Seagulls’ old timers outlast Saints’ counterparts
St Davids Over 35s
Fishguard and Goodwick Over 35s
Fintan Godkin, Gerwyn Davies and Andy Dixon (St Davids Treasurer)
St Davids Over 35s 17 - Fishguard and Goodwick Over 35s 40
An entertaining night of rugby at St Davids RFC saw veteran players from both the hosts and Fishguard RFC come together to help raise more than £800 for three-year-old Tilly Morgan and her family.
The idea for the game was initiated by former Fishguard prop Gerwyn ‘cuddles’ Davies, who took charge of organising The Seagulls on the night, while former St Davids player and coach Fintan Godkin managed the home side.
In front of an exceptionally large crowd, it was the visitors who prevailed as they recovered from being 7-0 down early on to run in six tries, and turn a 12-26 half time lead into an eventual 17-40 win.
But most importantly, the evening proved a beneficial fundraiser for Trefin youngster Tilly, who is currently in remission after being diagnosed with leukaemia in November, but still has to make weekly trips to both Carmarthen and Cardiff for treatment,
Her parents Chris, a former player of both sides, and mum Amy, who has a lifelong association with the home club, were both in attendance on the night and were clearly moved by the support provided by both clubs.
And in nigh-on freezing conditions, it was the home side who took the lead as centre Darren Salmon broke in midfield and fed winger Spencer Rourke, who made ground down the left wing before popping a pass to scrum half Phill Lamb, the uncle of Tilly, to score under the posts.
However, it proved to be the latter’s last contribution, as he limped off with a calf injury whilst his brother Andrew slotted the simple conversion.
But The Seagulls responded as prop Alan Phillips, who also skippered Narberth in a long career, rounded off a period of pressure by driving over in the corner from close range, and then came surprisingly close to landing the difficult conversion himself as his effort shaved the post.
Fishguard’s veterans then began to take command as centre Steffan Kurtz rounded off some terrific handling to go over for a try he then converted via a drop goal – before flanker Randall Williams revived memories of his great days with The Seagulls and long-time captain of Whitland, broke through on half way to power over for a try he also converted himself.
Leading 19-7, The Seagulls struck again before the break when Graham Davies, another former Fishguard legend, who filled a variety of roles in both the pack and the backline on the night, sniped over from close range following a quickly taken penalty, and he too added the extras.
But The Saints kept themselves in it when forwards Stephen Morris and Noel Lyons combined to set up flanker and current first team coach Ianto Davies, who crashed over for an unconverted try from five metres out as reward for another outstanding display by the 48 year old who still turns out for the first team.
As expected, both sides made rolling replacements over the 80 minutes, and there were host of further changes at half time before Evan Davies showed that anything his brother Graham could do for Fishguard, he could match because early in the second half, he picked up from a ruck 22 metres out to cruise over unchallenged before also kicking the extras.
St Davids full back Andrew Lamb reduced the deficit when he won the race to a Russell Watkins chip kick to go over wide – before current Seagulls coach and former No 10 Huw Evans rounded off the scoring with a classy try, throwing a dummy in midfield and cutting over from 30 metres out for a score he then converted.
There were further chances as both sides understandably tired in the closing stages, before referee Dave Byrne, who sensibly let the play flow throughout after stepping in to officiate at short notice, brought an end to proceedings.
But the action didn’t stop there, and it was hosts who gained a measure of revenge on their old rivals by winning the after match ‘boat race’ back in the clubhouse!
More importantly however, a collection by St Davids committee member Ken Broaders, and prize raffle that was organised by Gerwyn and overseen by home club treasurer Andy Dixon, made £850 for Tilly and her family.
And both sets of players and supporters then stayed long into the night, with a return fixture already being provisionally discussed for Boxing Day in 2017.
“Tonight was everything that we wanted it to be,” said Gerwyn afterwards, “a competitive game of rugby, a big crowd, and everyone enjoying themselves. “Chris was a former player of both clubs and well known by everybody so it was nice to be able to do something positive for him and his family.”
On behalf of his family, Chris himself issued thanks to Gerwyn, Fintan, and players and supporters from both sides for their “amazing” support.