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Youth defeated in friendly



Haverfordwest County Youth XI 1

Swansea City XI 5

THIS end-of-season fixture, played in bright sunshine but a stiff breeze, was keenly but fairly contested and gave real pleasure to a large crowd on Saturday (May 12).

An accomplished Swans’ side totally deserved their win, but were pushed to the end by a determined and resilient Blues outfit.

The young Swans’ obvious class showed from the start. Their touch was good and they looked very well drilled.

The Blues dug in very well in defence and were always looking to break, but made little headway in the first half hour. Swans’ striker Brad Gibbons set up the first real chance to either side on the 17th minute when his shot rasped against the bar.

He then slipped in a brace of goals in the 22nd and 25th minutes after latching on to chances and scoring from close range, with keeper Jack Ackerman having no chance with either. Ackerman in fact had a good game, but surprising amount of his workload involved fielding a few back passes forced under pressure and he did this coolly and well.

From the half-hour mark onwards the Blues started to exert a little pressure of their own. Their first corner came in the 36th minute, but Fraser Findlay’s well-flighted in-swinger went just an inch or two over the angle of bar and post.

A neat flick-on by Jack Wilson saw Colin Fawcett caught just offside, and another fine Fawcett – Wilson link saw Jake Merry’s final shot being saved at the foot of the post.

Early in the second half, Fawcett, who was wearing 9 but was lying back in the centre of midfield and breaking from there, went on a 50-yard run from deep in his own half.

But in the next ten minutes the Swans were awarded two penalties, the first for what looked a rather innocuous challenge, with the second looking altogether harder. The first was hammered in by Swans’ keeper Scott Reid, the second by Will Rickard.

The Blues were now pressing really hard to get back into the game. The threat was coming often, but not always, down the right, with Fawcett linking well with sub right winger Dany Raicu.

In the 70th minute, a sweeping move instigated by these two ended with Ewan Payne shooting against the post. Two minutes later a similar move set up Jack Wilson who cracked in the consolation goal.

A neat Swans move sent in Evan Jones for their fifth but it was the Bluebirds (helped admittedly by several substitutions) who seemed to finish the stronger, and who were able to keep pushing their opponents to the final whistle.

County: Jack Ackermann; Jimmy Wilkes, Fraser Findlay, Alaric Jones, Morgan Richards, Matty Delaney, Jack Wilson, Jake Merry, Ben Fawcett, Joe Griffiths, Ewan Payne. Subs: Kieran Allen, Joe Pritchard, Dany Raicu.

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Borderers win top two battle



By Jonathan Twigg

AS top of the table clashes go the GD Harries sponsored Whitland’s 17-6 victory to step over Hendy and top of Division 2 West, at Parc Llwn Ty Gwyn on Saturday (October 14) was one where both sides were unable to execute their skills to dominate a fixture and the reverse game at the end of January may well decide where the Division 2 title rests come the end of the season.

Whitland scored the only try of the game as winger Sean Coles finished off a move where he was put into space by Johnnie Thomas after the Whitland back line capitalised on second half possession to take the game away from the visitors.

Full back Scott Newton, outside half Nico Setaro alongside Thomas triangulated superbly to put Coles and fellow winger Liam Price into space when they could and allow 18 year old debutant, Scarlets Academy and Welsh international Scott Lloyd opportunities to show his talent, nurtured from its infancy through the junior borderers set up.

Lloyd is a player who exudes confidence, not only in his undoubted ability but also in the philosophy that coaches Gareth Bennett and Dan Mason have instilled.

He has vision, pace and swift hands which bodes well for the future and he will be a welcome addition to the ‘green machine’ if his commitments elsewhere allow.  He was never isolated as a ball carrier where the experienced home pack of forwards ensuring his efforts secured the ball for other phases of play to materialise.

Centre Frame sponsored Hendy came onto the park with intent from the first kick off and were a side which looked well coached and drilled, which was unsurprising considering Aaron Shingler [Scarlets], Stephen Shingler [Blues] and Dorian Jenkins are assisting Chris Morgan.

Their defence line, based from full back Robbie Davies who used the outside post as his starting line, looked comfortable all afternoon, not only with his tacking but hands in fielding the hosts kicks and when running directly to gain yards.

Visiting kicker Josh Batcup opened the scoring when the Whitland forwards were penalised for killing the ball with a penalty from in front of the posts after fifteen minutes which was a just reward for his sides efforts.

Second row Ashley Banfield secured line out ball and the back row of Richard Kinnear, Matthew Wotherspoon and number 8 Gareth Thomas were on top in the lose play for Hendy although Batcup had missed a penalty in the third minute from the 10m line.

Hard working Whitland forwards: Skipper Marc Jones & Number 8 Jack Mason

Both sides looked to utilise a driving maul and handling errors occurred both in close contact and when the ball was given out to the back division as the competitiveness of a top of the table clash came to the fore.

Referee Jason Summers again allowed the players the opportunity to make the most of possession as neither captains, Marc Jones [Whitland] or Chris Bowen [Hendy] had sustained success when hitting their targets in line outs.

Perhaps more to do with the support the jumpers received in the line, both hookers were also at the forefront of an abrasive scrum set piece which secured an equalising penalty for outside half Nico Setaro after 20 minutes.

Until this point Hendy had the upper hand at the scrum and having established a base from which to work the ‘green machine’ saw number 8 Jack Mason alongside Jones mobilise the more experienced pack to then win the battle on the ground. Setaro, a gifted playmaker is also a decision maker he nudged his side forward to maintain both momentum and motivation.

The first half lacked periods of true quality and neither side managed to work their game plans to exploit opportunities, as both played close to the fringes and the offside line, giving little in terms of time or space.

Visiting flanker Mark Wotherspoon received a yellow card four minutes into the second half for a deliberate knock on after Lloyd and flanker Ben Kirk had combined in midfield, for Setaro put his side ahead 6-3.

Whitland sensed their ascendency with Setaro and Lloyd making half breaks to gain yardage allowing Thomas to put Coles in space with ground to run at in front of him, followed by another move where Mason, Newton and Price combined to make a telling insertion of over 40m.

From the resultant restart Mason set up second phase ball for scrum half Adam Davies to release the back line once more where some smooth handling allowed centre Thomas to draw the last defender and Coles made no mistake wide out for Whitland to lead 11-3.

Whitland had capitalised on their opponent’s reduction in numbers to good effect and when their own flanker Kirk was yellow carded after 58 minutes for entering a ruck from the side, Batcup reduced the deficit to 11-6.

Setaro dictated a slower pace to the game with Kirk off the field. Mason, Jones and the vastly experienced second rows Dai Ebsworth and Raff Williams were content to pick up and drive, which meant Hendy were starved of possession.

Setaro missed a straight forward kick when they were returned to a full playing compliment before striking another attempt cleanly through the posts after 65 minutes to extend the lead to 14-6.

Like opposite number Davies, Newton was strong as the last line of defence all afternoon for Whitland, a key fielder of the ball from clearance kicks and set pieces and he was also influential at key times also to allow the extra player in midfield to create the opportunities for Price and Coles.

Hendy centre Kieran Ace also worked space for Dyfan Williams to have a run at the Whitland try line as hi side attempted to secure a footing in the game.

Price was equal to that challenge before Lloyd took the ball off Setaro with five minutes remaining to set up his side in the opposition 22. Mason was again dominant on the ground from the ensuing ruck and his work resulted in another penalty, for Setaro to step up and end the scoring on 17-6.

Hendy had no complaints from the result and coach Chris Morgan ‘praised the efforts of his side but reflected that a more experienced home side had deserved victory.

He said: “We have a lot of positives to build on from today and will look to take these into the game at Hendy Park against St Clears, but in truth we tried to play too much rugby in the wrong areas.”

Assistant coach Dan Mason was delighted to get the win saying: “We had to do the hard work to wear them down.  It was a dogged performance and we had to ensure we held possession when we had it and ensure we had the play in their territory. We have a back line this season which is confident in their own ability but today we needed players to stand up in the rough and tumble upfront, which we did.”

Whitland, top of the table make the trip to Parc Mynydd Mawr, Tumble, tomorrow (Oct 21), to play a side anchored the basement of the Division after their loss to Fishguard last week.

A point clear of Carmarthen Athletic the ‘Green Machine’ have a game in hand over them and Hendy but the next visitors to Parc Llwn Ty Gwyn will be another unbeaten side Pontardulais on the first Saturday in November, the visitors having two games in hand and lying four points off the top.

Both Clubs have established strong links in their communities, boasting a junior set up catering for age group rugby, capped off with resurgent youth sides.

Whitland youth, coached by Dominic Setaro and Phil Morgan and their counterparts from Hendy, under the guidance of Dai Davies and Carl Rees believe in the youngsters as the corner stone for their club.

With such strong foundations it is of little surprise they both also incorporate women’s rugby sides and girls under 15 sides, where the players then affiliated to the academies at the Scarlets and Ospreys.

Ultimately, debutants like 18 year old Lloyd will be one of many coming from these flourishing lower league clubs in the future.

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Seven goal Griffiths fires Goodwick top



GOODWICK United’s Jordan Griffiths scored seven goals as his side scored ten past Lamphey in their 10-2 win at Pheonix Park on Saturday (Oct 14).

The home side dominated for large periods of the game and were well deserving of their victory.

Jordan Griffiths had already scored four for the home side while Johnny Horgan also got on the score sheet when he latched on to a through ball to poke the ball past the Lamphey keeper.

Josh Dearsley came close for the visitors in the first half but his shot came back off the bar.

Lamphey pulled on back after a good move saw the ball played over the left for Mikey Davies who crossed into the box for Billy Davies who fired it into the top corner.

Billy turned provider for Mikey to score their second goal of the game and they could have scored a few more had they taken some of their chances.

Goodwick scored their sixth goal when the referee adjudged that Griffith’s shot, which hit the bar and bounced down on the line and out, had gone over the line.

Steve Dockerty and Chris O’Sullivan also scored for the home side as they held a 7-2 lead.

Goal: Johhny Horgan scores for Goodwick

In the closing stages Griffiths turned well before shooting into the bottom left corner to make it 8-2.

It was nine soon after as Griffiths ran on to another through ball before firing again into the bottom left corner.

Griffiths then beat the offside trap before firing into the net to complete a memorable day for himself and for the home side.

He could have had another soon after when he got on the end of a cross but his header went wide of the posts and the game ended 10-2.

Goodwick now sit top of the table while Jordan Griffiths doubled his tally of league goals for the season to 14 to make him the league’s top scorer.

On Saturday, October 21, Lamphey are again in league action as they welcome Neyland.

On the same day, Goodwick are in action in the third round of the FAW Trophy against Swansea League Champions Penlan, who were runners up in the competition last season, in what is sure to be an excellent game between two top sides.

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Plate serves up exciting ties



THE second round draw for the WRU National Plate competition has been made and there are a number of interesting ties to look forward too.

Crymych are the only Pembrokeshire side left in the competition and they have been drawn at home against Blackwood, who are currently second in the League 2 East table.

Aberystwyth, who beat Mumbles in the first round, will play at home against Hendy, who beat Gowerton 24-20 last Saturday (Oct 7).

Kidwelly will take on Glamorgan Wanderers, while Llanelli Wanderers’ reward for beating Tenby in the first round is an away trip to Maesteg Celtic for the second round.

Tycroes are at home to Llantrisant while Whitland are at home to Tumble.

The ties will be played on the weekend of Saturday, October 28.

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