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Promising players snapped up

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SEVENTEEN under 15s and 16s Rugby League players from Wales have now been snapped up by Super League sides for their academy systems.

This includes 11 of the Wales under 16 side who beat England last week for the first time ever, winning 18-10 in Cardiff.

Twins Ewan and Ieuan Badham from West Wales Raiders and Milford Haven Comprehensive School, who had already been scouted by City of Hull Academy before the Wales games, are now joined by Raiders team mate Iestyn Hopkins who has been attending Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera.

A further five under 15s from the Raiders, who didn’t play against England, have also signed at Hull. These are Morgan Chell (Ysgol Dyffryn Taf), Trystan Rawlings, Keiron Lewis and Alex Jones (all Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera) and Joe Hawkins (Cwmtawe Community School).

The signings have resulted from the partnership that West Wales Raiders have created with Hull coupled with the players’ performances for Wales under 16 or the West Wales regional side in the recent Origin games.

In addition, earlier this week, Aber Valley Wolves trio Ewan Challenger (who was in the Wales squad this year but wasn’t in the side against England), Kyle Huish and Jacob Lee signed scholarship forms for Wigan Warriors. The trio were scouted by the Warriors throughout the Wales under 16s programme, which also included two wins over Ireland and a joint training session against the Wigan scholarship side.

Wales under 16 coach Jason Seddon said: “Having so many players in these set ups is a great statement from our point of view. We always knew we had the talent here, we just needed it to be recognised.

“Super League clubs focussing on talent in Wales has been a contentious issue in the past as we’ve had kids more than capable to be in Super League academies but have not been picked up. The exposure wasn’t there. Now it has been, especially following results in recent weeks, people have picked up on it.

“The lads will go up and train with their clubs on a regular basis, get more experience and get coaching with players of a good standard and will bring it back to their community clubs. Travel has been an issue in the past but now I hear that plans are in place for them to travel, train and adapt. I don’t see travel being an issue, they’re good enough and I think they’ll progress.

“When they get to the end of under 16, a decision will be made of whether to go into the 19s and then they could move to the north of England.”

Seddon says that the Wales set up are now planning for more players to hopefully be scouted by Super League clubs, with the successful Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf side, all of whom are currently aged 14, being high on the list.

“I know people thought we may not even be competitive this year but the standard we have I thought we’d do very well,” Seddon adds. “We’ve the Glantaf lads qualifying for the under 16 side for next year plus there are more on our radar from all around Wales, north and south.

“It’s only going to keep rolling and get bigger and better. We at Wales Rugby League have to not only keep this momentum going but make it grow so we can build successful sides right throughout the international set-up.”

Sport

Young jockey joins Henderson’s yard

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PEMBROKESHIRE jockey James Bowen will join Champion trainer Nicky Henderson’s yard as a conditional from next month.

The 16-year-old riding sensation had been the subject of much speculation as to where he would end up but Henderson was the number 1 choice.

Bowen, who has been touted as a future champion jockey, earlier this year set a new record with 30 winners as a novice point-to-point rider this season.

That was five more than the totals managed by Nick Scholfield in 2007 and Rhys Flint in 2008, who both went on to become professional riders.

Henderson has partnered ten winners under rules so far this season and will be looking forward to having James join his team from October 1.

Speaking to the Herald, James said: “It is a big opportunity for me, it’s a big stable owned by a Champion Trainer. There are plenty of great horses so I’m hopeful it will go well.

“My parents are trainers so I was always brought up around race horses, I started at the age of 9 and then moved to pointing at the age of 16 and it has all been a good experience.”

James also said that there were a number of other places that he could have gone too but added: “At the moment, Nicky’s seemed like the best place to go. I had a day at his yard last Friday where we sorted it out and I’ll be starting at the beginning of October.”

He is looking forward to starting there and wants to ride as much as possible and told us that he would have liked to have won more races than he has.

If the opportunity came up James says he would love to ride in the Grand National but keeping his feet on the ground he said “I’m a long way off being at the top at the moment.”

Brother Sean is also a jockey and James says he is constantly talking to him about tactics for different races.

James adds: “My parents are up for it so that’s good and they’re backing me all the way.”

Coming up James has a couple of rides at Newton Abbot on Friday and another at Plumpton on Sunday before making the move to Nicky Henderson’s yard.

All at the Herald would like to wish James all the best in his time with Mr Henderson.

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Sport

Bowl second round draw made

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THE draw has taken place for the second round of the WRU National Bowl and has once again thrown up a host of interesting and competitive fixtures for the weekend of October 7.

All the teams are dreaming of staying to the end of the road that leads to Finals Day at the Principality Stadium. With reigning champions Amman United now playing in the WRU National Plate there will be a different winner.

Neyland’s reward for beating Llandovery Seconds is a home tie against the side who knocked out their local rivals Milford, Cefneithin.

Pembroke, who beat Haverfordwest 31-24 on Saturday (Sept 16), are at home to Aberaeron.

Nantgaredig head west to meet Pembroke Dock Quins looking to build on their unbeaten start to the new season. They currently top Division 3B West with a maximum 10 points along with Burry Port and Lampeter Town.

Lampeter will host Llangadog, a team they beat 55-10 in the second round of their league campaign. The 2016 champions, Burry Port, head to league rivals New Dock Stars.

WRU National Bowl – Round 2 – selected ties

(Matches to be played the weekend 7 October)

Ferryside or Cardigan v Crymych II or Newcastle Emlyn II

Lampeter v Llangadog

Laugharne v Llangwm

Neyland v Cefneithin

New Dock Stars v Burry Port

Pembroke v Aberaeron

Pembroke Dock Quins v Nantgaredig

Penybanc v Llandeilo

Trimsaran v Furnace Utd

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Sport

County publishes best figures for 2017

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THE Pembroke County Cricket Club (PCCC) has once again published the first division batting and bowling averages for the 2017 season.

Top of the runs scored column is Johnston’s Daniel Sutton (pictured) who scored a staggering 936 runs over the course of the 18 game campaign to help his side avoid the drop into Division 2.

Behind him is Iwan Izzard with 618 runs and another Johnston player, Lee Summons, was third.

It is a different story in the batting averages as Cresselly’s Dan Cherry scored at an average of 159.5.

Tim Hicks of Carew was second and Johnston’s Sutton was third with an average of 72.

The top bowler for the 2017 season was Neyland’s Andrew Miller who took 37 wickets, one more than Carew’s Tom Davies while Daniel Flynn of St Ishmaels was third with 34 wickets.

Top of the bowling averages was Whitland’s Iestyn Scourfield with an average of 10.23 with Shaun Whitfield of Carew in second and Haverfordwest’s Simon Holliday in third.

Tom Davies: Batting for Carew, took the second most wickets in 2017

Batting (Runs Scored)

  1. Dan Sutton – Johnston – 936
  2. Iwan Izzard – Cresselly – 618
  3. Lee Summons – Johnston – 532

Batting averages

  1. Dan Cherry – Cresselly – 159.5
  2. Tim Hicks – Carew – 72.14
  3. Dan Sutton – Johnston – 72

Bowling (Wickets taken)

  1. Andrew Miller – Neyland – 37
  2. Tom Davies – Carew – 36
  3. Daniel Flynn – St Ishmaels – 34

Bowling averages

  1. Iestyn Scourfield – Whitland – 10.23
  2. Shaun Whitfield – Carew – 10.46
  3. Simon Holliday – Haverfordwest – 11.08

Congratulations to all on an excellent season and as always a thank you to Paul and Janice Webb for their hard work.

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