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Swans keep boyhood dreams alive

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By Jonathan Twigg

“Premier League games against the big teams are always very special, and tonight’s game will have added spice with the result being vitally important to both teams” said under fire Swansea Chairman Huw Jenkins OBE on Monday (Jan 22).

The game started in a stonewall tribute to local St Joseph’s player Mitchell Joseph who tragically died whilst playing from a cardiac arrest, along with footballing greats Cyril Regis and Jimmy Armfield, a World Cup winner in 1966.

The result, a 1-0 win for Swansea over Liverpool, achieved with 28 percent possession, a fifth of their opponent’s shots at goals and a third of the corners won. The only statistic that mattered was the score line. A story born from any boyhood comic, where the evil character could have been Captain Can, a German wearing the oppositions armband of leadership. ‘Sleepy G’ this game wasn’t as bottom of the table Swansea, six points from safety started with three central defender to defeat the ‘Reds’ for the first time since Spurs rumbled them at Wembley in September.

The start was cagey, Swansea lacking belief to be direct, compensating by fronting up in challenges but having no outlet amidst the footballing ‘capital of Wales, way down by the sea’.

Chances were created by both sides but restricted in their tenacity through technical discipline, Manager Carvalhal stated post match ‘when you come up against a F1 car you may struggle in a race. If you put that F1 car amongst some London traffic it is no longer a F1 car as it has to respond to the traffic around it’.

An analogy worthy of any comic book hero; maybe a new Tinkerman has risen from the Phoenix and all boys know what happened to the last Tinkerman to grace the Premier League.

Liverpool sloppiness four minutes before half time gave away a corner which they didn’t deal with and pin ball around the penalty spot saw the ball fall to centre back Alfie Mawson. He swung a right foot to bury the opening goal, his third of the season but at a cost with his central defensive partner Fernandez taking a bloody nose from his own players celebrations.

Liverpool’s indiscipline saw a yellow card for a clinical challenge by Robertson on Ayew and another for Matip, when he poleaxed Clucas as the red engine oil stuttered to disable the turbo boosters. Referee Neil Swarbrick signalled the half time interval which brought a crescendo of voices, the volume not heard at that level all season.

Liverpool’s tempo after the break was more warming as Swansea midfielder Fer was guilty of picking up the man in blacks cards, albeit as confetti after Swarbrick dropped them to the amusement of the ‘Jack army’.

The atmosphere was reminiscent of 1980s and you ‘could not help but fall back in love’ with the beautiful game; McNaughton made a last ditch tackle on Robertson recalling memories of February 1981, when 22,604 at the Vetch Field cheered the Mersey beat when current Club legends Leighton James and Alan Curtis netted in a 2-0 victory. The Liberty faithful, 20,886 were treated to the same intense feeling as the halcyon days, with the big Pole in the goal tipping a driven free kick from Salah over the bar on the hour mark.

It would be incorrect to state ‘only one set of fans were singing’ at this juncture but the powerful Fabianski was commanding in goal even at times heading his side in the right direction and reducing the Champions League last sixteen entrants to speculative long range shots.

Swansea put Carroll on for Dyer, as did Klopp, Lalanna for Chamberlin and Ings thrown on for Wijnaldum but the white wall ensured any cracks were quickly cemented over, with Van der Hoorn a beacon shining before Fabianski before Ayew, unbounded and uncompromised was broken, to be replaced by Bony.

To Max Boyce singing Hymns and Arias the enormity of Swansea lifting themselves to 20 points against a team who defeated the previously unbeaten league leaders Manchester City just a week ago glistened through. ‘Comon City’ was an eruption of volcanic proportions and certainly for those ‘Swansea till they die’ proponents seeing four minutes of added time read like a comic book finale.

Salah blasted over and Firmino, clear in front of goal felt the reverberations of the choir as his header rebounded off the upright. “We are in hospital” said Carvalhal, “in a serious condition, but no longer in Intensive Care.” One in the onion bag for my Harry and all Jacks, for when the chips are down it becomes ‘together stronger’. Alive and kicking, still bottom of the Premier League but just six points off a place in the top half.

A storyline only for the comic book? Maybe not as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp acknowledged, ‘the stadium was theirs tonight and the confidence grew from it’, which abodes well for the next four months on the rollercoaster.

Sport

Hook seal win in Under 11s final

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Hook (246-6) beat Cresselly (217-10) by 29 runs

THIS year’s final was between the top two sides from both zones with Cresselly beating Haverfordwest in the one semi final and Hook beating Narberth in the other.

The Under11s game is played in a pairs format and Hook Captain Charlie Holder won the toss against his counter part Phoenix Phillips and decided to bowl first.

Some tight bowling from Hook saw St Cresselly lose wickets on a regular basis. The batting pairs of Phoenix and Ollie Toy put on 13, Arthur Jenkins and Elin Edwards 7, Caden Jones and Jack Mears 7 and Cody Jones and Finley Rowlands 7.

For Hook the pick of the bowlers were Olly Nutty 1-11, Rhys Tennick 2-10, Charlie Holder 2-10, Mason Hughes 2-12 and George Wonnacott 3-11. Cresselly finished on 217-10.

After Mondays rained off game where the Cresselly bowlers dominated the Hook batters came in with a bit more determination and Cresselly found wickets a little harder to take despite their best efforts.

Ollie Nutty and Mason Hughes put on 13 for the opening stand followed by Rhys Tennick and George Wonnacott 19, Jack llewellyn and Joe Warrender 14 and Charlie Holder and Oliver Stamp 18.

For Cresselly Jack Mears 1-12 , Phoenix Phillips 1-9 and an excellent direct hit run out, Cadyn Jones 3-8 and no doubt the fieder of the match with two suburb catches was Finley Rowlands.

Hook finished on 246-6.

This final was the inaugural year of the Evan Martin Trophy, a stalwart of Hook CC for many years, and after deliberations with the Umpires the trophy was awarded to a jubilant George Wonnacott of Hook

Again it was great to see a large crowd of knowledgable spectators who certainly saw some entertaining Cricket . It was great to see the two teams enjoying the aftermath game celebrations with Hook playing all sort of games on the field.

In the presentation after the match Martin Jones (Junior Organiser) congratulated both sides on reaching the Final with some excellent play by both and Hook for their victory. Both sides should be proud of their Junior sections.

He thanked Hook for hosting the final including Andrew Thomas & Keith James the grounds staff. Afterwards the Club l refreshments for the players, which was well received.

He thanked Umpires Allan Hansen and Robert Ridge, Scorers Natalie Jones & Jon Willington who all contributed to the evenings entertainment.

Last and by no means least he thanked Sponsors Colin John of Llewelyn Davies & Co Chartered Accountants for his continued and valuable support of Junior Cricket in the County togerther with Richard Merriman County Chairman.

Cresselly Squad: Rhys White, Bobby Shapcott, Mari Cole, Lilly & George

Hook Squad: Dylan Keen, Nico Quinn, Morgan Jones, Rowan Nickerson

Sponsor: Colin John – Llewelyn Davies & Co Chartered Accountants

Umpires: Allan Hansen & Robert Ridge

Scorers: Natalie Jones & Jon Willington

Coaches: Simon Cole/ Christian Phillips and Matthew Holder

Venue: Hook CC

Cresselly Under 11s
Evan Martin Trophy winner George Wonnacott
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Sport

Wales senior men’s assistant coach Gareth Williams departs

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GARETH Williams, Wales senior men’s assistant coach with responsibility for the contact area, has left his role to join the Scarlets as defence coach.

Williams departed following the three-Test Series in South Africa where Wales’ senior men’s side secured its first ever win over the Springboks in South Africa in the second Test.

The 40-year old started working as part of head coach Wayne Pivac’s coaching team during the 2020 Autumn Nations Cup and 2021 title-winning Guinness Six Nations campaigns, combining the role with his previous position with the Welsh Rugby Union as head of transitional players and head coach of Wales men’s U20, before being appointed on a full-time basis in June 2021.

Prior to this Williams spent a decade coaching Wales Sevens on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, during which time he helped his country win Rugby World Cup Sevens, as well as assisting Team GB in claiming silver at the Rio Olympics.

Pivac said: “I’d like to thank Gareth for his work over the last two years. It’s a shame to lose one of the coaching team just over a year out to Rugby World Cup, but I understand Gareth’s decision and am pleased for him.

“He’s not going far and it will be great having a good young coach moving from the national team into the regional system to further their development. This is also an important element in increasing alignment between international and domestic rugby in Wales.”

Williams said: “I’m incredibly proud to have been able to work with the men’s national team over the past two years. This is a such a great group of talented and hard-working players and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“It is not an easy decision to leave and I’d like to thank Wayne, the other coaches and staff for all their support during my time with the squad.”

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Sport

Lawrenny beat Saundersfoot to ease relegation fears

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LAWRENNY eased their relegation fears on Saturday (Aug 6) as they beat Saundersfoot to go 31 points clear of the bottom two with two games to play.

Saundersfoot won the toss and chose to field but they saw Lawrenny score 221-5 from their 45 overs.

Harry Thomas top scored with 65 while James Buckle added 37.

Danny Caine claimed two wickets for Saundersfoot as he finished with figures of 2-43.

In reply, James Caine scored 27 but that was as good as it got for the home side as they were bowled out for 118.

Harry Thomas added to his earlier runs with figures of 3-19 while Jamie Lewis again bowled well to finish with 4-31.

The win moves Lawrenny level on points with Saundersfoot with the two needing at least a win and/or a high scoring loss (bonus points), in either of those two games, to ensure their Division 1 status.

On Saturday, August 13, Saundersfoot travel to Narberth while Lawrenny host Llangwm.

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