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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.

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Seren shines in shooting sports, breaking records and winning medals

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SEREN THORNE, a young talent from Letterston, has been making waves in the world of 10m air rifle precision shooting. A former student of Ysgol Casblaidd, Ysgol Bro Gwaun, and the sixth form at Haverfordwest’s VC High School, Seren is currently furthering her education in music at Cardiff University. However, it is her achievements in shooting sports that are capturing the nation’s attention.

Seren’s journey in shooting began at the tender age of 8, initially with the pistol as part of her participation in the Pony Club tetrathlon. Her transition to the air rifle in 2020 marked the beginning of an illustrious path in this discipline. Since then, Seren has not only embraced the sport but has excelled at it, demonstrating an exceptional level of precision and composure.

Her hard work and dedication bore fruit in November when she clinched two gold medals at the Welsh Championships. At this event, Seren not only topped the podium but also broke the Welsh and British junior women’s qualification record, setting a new benchmark for aspiring shooters.

However, Seren’s achievements did not stop at the national level. In February, she represented Great Britain at the Junior World Cup in Granada, Spain. There, she added to her medal tally by securing an individual silver medal and breaking the British junior women’s final record. Seren’s success continued as she contributed to a mixed team bronze medal, once again breaking the previous British junior record.

More recently, Seren participated in the British Open Championships, where she was crowned the British junior women’s champion and won the British confined open women’s championship. These victories are a testament to her skill, determination, and the promising future she has in the sport of shooting.

Seren Thorne’s achievements are not just personal victories but also a source of pride for her community in Letterston, her schools, and indeed for the whole of Britain. As she continues to study and train, the nation watches eagerly to see how far this talented young shooter will go.

Seren’s journey in shooting sports is a vivid reminder of the dedication and hard work required to excel at the highest levels, and she is undoubtedly a rising star to keep an eye on in the years to come.

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Sport

Crunch time in local Cup Competitions

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Recently we have lost so much local sport due to weather making pitches unplayable. This weekend however looks more promising and there are some huge cup ties due to take place. We’ve previewed the West Wales Cup and Senior Cup, with the second division cup preview to follow.

The West Wales Cup fifth round sees four Pembrokeshire based teams in action, with one all Pembs tie as Merlins Bridge host Kilgetty. Meanwhile Goodwick United travel to Seaside and Milford United host Penlan.

West Wales Cup Ties –

Seaside vs Goodwick United

Goodwick United are a team nobody wants to face in any competition in current form. However Seaside will be very confident themselves, they sit top of their division and are a massive sixteen points clear of second place. Last time out in this competition they beat Carew 2-1, and haven’t lost a game since October. A real test for Chris O’Sullivans men this one when they travel to Llanelli, I’m sure they’ll have plenty of support on the supporters bus too.

Milford United vs Penlan

Steve Parks and his men have been looking forward to this fixture since it was drawn, they are in excellent form this year and this will be a great match up. Penlan themselves are a strong outfit and beat Evans and Williams last time out in the competition. A mouthwatering match up down at Marble Hall which I’m sure will draw plenty of local support.

Merlins Bridge vs Kilgetty

The league table would suggest the Wizards are the stronger of the two Pembrokeshire teams in this tie. However Kilgetty have a lot of games in hand over the majority of the league and their league position is somewhat misleading. A team with plenty of quality and the hosts will have to be on top form to ensure the visitors don’t upset the party here.

Pembrokeshire Senior Cup Ties

Fishguard Sports vs Clarbeston Road

The hosts are not enjoying much success in their league campaign so far this season. The visitors are on the opposite end of the scale and have impressed in the league this year. Matthew Fox’ team have shown they have the quality to go all the way in this competition and he’ll be hoping for a good performance.

Haverfordwest Cricket Club vs Carew

Third division Haverfordwest Cricket Club are more than a potential banana skin for Carew. The visitors naturally will be confident going into this one however the hosts have plenty of experienced and quality players in their ranks and will be no push overs.

Pennar Robins vs Tenby

Two first division teams who have had two close games already this season. Last time out it was a 2-2 draw and before that Tenby won a close game 2-1. Another close game is to be expected and both teams will be quietly confident of progressing to the latter stages of this competition.

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Sport

Pembrokeshire Football Division One Round Up

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It was once again a weekend where the majority of the county’s scheduled football fell foul to waterlogged and unplayable pitches. A frustrating time for players, club members and referees alike as the last month to six weeks has been very wet and we’ve had a huge number of games called off.

In the first division Clarbeston Road continued their dominance over Hakin United as we reported in our feature game. Two other games were played in the top division Tenby made it three wins in a row when they beat Fishguard 4-2 at the Clicketts. Adam Muskett scored twice, both assisted by the man of the match Jerome Mansbridge who then scored twice to cap off a stand out performance. The result lifts the Seasiders into fifth place, while Fishguard look all but relegated as they sit rock bottom on just four points.

Tenby’s local rivals Kilgetty boosted their league position with an important win over Pennar Robins at Bush Camp. Robins missed a great opportunity to go one up when they were awarded a penalty but Edmundson failed to hit the target from the spot. Josh Bevans goal was enough to secure the three points for the visitors who now only sit two points behind Pennar with four games in hand over them. 

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