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Blues keep the pressure on

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Try: Dane Pindare reaches over to score a try for Haverfordwest

Try: Dane Pindare reaches over to score a try for Haverfordwest

HAVERFORDWEST kept the pressure on the top two as they comfortably beat St Davids by 44 points to 3 at a wet and windy Merlins Bridge on Saturday.

Despite having only won twice this season, the visitors started well and after a good scrummage by the St Davids pack, they were awarded a penalty with five minutes gone.

With wind and swirling rain it seemed like the only option would be to kick to touch but Saints’ Jack Jones kicked the ball through the posts with ease from what looked like a difficult position.

That only served to wake the Blues up and five minutes later they scored the game’s opening try as Craig Barnett broke free down the left hand side. Mikey Jones added the extras to make it 7-3 to the home side.

The Blues continued to push forward and in the twentieth minute they had their second try as Dane Pindare cut inside the defenders before going through to score but the conversion attempt was missed.

It wasn’t long before the home side had their third try as a good passing move, again down the left, was finished off by Craig Barnett for his second try.

In the second half, Haverfordwest continued where they had left off and after stealing the ball from a St Davids lineout they pushed towards the line.

Good defending saw them come just short but after recycling the ball well, it came to Dane Pindare who dived over in the corner to make it 22-3 to Haverfordwest.

Both sides were then reduced to 14 men in the space of five minutes and soon after St Davids’ Jack Jones was sent to the sin bin, Haverfordwest increased their lead.

The Blues won a lineout and after St Davids were penalised for a man offside, they kicked the touch. The resulting play saw Captain Jon Mason power his way over to make the score 27-3.

Haverfordwest then scored two tries in the space of two minutes as they began to dominate the game.

Firstly, Hooker Ashley George powered his way over the line before the conversion from Darren Salmon, who had taken over kicking duties, was missed.

Replacement Zac France-Millar scored two minutes later to increase the score to 37-3. The extra points were this time successfully added by Darren Salmon.

France-Millar was tormenting the Saints defence and he kicked towards the line with three minutes to go but the Saints defender did well to get the ball ahead of him. With the clock ticking over to 80 minutes, Haverfordwest scored their eighth try of the match as France- Millar did get his second try of the match.

The conversion was missed to leave the final score at 44-3 to the home side.

The Saints battled well throughout the game but did not have enough to stop the power of Haverfordwest.

The bonus point win moves them to within a point of the top two and they face a trip to Pembroke in their next game on Saturday, December 5.

The same day sees the Saints take on bottom club Llangwm.

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Errors prove costly for Raiders

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West Wales Raiders 16

North Wales Crusaders 56

By Ian Golden at Stebonheath Park

NORTH Wales Crusaders’ play-off hopes took a boost on Saturday after taking advantage of West Wales Raiders’ many errors to earn to a large win.

The Wrexham-based side will go into their last two games full of confidence but know they’ll have a tougher outing at Newcastle Thunder in a fortnight.

Their first try came on 11 minutes when Ben Stead forced his way through, and the lead was soon doubled after Dave Eccleston dived through a gaping hole in Raiders’ back-line. Stead converted to put the score on 10-0.

West Wales were close to getting a try back midway through the first half after winning a repeat set near to the North Wales line. Ash Bateman was close following a good run from Archie Snook, but the ball was forced off him when diving for the line.

Crusaders made them pay. From the resulting scrum, a 90-metre set culminated in Warren Thompson scoring under the sticks and Stead converting.

Raiders hit back on the half-hour. Regaining the ball on halfway after Snook bravely collected a kick from close range, Phil Cowburn sneakily slipped the ball back to Mitch Shaw who dived under the sticks. Cowburn converted.

Photo by Darren Harries

Crusaders struck back when Steven Roper couldn’t believe his luck and even hesitated when he saw a gap he could easily run through to score a try. He added the extras himself.

There was controversy with the next score. The referee initially awarded a scrum to Crusaders but after consultation, he gave Crusaders a penalty and Matthew Reid scored from that set.

And it went from bad to ridiculous on the half-time hooter after Sam Baker spilled the ball inside his own goal area allowing Alex Eckley to touch down easily. Roper missed both kicks but Crusaders were 30-6 up.

They added to their lead on 47 minutes in a try they had to work hard for. Raiders were defending well but Joe Ryan finally managed to break through before Lewis Fairhurst converted.

Raiders were unlucky not to a try back on the hour when Baker was pushed into touch when diving for the line. Crusaders went straight back up-field and after winning a penalty, Dante Monte-Samuels crashed over. Fairhurst’s kick just made it through the posts despite the wind taking it wide and Crusaders were 42-6 up.

There were five full Wales internationals in the game, two of them with Crusaders, but it took until the 68th minute before one got on the scoresheet. Rob Massam, the North Wales winger was sent over in the corner. Fairhurst missed the kick.

Then, after regaining the ball from kick-off, one of the West Wales trio scored and it was typically Steve Parry, diving low from dummy half. Cowburn sliced the kick wide.

In the set after that was a rare Crusaders error. Snook did well to beat his marker to score, much to the delight of his mother on the PA system! Cowburn converted.

But it was Crusaders who ended on a high as Massam crossed for two more in the left corner. Shaw did cross for Raiders in the last move of the game but it was chalked off for a forward pass.

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Town too good for Dafen

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DAFEN Seconds suffered defeat on Saturday (Aug 17) as they were beaten by Briton Ferry Town.

The game was reduced to 40-overs a side because of earlier rain and when Dafen won the toss they elected to field.

However, Briton Ferry racked up an impressive score of 225-4 in those 40 overs.

Amar Waseem and Neil Baggridge shared 146 runs for the first wicket as both reached their half centuries.

Waseem fell for a score of 68 and Baggridge for 63 as Dafen looked to hit back and keep the runs down.

Adeel Khan made a score of 22 while Aman Tasnem made 25 from 14 balls with a four and two sixes before he was run out.

Photo by Darren Harries

Adrian Mainwaring then finished not out on 27 as Dafen were set 226 to win the game.

Dafen lost Oliver Evans early on to the bowling of Nabel Iqbal and he also claimed the wickets of Harvey Jones (12) and Jonathan Griffiths (14).

He then claimed a fourth with the wicket of Luke Dunning as Dafen’s reply faltered.

Rhys Marchant made a score of 14 before being bowled by Mumtaz Hussain and he also claimed a further three wickets.

Aadil Mukhtar hit three fours and a six in his score of 22 but he was then bowled by Adeel Khan.

Andrew Herbert finished unbeaten on 15 but it wasn’t enough as Dafen were bowled out for 133.

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Llanelli close the gap

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LLANELLI closed the gap to second placed Tata Steel on Saturday (Aug 17) as they beat them by eight wickets.

Llanelli elected to field on winning the toss and they were able to bowl Tata out for 117.

Chris Thomas trapped Kelvin Bartle leg before early on and Steven Devonald did the same to Rohan Herbert to leave the visitors on 13-2.

Morgan Jones and Martin Lewis then made a good partnership worth 57 runs.

That was brought to and end though as Lewis was caught by Rhidian Morgan off the bowling of Iwan Rees.

Jones had made a score of 38 but he was then bowled by Jac Rees as Tata slipped to 72-4.

That became 78-5 when Phillip Taylor was trapped leg before by Iwan Rees.

The same bowler then had Joseph Crocket caught by Morgan as wickets continued to fall.

The score soon read 94-7 as David Richards caught and bowled Sean Holley.

Photo by Darren Harries

Nathan Ferrell made a late score of 10 but then saw himself caught by Morgan off the bowling of Richards who then also had Adam Jardine caught by Devonald.

Richards then claimed his fourth as he had Damien Williams stumped by Morgan to finish with figures of 4-13.

That left Llanelli needing 118 for victory and although they lost Ioan Phillips early on in their reply they were never really troubled.

Iwan Rees and Craig Howells shared 87 runs for the second wicket to all but give the home side victory.

Howells hit eight fours and a six as he scored 50 but he was then caught by Morgan Jones off the bowling of Damien Williams.

Rees and Ryan Nicholas then saw their side to victory with Nicholas finishing unbeaten on 19 with two fours and a six from his 14 balls faced.

Rees finished not out on 33 as Llanelli reached their target with plenty of time to spare.

The win moves them to within 14 points of second placed Tata Steel with two games remaining.

The first of those games takes place on Saturday (Aug 24) when Llanelli travel to Bronwydd. They then finish the season at home to third placed Maesteg Celtic.

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