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Rugby season arrives

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PEMBROKESHIRE rugby teams will get their seasons underway on Saturday, September 1, with all hoping to have a successful season.

Championship side Narberth had an excellent 2017/18 campaign, finishing second in the table behind runaway leaders Pontypool.

They had 14 wins from their 22 games and they will be looking to go one better this time around. Narberth have played two friendlies prior to the season beating Felinfoel 29-0 and Principality Premiership side Llanelli 17-12.

The Otters begin their season away to Beddau and have already named their team with Nick Gale, Jack Price, Jonathan Rogers and Tom Powell all starting.

In League 1 West, last season’s escape artists Crymych will be looking to achieve a finish similar if not higher than the sixth place they achieved in May.

Crymych were bottom of the table at the end of 2017 with just one win but a remarkable second half of the season saw them pick up ten wins to secure their place in the Division.

They also welcome back Tristan Lewis from Whitland and on Saturday, they get their campaign underway against Tenby United in an exciting Pembrokeshire derby.

Return: Lloyd Thomas

Tenby have had a busy pre-season, making a number of new signings including Lloyd Thomas, a former youth product, who returns at Outside Half. Lloyd transferred to Mahurangi Rugby Club in New Zealand in 2013, representing their premier team 84 times in the North Harbour league and became a firm favourite.

19 year old Second Row Tom Barrass, in his first year out of youth has followed Ossie Boswell from Pembroke Dock to Tenby United having impressed during his 1st XV appearances last season.

Jack Broadhurst, last season’s Narberth Youth Captain and Player of the Year, has also signed having previously represented the Swifts section before heading to Narberth.

Whitland, promoted from League 2 West last season, will be looking to get their season off to a flying start when they take on Gorseinon at home on Saturday.

Gorseinon finished fifth last season and will provide a good test for the Borderers on their return to league 1.

Marc Jones will captain the side for tomorrow’s opener, with Nico Setaro, Scott Buird, Jack Mason and Josh Thomas all in the starting XV.

Fishguard finished last season in ninth place in League 2 West and they will be aiming to achieve a higher finish this time around.

The Seagulls won 18-14 in the Pembrokeshire Cup against Haverfordwest on Tuesday, providing a good test before the start of the season.

Pembroke won the League 3 West A title with just one defeat to their name and they will be eager to get underway in League 2 on Saturday.

Pembroke have welcomed back James Skeels, Daffy Lewis and Mark Williams to their squad and they will be aiming to replicate the achievements of Saturday’s opponents St Clears in their first season at this level.

St Clears enjoyed a successful first season in League 2 last time around and they will be aiming to improve on their eighth place finish.

The Saints parted ways with Head Coach Mike Jones in the summer but have welcomed Tim Poole as their new first team coach with Lee Glanville joining as Defence coach and Rhodri Jones as attack coach.

League 3 West A will once again be a tightly contested league this season with Milford Haven, Laugharne and Haverfordwest again in contention for promotion.

Milford finished second last season and with Pembroke now a league above, they will aiming to get off to a good start against Pembroke Dock Quins at Bierspool.

Nathan Williams has returned to lead Milford while Jamie Lewis will captain the side on the pitch and they will be hoping to have a successful season.

Likewise will be the Quins who had six wins to their name last season but they will be looking to improve on their eighth place finish.

Haverfordwest will also be aiming for a return to League 2 and will be led by captain Matthew Clark.

He is joined by fellow new signings Adam Clark, Craig Barnett, Ashley George, Jamie Barnett, Jack Clancy, Kern Cunningham and Jamie Plumb. All will be hoping they can help the Blues to improve on their fifth place finish from last season.

They begin against a Llangwm side who will be determined to get off the mark early in the season.

The Wasps played Neyland in the Pembrokeshire Cup on Tuesday and pushed them all the way before succumbing to a 29-10 defeat.

Neyland will also be looking to get the season off to a good start on Saturday but they face a long trip to Ceredigion to take on Tregaron.

They had an excellent 2017/18 season with ten wins from their twenty games to achieve a sixth place finish but level on points with Haverfordwest and they will be aiming to improve on that.

St Davids are without a game this weekend but they get their season underway next week (Sept 8) when they travel to Llangwm.

Sport

Preseli poses a challenge for novice crews

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THE END of April will see the popular novice night rally organised by the Teifi Valley Motor Club being held in Pembrokeshire. On the weekend of 27th and 28th April, Rali Bro Preseli will see 75 novice crews tackling the winding and challenging roads that Pembrokeshire has to offer.

Clerks of the Course, father and son Richard and Jason Davies along with Aled Richards have a terrific route lined up for competitors. Starting as usual at the Crymych Mart, the route will appeal to all novice drivers and navigators.

“It will offer a bit of everything. It will be challenging but easy to follow with some whites thrown in the mix. Aled has designed the whole route and we’ve done the donkey work,” said Jason, now in his second year as Clerk of the Course.

As regular competitors, Jason and Richard wanted to give something back to the sport and they enjoy being on the organising side of the things.

Jason, who won the Bro Preseli with his father in 2013, explained: “We’ve competed in the Preseli on several occasions, and we decided to give something back to the sport and that’s why dad and I thought it would be a good idea to help.

“It’s interesting to see how it all comes together and the work involved, and there’s a lot of that,”

He also won the event with Tim Hand in 2016 and was fourth overall in 2019.

Aled Richards, Joint Clerk of the Course, knows the routes of Rali Bro Preseli like the back of his hand having only ever missed it once since its formation in 2003. He’s driven on four of them in 2005 – 2008 with the best result of a 4th place with Arwel Jenkins in the navigator seat.

Aled has been Chief Marshal on Rali Bro Preseli since 2013 before moving on to being Clerk of the Course this year and competitors can look forward to a great event.

Aled told the Herald: “This is the first time I’ve been Clerk of the Course, but we have a good team with Dylan Davies as Chief Marshal and Olwen Davies as Secretary.

“I live some 30 miles away from the actual route, but we’ve been around it twice and I’m confident it will be a good yet challenging night. Some of the whites are currently waterlogged but the farmers have been brilliant and offered to help clear the tracks before the event and we are very grateful.”

The rally, kindly sponsored by Arjay Factors and Home James Taxis, will have four official Spectator Points on the night and the locations will be available at signing on.

The Clerks of the Course and the Teifi Valley Motor Club would like to thank all those who have helped to organise the event – landowners, homes en route, petrol at Brian Llewellyn a’i Ferched, and the start and finish venues – Crymych Mart and the Teifi Waterside Hotel.

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Sport

Herbrandston Clinch Promotion to Division One

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Following a one all draw Tuesday night away to Narberth it confirmed Herbrandston’s promotion to the first division. An amazing achievement for Manger Leigh Galdo and his assistant Timmy Roberts. With a young team and after losing quality players over the summer it’s safe to say promotion wasn’t really ‘on the cards’ for Herbie in August.

On paper nobody would have expected Herbie to challenge at the top of the league. However they started the league as they meant to go on, with an outstanding unbeaten run, which made everyone quickly realise they were not to be underestimated. Galdo has done an excellent job in developing not only a young team, but the players as individuals who’ve matured as the season has developed. While they will enjoy promotion they won’t be relaxing too much as they still hope to lift the second division cup at Bridge Meadow.

Herbie’s boss however found some time in his busy schedule to reflect on promotion and the season to date.


‘Promotion wasn’t really on the radar when we sat down last summer and assessed the situation. With a mass exodus of first team starters, a full rebuild looked on the cards.

However the players we have in this years group are nothing if not resilient. A great start to the campaign meant we had put ourselves in contention early, 13 league games undefeated up to Xmas proved that we had enough to at least contend. There were certainly some tough test in the new year but all of them learning opportunities and a chance for this group of players to grow and mature as a team.

I’m a firm believer that through adversity, that’s where the real development can happen and it certainly seems that way with us at the moment with many of our young players now looking battle tested.

Humbled and armed with those lessons we’re looking now to finish the season strong. Back into the 1st Division has been the club’s ambition now for quite a few years and after finally achieving that after many close seasons in doing so we can turn our focus to trying to add some silverware in the 2nd Division cup.

A very tough task with the quality of teams left in the competition. But a challenge we embrace and look forward too. We’ll stay in the fight to the very end and see what destiny awaits us. ‘Up the Pickles’’

Congratulations to everyone involved in the club on promotion. A club that’s setup off the field and at junior level really deserves division one football. We also wish Herbie the best of luck for the cup too.

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News

Micky Beckett, Pembrokeshire’s Olympic hopeful, wins big in Palma!

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Micky Beckett, the pride of Solva and a stalwart of the British Sailing Team, once again etched his name in the annals of sailing history with a resounding victory at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma last week, marking his third consecutive triumph at this illustrious event. The 29-year-old maestro showcased his dominance in the men’s dinghy class amidst stiff competition from a formidable fleet of 193 boats, clinching the title with a day to spare.

His gold-medal feat spearheaded a triumphant campaign for the British contingent, as John Gimson and Anna Burnet secured bronze in the Nacra 17 category, while the rising star Matilda Nicholls clinched her debut senior-level medal, a bronze in the ILCA 6 class.

Entering the pivotal double points medal race, Beckett held an unassailable lead atop the leaderboard, a testament to his unparalleled skill and unwavering determination. Despite the comfort of his position, Beckett refused to relent, clinching a second-place finish in the decisive race and ultimately sealing victory with an imposing 44-point margin.

Reflecting on his remarkable achievement, Beckett humbly acknowledged the significance of his third consecutive triumph, stating, “I’ve been trying all week not to think about the fact that if I won this event it would be three in a row, but now it’s real and it’s pretty cool.” His sentiments echoed a blend of confidence and humility, underscoring the arduous journey that led to his triumph.

With his sights set on the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, Beckett exuded a mixture of confidence and determination, aware of the challenges that lie ahead. “All the top guys will be following their own plans to build up to this summer, but I have to say that beating them is a nice confidence boost,” Beckett remarked, encapsulating the competitive spirit that drives him towards excellence.

Despite his past setbacks in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, Beckett remains undaunted, poised to make his mark on the global stage in Marseille, where he aims to transcend mere participation and carve his legacy amongst the world’s elite ILCA 7 sailors. With a European title in 2021 and a world silver in 2023 adorning his resume, Beckett’s journey is a testament to perseverance and unwavering dedication to his craft.

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