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Touray Sisay strikes as Bluebirds beat high-flying Newtown

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A GOAL from Alhagi Touray Sisay gave Haverfordwest County a hard-fought win over Newtown in a back-and-forth JD Cymru Premier encounter at the Ogi Bridge Meadow on Saturday (Oct 30).

The striker marked his first start since returning to the side following illness with a composed finish from close range.

The Bluebirds defended manfully throughout the game as the Robins pushed hard for an equaliser which, on another day, they could have found after spurning numerous opportunities.

Wayne Jones’ side had chances to extend their lead, but Touray Sisay’s first-half strike was ultimately enough to earn them all three points.

Captain Dylan Rees, who was named Honey Home man-of-the-match for his impressive display, nearly gave County the lead after five minutes when his poked effort at the far post was saved by Dave Jones.

The visitors went close a few minutes later when James Davies fired narrowly wide on the angle. Then, 10 minutes later, he headed over the bar from close range.

The Bluebirds took the lead when Alaric Jones’ pinpoint pass picked out Touray Sisay, who controlled the ball well before sliding it underneath Jones for his fourth league goal of the season.

Chris Hughes’ nearly equalised a few minutes later when a shot from the edge of the area was blocked by the County defence, before Davies’ effort on the rebound came back off the right post.

There was another opportunity for the Robins before half-time, with Kieran Mills-Evans heading narrowly wide from a corner.

Elliot Scotcher had a great opportunity to double the Bluebirds’ advantage in first-half stoppage time, but a nasty bobble just before he struck the ball meant his effort was high and wide.

Wojciech Gajda – who had an excellent afternoon between the sticks for County – was alert to deny Davies from close range early in the second-half. The Bluebirds stopper was involved once again when he got down well to push Aaron Williams’ free-kick away to safety.

With just three minutes remaining, Kieran Lewis nearly added a second, but his powerful shot from the edge of the area was pushed over the bar by Jones.

It mattered little, however, as the Bluebirds held on to pick up a crucial victory over a Robins side who had won four of their previous five matches in the JD Cymru Premier.

The result sees County return to ninth place in the standings, after temporarily slipping down to 10th following Connah’s Quay Nomads’ 4-0 win over Cefn Druids on Friday evening.

The Bluebirds are next in action on Saturday, November 6, when they travel to Oswestry to face current JD Cymru Premier leaders The New Saints at Park Hall. Kick-off is 14:30.

Sport

Johnston Reserves win nine goal thriller

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Division 5 promotion chasers Johnston 2nds visited bottom of the table Cosheston 2nds in what should have been a routine victory for the visiting team.

On a pitch that looked like it had cattle grazing just a few hours previously, both teams started in an attacking fashion with the young Johnston forward line causing no end of trouble for the experienced Cosh defence.

In a game that could have gone either way, Cosh took an early lead through Rhys Griffiths, before a succession of chances were missed for both teams.

Johnston were playing well and their equaliser came in the 25th minute after good play by Alfie Crawford, who was using his pace to create havoc across the front line. Johnston took the lead a short time later through Crawford, after great work by the experienced Ashley Bevans and went further ahead a few moments later.

3-1 at half time in a highly entertaining game.

The second half started as the first half had finished, with both teams going for an all out attack mentality, and Cosheston got themselves back into the match in the 52nd minute and their constant attacking, combined with a little uncertainty in the Johnston defence, saw them equalise in the 53rd minute.

At this stage, the scoreline was 3-3 but could easily have been 6-6 and that was added to even further just a minute later, when Johnston retook the lead through Pete Donnelly!

Some game at The Playing Fields!!

Johnston made a tactical change with a view of firming up their defence with Squashie coming on for Liam Brown, and he made a positive impact ensuring the defence was communicating more, making it more difficult for the Cosheston strikers.

The visiting team scored two late goals to finish as 6-3 winners, but the game was exceptionally entertaining and on another day Cosheston would easily have come out on top.

Cosheston have had a tough season in many ways, but it was lovely to see the club stick together, and with some players coming back from injury hopefully they can build on this year and have a better season next.

Johnston continue to be a threat to all teams and now hope to push on and gain promotion.

Huge credit to both clubs for playing in a respectful manner throughout and referee Marty Jones praised both clubs in his post match Facebook post.

A credit to Pembs Div 5, good luck to Johnston in their promotion push.

Cosheston 3-6 Johnston.

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Scarlets great Jonathan Davies awarded testimonial year

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IT has been confirmed that Scarlets, Wales and British & Irish Lions centre Jonathan Davies has been awarded a testimonial year.

‘Foxy’, as he is popularly known, has played 209 games in a Scarlets jersey over 16 seasons, making his debut for the club against Northampton Saints as an eighteen-year-old back in 2006.

From Bancyfelin in Carmarthenshire, Jonathan played his junior club rugby for St Clears and Whitland before coming through the ranks of the Scarlets Academy and going on to become one of the leading centres in world rugby.

He twice toured with the Lions – to Australia (2013) and New Zealand (2017), where he was named player of the series in the epic Test battle against the All Blacks. He has also played 96 Tests for Wales, featuring in two Grand Slam-winning sides, a further two championship wins, and two Rugby World Cups in New Zealand (2011) and Japan (2019). During his time playing for Wales, Jonathan also had the honour of captaining the national side on four occasions.

After a couple of years in France with Clermont Auvergne, he returned to his home club ahead of the 2016-17 campaign and was an integral member of the Scarlets side that lifted the Guinness PRO12 title in exhilarating fashion in Dublin that season.

He continues to be an influential figure and role model in the Scarlets squad at the age of 36.

“Never could I have imagined when I was a kid running out onto the field at Stradey Park after the final whistle, trying to get as many player autographs as I could, that I would be lucky enough to become a player myself and play for the Scarlets, let alone more than 200 times,” he said.

“I have made memories that I will never forget whilst wearing the famous Scarlets shirt. From beating London Irish at the Madjeski in Europe, where travelling support was immense, to my favourite moment, winning the league in 2016-17 alongside team-mates who were also friends.

“I am extremely grateful to the Scarlets for all their support over the years and for awarding me this testimonial year.”

The testimonial year runs from June 2024 to May 2025 and has events planned for Llanelli, Cardiff, London and Dubai. It will also be supporting Jonathan’s chosen charity LATCH, who provide support for children and their families who are being treated by the Oncology Unit at the Children’s Hospital of Wales.

Tim Griffiths, the chair of Jonathan’s testimonial committee, said: “I am proud and honoured to be chair of Jon’s testimonial committee. Jon has been a champion of our national game; one of the modern-day greats of Welsh rugby, who has achieved so much in the jersey of the Scarlets, Wales and the Lions.

“We are looking forward to celebrating all his achievements during an exciting testimonial calendar, while also raising money for the fantastic work of his chosen charity LATCH.”

Scarlets Executive Chairman Simon Muderack said: “We wish Jon all the best for his testimonial year. He is a player who has given much to the game, a proud West Walian who became one of the finest centres in world rugby.”

Welsh Rugby Union CEO Abi Tierney added: “Jonathan Davies has been one of Welsh rugby’s greatest servants. At the peak of his powers he was one of the best centres in the world game over a sustained period of time and he is still delighting fans at Parc y Scarlets on a regular basis.

“Certainly, during that successful Lions tour of Australia in 2013, everyone knew he was one of the first names on the team sheet for the Lions coaches and Warren Gatland has regularly, since, named him as one of the best players he has ever coached.

“Jonathan is a credit to his origins, to his family and to the schools and coaches of his youth, always paying them tribute and often back at the clubs and institutions who supported him as a youngster.

“He is a hugely impressive individual, humble about his achievements as one of the finest professional rugby players Wales has produced and he deserves all the accolades and credit that will follow him in his testimonial year with his beloved Scarlets.”

The JD13 first event, a dinner in the Quinnell Lounge at Parc y Scarlets, will also support the Phil Bennett Foundation and take place in June. Full information on that event will follow.

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Sport

Dominant Goodwick crowned Champions

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Another convincing win for Goodwick United this season, this time over Milford United saw them confirmed as first division champions.

The outstanding Goodwick have dominated the first division all season and the league has been over as a contest since around Christmas time. Having not lost a league game and only failed to win two nobody’s come close to challenging them.

We asked the question earlier in the season is this one of the best teams if not the best Pembrokeshire has seen? The West Wales Cup and the treble may have settled this debate however they were unlucky to lose in the semi finals of that competition. The senior cup is still to play for and Goodwick will be strong favourites for this.

Undoubtedly an outstanding team and congratulations to everyone involved from the management to the ground staff and everyone in between.

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