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Three Nations golds for Croft twins

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YEARS of dedication to a punishing training schedule paid off in style for Crymych’s remarkable 17-year-old Croft twins on Saturday (May 4) when both stood together on top of the Three Nations Championships podium for the first time at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens.

Southpaw Ioan proved king of the 60kg division, having overcome European champ Adam Azim (Pinewood Star) in the semi-finals en route to winning his second gold in the Three Nations, formerly known as the Great Britain championships.

Croft simply proved too good for Scotland’s Robert Hewitt in Saturday’s final and the unanimous points verdict was never in doubt.

Cardigan ABC head coach Guy Croft looked on in pride as Ioan’s twin Garan subsequently overcame Scotland’s Reese Lynch on a split decision in the 64kg final to make it a Three Nations double.

“This was Garan’s first Three Nations gold after being so close so many times,” he said.

“For me this was the culmination of eight years’ hard work, to get the boys on the podium together.”

An old rival of Ioan’s, Azim had beaten the Welsh teen in close bouts on their previous two encounters after really setting the benchmark in the 60kg class for the last three or four years.

The reigning European champion was looking to capture his fourth Three Nations title, only for Ioan to find his range immediately with straight sharp jabs and back hands.

“In the first round Ioan came out as sharp as I’ve ever seen him,” recounted Croft senior. “It was soon clear to me he was in control.

“Adam is usually a lightning-sharp counter puncher, but Ioan was in and out with his own shots without getting caught – the first round was close but I felt Ioan had edged it.

“The second  continued much the same way with Ioan taking more and more control while Adam started getting frustrated and making errors.

“The third saw Ioan completely dominate, landing a string of accurate straight backhands which Adam couldn’t seem to avoid.” The decision went to Ioan on a 4-1 split decision, only the English judge voting against the Cardigan ABC boy.

Following Friday’s semi-final drama, Saturday’s finals proved something of an anti-climax as far as Ioan was concerned as he comfortably secured the gold on a unanimous decision against the outclassed Hewitt.

Then it was the turn of Garan who produced a workmanlike display to edge out Scotland’s Reese Lynch whose awkward, spoiling style made for a messy encounter.

Garan, however, still enjoyed some success by landing the cleaner shots, taking the fight to his opponent.

The twins are now taking a well-earned break prior to moving up in weight. Cardigan ABC club-mate Mikey O’Sullivan competes in the Welsh Schoolboy championships next week.

Cardigan ABC are on the hunt for new members. Training nights in the gym off Maesyrhaf are Tuesdays and Thursdays (7pm-8.30pm).

Sport

Swifts eyes on double.

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Monkton Swifts reserves have blown away the second division this season and now have the double in their sights. They face Merlins Bridge reserves in the semi final of the second division cup and lived up to their favourites tag.

Swifts won comfortably with key player Butland getting three assists and Josh Sture grabbing a brace. Waterman and Rhys Sture added the other goals as outstanding Monkton won 4-0.

Herbrandston and Johnston played in the other semi final and this was a much harder fixture to call. The promoted Herbie a younger and perhaps less physical outfit in comparison to the Tigers. Johnston quickly took control of the game when they found themselves two up after just 29 minutes.

However when Scott Murray was shown a red card just eight minutes later, Herbie would have been confident of staging a comeback. Despite being a man light, Johnston held Herbie until the final minute of the 90, when Alex Ouzman gave Herbie late hope. The Tigers held firm however and progress to the final where they will be underdogs. A tag that I’m sure the players and manager Steven Allen won’t mind too much.

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Tenby hit five against downbeat Bridge

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On a beautiful day in Tenby, the hosts welcomed Merlins Bridge to The Clicketts, fresh from their West Wales semi final defeat midweek.

The Bridge squad was missing some influential players after picking up some injuries and the visiting team asked questions over the fitness of the pitch, which, according to the Bridge management, was too hard.

The referee waved these away and the game was on, with the Tenby squad clearly thinking they were already in the heads of the Bridge team.

Almost straight from Kick off Tenby set their stall out with some great attacking play, which Jerome Mansbridge benefitted from in just the second minute putting the home team ahead.

The bridge players weren’t at the races and Tenby capitalised scoring a further 4 first half goals, including a Mansbridge hat trick, leaving the away team bewildered and 5-0 down at half time.

What could have been a hugely embarrassing defeat for a team that harboured title hopes at the beginning of the season, turned around somewhat at half time, when Dai Davies, the club captain, almost singlehandedly dragged them to a much higher level in the second half, ensuring his players kept their discipline and worked hard against a very good Tenby team. Undoubtedly Merlin’s Bridge were the better team in the second period, but the damage had already been done in the first half, and despite Bridges best efforts, the score remained 5-0 to the home team.

In a game which saw Tenby jump to 4th in the league, they can be hugely proud of their season and will look to build on that for their next in Division one.

A fantastic game on a beautiful day with a good home crowd watching, the team from the Clicketts will be justifiably happy with their afternoons work.

Tenby 5-0 Merlins Bridge.

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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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