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Sport

Otters topple the leaders

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NARBERTH superbly toppled Championship leaders Cardiff Met on Saturday (Oct 27) as they came away with a 16-13 victory.

The game started with Cardiff Met kicking off with the advantage of a strong, cold wind behind them playing towards the clubhouse end. Initially they pinned the Otters in their own half but were slowly being driven back with the Otters forwards in groups of three forcing their way forward and successfully retaining possession.

Jonathan Rogers playing his first game after a foot injury produced one of his cannonball kicks well into the Met half near their 22. The ball was fielded but the Otters were able to force the Met defender into touch. From the lineout, the Otters moved the ball through the threes, from the stand side into midfield before the referee awarded them a penalty. Nick Gale came forward and struck the ball perfectly to send the ball soaring between the posts giving the Otters an early lead.

The Met kicked off, which was fielded via Dan Smith, he  passed to Jonathan Rogers, the fly half produced one of his long passes out to centre Jack Price who was able to take the ball forward into Met’s 22 in inimitable forceful way before being brought to ground. From the breakdown the Otters pack drove forward before the ball landed in touch on the Redstone side of the ground on the 5 metre line.

The referee awarded a scrum from the lineout but the Otters were penalised for supposedly pushing before the ball was put in.  This enabled the Met to kick the ball just into the Otters half with the oters being penalised. Their fly half kicked the ball into the Otters 22. The fast backs followed up but the Otters forced the ball into touch.

From the lineout, the Met set up a rolling maul which the Otters pack expertly managed to halt with the referee awarding the Otters a scrum enabling scrum half Lewys Gibby to kick over the Met players heads.

Forced to retreat, the Met then regained the ball and scored a good try near the clubhouse corner having moved the ball quickly from the far side and managing to create a gap in the Otters sturdy defence, for their inside centre Jack Wright to break clear via a sudden gap appearing and touch down. Fly half Henry Johnson converted to take Cardiff Met into the lead, 3-7 on twenty minutes.

The Otters kicked off and in the ensuing play were awarded a scrum. The pack showed their control pushing the Met backwards forcing the Met to concede a penalty. Jonathon Rogers then kicked and gained the lineout.

From the lineout the Otters threes took the ball into the Met 22 and from the moved the ball from left to right, then switching back towards the far side. The referee awarded the Otters pack a scrum and who again showed their superiority in the tight causing the Met to concede another penalty.

Again Nick Gale came forward and with much concentration struck the ball between the posts bringing the score to 6-7 on 27 minutes.

From the restart Richard Rees fielded and drove forward followed by a series of drives, by the Otters pack with Cardiff Met defending strongly. However, the series of ruck and drive forced the Met back to the halfway line before offending, the referee awarding the Met a scrum. This had to be reset with the Otters forcing the Met eight back as the eight Otters scrummed strongly. The sloppy heel by the Met resulted in outside centre Jack Price putting in a grubber kick along the ground.

The continued pressure forced the Met player into touch. At the lineout, Met managed to spoil the throw in, gained possession 10 metres inside the Otters half before a series of quick passing movements.

They moved the ball back and fore across the pitch before a gap appeared and the burly centre  Oliver Morris showed surprising speed as he raced towards the line before Andrew Cook made a try saving tackle just one metre from the try line. The referee awarded the Otters a penalty at the breakdown which Jonathan Rogers safely found touch to relieve the pressure.

Play continued with both teams attempting to break through. The Met were awarded a scrum, heeling they kicked the ball into touch with the referee whistling half time with the score at 6-7.

In the second half the Otters were given a penalty after the Met were penalised for illegal crossing and they kicked to touch. At the lineout a Cardiff Met misdemeanour gave the Otters a scrum, then heeling the ball, it was moved swiftly only for the left wing to fail to take the pass with a strong possibility of a try being possible.

Play continued back and fore with both teams attempting to advance but being thwarted by both defences. Cardiff Met were penalised on 53 minutes just inside the Otters half. Jonathan Rogers kicked towards the clubhouse corner finding touch some fifteen metres from the line.

The Otters safely caught the throw in and set up a rolling maul moving to within five metres of the line number 8 Richard Rees broke clear and crossed over for a try towards the clubhouse corner. Nick Gale converted from a difficult position putting the Otters ahead 13-7.

Play continued and on 60 minutes Cardiff Met were awarded a penalty some 40 metres from the posts towards the far touchline. Using a torpedo style placement of the ball Henry Johnson added 3 points for the Met. The score was now 13-10.

Young Lewys Gibby who had performed well at scrum half was replaced by the experienced Rhys Lane and Bradley Davies replaced Dan Jacobs in the front row. Play continued with both teams attempting to make progress but both defences remained firm.

The scrummaging became a contest with the referee having to reset the scrum on occasions. The Otters were penalised and Henry Johnson kicked to half way, Jonathan Rogers gathered and this time the ball was carried by the wind over the dead ball line, a scrum was called near halfway with a Met put in, they heeled but at a subsequent ruck they were penalised.

At 71 minutes Nick Gale added three further points bring the Otters to a 16-10 lead. From the kick off the Met responded strongly managing to get to within 30 metres of the Otters try line via penalty kick. At the lineout they attempted to move towards the line but again the Otters defended strongly before managing to clear however, following a knock on, they were penalised.

Cardiff Met decided to run and force their way forward but at the breakdown the Otters gained the ball, Rhys Lane passed to Johnathan Rogers kicked long to the Cardiff Met 5 metre line. The Otters gained the ball at the lineout and forced their way forward for Rhys Lane to break out but was pulled down 2 metres from the line. Jack Price receiving the ball from the ruck attempted to force his way over but there was an infringement at the breakdown.

Then the pack were required to scrummage, the referee needed to reset the scrum. Cardiff Met had the put in heeled and forced their back down field to the halfway line. Further play took them to with 40 metres. The Otters were penalised and the last score of the game came when Johnson using his torpedo kick placed the ball between the posts on 79 minutes and right on 80 minutes the referee blew full time with the score 16-13.

Attack coach Deiniol Evans commented: “It was a very tight game against a very tough unbeaten Cardiff side, so it was nice for us to win. It was a tough game which could have gone either way. Our performance was excellent, I thought we played really well with some very good performances, the front five of the pack were superb again, the set piece was excellent.

“The boys carried hard Andrew Cooke played well, Richard Rees was excellent and Jack Price in the centre was very good. I think it was a really good result because they were unbeaten. We played well to our game plan. We should have scored a couple of tries, we could not do it first half and defended really well and fully deserved the win.”

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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