Great day out for local rugby’s juniors at Crickmarren

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The 2019 Pembrokeshire Junior Finals Day, held under the auspices of the Pembrokeshire and District Junior Rugby Association, featured rugby across the age bands that was brilliant, with weather to match. Small wonder then that organisers Ken Davies and Sarah Hill were delighted by the quality of players and coaches in producing a real spectacle for the huge crowds who flocked to Pembroke RFC, where the ground looked an absolute picture and every part of the long day ran like clockwork. “We would like to thank all involved from the day, including all the volunteers and excellent referees, the volunteers from The Scarlets, and all the sponsors who helped us produce another great programme for players, parents and grandparents to keep as a memento” said Ken Davies afterwards.

From our own perspective it was again a treat to be in attendance all day in our attempt at adding further interest in such a wonderful day.


It was also gratifying to see former international Jonathan Thomas, now doing a great job as forwards’ coach with Bristol, presenting the medals and supporting his nephews playing for Pembroke. Well done JT!


Under 7s Final:

Pembroke Dock Harlequins 11 St Davids 4

U7 Pem Dock Quins The talented young players of Pembroke Dock Harlequins and St Davids got Finals Day off to a flying start with some strong running, good handling skills and excellent removal of the tag fitted to shorts which prevented players from continuing any forward movement.

The game was sympathetically refereed by Darren Gilbert, from host club Pembroke, and one item of particular note was the fact that there were five girls involved, with Lexie Jones in the black and white jersey of The Quins and in the black and amber of The Saints there were Macy Price, Paige Copeland Phillips Akela Southwell and Lauren Lamb.

U7 St Davids The Quins were 6-2 ahead at the break through tries by Harvey Tindale, Jamie Cook (2) and James Burns, who sped over for a hat-trick, whilst Saints' scorers were Joe and Billy Lamb.

Burns added a further try after the interval and Cook also completed a hat-trick, with other scores from Riley Rees-Thomas (2), Micky Burton - whilst Billy Lamb crossed again for The Saints to mark their first excellent appearance at this level in the county finals.


Under 8s Final:

Fishguard 9 Neyland 6

U8 Fishguard On the other side of the pitch there was also a fascinating clash at under eight level as Fishguard and Neyland swapped tries until the Young Seagulls came out on top as Callum Stoker starred by scoring five tries.

But they were made to work hard for their success against a Neyland side which never gave up trying and were only 4-3 down at the interval as the likes of Rhys Tennick, Ethan Blockwell and Ollie Harding and Co never gave up trying.

U8 Neyland They ended up with an excellent six tries, shared between Joe Warrender, Bateman  and Ethan Davies and showed they will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

But joining Stoker on the Fishguard try sheet were Owain Williams, Jack Jenkins and Jake Williams as William and Charlie Miles joined Iestyn Wilmot, Dewi George,  Steffan Cornock and Rhys Richards in a deserved win for The Young Seagulls.


Under 9s Final:

Milford Haven 5 Neyland 4

U9 Milford HAven Milford Haven staged a strong second-half comeback to beat doughty opponents Neyland in an exciting under nine final which was played throughout at a furious pace, with the Young All Blacks good value for a 3-1 interval lead before their counterparts from Milford Haven managed to claw their way back to win by 5-4.

Iori Morgan, Thomas Calson and Taio Hein scored Neyland's tries in the opening half as Bobby Parr grabbed Milford's only score.

U9 Neyland Iestyn John added a fourth for Neyland but Parr scored his second try and became the hero of the hour after Max Bevan had twice crossed the whitewash to level matters after good work by Fletcher, completing a deserved hat-trick after leading by example throughout a game which showed all that was best in this particular age-group.


Under 10s Final:

Haverfordwest 1 Tenby 4

U10 Tenby No match was harder fought all day than this age-group final before Tenby beat Haverfordwest by four tries to win after leading 2-1 at half time.

Madoc Evans gave The Young Seasiders the lead when he cleverly intercepted a floated pass 15 metres out - but Haverfordwest soon fought back to level matters through Harvey Thomas after good work by Josefa Rabakewa, Toby Kelly, Charlie Skelhorn and Ewan Griffiths.

But Tenby regained in initiative when Evan Christen rounded off the platform set by the likes of Logan Hall and Carter Heywood.

U10 Hwest Bennett and William Diment also caught the eye for their work rate as well as Ollie Tucker, who not only carried the ball well but was good with his off-loading skills as well as scoring a vital try - and it was Heywood who eventually served success with his team's fourth try.

 But The Young Blues deserve every credit for the way that they fought in what was one of the games of the long day of competitive rugby.


Under 11s Final:

Narberth 33 Neyland 21

U11 Narberth In the first match where conversions were allowed it was Narberth who eventually prevailed over a gritty opposition from Neyland in was a game which showcased the development that youngsters make over their time in junior rugby.

Both teams ran the ball at every opportunity and not only showed good handling and tackling skills in attack but also real defensive qualities - but tries still came at regular intervals.

For The Young Otters they were scored by No 10 Lewy Bowen-Lewis, Charlie Reynolds, Callum Goeman, Bowen-Lewis again and winger Archie Griffiths, with four of them converted from in front of the posts by Bowen-Lewis to give him a tally of 18 points.

U11 Neyland For Neyland, Corey Riley was adjudged their man of the match as he led by example and still managed to run in a brace of tries, with support from the likes of Ben Phillips, Korey Allen, Harrison Vaughan and Harri Evans, to name but a few of a tireless squad.

Phillips added Neyland's third try and notched all three conversions - but it was The Young Otters' greater all-round strength which gave them the winners' medals as Gareth Llewellyn,  James Owen, Noah Jenkins and Jake Leavitt led by example.


Under 12s Final:

Pembroke 22 Haverfordwest 33

U12 Hwest There was entertaining rugby galore in the under 12s final before Haverfordwest eased home against an equally talented Pembroke outfit who had their chances to snatch the verdict as Louie Bugby and Callum White featured highly.

Pembroke started well as great running from  Bowyn Clark and Rhys Daley set winger Keanu Williams in at the corner as reward for a smart piece of finishing and later in the half added his second after Finlay Lewis and and Zac Shaw helped to set up the platform.

The Young Blues were 26-12 ahead at half time with good performances from Osian Williams, Max Fenn, Devin Williams, Frazier Stoddart and Iori Curtis eventually setting up tries for Logun Young (2), Aisea Rabekewa (2) and Osian Williams, four of them goaled by Rabekewa.

U12 Pembroke Young Scarlets' scrum half Bowyn Clark claimed a second half score after a quickly-taken tapped penalty and Tobi Pratt also got on the Pembroke try sheet.

Haverfordwest’s Max Fenn was chosen by referee Martin Rudd as man of the match but it must have been mightily close because there were others vying for the accolade in a game of real intensity and high quality!


Under 13s Final:

Pembroke 50 Haverfordwest 0

U13 Pembroke Pembroke showed why they had recently won a competition in Whitland with this stunning performance against a brave Haverfordwest team which never gave up trying but had no answer to The Young Scarlets' handling ability, powerful pack performance and ability to turn defence into attack.

Yet The Young Blues had early chances instigated by Ian Kelso-Jones, Jack Haggar and Gabriel Thicker but these were nullified and the flood gates opened so that Pembroke were 40-0 by half time. as half backs Dylan Kidd and Morgan Williams inevitably featured with lots of quality possession - and with winger Megan Cole also looking sharp in her final game at this level before having to move onto girls' rugby.

U13 Hwest Winger George Hopkins used his pace to good effect to claim a hat-trick of tries alongside others from flanker Andrew Bugby, No 8 Jack Nunn, centre Jack Nicholas and prop Deryn Williams. Morgan Williams also crossed for a try and kicked five conversions before the game was brought to an early finish under the rules of the competition once Pembroke had reached the half century mark.

But although they found it hard going, Haverfordwest deserve every credit for the way that they stuck to the task and for joining in with Pembroke for showing a great example of sportsmanship afterwards as Jake Nunn (Pembroke) and Lewis Parry (Haverfordwest) were chosen as men of the match.


Under 14s Final:

Narberth 17 Whitland 31

U14 Narberth Matches at all levels between neighbours Whitland and Narberth are traditionally hard-fought and this encounter was no exception before The Young Borderers produced a late burst of points from full back Harry Fuller to take the spoils.

The Young Borderers made the better start, playing up the hill, using their pack power and enabling No 8 Dafydd Pawlett and second row Finn James to claim tries converted by Fuller.

Narberth responded with a try before the break by winger Tom Monk, converted by Fraser Jones, with another following after the oranges when winger George Bevan crossed.

But a clever practice-pitch move Whitland allowed Pawlett to power to the posts for his second try, duly converted by Fuller - before Shay Norcross intercepted and sped to the line.

U14 Whitland At 21-17 in the Young Borderers' favour there was still all to play for but Whitland produced a grandstand finish where Fuller notched an easy penalty awarded by referee Colin Phillips before Fuller produced a bit of touchline magic to shimmy his way to the line before adding the extra points and secure the man of the match award in the process!


Under 15s Final:

Cardigan 7 Fishguard 51

U15 Fishguard Fishguard's outstanding all-round display against a never-say-die Cardigan team was certainly in the frame for the team performance of the ten-match final as they scored eight tries with some imposing rugby that was based on power pack possession, speedy handling by all 15 players on the field and the real ability to turn pressure into points.

Their rucking was immense and ability to rip the ball away from the opposition meant that No 10 Dylan John, who was well served by scrum halves Iestyn Morgan and Joss Lerwill,  was able to pin back The Young Cardis into the corners to set up prolonged periods of pressure.

They served notice of intent with a corner try by flanker Jake Norris and fellow back rower Rhys Lewis, one of the outstanding players, added a second from a scrum-five steal for hooker Kai Llewellyn to convert.

U15 Cardigan Lewis grabbed his second after tremendous work from Osian Rowe and Marcel Grocholski - and then  hooker Llywelyn stormed over for two tries as his fellow forwards ran amok.

Osian Rowe, Dylan Scott and Jack Delaney also added tries but the loudest cheer of the game was reserved for the Young Teifisiders as they trailed 46-0 and flanker Saul McGrath ploughed over to score and Dewi Baun converted.


Under 16s Final:

Cardigan 17 Aberystwyth 14

U16 Crymych The old cliché 'A game of two halves' was never more evident than in the contest for the oldest participants in the Junior Finals Day as Crymych and Aberystwyth showed how well players develop across the age ranges with good coaching and club support.

It was Crymych who made the brighter start as they used their forward power to establish a 17-0 interval lead with good tries from Owain Evans and Joseph Emmerson-Marl, with both converted alongside a well-struck penalty by Osian Hil,l who was outstanding at outside half with his ability to call the shots.

U16 Aberystwyth Aberystwyth kept plugging away and with the strengthening wind and slope advantage fought back with good tries from Sam Davies and Sion Evans, both converted by Joshua Hathaway, who was later chosen as Aber's man of the match.

Emmerson-Marl was chosen as man of the match be referee Martin Williams, amazingly retiring after almost 50 years with the whistle and deserving every credit as he stepped down after a match of the highest quality.

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