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Pembrokeshire Rugby Previews 06-01-24

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The forecast looks promising and teams up and down the county will be hoping the rain stays away and we start the year with a full complement of fixtures. Will the Otters continue their unbeaten season? Can Haverfordwest make a push for promotion from division three? Just some of the interesting stories developing around the county.

WRU Championship West – Dunvant vs Narberth

The Otters are top of the Championship West and have had a faultless season so far, they travel to Dunvant in search of another bonus point win. Narberth’s ability to rotate the starting 15 and get the same convincing results has been most impressive and demonstrates how strong the squad is. Their opponents this weekend sit in fourth having won eight of their thirteen games played. A tough test for the Otters on the road, however they’ve overcome every test so far this season with flying colours, they will hope this continues.

Division 2 West – Tycroes vs Tenby United

Tycroes have struggled so far this season and sit second from bottom in the second division, while Tenby have impressed winning 7 out of 8 games. The Seasiders have games in hand over the three teams who sit above them in the table and will be aiming to challenge for the title. Games like this are where Tenby need to win and secure a bonus point too.

Fishguard vs St Clears

Fishguard sit mid-table in the second division and this weekend they host table toppers St Clears. However the table is slightly distorted as Fishguard have only lost one game more than St Clears this season yet find themselves a long way behind their points tally. St Clears have played four games more than Fishguard and this fixture will be more evenly matched than the table suggests. While Fishguard are outsiders for promotion they are a good outfit and enough to cause problems for anyone in this league. A tricky one for the league leaders.

Milford United vs Loughor

With just three wins so far this season the Marriners sit third from bottom and in an uncomfortable league position. Loughor are the visitors to the Obs this weekend, they sit third in the table and have impressed since September. The hosts will be keen to start the new year with a positive result and to begin a run of form that will steer them clear of the drop zone.

Division 3 West – Haverfordwest vs Llanybydder

The Blues host Llanybydder who sit rock bottom of the division on minus two points after a points deduction and have yet to win a game. The hosts will see a bonus point win on the cards here and may use this opportunity to rotate the starting 15 or to try some new things. A win would close the gap on the Cardigan who sit top as the hosts catch up on their games in hand.

St Davids vs Aberaeron

The Saints are in excellent form as they have four wins on the bounce, scoring over 50 points in two of those four games. No longer is St Davids a fixture teams may look forward to, as they are now a real threat to anyone in this division. Aberaeron sit second and are a very strong outfit, Saints however will be full of confidence. Haverfordwest will be hoping for a favour off Saints here as they chase down Cardigan and Aberaeron in their promotion push. 

Sport

MCE Team Wales prepares for International Nations Classique in France

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THE MCE Team Wales Classic MX, comprising 27 seasoned motocross riders, is gearing up to compete in the prestigious International Nations Classique race in Ahun, France. The event, scheduled for 16-18 August, will see Team Wales pitted against 13 other international teams, including strong contenders from the USA, Cuba, France, and Switzerland.

The team recently held a successful practice session at the meticulously prepared Meidrim track, thanks to the efforts of Stephen Holmes, Glen Mottram, and their dedicated team. Riders showcased their skills on classic bikes dating from 1956 to 1999, setting the stage for what promises to be an exciting competition.

Adding to the day’s enjoyment, attendees were treated to a superb buffet lunch prepared and served by The Wonderful Bar Hire Company. The 15-piece band ‘Sound Authority’ provided a lively musical backdrop, enhancing the festive atmosphere.

A highlight of the day was the presentation of the team kit by lead sponsor Mark Davies of Mitsui Components Europe. The contributions of all 21 sponsors were duly acknowledged, reflecting the community’s robust support for the team. A special thanks was extended to Peter Anderson, an honorary team member, whose generous donation allowed all riders to enjoy a complimentary drink from the bar.

Team Wales Manager Sean Smith expressed heartfelt gratitude for the hard work and support of key individuals, including Sharon Lewis, David Redfern, Delyth Smith, Brogan, Kolby, Star, Stephen Holmes, Gary Jones, Jane Hill, and photographer Lesley Clarke. The event’s success was also attributed to the tireless support from riders’ families and an army of volunteers.

Smith reflected on the day’s success, stating, “It was just the happiest day with the nicest people,” underscoring the strong sense of community and enthusiasm that propels Team Wales forward as they prepare for the international stage.

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Pembroke County Cricket Club Junior Leagues: Semi-finals confirmed

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THE EXCITEMENT in the Pembroke County Cricket Club Junior Leagues is palpable as the semi-finals for the Under 11’s category have been confirmed after a whirlwind of last-minute matches. The semi-finals will take place on 22nd July, with the eagerly anticipated final set for 7th August at Hook.

In a thrilling draw, the fixtures are as follows: Cresselly Under 11’s (Doves) will face off against Cresselly Under 10’s (Maroons), while St Ishmaels will go head-to-head with Lawrenny. The first-named teams will enjoy home advantage in these crucial matches.

Under 11’s Division:

The recent matches have been a showcase of young talent and competitive spirit. Laugharne faced Lawrenny in a gripping encounter, with Laugharne posting 224 runs before being all out. Lawrenny responded with a strong performance, reaching 227 for 4, thanks to standout contributions from Koby Lewis and Abby Stanley. Lewis scored 13 runs and took 1 wicket for 4 runs, while Stanley added 7 runs and claimed 2 wickets for 10 runs.

Another high-scoring game saw Whitland take on Lamphey. Despite Whitland’s 223 runs, Lamphey emerged victorious with a total of 283 for 7. Lamphey’s A Bendall shone brightly, scoring 25 runs and taking 5 wickets for just 2 runs, supported by strong performances from G Morris and L Midgley.

Hook continued their impressive form with a win over Cresselly Development, scoring 277 for 4 against their opponents’ 256 for 8. Dougie Goronwy and Tom Evans each scored 8 runs, while Oliver Brock contributed significantly with 2 wickets for 5 runs.

In a match against St Ishmaels, Hook fell short despite a valiant effort, scoring 232 for 12 in response to St Ishmaels’ 265 for 7. Maddox Bradshaw’s 12 runs and 4 wickets for 1 run were crucial for St Ishmaels, alongside solid performances from George Devonald and Seb Vickers.

The final Under 11’s match saw a dominant Cresselly side amass 424 runs for 3 wickets against Pembroke’s 151 for 15, cementing their position as a formidable force in the league.

Under 13’s Division:

Llechryd proved too strong for Whitland, with a decisive victory. Llechryd posted 183 for 5 and then bowled out Whitland for a mere 55. A James and F Cartwright were the stars for Llechryd, both contributing significantly with bat and ball.

In another clash, Llanrhian took on Haverfordwest, but despite a solid effort from Llanrhian, they were unable to surpass Haverfordwest’s total of 130 for 6. B Baker’s 25 runs were pivotal for Haverfordwest, while J Phillips gave a commendable all-round performance for Llanrhian.

St Ishmaels triumphed over Neyland in a closely contested match. Luca Orton’s 28 runs and Seb Vickers’ 2 wickets for 20 runs led St Ishmaels to a victory, narrowly defending their total of 100 for 5 against Neyland’s 94 for 4.

Under 15’s Division:

Kilgetty Under 14’s showcased their skills with a comprehensive win over Haverfordwest Under 14’s. Jack Cole’s 35 runs and Taylor Lewis’s 3 wickets for 10 runs were instrumental in Kilgetty’s total of 122 for 6, which proved too much for Haverfordwest, who managed only 60 for 9 in response.

However, in a match against Kilgetty, St Ishmaels’ game was abandoned in the 18th over with the result yet to be confirmed. Prior to the abandonment, M Britton and C Welch had led St Ishmaels to 124 for 3, while L Hall and E Gottwaltz made notable contributions for Kilgetty.

The cut-off dates for the Under 13’s and Under 15’s leagues are 26th July and 31st July, respectively. For more details and league standings, enthusiasts can visit the Pembroke County Cricket Club’s play-cricket website.

As the junior cricket season progresses, anticipation builds for the upcoming matches and the final showdown at Hook. Stay tuned for more updates and results.

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Wales rugby star at centre of controversy over damaged home incident

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A WOMAN whose home was damaged by a group of men, including Wales rugby player Cory Hill, has revealed the “devastating” impact the incident had on her family. Speaking to BBC Wales, “Sara” (not her real name) expressed her shock and disgust when head coach Warren Gatland recently named Hill as Wales captain.

Sara described the harrowing experience of the incident in May 2021, when a group of men, including Hill, mistakenly damaged her home. She recounted hearing a “thunderous banging sound” at her front door, which left her daughter terrified and asking, “Mammy, are people trying to get us?” Sara feared for their lives, believing someone was trying to break in with a sledgehammer.

The incident was resolved through a “community resolution” by South Wales Police, and Hill’s representative later apologised, stating the group had gone to the wrong property. However, the trauma from that night continues to affect Sara and her family, with her eldest daughter still receiving therapy.

In May 2023, Sara met Gatland and Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) director Nigel Walker at the Senedd to share her story. She described Gatland’s reaction as one of shock and sympathy, and she left the meeting with the impression that Hill would not return to the national squad. However, Hill was later included in the Wales squad for the Australian tour and was even named captain for a match against the Queensland Reds.

The decision to appoint Hill as captain sparked outrage, leading Gatland to apologise and Hill to withdraw from the match for “personal reasons”. Gatland admitted he made a mistake, stating, “I probably didn’t appreciate there was going to be some negativity about making that call.”

Sara felt betrayed by the decision, saying it “sullied” the captaincy role and left her “beyond disappointed”. She questioned why the WRU had not contacted her before naming Hill as captain, forcing her to relive her trauma.

Member of the Senedd Heledd Fychan, who arranged the meeting between Sara, Gatland, and Walker, criticised the WRU for its lack of communication. She expressed hope that the WRU would reflect on the situation and make better decisions in the future.

Nigel Walker acknowledged the deep trauma Sara had suffered and admitted that the WRU had made a mistake in naming Hill as captain. He apologised for the added trauma caused by the decision and assured that the WRU is striving to improve its decision-making processes.

Walker also offered support to Sara, including mediation, and expressed regret if she was left with the impression that Hill would not be considered for future selection. He emphasised the WRU’s commitment to learning from this incident to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

Hill, who has since withdrawn from the team, expressed his regret over the incident, acknowledging that he made a mistake and apologising for his actions. Despite the controversy, he remains hopeful for the future and is focused on rebuilding his career.

The WRU’s handling of this incident highlights the need for greater sensitivity and awareness in addressing the personal impacts of players’ actions off the field. The organisation has vowed to learn from this experience and ensure that such mistakes are not repeated.

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