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Swansea storyboard going to the wire

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By Jonathan Twigg

ROY RACE of Melchester Rovers, fashionable with a golden mop of hair, will be returning to embrace a new generation of readers, seventeen years after he last appeared in print in 2001, where for 19 years when he appeared as a weekly comic; with it comes the cloud of magic that lived with that generation of avid readers, the original kick off in 1954 in the Tiger comic, Roy epitomising the character of the footballer of the time; hard, but fair; energised, his forte a man of steel, committed to his club where he lifted nine league titles, eight FA Cups and three European salvos.

Swansea City have become every sport writers dream, calling up ‘Roy of the Rovers’ moments which the Welsh public have savoured, honouring a returning Michu warmly greeted by the 20,900 ensconced in the Liberty Stadium, on Saturday (Apr 28).

Those fans remember the European trails burnt, flirtations with domestic cups as League cup winners in 2013 and quarter finalists this season in the FA Cup, the first since 1964. Those halcyon days when they watched first division football under John Toshack in the Eighties before mooched off to Real Madrid.

A storyboard, added to recently with seven seasons in the Premier League, thanks to Brendon Rogers sending the Jack army into elation with a Wembley play off triumph over Reading.

Four minutes into the action and the dream was wavering, Spanish international Fabregas scored for the first time in 26 games, the story dictated by a Belgian crème de la crème in Eden Hazard.

The first half review saw the Swans way off the pace, perhaps referee Jon Moss adhering himself fully, but the home side needed impetus, a King (Andy) replaced by a saviour.

Nathan Dyer is no ‘Hot Shot Hamish’, a Hebridean man revered in comic book nostalgia as having the hardest shot in football, but boy did he bring a ‘Billy Whizz’ swagger alongside Tom Carroll who replaced debut making youngster Connor Roberts.

Dyer ran, direct and with pace, the quality on the end of his endeavours missing, needing that Hamish Balfour’s power shot, the West London boys not having to go through the gears to maintain their lead.

A final roll of the dice, Wayne Routledge for Martin Olsson, Kyle McNaughton testing Thibaut Courtois from 20 yards. England hopeful Alfie Mawson strode purposefully forward to test the Blues goal as the ‘Whites’ looked for that all important breakthrough, Ki Sung Yueng adventurous and Carroll a whisker wide.

Brothers Jordan and Andre Ayew unable to unlock the defence, the final action Routledge warming the hands of Cortois, the story ending in defeat, manager Antonio Conte’s fiftieth premier league win for Chelsea.

Memories linger; Terry Coles and Milmoor Lane in the Millennium; 2003 survival in the football league by a hairsbreadth with a win over Hull City.

That first victory in the Premier League, West Bromwich Albion in the September and after the trials and tribulations of the past two seasons, Carlos Carvalhal, in situ since December having three games to secure the points.

He has galvanised the Club, Roy Race style, meaning the trip to Dean Park, Bournemouth, on Saturday (May 5) brings pressure before the final two games at the Liberty Stadium against relegation rivals Stoke City and Southampton.

Suffice, for this comic book story line to fit the ending, two wins should do it.

Sport

Lawrenny earn big win over Whitland

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LAWRENNY got their 2021 season off to the perfect start on Saturday (May 1) as they beat Whitland by 189 runs.

Whitland won the toss and elected to field but they could only watch as the home side piled on the runs before being bowled out for 264.

Kyle Marsh top scored with a score of 81 while Kurtis Mars also scored 45.

Tom Cole added 32 and James Phillips chipped in with a score of 29 as they batted well.

Wayne Howells and Jonathan Thomas finished with identical figures of 2-27 as Whitland’s bowling did at least keep the score below 300.

Whitland knew they would need to bat well to knock off the runs needed but came up against Ryan Morton who took four wickets for the loss of 17 runs.

Kurtis Marsh also claimed two wickets without conceding any runs as the visitors chances got smaller and smaller.

Geraint Jones did score 30 for Whitland but that was as good as it got as they were bowled out for just 75.

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Sport

Town earn comfortable win against Narberth

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HAVERFORDWEST got their season off to a good start on Saturday (May 1) as they beat Narberth by by 104 runs.

Narberth won the toss but elected to field first which would ultimately be a decision that would come back to haunt them.

The Town almost reached 200 runs, finishing their innings on 187-8.

Dai Davies top scored for the home side with a knock of 70 which included six fours and one six. He shared a third wicket stand of 49 with Mickey Jones.

Jones hit five fours in his knock of 46 before being caught off the bowling of Louis Hough.

Ben Hughes then had Ben Field caught by Hough to leave Town on 86-4.

Davies was joined in the middle by Jake Merry and the pair shared another good stand, worth 74 runs for the fifth wicket.

However, Merry fell for 32 and soon after Davies was out on 70 as Narberth hit back.

Ben Quartermaine picked up two late wickets as they were able to restrict their hosts to under 200.

Narberth’s opening pair shared 36 runs as they made a good start to their innings but wickets began to fall in quick succession and the 2019 Division 2 Champions were soon 36-4.

Jordan Howell scored 18 but he was his side’s top scorer as Will Phillips took four wickets for the loss of 15 runs for Town.

Ben Quartermaine scored 17 but he fell to Clive Tucker who went on to finish with figures of 3-15.

There was also two wickets for Dai Davies as Town bowled Narberth out for just 83.

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Carew prove too strong for Tish

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CAREW’s Iori Hicks picked up a five-wicket haul on Saturday (May 1) to help his side to victory over St Ishmaels.

Tish won the toss but elected to field first and that gave the visitors the chance to build a good total.

They made a steady start, reaching 40-1 after the first 11 overs. They made a series of 32-run partnerships as opening bat Brian Hall made his way to a half century.

Lewis Hicks made a score of 24 before he was bowled by Andrew Pawlett but when Shaun Whitfield was caught by Peter Bradshaw off the bowling of Jonathan Pawlett, the visitors had slipped to 92-4.

Hall and James Hinchcliffe then shared a stand worth 45 runs for the fifth wicket as they looked to accelerate the score.

Hinchcliffe was caught off the bowling of Andrew Pawlett on a score of 19. Hall was joined by Luke Hicks and the pair shared another good stand.

Hall reached his half century but was then caught by Andrew Pawlett off the bowling of Brennan Devonald on a score of 52, leaving Carew on 176-6.

Hicks then took over as he thumped three sixes in a score of 35 but he was then run out.

Iori Hicks and Ceri Brace both finished unbeaten with a six to their name as Tish were set 202 to win the game.

However, their reply did not get off to the best of starts as they lost three wickets in quick succession, all to the bowling of Rhys Davies, leaving them on 15-3.

They faced an uphill task from then on but Harry Nicholas and Brennan Devonald did their best to get their side back in the contest.

They shared 46 for the fourth wicket but then saw Devonald caught off the bowling of Whitfield on a score of 41.

Tish were not out of the game though as Nicholas was joined by Jonathan Pawlett and the pair shared 63 runs for the fifth wicket.

Nicholas reached his half century but was then out on a score of 51 and Pawlett was out to Iori Hicks on a score of 37.

Hicks then took over matters as he picked up four further wickets, including two ducks, to finish with figures of 5-15.

It meant that Tish were bowled out for 154.

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