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Woodrow wins it for Hakin



HAKIN UNITED reached the second round of the Pembrokeshire Senior Cup on Saturday (Sept 16) as a Nicky Woodrow hat trick secured a 4-1 victory over Division 3 hosts Camrose at the Martin Mathias Memorial Ground.

It took the Division 1 champions 71 minutes to regain the lead through a Woodrow tap in following a rasping free kick from 25 yards out on the left hand side by Ryan Wilson, which goalkeeper Geraint Sergeant fumbled.

The goal was a crucial breakthrough for the visitors who had dominated possession throughout the game but their frustration at their own lack of quality at key times was evident.

The game, for a potential David v Goliath encounter lacked any ferocity in the opening quarter of an hour as Hakin settled into a style which worked their wing backs, Steele and Bradley Barrett into positions where as the spare man could dictate the pace and direction of play.

Both had excellent games which encouraged their team mates to keep the ball moving on a greasy surface, even playing short free kicks from which Woodrow combined with Wilson who shot wide from the right of the goal after 11 minutes.

Young Camrose centre back Callum John, sitting between the experienced Simon Gilderdale and captain Richard Nash in a back five was directed to pick up the prolific Woodrow, which he did well until the seventeenth minute when the deadlock was broken by the striker who planted a header from eight yards into the bottom left of Sergeants goal.

Barrett, Justin Harding, Adam John and Wilson had combined brilliantly in the midfield to send the ball across the pitch with one touch passing and movement which dragged Nash into going to ground on the right hand touchline, missing the flying Fawcett who whipped in the perfect cross for Woodrow to finish.

Hakin were on the front foot, forcing three corners in quick succession and it took all of Gilderdale’s experience as a Schoolboy international and Welsh Premier player to keep them at bay, with his side unable to move the ball out of their own half as the mid-point of the half passed.

Ben Aldred also began to become influential in the centre of the field combining well with Wilson and Harding before Steele was played in just before the half hour mark from wide on the right, only to fire over the top.

Camrose had been down to ten men for five minutes after winger Finn Thompson had a blooded nose after an innocuous challenge on Woodrow but on his return he created a chance from himself picking the ball up forty yards from goal and driving a right foot effort to the left of Adrian Devonald’s goal.

It gave Camrose some confidence which developed as seventeen year old Jordan Williams and Dan Phillips were not averse to standing tall in the midfield tussle whilst James Williams and Jay Johnson enjoyed picking up the loose ball.

With six minutes to go Sergeant made a smart save to his right from Harding following a sweet Steele delivery, with the goalkeepers long clearance causing Hakin centre half Daniel Armstrong to slip.

Mikey Loveridge accepted the opportunity to latch onto the mistake to round the advancing Devonald and score from the edge of the eighteen yard box despite pressure from Ryan Mansell.

The sides were equal going into the half time break and the second half followed a similar pattern to the first as Hakin dominated the play, with the home sides Thompson doing his best to drive them forward with some neat touches and dribbles.

Manager Kristian Bennett switched Steele into the centre of the field, pushing Aldred wide on the right with the former Monkton Swifts player pulling the strings which drew a continuum of free kicks for the ‘Vikings’ which they didn’t capitalise on until Woodrows tap in, just after Thompson had to be withdrawn with a recurrence of his nose bleed.

Camrose’s Sion Williams had picked up a yellow card in the first half for a late tackle but benefitted from his manager, Jamie Gilderdale’s brave change of formation which saw former Narberth star Nash push into the centre of the field as they went in search of an equaliser.

Williams found time on the ball and combined with the home sides own ‘Edgar Dravids’ James Williams who rang a track down the left side of the field which Hakin couldn’t stop.

Loveridge had a tame free kick from 20 yards saved by Devonald following Aldreds tackle on the flying ‘Dravids’ as the Hakin frustration built; Williams worked hard to keep a ball in play on the left side of the Hakin goal area to send in a cross which Nash would have relished in his Narberth prime but couldn’t direct it into the unguarded net as Mansell challenged him.

Hakin themselves had become reliant on skipper Woodrow, who was a constant outlet from dead ball situations throughout the game but he was nullified by Dan Phillips who sat in front of his defence after Gilderdales tactical switch.

Half chances fell at either end to the tireless working Loveridge for Camrose and Harding, Fawcett and Adam John for Hakin, before the blue touch paper was lit with fifteen minutes left following a bought between John and Camrose full back Johnson following the Hakin wingers lunge over the ball.

With both receiving red cards for violent conduct after exchanging more than a hand shake with each other, it raised the shackles for the final interlude as Mansell was cautioned for handball, Steele for unsporting behaviour and Camrose’s Callum John for a late tackle.

Jordan Williams had been booked for dissent after Woodrow put Hakin 2-1 ahead, which caused a five minute delay after Badger had consulted the home linesman who was flagging for offside and calmly sorted out the ensuing melee.

The nomadic Matthew Price entered the scene as Gilderdale searched for a goal to get back in the game with the former Dragons player manager running lines which allowed Loveridge, substitute Will Bateman and Nash some half chances before Harding broke free with seven minutes remaining and fed Fawcett allowing the youngster to sublimely chip Sergeant to extend the lead to 3-1.

Woodrow had a chance to complete his hat trick but was denied by a great challenge in the penalty box by Callum John, before he finally notched his third and his sides fourth in injury time.

Speaking post-match home manager Jamie Gilderdale stated: “The result didn’t reflect the game and whilst we didn’t do enough to win the game the score line flattered them. At 2-1 we went for an equaliser and they exposed the gaps we left but Dan Phillips, Simon Gilderdale and James Williams were superb. We had our half chances and our boys are far from despondent as they knew we have given a super Hakin side a game. The objective from day one this season has been promotion from Division 3 and it would be great to be sitting at the top table alongside Hakin in the not too distant future.”

Kristian Bennet was pragmatic is his analysis, saying: “We’re delighted to be in the next round. We have gone off the boil in the last two weeks and are missing the injured James Stanmore [slipped disc] and Craig Nicholson [hamstring] which has affected our tempo. Credit to Nicky and Ben who are driving forces for us and every one of the players deserve respect and praise for their performance in what could have been a ‘banana skin’ game. We are still fighting on four fronts and this young side grows with confidence each game but they may have learnt a lesson today on not being complacent as every victory has to be fought for.”

Hakin welcome South Wales Premier League side Pencoed Athletic to the Observatory field on Saturday for the second round of the FAW Cup before a league encounter at the end of the month away at Monkton Swifts.

For Camrose, they welcome Carew seconds to Folly Cross next week before they travel to Pendine at the end of the month, with the hope of reaching October with a 100% league win record.


Nigel Owens hosts virtual rugby quiz for Pembroke Panthers



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



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



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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