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Neyland crowned champions

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NEYLAND successfully retained their Division 1 crown on Saturday (Aug 10) as their game with Lawrenny ended in a draw.

Going into the game, Lawrenny knew they would need to win if they were to keep their title hopes alive but Neyland were also keen to pick up the win.

Neyland batted first and made a good total of 242-5 from their 45 overs.

They made a steady start with Patrick Bellerby and Nick Koomen sharing 56 runs for the first wicket.

Koomen scored 20 but he was then caught by James Phillips off the bowling of Ryan Morton.

Soon after, Bellerby, who had made his way to a score of 32, was caught by Harry Thomas off the bowling of Morton.

Ashley Sutton cracked a six in his score of 12 but then saw himself caught by James Buckle as Morton picked up his third wicket.

When George Evans was caught by Tom Cole off the bowling of Rob Williams, Neyland had slipped to 110-4.

Ross Hardy and Henry Durrant then swung the game in Neyland’s favour as they shared a fifth wicket stand worth 114 runs.

Durrant hit two fours and a six in his score of 38 before he was bowled by Morton who finished with excellent figures of 4-32 from his nine overs.

Hardy was on a score of 89 when Durrant departed and he went on to complete his century, hitting eight fours and eight sixes in his score of 102 not out.

Lawrenny were also guilty of giving away 31 runs in extras as Lawrenny’s target for victory was 243.

Lawrenny were struggling early on in their reply as they lost Harry Thomas when he was caught by Sean Hannon off the bowling of Henry Durrant.

They also lost James Phillips when he was caught by Nick Koomen off the bowling of Nathan Banner as the hosts were reduced to 8-2.

James Buckle and Steve Lewis shared 60 runs for the third wicket as they looked to keep their side in the game.

Andrew Miller then struck as he had Buckle caught by Geraint Rees.

Lewis then reached his half century but, having hit five fours and two sixes in his score of 52, he was then caught by Hardy off the bowling of Rees.

Rees then had Brad McDermott-Jenkins caught by Patrick Hannon and James Skeels caught by Patrick Bellerby as Lawrenny were reduced to 87-6.

Joe Kidney hit a four and a six in his score of 13 but he was then caught by Bellerby off the bowling of Rees who also finished with figures of 4-32 from his seven overs.

Andrew Miller then had Ryan Morton caught by Bellerby as the visitors continued to take wickets in search of victory.

Tom Cole hit three fours and a six in his score of 28 but when he was bowled by Ross Hardy, Lawrenny were staring at defeat on 140-9.

Rob Williams and Jamie Lewis ensured that the game would finish in a draw however, with the former hitting a four and a six in his score of 23 not out.

That saw the hosts finish on 173-9 but the 29 points that Neyland picked up meant they were crowned Division 1 champions again.

They have had a fantastic season, winning thirteen of their sixteen games so far and losing only once.

They now have two games to finish the season starting on Saturday (Aug 17), at home to Haverfordwest and on Saturday, August 24, they travel to Whitland.

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Wales international Johnny Williams signs new Scarlets contract

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THE SCARLETS said this week that they are delighted to announce that Wales international centre Johnny Williams has signed a new contract with the club.

The 27-year-old joined the Scarlets from Newcastle Falcons in 2020 and after just four appearances earned his first Wales cap, against Georgia in Llanelli.

A powerful-carrying presence in the Scarlets midfield, he has since made 46 appearances, scoring six tries, including a memorable interception in last season’s Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Clermont Auvergne.

He has won seven caps for Wales, featuring at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel said: “Johnny has been a key member of the side in recent years. He’s a player who is a dynamic carrier, is physical with and without the ball, has a good skill set and has an impact on every game he’s involved in.

“He is an important cog in how we look to play and it’s fantastic that he has agreed a new contract with the club. I know the fans will be thrilled with this news and, along with the likes of Eddie James, Joe Roberts and with Macs Page coming through, we have a lot of talent in that midfield pool for the coming years.”

Johnny Williams said: “I am delighted to have signed a new contract. It has been a frustrating season in terms of results, but I am excited by the potential of the squad we are putting together.

“A lot of young boys have put their hands up and we showed during the final few games of the season the kind of rugby we can produce.

“Pre-season will be around before we know it and I’m looking forward to getting stuck in, ready for a big start to next season.”

Johnny is the latest player to recommit to the Scarlets ahead of the 2024-25 campaign, following Tonga lock Sam Lousi, Wales internationals Tom Rogers and Harri O’Connor and back-rowers Dan Davis and Ben Williams.

Scarlets have also strengthened their squad with the addition of hooker Marnus van der Merwe (Toyota Cheetahs), prop Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs), full-back Ellis Mee (Nottingham), lock Max Douglas (Toyota Canon Eagles), Wales international prop Henry Thomas (Castres Olympique) and back-three player Blair Murray (Canterbury).

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Osasuna welcomes Haverfordwest County A.F.C.

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THE PRESIDENT of Haverfordwest County AFC, Rob Edwards, visited the Navarrese club to learn more about the work the Club is doing on and off the field

Pamplona (Wednesday, June 19, 2024) – Club Atlético Osasuna welcomed Haverfordwest County A.F.C. president Rob Edwards this morning. During his visit, the president of the Cymru Premier team, the top tier of Welsh football, met with Rojillo president Luis Sabalza to talk about the work Osasuna is doing on and off the field. Later, he visited the Tajonar Sports Complex to learn more about the job done at the academy level. Today’s meeting was the Union of European Clubs Board members’ first meeting.

For the president of the Navarrese club, this type of encounter is essential as it showcases the growth Osasuna is having at a global level. “I think it is crucial because, recently, it seemed as if Osasuna only had relevance in our region and our community. However, Osasuna has gained worldwide notoriety through the Spanish Supercup and the Conference League. It has brought us a ton of joy that many clubs and executives want to come to know Osasuna and the work we do on and off the field and with our academy because it shows that we are not only doing good; we are doing great. Our goal is to make Osasuna known worldwide,” Sabalza said.

Haverfordwest County A.F.C. sees Osasuna as a model club for growth. “We are a small club, and we are looking to grow on and off the pitch, as well as our infrastructure, fan engagement, and community reach. It is always fascinating how bigger clubs can fix these problems… The objectives and solutions are very similar despite the size of the club compared to ours. Many clubs outside the elite European group will have the same challenges. It is great to understand how they overcome them and how they continue to grow and develop,” Edwards mentioned.

It is not only Osasuna’s front office work that caught the attention of the Haverfordwest County A.F.C. chairman but also the club’s work at the academy level. Edwards visited the Tajonar Sports Complex to learn more about the academy. While in Tajonar, he met with Tajonar director Ángel Alcalde and Tajonar technical director Patxi Puñal, who presented him with ‘Método Tajonar,’ the academy’s work method.

“[Osasuna and Haverfordwest County] share the same ethos of bringing through young players to the first team and giving young players a pathway into a career in football. I think the mindset of a club like Osasuna and what we are trying to achieve in Wales at our club is very similar. It’s been really interesting to come and understand how you work with the local community and how you engage to fill up the stadium and create such an amazing atmosphere,” Edwards highlighted.

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Haverfordwest County officials to visit Atlético Osasuna for strategic discussions

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NEXT week, Haverfordwest County A.F.C. chairman Robb Edwards and COO Beccy Nuttall will travel to Spain to visit Club Atlético Osasuna. During their visit, they will engage in high-level discussions with Osasuna’s upper management, focusing on community and fan engagement strategies.

In April, both Haverfordwest County A.F.C. and Club Atlético Osasuna were appointed to the Executive Board of the Union of European Clubs (UEC), an international organisation established in April 2023. The UEC was founded to provide a voice to the 92% of professional football clubs that often go unheard. The Union aims to democratise decision-making processes in European football, ensuring that each club has a vote and that the destiny of the sport is not determined solely by the wealthiest clubs on the continent.

“We look forward to this meeting with Osasuna and hope our collaboration with other clubs continues to grow,” said Edwards. The upcoming visit underscores the commitment of both clubs to fostering stronger ties and working collaboratively to shape the future of European football.

The discussions will likely cover a range of topics, from enhancing fan experiences to developing community outreach programmes, reflecting the shared values and objectives of both clubs within the UEC framework.

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