Rugby Reports 29th December 2018

Dan Birch try 

Dan Birch try


Feature Match:

Division 3 (West) A:


Mariners make it a hard-fought derby double


Haverfordwest 3 - Milford Haven 7

Matches between Haverfordwest and Milford Haven are traditionally hard-fought and this one was no exception as The Mariners deservedly led 7-0 in the first half and put in some excellent defending in the second period as The Blues fought hard to avoid conceding the double, having already lost 18-24 at The Obs.

More importantly, it maintained their 100% record from eight matches as they now sit proudly atop the table as the home side find themselves in third place after their third defeat in ten outings – but it was never going to be a classic in the greasy conditions and with so much at stake in terms of the outcome.

Mariners boosted by experience aplenty

The Mariners utilised the vast experience of coaches Nathan ‘Gully’ Williams and Steve Martin at prop and full back respectively, with Dewi Williams, Mike Cockburn and especially Mark Wonnacott exerting a considerable influence up front.

They certainly had the better of the opening exchanges as Dan McClelland hit the woodwork with an early penalty but converted the game’s only try after 14 minutes after a powerful surge featuring David Round, Luke Ryan and Ben Groves saw centre Dan Birch punch a hole in a back-pedalling defence to score near the posts against his former colleagues.

McClelland converted and Birch also went close later on after a flat Martin pass created the midfield space – and The Blues also looked capable of using their backs as Adam Clark and Terry Lovell tried hard to help their side gain parity up front.

Few clear-cut chances in tight second half

A seven-point lead just about reflected the balance of the first half but The Blues had the first chance of the second half but Dan Richards was just wide with a difficult kick before setting up a try -scoring chance with a charge down the middle which ended with a knock-on as The Blues tried to maintain the momentum.

Referee Anthony Kavanagh did well to quell a group grappling match on the far touch-line and also issued two yellow cards per team on a quiet day for a local derby – and the homesters had their hopes raised when Liam Manwaring slotted a penalty.

But, try as they might, The Blues were unable to breech the visitors’ defence, in which Wonnacott and Round caught the eye, and their prize was the vital victory over fellow promotion hopefuls, whilst Haverfordwest picked up a bonus point for being within seven points of the opposition.

Coaches’ Quotes:

Steve Barnett (Haverfordwest):

“When two good sides like us and Milford meet there is always a fine line between victory and defeat – and that was the case today. They had very experienced players in the right places and we allowed them to gain the upper hand in the first half. But we battled back after the break and with just a little more thought at key times we might have just snatched the verdict.”

Nathan Williams: (Milford Haven):

“We knew that this was a huge hurdle to overcome and so we chose our side to try and match their key areas whilst maintaining our strengths at the same time. Steve (Martin) and I were pleased at the way things worked out but credit to Harfat for the way that they pushed us hard and had their chances too.”

Haverfordwest: Craig Barnett: Rhys Baker; Gareth Owens; Dan Richards; Liam Manwaring: Jamie Barnett; Lee Summons (Tom Parry): Ashley George; Matthew Clayton; Terry Lovell: Karl Busch; Adam Clark: Jack Clancy (Gareth Phillips); Matty Phillips; Kyle Williams (Liam Brown).

Milford Haven: Steve Martin: Jamie Lewis (Capt); Dan Jenkins; Dan Birch; Lee Riley (Joseph Kiff): Efan Morgan; Dan McClelland:  Mike Cockburn; Luke Ryan; Nathan Williams (Aaron Mayne): Chris Hall; David Round (Brandon Cooper): Ben Groves (Ryan Mansell); Dewi Williams; Mark Wonnacott.

Referee: Anthony Kavanagh (Llanelli)

Terry Lovell on the charge

Terry Lovell on the charge


Division One (West):


‘Double’ joy for Preseli Men


Crymych 30 - Aberystwyth 10

Aled Harries - scored Crymychs vital opening tryThere was double joy for Crymych as they continued their good form against Aberystwyth – ensuring another league win and also a place in the Pembrokeshire KO Cup semi-finals in the process as the game doubled up as a league and cup match.

It was Aber who led early on as Steff Rees kicked a penalty but from then on the Preseli Men took control, with a series of forward drives being rounded off with hooker Aled Davies crashing over and No 10 Gareth Davies converted.

Winger Laurence Headlam added a second try for the home side and Davies slotted a penalty before the break and at 18-3, Randal Williams’ side appeared comfortable.

After the break the home pack continued to dominate and they were controversially denied a penalty try from a driving line out, but soon were given a seven pointer after a close range scrum was collapsed by Aber.

The visitors did hit back as Dylan Evans went over and Rees converted, but the Preseli Men ensured they made it four wins in five as centre Gethin Gibby touched down for the bonus-point try.

“The whole team were outstanding today and we couldn’t single anyone out,” said Crymych’s Adrian Howells afterwards.


Aled Harries - scored Crymych's vital opening try


Seasiders struggle for front row forwards!

Whitland P-P Tenby United

**Match postponed – Tenby United unable to field a recognised front row **

Tom Harding-Jones tests the Fishguard cover

Tom Harding-Jones tests the Fishguard cover
Picture by Daf Palmer


Division Two (West):


Rusty Scarlets grab last-gasp victory


Pembroke 15 - Fishguard and Goodwick 13

Outside half Toby Smith’s last-gasp penalty helped Pembroke complete the double over Fishguard and Goodwick at Crickmarren, following their 17-16 victory at The Moors with this two-point margin where their hardy band of supporters again had their finger nails chewed down to the quick.

Seagulls start well

The Seagulls will certainly look at this defeat as another game where they had their chances and they were actually 13-12 ahead before they transgressed in front of their own posts and paid the heaviest of prices as Smith calmly sent the ball sailing between the uprights.

To be fair to The Scarlets they were coming off the back of an enforced three week gap in their season and they certainly looked ring rusty as the visitors made the brighter start in the first quarter and finally took the lead after 35 minutes with a cracking try from a scrum almost 40 metres out and young scrum half Tom Lewis made a sniping run down the blind side before skipper Chris Shusha showed why he is held in such high regard as he broke through and slipped the final pass to Andrew Williams for the scrum half to dive over at the posts for No 10 Kial Keane to notch the easy extra points.

Scarlets battle back

But The Scarlets responded with a quality try of their own when quick handling from Toby Smith, Tom Harding-Jones and especially Lewys Gibby (playing at full back on permit from Narberth and posing a constant threat) put Dan Colley over before Toby Smith added the conversion.

The Seagulls responded with a Keane penalty but Pembroke took the lead when a canny snipe down the blind-side from a scrum allowed Tom Lewis to send skipper Scott Powell over for a try – and they  thought they had added a third score but Colley was recalled for a marginal forward pass.

Pembroke snatch the verdict

The second half was equally as combative and without any further points until the 68th minute, when Keane landed his second penalty to put his team a single point in front – but as Pembroke tried desperately for that vital late score it finally came in those closing seconds and condemn Fishguard to a solitary bonus point as they pouched four of their own to keep themselves well in contention at the head of the table.

Pembroke: Lewys Gibby: Barry Alderman-John; Dan Colley; Tom Harding-Jones; Sion Dalling: Toby Smith; Tom Lewis: Jamie Kaijaks; Shaun Wiseman; Johnny Palmer: Scott Powell (Capt); Will Edwards: Sam Smith; Rhodri Walters; Alex Thomas. Replacements:  Jack Smythe; Jordan Gwilliam; Lloyd Davies;

Fishguard & Goodwick: Robbie Jones: Ed Bendall; Sion Rowlands; Thomas George; Rhys Evans: Kial Keane; Andrew Williams: Ryan McVeigh; Jordan Jones; Andrew Morrillo: Luke Freebury; Ben John: Lewis Davies; Simon James; Chris Shusha (Capt). Replacements: Adam Bowen; James Wilkes; Richard Hunter; Alun George.


Division Three (West) A:


Quins claim the day’s surprise result


Pembroke Dock Harlequins 13 - Neyland 10

Pembroke Dock Harlequins produced the shock result of the day’s local rugby programme as they claimed their first win after eight losses on the trot – against top of the table Neyland.

The All Blacks have been struggling to find a settled pack of late but they were still expected to gain a comfortable win after beating the Quins 60-6 at home.

But The Quins certainly rose to their task as they had 18 year old Gethin Bradney making his league debut at scrum half with brother Rhys as his partner, the first time that brothers had occupied the 9 and 10 jerseys for the club, and both played well alongside second row Darren Potter, back row man Jordan Potter and Alex Pearce, who made his usual impact as he came off the bench.

Even play

Play was very even and the only first half points fell to Neyland as they were situated in the Quins 22 and a defensive blunder saw the ball fall loose so that centre Alex Codd was able to kick ahead and win the race for the touch down before young scrum half George Evans kicked the conversion.

The homesters levelled matters within three minutes of the restart after half time as they were awarded a penalty try for what the referee saw as a collapsed driving maul near the Neyland line, with second row Mark James yellow-carded – but a George Evans’ penalty soon put The All Blacks back ahead.

It is to the Quins’ credit, however, that they kept plugging away and they drew level after 70 minutes with a penalty from Aaron James, playing on permit from Tenby.

Five minutes later James notched another penalty to put The Quins ahead for the first time and then things got worse for the visitors with full back Patrick Bellerby sin binned late on, and forward Sam Katakai was duly red carded for questioning the decision – although The All Blacks applied late pressure the home side’s defence remained intact and the celebrations showed how much Neil Machin’s Boys relished this first win of the season!

Close-up action as Llangwm beat The Saints

Close-up action as Llangwm beat The Saints


Wasps complete deserved double over gritty Saints


St Davids 20 - Llangwm 27

It went down to the final whistle – but it was Llangwm who took five points from a full blooded contest at St Davids yesterday on an afternoon that showcased the lower end of grass roots rugby in Wales.

Unusually for a clash typically low-scoring and tight, the 80 minutes yielded six tries, not to mention four yellow cards, but it was deserved bonus-point win for The Wasps in inevitably tough conditions as James Lewis, Jonathan Lloyd, Rhys Mason, and Lewis Murphy all crossed for tries.

With a rare win at stake for both teams and the chance of an even rarer double for The Wasps, inevitably the opening stages were intense, and St Davids flanker Josh Strangward burst through early on, only to be hauled down just short by the cover defence.

But it was Llangwm who soon took the lead when full back Luke Hayman landed a wide angled penalty – but the home side responded in kind as a spell of pressure led to Llangwm centre Robbie Neill being yellow carded in front of his own posts. Matty Mcleod duly levelled matters with a simple three pointer.

It stayed that way until moments before the break when Llangwm scrum half Ian Griffiths set up an attack which outstanding hooker Gethin Thomas continued – and it culminated in flanker James Lewis going over from close range before Hayman converted to make it 10-3 at half time.

Action aplenty in the second half

In the early stages of the second period away winger Joey Lewin was also sin binned for a dangerous tackle and Matty Mcleod landed a penalty to reduce things to 10-6, but soon The Wasps took control as No 10 Jonathan Lloyd forced his way over from close range, and Hayman again added the extras.

A third yellow card though, this time to Wasps second row Ben Llewellin, shifted momentum and St Davids got back into it as centre Gabe York cut over from close range to bring the home side back within four points.

But from the re-start Anthony Davies’ men had second row Gethin Bateman yellow carded, and Llangwm took full advantage as a burst from Neil set up a try for replacement No 9 Rhys Mason, and moments later centre Lewis Murphy scored in the corner to seal a four-try bonus point.

Still things weren’t done though, and with time running out York finished brilliantly from 40 metres out for a second try which McLeod converted to make it 27-20.

But it proved too little too late as Llangwm held on to a third league win of the campaign, while St Davids at least took a losing bonus point from a hard fought game.

Afterwards, a player collection and further fund raising made more than £950 for the ongoing appeal to support Eliza Scriven, and well done to both clubs on coming together for a great cause.

St Davids: Rhys Price, Luke Brooks, Gabe York, Gavin Smith, Mark Wilson, Matty McLeod, Harvey Godkin, Rhys Price, Noel Lyons, Ben Evans, Dan Jenkins, Chris Jenkins, Tommy Reynolds, Josh Strangward, Gethin Bateman. Replacements: Dan Murphy, Will Davies, Anthony Davies, Fraser Watson, Zak Morgan.

Llangwm: Luke Hayman, Joey Lewin, Lewis Murphy, Rob Neill, Ewan Griffiths, Jonathan Lloyd, Ian Griffiths, Dan Breeze, Gethin Thomas, Will Scriven, John O’Boyle, Ben Llewellin, Ashley James, James Lewis, Josh Hicks. Replacements: Rhys Mason, Jason Mock, Gavin Jones, Dan Morgan, Sion Ace.

Luke Hayman lines up another successful kick

Luke Hayman lines up another successful kick


Aber ease home in Cardigan Bay clash


Aberaeron 8 - Cardigan 3

Aberaeron remain in fourth place in Division Three (West) A after their hard-fought home win over a Cardigan side which was determined to stop their old rivals completing the double and led 3-0 at the interval thanks to a penalty from Emyr Harries.

Aberaeron should have been in front at that stage but place-kicker Rhodri Jenkins was off target with three penalty attempts that were normally within his scope.

With the elements in their favour after the oranges, Jenkins finally found the target to haul his team level but was off the mark with a fifth chance – and also pushed the conversion of No 8 Tudur Jenkins’ only try of the match wide.

But it mattered little because Aberaeron defended well when they had to and with only one defeat in eight games they must be considered as promotion contenders at this stage.


Llan win well in Tregaron


Tregaron 17 - Llanybydder 28

Llanybydder confirmed the form book as they deservedly ran out winners by 28-17 away to Tregaron.

Llanybydder had won 45-0 when the teams met earlier in the season but although Tregaron battled harder this time the visitors were able to claim their seventh win in ten starts to maintain their fifth place in the section table, leaving Tregaron placed ninth out of 11 teams with a record of only one win from ten games.