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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

Bevan’s brace earns first league win for Hakin

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HAKIN United secured their first win of the season on Saturday (Sept 18) as they beat Hunldeton 5-1.

The Vikings drew their opening league game with Carew before pushing Monmouth all the way in their FAW Trophy defeat the previous Saturday (Sept 11).

They opened the scoring after just three minutes as Leon Luby provided the assist for Jay Power to score.

It was 2-0 four minutes later as Luby again set up Justin Harding,

Ashley Bevan scored to make it 3-0 after 12 minutes and he got his second shortly after the half hour mark.

One of those included a bicycle kick from just inside the box as Hakin dominated and took their goals well with some individual brilliance.

It was a game of two halves as Hundleton battled back in the second half and they were rewarded for their play twenty minutes in.

Jack Blunsden grabbed the goal for the home side but it proved to be a consolation effort.

With thirteen minutes to go, Luby got his fourth assist of the game as he found Laurie Haworth who made it 5-1 to the Vikings.

On Saturday (Sept 25), Hakin visit Neyland while Hundleton are at home to St Ishmaels.

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Sport

Fishguard hold off Clarby for third win

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FISHGUARD kept up their winning start to the season as they beat Clarbeston Road 3-2 on Saturday (Sept 18).

They opened the scoring after 90 seconds as a free kick was floated into the box and when it wasn’t cleared the ball fell to Sean Seymour-Davies who crossed to the unmarked Keegan Summers to tap in at the far post.

Clarby looked to level the score but from an attack Fishguard broke and the ball was played in behind Tom Glover and Steve Lewis ran on to score in the right hand corner.

Glover was then penalised for bringing down Steve Lewis in the box and the referee pointed for a penalty. Niall Kinsella scored to make it 3-0 to Fishguard.

Ben John, Jake Booth and Steff Williams all had chances to score for Clarby who felt a little hard done by to find themselves 3-0 down at the break.

Clarby responded well in the second half and were able to pull two goals back.

A free kick was saved by the Fishguard keeper Dean Hopson but the ball was kept alive by Charlie George and he found Greg Brown who fired in from eight yards out.

They grabbed a second when Joules Ward’s cross was deflected in by the unlucky Pat Hughes as he attempted to clear.

Clarby continued to create chances, hitting the bar on one occasion, but they were unable to find an equaliser as Fishguard held on for the points.

Dean Hopson also made some good saves to keep his side ahead.

On Saturday (Sept 25), Fishguard host Narberth while Clarbeston Road host Monkton Swifts.

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Sport

Blues prove too strong for Llangwm

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HAVERFORDWEST proved too strong for old rivals Llangwm on Saturday (Sept 18), as they came away from Pill Parks with a 51-0 win.

The game was only a couple of minutes old when the first try came. Llangwm had a scrum inside their own half but a great push from the Blues saw them gain the ball.

Tom Carrington eventually peeled off to score and Mikey Jones added the extras for a 7-0 lead.

Wasps fans could have been forgiven for fearing a repeat performance from the kick off as a knock on from the Blues gave the home side another scrum.

This time though, Llangwm were penalised for not setting up right and the Blue kicked to touch.

From the lineout the Blues again pushed for the line but Llangwm were again penalised for dragging down the maul.

The Blues went for touch again and from the resulting lineout they set up another maul, and this time Jamie Zambas went over to score. Jones’ conversion was wide and the score remained at 0-12.

Llangwm then enjoyed a good spell as they looked to get back in the game. A Blues infringement gave the Wasps a chance to kick to touch but the visitors did well to keep the ball in play.

However, they were penalised for being offside from the resulting clearing kick and Llangwm this time were able to find touch.

The Blues were able to win the lineout though and this time they cleared without any problems.

More tries followed from Jake Morgan and there was a double from Jonathan Mason as the Blues held a 29-0 lead at the break.

Matty Phillips scored early on in the second half but the Wasps enjoyed another good spell of pressure, twice coming close to scoring.

Kern Cunningham, Adam Williams and Jake Morgan added further tries to seal the win.

The win keeps them level on points with Neyland at the top of Bowl group H1 with the two sides playing each other on Saturday, October 2.

Llangwm’s next game sees them take on the Quins, also on October 2.

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