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Harrison Allen Final Preview

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Cresselly v Lawrenny; at Cresselly, Sunday, August 5

CRESSELLY and Lawrenny will try again this weekend (Aug 5) for the biggest prize in Pembrokeshire Cricket as they contest the Harrison Allen Bowl Final.

The final had to be abandoned last Saturday (Jul 28) due to heavy rain and with the forecast not looking good for the rest of the day, time was called on the game.

Sunday’s forecast looks more favourable and we should have some good weather for the final.

Both sides have played well to get to the final, which is being played at the home of Cresselly, and they will both be itching to get their hands on the trophy.

There is also the added spice that just less than four miles separates the two teams and a big crowd will be expected for the derby clash.

Lawrenny were last in the final in 2001, the last time they won the tournament, and they will be eager to get their hands on the trophy for the first time in 17 years.

Lawrenny have shown what they are capable of throughout this season in beating last season’s Harrison Allen winners Neyland and both Cresselly and Haverfordwest in the league.

They began their route to the final with a nine wicket win over Pembroke Dock in the second round to ease into the quarter finals where they beat St Ishmaels by five wickets having restricted them to 157-9.

In the semi-finals they came up against Llangwm who had previously beaten Saundersfoot and Pembroke.

Llangwm scored 126-7 in their innings with Rob Williams taking three wickets and Brad McDermott-Jenkins taking two.

Lawrenny then reached their target thanks to scores of 44 from Simon Cole and 43 from James Phillips.

Although they lost three quick wickets, Patrick Elliot and Joe Kidney finished unbeaten to see Lawrenny over the line.

Cresselly have reached the final in the last two seasons but were beaten on both occasions and they will be hoping it will be a case of third time lucky. They last won the tournament in 2009.

Cresselly began their route to the semi-finals with a hard-fought win over Kilgetty after scoring 185-5 before bowling their opponents out for 151.

They then beat Neyland in a repeat of last year’s final being bowled out for 112 before restricting Neyland to 107-5.

In the semi-final, Cresselly took on a Narberth side who beat Carew in the second round and Burton in the quarter finals.

However, Cresselly proved too strong as they reduced Narberth to 44-7 before they eventually finished their innings on 115-8.

Cresselly were untroubled in their reply as they reached their target with Adam Chandler finishing not out on 38 and Dan Sutton unbeaten on 63.

The teams have already met once this season and it was Lawrenny who got the better of their rivals.

Lawrenny batted first but were all out for 184 with scores of 59 from Harry Thomas, 27 from Simon Cole and 25 not out from Joe Kidney.

Dan James, Tom Arthur and Mike Shaw all took wickets for Cresselly who were unable to reach their target despite scores of 30 from Phil Williams and 21 not out from Neilson Cole.

Lawrenny’s Brad McDermott-Jenkins in action in the semi-final

Brad McDermott-Jenkins took four wickets for Lawrenny while Jamie Lewis and Rob Williams were also amongst the wickets to bowl Cresselly out for 143.

That win in June saw Cresselly slip out of top spot in Division 1 but they currently sit just three points behind leaders Haverfordwest.

Saturday’s game will see the two teams play two 22-over innings each and both will be looking to make a good start and get an advantage at the halfway stage.

Lawrenny Captain Joe Kidney told the Herald: “We are coming into this final on the back of a brilliant season thus far and we have the confidence and belief to embrace the occasion and win.

“With the majority of our side never playing in the final, we have a few “old timers” in the squad that have played in 1 or 2. They have been encouraging us to enjoy the day but realise that the chance to win the bowl doesn’t come often down Lawrenny so we have to go all out and claim the day!

“Cresselly have a great line up and their bowling has been underrated this year in my opinion. Obviously Cresselly’s batting is the major threat but we will just focus on our game and be fearless as we are the underdogs, with nothing to lose.

“Beating Cresselly in the league this year won’t be any benefit in the final. However the win is a reminder that we are capable of beating anyone on the day.

“I’m very proud of the team, hopefully we will earn the respect we deserve and make it a final to remember.”

Cresselly Captain Neilson Cole told the Herald: “I am very proud to lead the club and we are all very excited to make the bowl final again.

“For me, big game experience will be key. We are fortunate to have this running through the squad. Going into a match like this it will be invaluable in the high pressure moments of a bowl final.

Iwan Izzard: Played in the final last year

“Both teams have strong batting line-ups and anything can happen in one innings, but over two innings is very different. One poor innings and it’s likely the game will be out of reach, it will be about consistency.

“I did actually feature briefly in the final 17 years ago, an injury to one of our players meant I had to field for most of the game. Both teams played well and Lawrenny deserved to win on the day, but the result hurt us. Since then we have reached 8 finals and we are looking forward to this derby face off.”

The final starts at 12pm and it sure to be an entertaining game! Good luck to both teams and may the best team win!

News

England’s Euro 2024 semi-final victory captivates millions

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ENGLAND’S Euro 2024 semi-final victory over the Netherlands garnered a peak audience of 20.3 million on ITV, cementing its status as the most-watched television programme of the year. Broadcasters are now hopeful that Sunday night’s final against Spain will attract over 30 million viewers, surpassing the numbers that tuned in for England’s Euro 2020 final defeat.

The overnight viewing figures, provided by ratings agency Digital-i, do not account for the millions who streamed the match on ITVX or watched in public venues. The coverage of Euro 2024 in the UK is split between the BBC and ITV, with the channels alternating first choices for matches in each round. ITV executives celebrated Jordan Pickford’s crucial penalty save against Switzerland, which secured another high-profile England match and delivered a substantial advertising boost to the channel.

Both the BBC and ITV will broadcast the final, with approximately a fifth of viewers typically opting for ITV over the BBC. Euro 2024 has demonstrated the enduring appeal of live sports broadcasting, which continues to draw massive audiences, particularly when the events are free to watch. Even matches not involving home nations have attracted significant viewership, with the Spain v France semi-final on BBC One peaking at 11 million viewers.

The Euros are part of the UK’s “crown jewel” sporting events, which include the football World Cup, Wimbledon, and the Olympics, all mandated by law to be shown on free-to-air channels. In contrast, other sports have opted for the higher revenue available from pay TV channels, resulting in substantially lower audiences for international matches. The England and Wales cricket board successfully lobbied in the 2000s to keep England test matches off the free-to-air list. Consequently, Jimmy Anderson’s farewell match against the West Indies at Lords, broadcast behind a paywall on Sky, attracted a peak audience of only about 700,000 viewers.

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Crime

Welsh Snooker star Michael White jailed for assaulting partner

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A WELSH snooker star has been jailed after assaulting his then-partner. Michael White, 33, of Penshannel, Neath Abbey, assaulted the woman, causing actual bodily harm, on two separate occasions. The first incident occurred on February 12, 2022, and the second on December 10, 2022.

White pleaded guilty to the charges. A further charge of intentional strangulation on December 10 was directed to lie on file. White, whose snooker world ranking peaked at 15 in 2016, was sentenced at Swansea Crown Court on Thursday, July 11, 2024.

He received a total jail term of 36 months – 19 months for the first incident and a consecutive 17 months for the second. The World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association has announced that White has been removed from the world ranking list and the World Snooker Tour with immediate effect.

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Politics

Culture secretary vows push to keep free-to-air Six Nations games

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WALES’ culture secretary vowed to make the case for keeping Wales’ Six Nations games on free-to-air TV to her Labour colleagues in the new UK Government.

Lesley Griffiths told the Senedd she will be seeking a meeting with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to discuss the issue.

Ms Griffiths said: “Making the Six Nations free-to-air ensures that everyone, regardless of their financial situation, can feel part of this shared experience.

“This inclusivity strengthens community bonds and fosters a sense of belonging.”

Responding to a debate on a Senedd culture committee report on broadcasting rights, the culture secretary said she would write to the UK Government by the end of this week.

Delyth Jewell chairs the culture committee, which held an inquiry on whether Wales’ matches should be added to Ofcom’s list of events that must be shown on terrestrial TV.

The Plaid Cymru politician said: “A perfect storm of market dynamics in broadcasting live sport has seen more and more events go behind a paywall.

“Public service broadcasters are facing significant budgetary constraints, be this from long-term cuts to the licence fee, or a downturn in the advertising market on broadcast television. Increasing production costs are compounding both these factors.

“The advent of global streaming services also means that the value of sports broadcasting rights has increased.”

The Welsh Rugby Union told the inquiry that moving matches to the protected list could have a devastating medium- and long-term impact on the whole game in Wales.

Media rights account for £20m of the WRU’s £90m total revenue, with the union calling for open competition to maximise income for the game.

Carolyn Thomas, the Labour MS for North Wales, recognised this tension but warned: “There is a real risk here that avoiding action will leave us dropping the ball. We must ensure future generations can connect with the game without having to shell out for the privilege.”

She added: “Let’s hope, with the new UK Labour Government, we will be in a safe pair of hands and we get protected, free-to-air Six Nations coverage over the line.”

Heledd Fychan called for matches to be broadcast on S4C, rather than having a Welsh viewing option on platforms such as Amazon Prime.

The Plaid Cymru MS, who represents South Wales Central, pointed out that Rhondda MP Chris Bryant has been appointed a junior DCMS minister as she urged Labour to act.

Samuel Kurtz raised concerns about the 8% interest rate the WRU is paying on an £18m coronavirus business interruption loan scheme from the Welsh Government.

Pointing out that the rate was fixed at 2% for English premiership sides, the Tory MS said: “I think that’s a financial constraint that’s hurting our professional clubs here in Wales.”

Caerphilly MS Hefin David joked that he has a lot in common with former PM Rishi Sunak – “as my dad wouldn’t let us have Sky either, and we had to listen to it on the radio”.

He called for a ‘Plan B’ for the hospitality industry if rugby goes behind a paywall, including a contractual clause to give small pubs and clubs a reduced pay-to-view subscription.

Dr David said he watches Wales matches at Gilfach workmen’s club, which pays £514 a month for Sky, as he raised concerns about venues having to buy multiple subscriptions..

“Well, Gilfach workies simply can’t afford that,” he said.

Alun Davies, a fellow Labour backbencher, said: “We need to address the real crisis in Welsh rugby and that is ensuring that the game exists for future generations, and I believe that exposure to the Six Nations championship is fundamental to that.”

The Blaenau Gwent MS raised the example of Glamorgan cricket.

He said: “It does raise fears within me that the more we take the game away from the screens, the more we take it away from our communities and from the people who enjoy watching the game, and the less it becomes our national sport.”

The culture committee’s inquiry was sparked after John Whittingdale, a Conservative former culture minister, left the door open last autumn while giving evidence.

Sir John told the meeting: “We’ve always said that if the Welsh Parliament argued very strongly that, for the good of sport in Wales, we needed to look again at the listed events, we would look at it, certainly. So, it’s not closed.’

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