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Wales ready for Six Nations

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By Jonathan Twigg

THE 2018 Six Nations Rugby Championship kicks off on Saturday (Feb 3) when Wales, captained by Alun Wyn Jones, welcome Scotland to the Principality Stadium in a match to be refereed by Frenchman, Romain Poite.

Coach Warren Gatland’s squad has been hampered with many high profile injuries, the latest being former Scarlets full back Liam Williams alongside scrum half Rhys Webb and his half back partner Dan Biggar.

The Welsh nation’s attention will be focused over the next seven weeks on the rugby and local interest has been heightened due to the Scarlets progressing to the European Cup quarter finals where they play La Rochelle on Friday (Mar 31).

The opening game against a Scottish side who have revelled in attacking flair under coach Gregor Townsend in the Autumn Series will offer a test which Gatland’s charges will have to meet front on to secure a victory. Winning will set down a marker by which the side will be judged.

They travel to Twickenham a week later to take on England before crossing the Irish Sea to take on the Emerald Isle in Dublin at the end of the month.

Both England and Ireland are at the top of their game at present, where any positive result will see euphoria amongst rugby followers. Gatland has changed his blueprint of direct rugby through hard running centre partnerships now opting for a more creative player at 12 which follows the way the Scarlets have developed this season.

Rhys Patchell could well have the nod to partner Gareth Davies at half back and the back division would feature fellow Scarlets, winger Steff Evans and Leigh Halfpenny, although neither have played a lot of ruby in recent weeks.

The centre partnership may be pivotal, with Osprey bound Scott Williams linking with adopted Kiwi Hadleigh Parkes after both impressed in the Autumn Series.

Prop Rob Evans should pack down on the coal face alongside Scarlets captain Ken Owens and fellow prop Samson le has returned to full fitness and may become the third player in the front row.

Back row dynamos Aaron Shingler and newbie James ‘Cubby’ Davies, brother of injured centre Jonathan, are also probable starters for Gatland meaning the Pivac influence of ‘expect the unexpected’, albeit abstractly, could well influence how well Wales perform.

Following the two testing trips on the road, Wales return to the Principality Stadium to take on Italy on Sunday (Mar 11) when the fixture follows the Women’s international between the two countries, before the finale of the season when France take on the ‘Men of Harlech’ a week later.

Predicating any result in sport is precarious at the best of times and the Six Nations championship often depends on which country has the key fixtures at home. Wales would be looking to secure three home victories, where the toughest encounter will be the opener against our Gaelic cousins.

Travelling to Twickenham and Dublin are daunting for any side where realistically a positive result will be an outside chance at best.

England, with colourful Aussie hooker Eddie Jones in charge are hardworking and Wales may have to live off limited possession, although the Scarlets faced such a scenario when they travelled to the ‘Rec’ and comprehensively dismissed Bath in front of Jones watching eyes.

Where there is a will there is a way as veteran second row Alun Wyn Jones leads the side knowing it could present a title showdown against Ireland, possibly the toughest of opponents in their own back yard.

With some optimism the prediction is for four victories, the three home fixtures and an exhilarating performance to light up the return journey down the M4 for those die hard supporters making the trip to HQ.

England will also return with four victories, beating Scotland in the Calcutta Cup at Murrayfield and France in Paris as recompense for their humbling at Wales hands.

Ireland, with a win over Wales may find the final game at Twickenham one step too far as the ‘Rose’ will find it unbearable to lose two home games meaning they also end on four victories.

Italy will pick up the wooden spoon without securing a win, ahead of France with Scotland in fourth position.

Representing Wales on the referee’s circuit will by Nigel Owens, who has a long association with Pontyberem RFC in the Gwendraeth Valley, taking centre stage when Ireland take on France.

Sport

Harrison Allen: Lawrenny go through to quarter finals

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LAWRENNY booked their place in the quarter finals of the Harrison Allen Bowl on Wednesday night (May 25) as they beat Burton by nine wickets.

Lawrenny won the toss and elected to field and they were able to bowl Burton out for just 93.

Burton lost James Davies early on as he was caught by Tom Cole off the bowling of Jamie Lewis.

Ryan Morton also claimed two wickets as Burton slipped to 58-3.

That brought Luke Hayman into the middle with brother Toby and the pair took the score to 67-3 after 13 overs.

Toby reached a score of 37 before heading back to the pavilion while Luke added 12.

Steve Lewis was in fine form for Lawrenny as he took five wickets to finish with 5-13 while Ryan Morton finished with 2-26.

There were also wickets from Jamie Lewis (1-14) and Finley Lewis (1-7).

In reply, Steve Lewis scored 23 before he was sent back. Harry Thomas finished unbeaten on 23 while Troy Purslowe was not out on 45.

It sets up a quarter final against the winners of the game between Hundleton and Cresselly.

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Sport

Llangwm edge past Tish to book Harrison Allen quarter final spot

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LLANGWM secured their place in the quarter finals of the Harrison Allen Bowl on Wednesday night (May 25) as they beat St Ishmaels by 4 runs.

Tish won the toss and chose to field and they restricted Llangwm to 146-9 in their 22 overs.

Noah Davies and Joe Kiff made a good start for the hosts as they shared 67 runs for the first wicket.

Kiff was the first man to go as he was caught by Ieuan Hawkins off the bowling of Brennan Devonald on a score of 27 that had included two fours and two sixes.

Soon after, Davies, who had hit one of each boundary in his score of 27, was also following Kiff back to the pavilion after being bowled by Jonathan Pawlett.

Pawlett also claimed the wicket of Will Beresford before Steven Mills departed on a score of 16 (1 four, 1 six) when he was caught and bowled by Devonald.

That left Llangwm on 107-4 but scores of 15 from Matthew Kiff and 16 not out from David Lewis saw them to their total.

For Tish, Pawlett finished with excellent figures of 4-41 while Devonald finished with 3-25.

Peter Bradshaw hit two early fours in his score of 12 but he was run out.

Karl Rhead and Andrew Palmer shared 42 runs for the second wicket as Palmer made his way to a score of 35.

Rhead was bowled by Steven Mills who then did the same to Brennan Devonald moments later.

Palmer had reached 42 with five fours and a six but when he was brilliantly caught by Luke Brock off the bowling of Mills, Tish had slipped to 77-4.

Phil Cockburn and Jonathan Pawlett then shared 23 runs for the fifth wicket as they looked to keep Tish in the game.

Pawlett hit a six but was then caught by Oliver Davies to give Mills his fourth wicket and figures of 4-28.

Cockburn and Andew Pawlett then shared 37 runs for the sixth wicket as they took the tie down to the final over of the game.

They scored 17 runs off the 20th over and 18 runs off the 21st over meaning they would need 11 off the final over to win it.

Cockburn took a run off the first to bring Pawlett on strike. After missing the third ball he went for a run that wasn’t there and keeper Beresford ran out Cockburn.

He had hit two fours and three sixes in his score of 39 from 30 balls.

Andrew Pawlett and Andrew Williams could only take five runs from the next five balls but it wasn’t enough for victory.

Pawlett finished unbeaten on a score of 20 from 11 balls with one four and two sixes.

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Education

Crymych Panthers hold Boccia competition

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CRYMYCH Panthers Boccia Club recently held their first in-house Boccia competition, with eight members competing in two categories: BC1&2 (participants with a physical impairment) and BC8 (participants with an intellectual impairment).

Games were played in a round robin style competition. The final of the BC1&2 between Racheal Bailey and James Pugh was a very close game with James winning by 3 points to 1. The BC 8 final was between Yvonne Berry and Dewi Evans. Dewi won by 10 points to nil, back on form as a former Welsh international Special Olympic team member.

The competition was sponsored by Andrew Scott Davies of Pembroke who took part in the 2021 CARTEN 100 bike to assist the club.

Andrew Scott Davies presenting the winners and runners up with their trophies. All participants received a certificate of attendance.

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