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2021: Another odd year but sport makes welcome return

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2021 has been another odd year for sport. It started with uncertainty over when competitive sport would resume and has ended with action in full swing.

JD Cymru Premier Football was played before the return of cricket while football and rugby made a welcome return later this year.

With all football suspended bar the JD Cymru Premier, Haverfordwest County carried the flag for the county.

Despite a good season for the Bluebirds there was to be no European football for them as manager Wayne Jones did not have the required licences to lead his team in Europe.

There was though a memorable occasion for long serving captain Sean Pemberton who hung up his boots after his 259th game for the club in May.

Manager Wayne Jones resigned at the beginning of December and Pemberton was given the task of taking over, with former Wales international Jazz Richards by his side.

CRICKET IS BACK

Cricket returned at the beginning of May, well over 600 days since the last game of league cricket was played.

It was a welcome return for all concerned with many taking time to adjust to new rules such as having to sanitise the ball every couple of overs.

LEAGUE AND CUP WINNERS

The Division 1 title race took many twists and turns with Lawrenny pushing Neyland all the way.

In August, Lawrenny beat Neyland to go to the top of the table. The top two then met again in Neyland on the final day of the season but it was Neyland who came out on top to secure the Division 1 title.

Neyland led the way in cup competitions as they reached the semi-finals of the Village Cup and the quarter finals of the Welsh Cup.

Fishguard secured the Division 5 title on their return to league cricket while Llangwm and Pembroke Dock were promoted to Division 1.

Division 4 was won by Llanrhian seconds while their first team were crowned winners of Division 3.

Neyland seconds secured the Alec Colley Cup with a win over Cresselly in the final in August.

Llanrhian won the Alan Brown Cup in July as they beat Stackpole in the final which was played in Whitland.

Lawrenny did not miss out on silverware this year as they wrestled the Duggie Morris Cup from Neyland’s grasp, having beaten them in the quarter finals, by beating Carew in the final.

Narberth were also celebrating after beating Landsker Nomads in the final of the Ken Morris Cup.

In the ladies game, Cresselly were crowned league winners for the first time since 1999 and that made it a double-winning season after also securing the Clive Huxley Cup just a week earlier after they beat Whitland in the final.

HARRISON BOWL FIREWORKS

The Harrison Allen Bowl final took place at the end of August between Carew and Neyland.

Carew were bowled out for 109 in their first innings but what happened next was something special.

Neyland’s Patrick Bellerby hit a stunning 134 not out to guide his side to 241-2, the highest ever total in a bowl final.

It gave them a resounding 132-run lead and all but secured the Bowl for Sean Hannon’s men.

Carew gave it their all and at least made Neyland bat again but the damage had already been done and Neyland knocked off the 23 runs needed to win the Harrison Allen Bowl for a tenth time.

Bellerby’s knock included fifteen fours and nine sixes and came off just 69 balls with a strike rate of 194.20 and made him a worthy recipient of the man of the match award.

In September there was a charity cricket match in Pembroke Dock which raised £7000 for charity.

The money was split between mental health charities and Callum Jones who is recovering from serious injuries.

RUGBY AND FOOTBALL RETURN

It was the return of rugby and football that took centre stage in September. Rugby returned with the new WRU Cup competitions, designed to keep teams local in a bid to prevent the spread of covid-19.

Following the WRU Cups, the league seasons also recommenced in November and so far in the Championship, Narberth have secured four wins from their opening five games.

Whitland and Crymych have both picked up wins in League 1 West while Pembroke are yet to get off the mark.

In League 2 West, Fishguard and Milford are also off the mark while Tenby are also looking for their first win.

Cardigan are the leaders of League 3 West A with St Clears, Lampeter and Haverfordwest completing the top four.

In the football, Goodwick United are the leaders in Division 1 having won ten and drawn one of their 11 games so far.

Clarbeston Road sit second while Hakin are third having played three games less than the two teams above them.

Kilgetty are going well in Division 2 while Camrose are leading the way in Division 3.

It has been an up and down year for sport and with the break coming over the festive period it is time to stay safe and enjoy Christmas.

See you all in 2022.

Sport

Milford hit five again to see off Swifts

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MILFORD United scored five goals for the third game running as they beat Monkton Swifts seconds 5-1 in Division 2 at Marble Hall on Saturday (Jan 22).

Milford went into the game full of confidence after two good home performances which resulted in two wins and 10 goals scored.

Monkton would have also come into the game with high expectations, having won the reverse fixture 5-3.

It was Milford who started the liveliest, causing lots of problems for the Monkton back four. It didn’t take Milford too long for their pace, power and high pressing to be rewarded with the opening goal on 6 minutes.

The ball was won by United in midfield and Lewys Tee picked up the ball in space. A great run by Liam Parr was picked out, who controlled the ball and outpaced the defence. Finishing it superbly from 18 yards into the top corner.

The Monkton team struggled all game to deal with United’s pace and movement and by the end of 90 minutes they had picked up 4 bookings trying to contain United’s attack.

Jordan Boswell in goal for Monkton was a busy man and had to pull off a number of good saves throughout the game.

It didn’t take United too long to get their second, which gave them a strong grip on the game. A good ball down the flank, which Liam Parks nodded down, then out muscled a couple of Monkton defenders, before crossing from the by-line for Ben Lewis. But he was quickly closed down and his shot was blocked, when a goal looked certain. But Tee was on hand to pick up the rebound, to knock the ball over the line, despite the best efforts of the Monkton defence.

This wasn’t United in top gear, but they did go in at half time with a comfortable lead. Monkton made a substitution during the break and came out the second half with much more resolve.

There was now a definite ebb and flow to the game, with Monkton now using the most of their 4-3-3 formation. But United spurned a couple of great chances to put the game out of sight with a third.

It was Monkton, who got the next goal, to really open up the game. A Monkton cross came in from the left and could only be half cleared by United’s defence. Which landed invitingly for Monkton’s Jay Kilby, who volleyed it perfectly passed Ferdy Stevenson.

At this stage, the game could have gone either way, despite United’s overall dominance. United’s manager Steve Parks, was fortunate to have the benefit of a strong bench and used them in a change of system in a 3 man substitution. It had an immediate effect and United once again gained control.

A dangerous run by Liam Parks had to be halted illegally and from the resulting free kick, Morgan Picton hit a peach of a shot into the top right corner from 30 yards. Only to be thwarted by a superb save from Boswell.

But the pressure was mounting and the chances becoming more frequent. Liam Parks got the all important 3rd goal after a good interplay with Liam Davies, which left Parks in space who calmly chipped the ball over the on rushing keeper.

With the game now running away from Monkton, it was a good break down the right from Parks, who in turn set up Davies to score from 10 yards. Even before United’s fifth goal had hit the net, it’s scorer Jake Barrett was already smiling. A good ball from Davies was sweetly met by Barrett, 20 yards out, who knew it was destined to beat the keeper.

It wasn’t United at their best, but 3 home wins on the bounce and 15 goals suggest a cause for optimism at Marble Hall.

On Saturday, January 29, Milford United, who now sit sixth in Division 2, travel to Broad Haven while Monkton Swifts seconds host Milford Athletic.

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Goodwick and Bridge ends in goalless draw

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GOODWICK United and Merlins Bridge fought out a goalless draw in a highly contested game at Phoenix Park last Saturday (Jan 22).

The two sides had met earlier in the season at the Racecourse with Goodwick winning that game 7-0.

It was a much closer game this time around though but neither side was able to do enough to pick up the three points.

Chances were few and far between, but one of the best chances of the afternoon fell to Merlins Bridge midfielder Lee Hudgell, whose effort hit the underside of the crossbar with many in attendance feeling that the ball had bounced over the line. It wasn’t given and both teams had to settle for a point each.

On Saturday, January 29, Goodwick travel to Carew while Merlins Bridge travel to Narberth.

Goodwick United: Kyle Marsh, Stefan Hayes, Sion O’Sullivan, Jordan Thomas, Scott Delaney, Luke Hayward, Rhys Dalling, Kieran O’Brien, Nathan Greene, Jordan Griffiths, Steven Dockerty. Subs: Llyr Tobin, Rob Morgans, Daniel James.

Merlins Bridge: James Dickson, Chris Ormond, Andrew John, Richard Hughes, Henry Thomas, Dai Davies, Jordan Williams, Lee Hudgell, Matthew D’Ivry, Adam Hawkins, Will Haworth. Subs: Leon Davies, Josh Silk, Ben Davies.

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Sport

Pembrokeshire Junior Netball league results

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THE results from the latest round of the Pembrokeshire Junior Netball League, played on Saturday (Jan 22) can be seen below.

In the Under 12s division, Fishguard B and Fishguard A both picked up wins as did Pembroke firsts.

Pembroke were also winners in the under 14s league while Chaos Purple were victorious in the under 16s league.

The results and players’ player from each game are as follows:

Under 12’s:

Sapphires White 12 v 15 Fishguard B
Players player:
Sapphires: Seren Davies
Fishguard: Megan Nicholas

Pembroke (2) 0 v 24 Fishguard A
Players player:
Pembroke: Mollie Smith
Fishguard: Anna Waldon-Smith

Pembroke (1) 19 v 0 Chaos Lightning
Players player:
Pembroke: Freya Cook
Chaos: Lily Jo Thomas

Under 14’s:

Sapphires White 0 v 22 Pembroke
Players player:
Sapphires: Kate Joseph
Pembroke: Ava Midgley

Under 16’s:

Chaos Purple 25 v 16 St David’s
Players player:
Chaos: Katie David
St David’s: Robyn Lewis

Fishguard B Under 12s
Sapphires White Under 12s
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