Senior Cup Snippets by Bill Carne

Matthew Ellis and Matthew Fox 

Well done Clarbie . . .

Congratulations to Clarbeston Road first on winning the Senior Cup for the first time ever - they must be on cloud nine today and will know that they were all part of a unique achievement for their club. Their celebrations understandably went on late into the night and I’m reliably informed that they were still going strong at 3.30am - and managers Matthew Fox and Matthew Ellis were first to leave, with the ’Fantastic Mr Fox’ readily admitting that he was the first to leave - and paying the price for the celebrations next day!

Nigel Delaney, Chris O Sullivan and Lee Morgan


. . . And commiserations to Goodwick United

And it goes without saying that our commiserations go to all at Phoenix Park because they must be shattered because it was a golden chance to make it a fantastic ‘double double’ and they had their chances, which included a missed penalty from the best ‘spot taker’ in the county.
Their consolation is the fact that with the league title being the measure of quality they were runaway winners - and they are great flag carriers for Pembrokeshire Football.

Wild celebrations

Clarbie beat five other top-division teams

But that takes nothing away from Clarbie Road because to reach the final they started off with a first-round win over second-placed Hakin United (2-1), then beat Fishguard Sports 2-0 (Bottom), 8th-placed Milford United (3-2), Carew (5th) in an epic semi-final by 5-3 (after being 3-1 down) and then runaway winners Goodwick United in their amazing final. So, no-one could accuse Clarbie of having anything other than a very tough draw!

Ben makes a long double journey to be there

Is it a measure of the loyalty that can sometimes be found in football that you want then look no further than Clarbie striker Ben ‘Rocky’ John, who has played there for many years and plagued defenders with his power, commitment and nose for goals.
He certainly did that on Saturday at the Ogi Bridge Meadow Stadium as he played a part in their goals but many of the large crowd were unaware of the financial cost to him. Ben was on a golfing holiday in Portugal but was so determined the play in the game of is lifetime that he jetted home, helped them win, enjoyed a few pints afterwards and then jetted back to play a few rounds more.
Now there’s commitment for you!

Dan misses the match – pushing himself to the limits elsewhere

Missing from the match was a great servant to Clarbie in Dan Rees, who has played 34 consecutive seasons and hopes to fit on at least one before this campaign finishes – but on Saturday Dan was involved in sport elsewhere because he is now super-keen on ‘iron man’ type events and was taking part in one such tester over the weekend. He clearly enjoys pushing himself to the limits but if pushed I bet he would say he would have swapped it for a Senior Cup winners’ medal!


Clarby Road old timers with Senior Cup back at the Cross Inn


Great day out for Clarbie ‘veterans’

Some old timers who were in attendance were from the winners who are understandably thrilled because they have spent so match time with the club – and our pic shows Huw Bevan, Steve Brown, Delwyn and Jenny Lewis, plus Steve Stretch, outside The Cross Inn in the village. You can see the delight on their faces as they hold the Senior Cup – and I bet they had to prise it out of their hands after the pic was taken!

Good grub plays a big part (1) . . .

Food always seems to play an important part in the day and Saturday was no exception as Goodwick United all met at The Phoenix Centre and enjoyed a cracking brunch provided for the players and coaches by Charlene and Karl Jones of the nearby Gourmet Hut. After the game everyone returned to The Phoenix Centre, where the club provided a buffet and over 70 attended – and team manager Chris O’Sullivan showed what a football statesman he is with a moving speech about his pride in the players to really lift everyone’s spirits – well done Sully!

Good Grub (2) . . .

Clarbeston Road’s brunch for players and coaches was provided at the Cross Inn by sponsor
Jason Slater and his family - and in the evening it was a packed village pub where everyone understandably celebrated a piece of Clarbie history. But there was still time for a bit of nostalgia where mention was made of two club stalwarts in Mostyn Rowlands and Mostyn Phillips, now sadly passed away, who set the foundations of the club as it is today. As another club great, Huw Bevan told us, how proud would both Mostyns be, looking down on such an occasion.

Match officials eating pre-match meal


Good grub (3)!

Not to be outdone, the match officials also marked their special day where they were joined for lunch by a number of their colleagues at the Friars Vaults in Bridge Street, Haverfordwest, where they are well looked after by the staff. It has become a nice tradition organised by Sean O’Connor, who also provided the customary quiz relating to being a referee in Pembrokeshire – and as usual, Gordon Thomas and I popped along for a meal with them – and enjoyed the banter!
Secretary Ian Baker and chairman Mike Johns


Well done County Management Committee

It’s also nice to be able to say well done to the management committee of the Manderwood Pembrokeshire Football League who were there in numbers and even donned high-viz jackets to act as stewards. Special credit to Hon Secretary Ian Baker for all his hard work and it was appropriate that he and county chairman Mike John, the Kilgetty stalwart, should lead the teams out alongside the children from both clubs, who helped make it a great occasion.

Pre-Match Parade

Daisy also shares the limelight on behalf of Manderwood

Also marching out on his little legs was David ‘Daisy’ Picton, who was there representing Manderwood and is rightly proud of his involvement with local football, especially his beloved Hakin United, where he was a keen player, committeeman and linesman for many years.

Chris Tansey, Daisy Picton and Jimmy Yeomans


Thanks to ‘Tans’ and Jimmy

Manderwood are long-time supporters of local football and are still main sponsors of the league itself – so it was nice that Jimmy Yeomans and Chris Tansey were there to give their support – and helped ‘Daisy’ pick the man of the match award. Two more ‘Vikings’, they are great supporters of lots of sporting activities, including our site, and long may they continue to do so much for local sport!

Well done Steven

A special ‘well done, also goes to Steven Morgans, the youngest member of the county executive, who did really well to compile a small programme; no mean feat considering he only had two days to do so. We were sad that for the first time in two decades we were unable to provide photographs and pen pictures because of the fact that the semis had only been played the previous weekend – but we did mange to give a mention to the match officials!
Rhys Mansell man of match with Daisy Picton


Extra special day for Rhys

On the subject of the man of the match award. it was great to see Clarbie keeper Rhys Mansell deservedly collect the trophy (and match ball presented as ever by Mark White, of Ocky White Travel) as reward for a terrific display of keeping, especially in the last ten minutes when he made three top drawer saves, including a penalty. It was doubly nice that he won because his dad Darren was in hospital and unable to watch the game so we at would like to say well done to the talented young keeper and wish his dad a speedy recovery.

League Council members


Big crowd on the day – not quite a record attendance

Sadly, not at the game was popular former Hon Treasurer, Keith Scourfield, who I always loved a chat with and when I asked him about the crowd numbers, he always told me ‘Record Attendance’. But I can confirm that the official crowd for Saturday was 1,132 and it was wonderful to see so many young children and teenagers in both camps.

Cup Final programme

And finally – I’m not one to boast BUT . . .!

And finally, it was nice to dispel the scurrilous name I have as an awful tipster because very few pundits publicly tipped Clarbeston Road, preferring to go instead for the safe bet of the deservedly red-hot favourites in Goodwick United.
I didn’t quite get the scoreline right but I did say victory would be by one goal - and I haven’t heard a word from Messrs Thomas and Watson, who fell into the latter category.
I received a classy text message from Goodwick United chairman Brian Morris, who does a fantastic job at Phoenix Park – where he actually requoted my view that sometimes results are written in the stars!
I did try to get him to repost it to my two pals but he wouldn’t because he is a nice guy – but I certainly would have – if I knew how!

Post match officials with trophies