Battling Blues fend off Wasps’ Bishop Cup challenge

The victorious Haverfordwest team

The victorious Haverfordwest team

Losers Llangwm 
Losers Llangwm
Gelly James and Tom Carrington
Try scorers Adam Clark, Rhys Baker and Kyle Williams
Blues' skippers Mikey Jones and Gareth Owen with Alun Wills
Adam Clark scores the first Blues' try


Bishop Cup:


Haverfordwest 27 - Llangwm 0

As usual it was committed and hard fought - but the annual Boxing Day Bishop Cup clash between Haverfordwest and Llangwm again went the way of the Blues as they scored four tries in a 27-0 win at Merlins Bridge.

Second row Adam Clark, replacement No 8 Kyle Williams (2) and winger Rhys Baker all crossed - with seven more points from the boot of No 10 Jamie Barnett.

Wonderful cause helped

Gelly James and Tom CarringtonBut just as significantly, a huge crowd poured through the gate and through raffle sales and bucket collections, a big amount was raised for Eliza Scriven - the granddaughter of Llangwm team manager Richard Scriven.

The four year old lives with Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy, and her family are currently trying to raise enough money to allow her to have life-changing surgery in Bristol called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR).

Predictably passionate opening

It was perhaps an awkward clash for both sides with crunch league games against Milford Haven and St Davids respectively on Saturday, and sure enough, neither was quite at full strength as referee Ross Grieve had a good game in charge in maintaining control whilst trying to keep play flowing at every opportunity..

It was a a predictably passionate opening, and after The Wasps had been pinned back in their own 22 for much of the early going - they briefly got on top.

Wasps miss out on early chances

Winger Kern Cunningham, ironically playing for Llangwm on permit from Haverfordwest, jinked his way towards the line only to be tackles metres short - with The Wasps then wastefully penalised in the ruck that followed.

They went close again when on the other wing, Daniel Morgan chased a loose ball but was just beaten to the grounding by home full back Liam Mainwaring.

And then another chance to open the scoring went begging when No 10 Luke Hayman was wide with a 25 metre penalty.

Clark secures first Blues’ score

Try scorers Adam Clark, Rhys Baker and Kyle WilliamsIn fact was a full 24 minutes until the first score arrived, and when it did, it went the way of Haverfordwest.

The Blues fashioned a lineout chance when Mainwaring kicked to the corner, which then became a scrum chance - but No 8 Josh Young was held up by opposite number Josh Hicks and co as he picked up and charged at the line.

However, from the defensive Llangwm scrum that followed, the Haverfordwest pack put in a real shove and from the turnover that followed – big Adam Clark scored from close range.

Barnett converted - and then more Haverfordwest pressure followed as stand in captain Gareth Owens cut through in midfield only to be denied by a great last ditch tackle from Llangwm prop Gavin Jones.

A penalty chance soon followed though, and Barnett did the honours.

Wasps have further chances –  but The Blues defend in depth

Before the break Llangwm rallied again and Hayman was short from a penalty from half way - before next time opting for the corner.

That came to nothing though and when a third penalty came their way, scrum half Ian Griffiths took it quickly and charged into the 22, but the Blues stood firm again.

Both sides made changes at half time but early in the second half, the home side effectively sealed the trophy.

Prop Carrington helps secure two tries for No 8 Williams

Prop Tom Carrington in particular impressed in both the tight and the loose and the home scrum became more dominant as the afternoon wore on - and it was from this platform the third try again.

An eight man shove was the perfect platform for replacement No 8 Kyle Williams to pick up and power over from 25 metres, Barnett adding the extras.

Soon after Williams had a second, this time from much closer range but again from the same scrum platform, to leave matters at 22-0.

Slick handling by The Blues ends in a fourth try

Blues skippers Mikey Jones and Gareth Owen with Alun WillsA tiring Llangwm didn't cave though and No 8 Hicks as always carried well, but they were unable to get the go forward ball they needed as the Blues finished strongly.

Barnett had a penalty attempt scuppered by the wind as the ball blew over during his run up - but the home side finished matters in style as Baker rounded off some slick handling to dart over in the corner.

It meant a ninth straight Bishop Cup win for the Blues since the sides drew 3-3 back in 2009, with captain for the day Owens picking up the trophy off Haverfordwest chairman Alun Wills alongside Mikey Jones, who was forced off during the warm up with injury.

Carrington took the man of the match award off  'Gelly' James, before a large crowd readied themselves for an undoubtedly big night in the clubhouse.

Steve Barnett (Haverfordwest head coach): "We got the win and that was all I wanted from today.

"We rested boys but not out of disrespect to Llangwm, but because of injuries and the Milford game Saturday.

"That is obviously massive and we are huge underdogs. But we don't mind that."

Bruce Evans (Llangwm head coach): "I was pleased with how we played.

"They scored four tries, three of which came from the scrum, but we defended well.

"But it would have been nice to have got over when we had that early pressure."

Teams: Haverfordwest: Liam Mainwaring; Josh Atherton; Scott Candler; Gareth Owens; Rhys Baker; Jamie Barnett; Tom Parry; Cole Barry;  Matthew Clayton; Tom Carrington; Adam Clark; Ben Llewellyn; Gareth John; Morgan Layton; Kyle Williams; Jamie Zambas; Rhodri Harries; Josh Young; Liam Brown (plus others too numerous to mention!)
Llangw (Proposed squad): Ewan Griffiths; Josh Lewin; Rhodri Mason; Robbie Neil; William Ridge; Luke Hayman; Ian Griffiths; Dan Hughes; Geraint Thomas; Gethin Jones; Craig Grice; Dean Reynolds; John O'Boyle; James Lewis; Josh Hicks; Dan Morgan; Spencer Rourke; Andrew Swales; Steve Picton; JoJo Francis; Dan Ridge; Declan Coles.
Referee: Ross Grieve (Tenby)

Adam Clark scores the first Blues try