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Wales open 6 Nations with emphatic victory over Scotland

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WALES defeated Scotland 34-7 on Saturday (Feb 3) at the Principality Stadium with ten Scarlets in the starting line-up, plus former Pontyberem winger Josh Adams, now the Aviva Premiership top scorer for Worcester Warriors.

With the stadium roof closed it encapsulated a cauldron of emotion as the Natwest Six Nations championship got under way, with ten year old chorister Heddwin York, of Blaenavon Male Voice Choir leading the pre match build up. Later on the same day another son of Pontyberem was setting a championship record, with Nigel Owens referring his eighteenth game, at the Stade de France when Ireland came calling.

Winning the toss Scotland’s ‘Scarlet’ John Barclay got Finn Russell to kick off towards the City End and Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones sailed high to secure the ball, all before opposite number Jonny Gray had a barn storming 30 metre gallop and the afternoons tempo was set, with both Adams and fellow winger Steff Evans taking opportunities to run with ball in hand.

Not one person missed the tumultuous opening by perishing in the queues outside the ground, witnessing the opening try after five minutes; scrum half Gareth Davies intercepted a long pass and raced 70 meters towards the River Taf End to score wide out, full back Leigh Halfpenny converted.

Flanker Aaron Shingler set up a scintillating attack from the restart, featuring prop Rob Evans and Evans, who failed to catch a difficult pass from Skipper Jones with the try line at his mercy beneath the posts.

The Wales scrum won a free kick, opted for another scrum, outside half Rhys Patchell nearly reached the promised land before play swung back across the theatre of dreams and Halfpenny converted his own touchdown after 12 minutes.

Dream rugby or a defence coaches’ nightmare? Both sides played exhilarating rugby with ball in hand, as somewhere amongst this fantastic ‘hymn’ that the full house of 74,169 spectators enjoyed, a settling influence was needed.

Centres Hadeligh Parkes and Scott Williams brought that mantra to the ‘Dragons’ play, through their tackling which impacted on the Scarlets ‘front row’ of Evans, hooker Ken Owens and Samson Lee to turn the coal face red.

Having played just 25% of the game in the Scottish half coach Warren Gatland’s side built a more stable platform through phased play, nullifying Scottish momentum and hearts as they won turnover penalties.

Shingler was a key target in the lineout as the ‘Evans’ boys featured in beating despairing tackles. Halftime came and went with Wales driving forward through diminutive scrum half Davies, securing an early penalty which Halfpenny slotted over for three points.

Four Men Aloud had returned to the pitch for half time entertainment but the sweetest battle cry came from Shingler, the Hendy back row man secured a penalty on the halfway line, which the Gorseinon born kicker chalked up with confidence.

Max Boyce couldn’t have written bards to describe the expressive serenading from the stands to match the play, the Scottish talisman Stuart Hogg without influence as his peers made error after error. That ‘mould of solid gold, that once made Barry John’ hasn’t broken after all and the tint upon the flowing locks of Patchell shone as the outside half dictated play with speed, vision, kicks and tricks.

The game entered the final quarter with the Men of Harlech now dominating possession and territory and Patchells dart for the line saw Evans flick the ball to Halfpenny who crossed for his second converted try.

The flower of Scotland had wilted, the closed roof restricting their water of life as new breath revitalised the Dragons lungs, replacement hooker Wyn Jones plunge for the line ruled out by the TMO.

Aled Davies came on for his sixth cap, replacing his Scarlet team mate to feed the scrum and watch as it destroyed the now demoralised visiting pack with such ferocity it set the stadium alarms ringing towards heaven. Man of the match Shingler straightened the line with eight minutes left, Parkes made ground strongly and the flying Evans, back after an enforced lay off was airborne on the touch line to one handily place the ball for the bonus point converted try.

‘Feed me till I want no more’ was the cry from a baying Welsh crowd although Gatland et al were happy to take the Bread from Heaven to Twickenham next week. The ‘Prophet Max’ composed suitable vitriol decades before, to be retold with vigour by the travelling congregation heading to HQ on Saturday (Feb 10).

This game ended 34-7, replacement Pete Horne crossed for the Russell to convert after the Scott’s picked up a consolation score for their endeavours driving around the fringes, the customary handshakes occurred a minute later as Hadleigh put the ball off the Park and Wales took the spoils, bonus point included.

The players had made a statement, to those who had prophesied pre-match but more importantly to the ‘Great Redeemer’ whose well-trodden path around Jordon and intrinsic belief in them was justly rewarded.

News

Free multi-sports events for 5-7 year-olds in Haverfordwest

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SPORTS mad youngsters aged 5-7 and those looking to try out new sports and activities are invited to free multi-sport sessions in Haverfordwest.

The sessions run from 4.15pm to 5pm every Thursday during term time and are based on the Tennis Courts at Haverfordwest High VC School.

All sessions are free and there are a wide range of activities to try.

The sessions are run by Sport Pembrokeshire Staff and assisted by Young Ambassadors from Haverfordwest High

Local clubs also take part to run sessions and provide information on how to continue with any sport.

Parents/Carers who would like to sign children up for the session are required to complete the online form.

Dan Bellis of Sport Pembrokeshire, said: “It is great to see so many young people enjoying Sport and being physically active.

“The multi-sport sessions are great as they allow youngsters to try out so many different games and activities which really helps them to learn and develop.”

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News

Bike It 100: Kilgetty gears up for charity cycling event

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CYCLISTS from across the country are gearing up for the Kilgetty Bike It 100, a charity non-competitive cycling sportive set to take place on Sunday, 28th July 2024. Organised to support the Paul Sartori Foundation and Haverfordwest High School’s South Africa Rugby Tour 2025, the event promises a fun, friendly, and challenging day on the bike.

Participants can choose from three scenic routes of varying difficulty: 50.5 miles with an elevation of 3,400 feet, 77.8 miles with an elevation of 5,284 feet, and the full century route at 101.7 miles, climbing a total of 7,428 feet. Each route is meticulously planned with GPS guidance, direction markers, and designated water stops to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

Early bird entries are priced at £35 and are available until 31st May. Post this date, if slots remain, the entry fee will increase to £45. All participants will receive a commemorative Welsh slate medal upon completion. In addition to the ride, the event features organised outdoor BBQs, coffee stops, and well-earned drinks available for purchase at the finish, courtesy of Kilgetty Sports & Social Club.

The sportive has been a tremendous success in previous years, raising £12,000 in 2021 and 2023. Organisers hope to exceed this amount in 2024, bolstered by the community’s continued support and enthusiasm.

For more details and to register, participants can visit the British Cycling website or scan the QR code on the event poster. Queries can also be directed to [email protected].

Join us for a day of cycling through the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside, all while supporting two fantastic causes. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to ride, enjoy, and make a difference. Secure your spot today!

For more information, visit British Cycling Event Details.

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News

Pembrokeshire street footballers to represent Wales

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A WALES team full of Pembrokeshire footballers is heading to Dublin with their eyes on a major international prize.

Street Football Team Wales is taking part in the Irish Homeless Street League 20th Anniversary International Tournament between June 7th and 10th.

As well as a squad full of Pembrokeshire players, the Head Coach is also from the county.

Jo Price is a former Arsenal and Wales goalkeeper and now works as a Community Regeneration Officer for Pembrokeshire County Council.

Jo is a big advocate for Street Football, run through social inclusion charity Street Football Wales.

The squad train at The Garth Youth Project, known as the Hive, in Haverfordwest.

The national team training sessions have been taking place since February to prepare for the tournament.

Jo said: “It is always an honour to play for your country and to have a Wales team made up entirely of Pembrokeshire players is such a wonderful achievement for our county.

“Each of the players is an inspiration but a special shout-out must go to Captain Marie Tilley who has overcome cancer to lead her country.

“Last week the players were surprised with the news that when they take to the pitch in Dublin they will be wearing the official Wales football kit, their faces were a picture and our thanks goes to the Football Association of Wales who are also providing training and travel kit.”

Wales will take on Ireland, Spain, Romania, Poland and Scotland during the tournament.

Representing Wales are: Marie Tilley (C), Cerys Phillips, Freya Marshall, Niamh Mathias, Bryony Davies, Claire Mantripp, Shauna Bennett, Kayleigh Summers and Megan Tinley.

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