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Pembroke go top with derby success

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PEMBROKE moved to the top of League 3 West A with a comfortable 40-0 win over rivals Pembroke Dock Quins on Saturday (Dec 30) in front of one of the biggest crowds seen at Crickmarren for many years.

The Quins fielded a young side that has grown in confidence and experience as the season has progressed, whilst the home side, with a full squad available, came to this match brimming with confidence having only lost one League fixture during the season and being in the middle of an excellent Cup run.

However, as all regular supporters appreciate, form in these local derbies is not always the best indicator of the potential outcome. So the large, partisan, holiday crowd assembled with huge expectations of their respective squads.

The home side started well and were camped in the Quins half for most of the first ten minutes, testing their defensive resolve. The Quins forwards battled hard in the loose and managed a number of early defensive turn overs to deny the home side opportunities to press home their territorial advantage.

Then at the end of the first quarter, Pembroke were awarded a penalty for an infringement in the loose; from the ensuing scrum the ball was moved and after a number of phases, quick ball was fed to Sam Smith on the charge and he pierced a crowded defence to score near the posts, to a crescendo of noise form the home supporters. The try was converted by Sean Dalling.

Both sides then lost a player a piece, after Dom Coleman and Quins hooker Neil Brace had a brief altercation mid field and were yellow carded by referee David Emmanuel.

Over the next ten minutes the Quins pressed into Pembroke territory, but could not pierce an equally aggressive and determined home defence.

With only five minutes to go in this half, Pembroke pushed forward through a number of well-constructed phases, which saw prop Lloyd Davies link and make good ground in mid field before passing to the backs to move it wide; from a ruck close to the Quins line, quick ball was scooped up by Sam Smith, who fed a hungry Lloyd Davies on the charge to crash over for an unconverted, team try.

With their tails up in the last seconds of the half, Pembroke then created another opportunity, after counter attacking from deep in their half, winger Simon Stanford was put into space and he nimbly, swerved and sped past a number of defenders to score a superb individual effort from 35 metres out, which was ably converted by Toby Smith; leaving the score at half time deservedly at 19-0 to the home side.

The third quarter started much the same as the first, with Pembroke pushing the Quins into rear guard action and missing a golden opportunity to increase their score only minutes in, when Pembroke’s winger Barry John dropped the ball crossing the line, after a superb counter attacking drive from their own half.

After fifteen minutes both sides made a number of changes to put on fresh legs as the heavy ground took its toll.

Then right at the end of the third quarter, after a sustained attacking period, Pembroke’s dominant pack released quick ball from a ruck in the Quins twenty two, this was scooped up by replacement flanker Rhodri Walters, who made ground and fed scrum half Tom Lewis, who burst through a flat footed defence to go in under the posts for a well taken, unconverted try.

Minutes later Quins denied the hosts another try opportunity, when after No 10 Smith had kicked a Pembroke penalty deep into Quins territory, the visitors stole Pembroke’s lineout five metres out.

Pembroke maintained the pressure and minutes later were awarded a scrum five metres from the visitors line; scrum half Tom Lewis picked up the quick ball, broke wide and flat, fed Toby Smith running an acute angle and he ran through a bewildered defence to score from this training pitch move, which he duly converted himself.

The teams then lost another player each to yellow cards, as Cyle Weatherall and Hywel Baker were dismissed for their part in a short brawl.

Then with five or so minutes to go, Pembroke’s adventure was rewarded with another excellently constructed final try; from broken play in the middle of the field, the home side gathered possession, moved it wide, then back into mid field and finally wide again to replacement full back Ryan Wilkins, who gleefully crossed wide right for a converted try to cap a dominant, bonus point home performance.

Given the heavy ground, which had taken its toll on all of the players, both sides had served up a very entertaining spectacle for the large festive crowd, who showed their appreciation for both teams at the end of the game, which saw the home side victorious.

Sport

Scarlets great Jonathan Davies awarded testimonial year

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IT has been confirmed that Scarlets, Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies has been awarded a testimonial year.

‘Foxy’, as he is popularly known, has played 209 games in a Scarlets jersey over 16 seasons, making his debut for the club against Northampton Saints as an eighteen-year-old back in 2006.

From Bancyfelin in Carmarthenshire, Jonathan played his junior club rugby for St Clears and Whitland before coming through the ranks of the Scarlets Academy and going on to become one of the leading centres in world rugby.

He twice toured with the Lions – to Australia (2013) and New Zealand (2017), where he was named player of the series in the epic Test battle against the All Blacks. He has also played 96 Tests for Wales, featuring in two Grand Slam-winning sides, a further two championship wins, and two Rugby World Cups in New Zealand (2011) and Japan (2019). During his time playing for Wales, Jonathan also had the honour of captaining the national side on four occasions.

After a couple of years in France with Clermont Auvergne, he returned to his home club ahead of the 2016-17 campaign and was an integral member of the Scarlets side that lifted the Guinness PRO12 title in exhilarating fashion in Dublin that season.

He continues to be an influential figure and role model in the Scarlets squad at the age of 36.

“Never could I have imagined when I was a kid running out onto the field at Stradey Park after the final whistle, trying to get as many player autographs as I could, that I would be lucky enough to become a player myself and play for the Scarlets, let alone more than 200 times,” he said.

“I have made memories that I will never forget whilst wearing the famous Scarlets shirt. From beating London Irish at the Madjeski in Europe, where travelling support was immense, to my favourite moment, winning the league in 2016-17 alongside team-mates who were also friends.

“I am extremely grateful to the Scarlets for all their support over the years and for awarding me this testimonial year.”

The testimonial year runs from June 2024 to May 2025 and has events planned for Llanelli, Cardiff, London and Dubai. It will also be supporting Jonathan’s chosen charity LATCH, who provide support for children and their families who are being treated by the Oncology Unit at the Children’s Hospital of Wales.

Tim Griffiths, the chair of Jonathan’s testimonial committee, said: “I am proud and honoured to be chair of Jon’s testimonial committee. Jon has been a champion of our national game; one of the modern-day greats of Welsh rugby, who has achieved so much in the jersey of the Scarlets, Wales and the Lions.

“We are looking forward to celebrating all his achievements during an exciting testimonial calendar, while also raising money for the fantastic work of his chosen charity LATCH.”

Scarlets Executive Chairman Simon Muderack said: “We wish Jon all the best for his testimonial year. He is a player who has given much to the game, a proud West Walian who became one of the finest centres in world rugby.”

Welsh Rugby Union CEO Abi Tierney added: “Jonathan Davies has been one of Welsh rugby’s greatest servants. At the peak of his powers he was one of the best centres in the world game over a sustained period of time and he is still delighting fans at Parc y Scarlets on a regular basis.

“Certainly, during that successful Lions tour of Australia in 2013, everyone knew he was one of the first names on the team sheet for the Lions coaches and Warren Gatland has regularly, since, named him as one of the best players he has ever coached.

“Jonathan is a credit to his origins, to his family and to the schools and coaches of his youth, always paying them tribute and often back at the clubs and institutions who supported him as a youngster.

“He is a hugely impressive individual, humble about his achievements as one of the finest professional rugby players Wales has produced and he deserves all the accolades and credit that will follow him in his testimonial year with his beloved Scarlets.”

The JD13 first event, a dinner in the Quinnell Lounge at Parc y Scarlets, will also support the Phil Bennett Foundation and take place in June. Full information on that event will follow.

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Sport

Dominant Goodwick crowned Champions

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Another convincing win for Goodwick United this season, this time over Milford United saw them confirmed as first division champions.

The outstanding Goodwick have dominated the first division all season and the league has been over as a contest since around Christmas time. Having not lost a league game and only failed to win two nobody’s come close to challenging them.

We asked the question earlier in the season is this one of the best teams if not the best Pembrokeshire has seen? The West Wales Cup and the treble may have settled this debate however they were unlucky to lose in the semi finals of that competition. The senior cup is still to play for and Goodwick will be strong favourites for this.

Undoubtedly an outstanding team and congratulations to everyone involved from the management to the ground staff and everyone in between.

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Title-Chasing Goodwick Reserves Secure Victory Against Haverfordwest Cricket Club

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In a highly anticipated clash at Phoenix Park, title contenders Goodwick seconds squared off against Haverfordwest Cricket Club in a thrilling encounter.

Fresh from celebrating the triumph of their first team in Division One the previous night, Goodwick seconds, led by captain Kyle Smith, entered the match with high spirits. Despite recent poor weather, Phoenix Park looked great, setting the stage for an exhilarating showdown.

The early exchanges saw both teams displaying resilience, with Haverfordwest Cricket Club showcasing solid defensive prowess. However, Goodwick’s midfield maestro Niall Kinsella orchestrated the play adeptly, supported by the dynamic Ethan Priestley’s commendable efforts.

The deadlock was broken when a contentious challenge in the box led to referee Marty Jones awarding a penalty to Goodwick. Dan Bryce clinically dispatched the spot-kick, giving the hosts a vital lead.

Shortly after, Goodwick doubled their advantage with a clinical finish from Josh Wellan, courtesy of a pinpoint assist from Kinsella. The halftime whistle blew with Goodwick enjoying a 2-0 lead, leaving Haverfordwest Cricket Club with an uphill task.

The second half witnessed Goodwick’s dominance, as Priestley’s energetic display resulted in two more goals, further cementing the home team’s superiority.

Despite the scoreline, both teams exhibited commendable sportsmanship and respect throughout the game, earning praise from the referee for their conduct.

With another successful outing at Phoenix Park, Goodwick seconds have bolstered their aspirations for promotion. The victory serves as a testament to their quality and determination, while Haverfordwest Cricket Club showcased glimpses of promise despite the defeat.

Final Score: Goodwick Reserves 4-0 Haverfordwest Cricket Club.

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