made scoring quite difficult for us all, but our President Idwal and Sarah Waring (always the bridesmaids!) came third with 96-21=75. In second place were Fair Ball and Allan Morton with 90-17=73, just pipped at the post by husband John Ball and Maria Smith with 97-25-72.

With the touch screen out of use we must thank Ryan for feeding the results into the computer, but lesson learnt that we need to go back to our old system of marking cards as there was some confusion with who were players and who were markers. Apologies to the people who were wrongly informed! But as you can see from the photo, we had a good time which is what it is all about.

The next mixed is the Sam Ackermann Trophy which is a draw for partners. Great fun, and a chance for those who have never been in the mixed to put your names down and have a go. The competition is on Friday 24th June at 4pm and the draw will be done the week before. Just sign up on Masterscoreboard.

Then July 1st will be our second Friday Friendly Foursomes. Again, a draw but sign up on the mixed noticeboard at the back of the clubhouse.

A huge thank you to Laura for helping me sort out today’s competition on the computer, and thanks also to Lyn, Helen and Emma in the bar and kitchen and to Ryan in the Pro Shop.

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