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Coles stokes the fire for Whitland promotion push

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WHITLAND’s march towards promotion to Division 1 West continued with a convincing bonus point 46-7 victory over Loughor at Parc Llwyn Ty Gwyn on Friday (Mar 16).

The ‘Green Machine’ ran in seven tries in total alongside a penalty and five conversions from captain Nico Setaro, the outside half having another fine game alongside dynamic flanker Ryan Morgan and man of the match, winger Sean Coles.

The speedster ran in a hat trick of first half tries as he put on the after burners to cause havoc amongst the visiting back line before crossing for the bonus point try early in the second half as he collected the ball on the halfway line before ‘jetting off’ on a mesmerising run once again leaving all and sundry in his wake.

Centre Johnnie Thomas scored the final try wide out after full back Scott Newton, in his last appearance before heading to Australia for a ‘gap year’ got on the score sheet and there was a resounding cheer from a hearty crowd when veteran second row Dai Ebsworth crashed over for his sides fifth try.

Whitland play the game with energy, ingenuity and guile guided by the magician at pivot, where the platform is set by the forwards which includes another veteran in the boiler house in Raff Williams.

Flanker Morgan, responsible for setting in motion the opening score as he took a clean catch at a line out in his own half before taking the opportunity to plough through the opposition tackles over 40 metres; fellow back row colleagues, number 8 Jack Mason and Danny Evans were on hand to recycle the ball allowing Setaro the time to put in a cross field kick, where Newton took the ball in his stride to draw winger Rhys Gear and set Cole away to scoot round under the posts for a 10-0 lead after 11 minutes.

Setaro, conducting the plan set by coaches Gareth Bennet and Jon Mason to ‘win the game first and foremost’ thrived off the acclaims as he pumped line kicks to turn the Loughor forwards on their heels, one 55 metre punt setting up the scenario of a Morgan catch and drive, recycled ball from scrum half Tom Parry through the hands of Centres Josh and Johnnie Thomas to Newton.

Cole received the ball 35 meters out and put in a kick over the top and collected as winger Josh Thomas fumbled the ball on his own line and a 17-0 lead after the first quarter was completed.

Cole’s hat trick came with four minutes of the half remaining as Setaro caught an up and under to call a ‘mark’ in his own 22 metre area, taking a quick tap and go which released winger Liam Price for a 30m gallop down the stand side where he could have been ‘Native River’ at Cheltenham earlier in the day.

Josh Thomas was direct in clearing out the opposition to set up the ball for the back line to again free Cole, whose kick ahead saw him out pace Newton and visiting centre Peter Smiriglia for the score and a 24-7 half time lead.

Loughor had scored their own converted try after half an hour as scrum half Tom Davies touched down following a sustained period of pressure, to capitalise on a yellow card for home flanker Evans as Irish referee Gerard English, based now in Porthcawl drew the home crowd to hum tunes from Welsh folk legend Max Boyce.

All levels of rugby now have teams well drilled and sensitive to opposition tactics and there is a fine line between defence and infringement, but being reduced by a player gives an advantage where a score often follows, something Bennet will be wary off as during the seasons climax.

Credit the green and whites, sponsored by GD Harries and Sons, as the forwards with props Aaron Mayne and Michael Ryan and front row colleague Gethin Lewis dominated the scrum set piece despite being a man down. The Loughor pack, for so long in the match strong and secure began to wilt as the second half points rattled up and not even a second yellow card to Josh Thomas for ‘crossing’ deep in the second half could halt the progress.

Bennett was able to put second row Trystan Lewis into the cauldron for a debut as the youngster returned after a two year recuperation from a knee reconstruction, the former Scarlets academy and Carmarthen Quins player getting a run out last week with Ferryside in readiness for his debut.

“Having set ourselves up for victory, I asked the players at half time to search for that bonus point try and for 20 minutes after the break we were excellent in our execution of play. I have a group of players who are not only fit but eager to play for each other, all of whom enjoy having the ball in hand” said a delighted Bennett post-match. “Sean (Coles) came into his own tonight and showed what he is capable of on firm ground, although I could talk up all nineteen players in the squad for their efforts.”

Whitland have nine fixtures remaining, sitting 11 points adrift of table toppers Hendy with three games in hand and the midweek meeting, scheduled for early May a potential ‘winner takes all’ encounter.

Equally important in the quest for promotion is the six point gap and game in hand they have over Pontarddulais in third place.

Bennet and Mason will prepare the side for their next fixture at relegation threatened Amman United on Saturday (Mar 24) before local rivals Fishguard visit Parc Llwyn Ty Gwyn on Saturday (Apr 7).

It’s reassuring for chairman Jason Bowen to feel at home watching the games after he underwent major heart surgery in early March, the enigmatic smile and demeanour not effected by any stress as the green machine rumbles forward.

Sport

Harries steers Pembroke into Duggie Morris Cup final

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PEMBROKE sealed their place in the Duggie Morris Cup final on Wednesday night (Jun 29) as they beat Narberth by eight wickets.

The match was originally due to take place on Tuesday but heavy rain forced the game to be moved.

Played at Carew in front of a good crowd, Narberth batted first and made a good score of 165-7.

Narberth lost Richard Adams early on when he was caught by Jonathan Rogers off the bowling of Alan Webster on a score of 13 and Rob Smyth also claimed the wicket of Lewis Hough.

Kyle Quartermaine hit five fours and two sixes in his score of 44 from 23 balls but he was stumped by Phil Hay off the bowling of Steve Durston.

Loui Davies hit three fours and a six in his score of 48 but he was trapped leg before by Steve Durston.

Jordan Howell hit a four and a six in his score of 30 but he was bowled by Jack Harries. Rogers and Harries also claimed a further wicket each late on as they kept Narberth’s total down.

In reply, Jack Harries and Jonathan Rogers made an excellent start as both reached their half centuries.

Rogers hit six fours and three sixes in his score of 65 from 44 balls before he was bowled by David Johns.

Luke Butler made a quick score of 10 before falling to Ben Quartermaine but Harries was able to steer Pembroke to victory.

He hit seven fours and four sixes in his score of 83 not out from 58 balls to see Pembroke into their first final, in any competition, in 17 years.

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Neyland book place in Duggie Morris final

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NEYLAND are back in the final of the Duggie Morris once again after beating holders Lawrenny in the semi-final on Thursday night (Jun 30).

Lawrenny had broken Neyland’s dominance of the competition with their win last year and Thursday’s game was another exciting clash between the pair.

Neyland won the toss and chose to bat but they could only score 136-7 from their 20 overs.

They lost opener Patrick Bellerby early on when he was bowled by Rob Williams and soon after, fellow opener Paul Murray was caught by Steve Lewis off the bowling of Jamie Lewis.

That left Neyland on 15-2 but Andrew Miller and Ashley Sutton shared 47 runs for the third wicket.

Miller hit a four in his score of 25 but he was caught off the bowling of Finley Lewis.

Sutton and Gregg Miller added another 41 runs for the fourth wicket but Steve Lewis trapped Sutton leg before to reduce Neyland to 103-4. Sutton had hit three fours and a six in his run-a-ball score of 44.

Miller clubbed two fours and two sixes in his score of 26 from 16 balls but he was then bowled by Ryan Morton.

Patrick Hannon hit two fours in a score of 10 but he was also bowled by Harry Thomas who also bowled Lewis Page.

Jack John and Sean Hannon then took Neyland to their total, the latter finding a crucial boundary in the latter stages, as Lawrenny were set 137 to win.

Kyle Marsh started well for Lawrenny, hitting five fours, four of them coming in a row at the start of the third over, but with the next ball he was then caught by Sean Hannon off the bowling of Gary Lloyd.

Marsh had scored 22 from his 15 balls and soon after he departed, Lloyd trapped Harry Thomas leg before for a duck.

Steve Lewis was out for a score of 13 to Andrew Miller and his wicket saw Lawrenny slip to 36-3.

Troy Purslowe and James Phillips then added 34 runs for the fourth wicket. Purslowe hit two fours and a six in his score of 22 but he was then caught by Patrick Hannon off the bowling of Miller.

Ryan Morton came in and hit a six but he was then caught by Patrick Bellerby, again off the bowling of Miller.

At the start of the eighteenth, Lawrenny needed 37 to win but had James Phillips well placed on 29 from 22 balls.

However, the game changed in the space of two balls. Joe Kidney was bowled by Patrick Hannon and with the next ball, Phillips was run out by Ashley Sutton.

It happened again in the nineteenth over as Sean Hannon had Finley Lewis caught by brother Patrick and on the next ball, he had Jamie Lewis caught by Gregg Miller.

There was to be no hat trick but the four wickets in quick succession had seen Lawrenny slip to 105-9.

In the last over, Jack John had Rob Williams caught by Sutton to bring the game to a close.

Neyland will now look forward to the final against Pembroke, to be played in Burton on Sunday, July 17.

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Division 2 round-up: Johnston win by one run and Herbie win again

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JOHNSTON boosted their hopes of getting out of the bottom two in Division 2 on Saturday (Jun 25) as they beat Lamphey by only one run.

Lamphey won the toss and chose to field but Johnston made a good score of 235-9 from their 45 overs.

Their score was underpinned by an excellent century from Josh Hicks who scored 110 before he was out.

Gary James added 51 and Chris Fitzpatrick added 30 as Johnston posted their second highest total of the season.

David Blackwell finished with 2-17 while Grant Cole claimed 2-28 but David Dredge was the pick of the Lamphey bowlers with 3-42.

In reply, Dredge scored 78, Peter McGilloway scored 26 and there were scores of 43 from Nick Shelmerdine and 20 from Rob Mathias.

Cole finished unbeaten on 26 but it wasn’t enough as Johnston’s bowlers did just enough to seal the win.

Andrew Harries took 3-22 and Lee Summons also claimed three wickets while John Summons finished with 2-17.

Herbie beat Whitland by seven wickets

Herbrandston remain in second place in the table as they beat Whitland to earn their seventh win of the season.

Whitland batted first but were restricted to 142-8 as Kristian Bennett (2-22), Paul Nicholas (2-15) and Charlie Malloy (2-44) all took two wickets.

Wayne Howells was Whitland’s top scorer with 31 while Gethin Scourfield added 27 and Ian Taylor scored 23.

In reply, a score of 58 from Jack Nicholas helpe Herbie on their way while Alan McClelland added 32.

Malloy added to his earlier wickets with 25 not out which, despite wickets for Howells (1-28), Scourfield (1-26) and Luc Owen (1-30), got Herbie to victory inside 30 overs.

Llanrhian seal fifth win

Llanrhian earned their fifth win of the season on Saturday as they beat Pembroke by 63 runs.

Llanrhian batted first and they made a good score of 220-7 in their innings, Ben Jones top scoring with 53.

Paul Lewis added 35, Ewan James scored 26 while there were scores of 24 from Tom Clarke and 23 from Jack Jones.

Andrew Price claimed four wickets for Pembroke while Steve Durston struck twice and Pat Barnaby also picked up one wicket.

Price then scored 31 in Pembroke’s reply and Durston added 19. Paul White top scored with 60 but it wasn’t enough as they were bowled out for 157.

Jack Jones claimed figures of 3-42 while Clarke took 2-30. Dafydd Williams, Gwynant Watson and Jon Strawbridge all claimed a wicket each.

Carew seconds fall short against Hook

Hook also earned their fifth win of the season on Saturday as they beat Carew second by five runs.

Carew won the toss and chose to field and they bowled Hook out for 132.

Barry Evans took 2-19 for Carew while Ethan Hall had 2-34 but Max Brindley starred as he finished with four wickets for the loss of three runs.

Dafydd Bowen and Jacob Lay both made scores of 30 while Jake Wicks scored 24 and Seth Willington added 17.

Carew though were unable to reach their target, despite scores of 41 from Scott Richards and 48 not out from Hayden Shapcott.

Matthew Holder tok 2-36 for Hook while Callum James (1-14) and Harry Makepeace (1-15) also bowled well as Carew could only finish on 127-7.

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