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Crusaders march into Welsh Final

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THE Cleddau Crusaders have reached the Welsh final of the Natwest U19T20 competition after defeating Pwllheli Penguins in a dramatic bowl out at the Swalec Satdium on Sunday (Sept 10).

The Crusaders emerged victorious in the same way from a quarter final against Clydach Crusaders, triumphing 10-5 to set up a final against Maesteg Celtic Warriors.

With two point for hitting the wickets if the ball bounces and one if it is a direct hit the Crusders got off to a dream start as Noah Davies collected four points from his two deliveries, followed up with two point hauls from Aled Phelps, skipper Phil Llewellyn and Quarter Final hero Toby Asson.

Llewellyn won the toss and elected for his bowlers to take first shy at the stumps and the pressure they applied on their North Walian opponents ensured victory.

Accompanied on the journey by a loud and vociferous support from the two villages of Hook and Llangwm the crowd was swelled as exiles now living in and around the capital city made their way to the home of Glamorgan County Cricket Club.

Having triumphed in a curtailed tournament as Pembrokeshire champions the Crusaders are putting the County name out across Wales, where one exile in attendance, Richard ‘Isaac’ Hughes explained further: “I played for both village teams when I was living in Pembrokeshire and I just had to get down and support the boy’s efforts. It’s about making memories for them and they have had the opportunity to perform today at a Test match ground.

“The weather has unfortunately curtailed that but hopefully their enthusiasm for the game and perhaps aspiration to be the next Andrew Salter may flourish.  Personally, I’ve had a great day catching up with old friends in Evan Martin, Keith James and Dai Davies, who was my first captain when I played for Llangwm 2nds back in the distant past.”

Coach Alistair Platten said he was “proud of all the players today, where we had wicketkeeper Tom Carrington travelling from his school in Sheffield to ensure we were at full strength. This isn’t just about the players now as the hard work of Chairman Phil Griffiths, my fellow coach Jamie Phelps alongside our PR ‘guru’ Lyn Thomas and Joy James have galvanised the two villages support.”

The Crusaders are now preparing their stampede to Pontardullais for the Wales Natwest U19T20 final on Sunday (Sept 17) when a supporter’s bus will operate for those who wish to attend. Further details available from Phil Griffiths on 077974180308.

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Nigel Owens hosts virtual rugby quiz for Pembroke Panthers

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PEMBROKE Panthers RFC enjoyed a rugby return during lockdown after winning a competition which saw international referee Nigel Owens host their own virtual clubhouse quiz, thanks to Principality Building Society.

The women’s squad at the Pembroke club beat more than 1000 entries to win Principality’s Clubhouse Quiz competition. With many clubs affected by widespread flooding at the start of this year and now closed indefinitely due to coronavirus, the building society is continually looking for ways to support grassroots rugby clubs in Wales.

Pembroke Panther Lucy Neale, 30, entered her team with the hope of bringing the players together online. She said: “We’d usually see each other up to five times a week between training sessions, matches and socials, so it’s been a really strange time. I thought I’d enter the club thinking it would be a nice pick-me-up for us all, but never actually expected to win so it was an amazing surprise.”

The team were tested on their rugby knowledge by world cup referee Nigel Owens over video conferencing platform Zoom, where players won tickets to Welsh internationals at Principality Stadium, signed rugby shirts and balls, and tickets for a tour around Principality Stadium. The quiz included a guest appearance from former Welsh international Tom Shanklin.

Lucy continued: “It was such a memorable and special evening for us all. We’re usually quite a lively bunch but we behaved well for Nigel. We’re so thankful to Principality for putting on the quiz and allowing us to enjoy this once in a lifetime experience as a team.”

As sponsors of Principality Stadium and the National Youth Leagues for grassroots clubs in Wales, Principality has a strong relationship with the Welsh Rugby Union and knows how much rugby means to communities across the country. With matches on hold currently, the building society wanted to be able to bring the buzz of the clubhouse to the home.

Clubhouse Quiz host, Nigel Owens, said: “Principality’s Clubhouse Quiz was a fantastic way to bring one team closer together and Pembroke Panthers really showed off their rugby knowledge. Rugby plays such an important role in Welsh communities and I know they’ll be missing the action on the field right now, so it was lovely to have been part of this experience to bring this team together. Thankfully, I didn’t have to sin bin any of them either.”

Julie-Ann Haines, Chief Customer Officer at Principality Building Society, said: “Many rugby clubs across Wales have had a really difficult year, with flood damage to pitches and clubhouses now followed by coronavirus. This was our chance to recreate the camaraderie of the clubhouse for one team and we hope that it brought plenty of laughs and memorable moments for Pembroke Panthers at this challenging time.”

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Wales v Scotland postponed

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WALES’ Six Nations match at home to Scotland on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The two other Six Nation fixtures had already been postponed and no date has been confirmed to complete the 2020 Championship.

The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted earlier on Friday the game would “go ahead as planned”.

A WRU statement read: “The Welsh Rugby Union has maintained an open dialogue with, and continued to seek advice and direction from, the National Assembly for Wales and other stakeholders, including the Six Nations, on this fast-moving issue.

“Whilst medical advice remains consistent, we have decided that it is in the best interests of supporters, players and staff to fall in line with recent measures taken across the UK and global sports industries.

“The WRU would like to thank all parties for their counsel on the subject and will make further announcements with respect to rescheduling the fixture in the coming days.

“Every effort has been made to stage this game and we appreciate that individuals will have been inconvenienced. Given the fluid and unprecedented nature of this issue a postponement became the only viable option.”

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Domestic football at all levels in Wales suspended

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THE FOOTBALL Association of Wales has today (13 March) taken the decision to suspend domestic football at all levels in Wales with immediate effect until April 4 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The intention at this time will be to resume the football schedule depending on the medical advice and conditions from the relevant authorities at that time.

The FAW is fully aware of the impact this will have on the domestic game but the health and safety of all fans, players, volunteers and stakeholders are of paramount importance.

The FAW will continue to monitor this situation on a day-by-day basis and will continue to provide updates when appropriate.

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