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40 not out for Haverfordwest Cricket Club

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HAVERFORDWEST Cricket Club celebrated the 40th Anniversary of their Clubhouse on the Racecourse on Friday (Dec 8) when over 90 people attended an event which also raised funds for Prostate Cancer.

Haverfordwest, who are the oldest cricket club in Wales and will be celebrating their bi centenary in 2024 welcomed Glamorgan CCC President Alan Jones as guest speaker, who was accompanied by the well-respected St Helens Balconier John Williams .

The Clubhouse was officially opened in 1977 by former Glamorgan captain Wilfred Wooller, although the Clubs own President Jim Williams pulled the first pint in an unofficial opening for the Town Mayor, former Club Captain and player Don Twigg MBE.

The Clubhouse extension was officially opened by Jones, who at that time in 1982 was the Glamorgan opening batsmen and his return was greeted warmly, alongside fellow guests, Mayor Alan Buckfield and his wife Gill and Pembroke County Cricket Club Chairman Paul Webb and his wife Janice.

The Mayor had welcomed guests to his Parlour for an official visit prior to them arriving for the excellent fare provided by Pete and Kay, after which Jones regaled those present with memories of his cricketing days with Glamorgan and answered numerous questions which came from the floor, hosted by MC Bill Carne.

Amongst the throng of past and present players memories were shared of Harrison Allen triumphs alongside historic days which included the opening of the current ground in 1981 when a Mayor XI, led Peter Lewis played against the Clubs First XI.

Young an Old: Alan Jones pictured with Don Twigg MBE, oldest surviving Club Captain and Evan Watts, current Welsh U13 international

This followed a game between the then Youth XI, captained by Alan Sexton taking on a ‘past players side’ in the September sunshine, captained by Alfie Webb the then Chairman of Preseli District Council.

Another game which stood out in the memories of those present was one when a Sam Whitbred Lord Taveners XI, captained by Tom Cartwright and including Jones alongside other icons of the game in 1986 when the Town were led by wicketkeeper/batsman Phil Jones.

Haverfordwest also had a strong history of touring, taking in places around Gloucestershire, Hereford and South Wales but also travelled to play Perth, the oldest cricket club in Scotland in 1979.

They went further afield in 1986 to tour America, returning unbeaten from Philadelphia where current Glamorgan CEO and former County and England opening batsman Hugh Morris was a tour member and current first team player Ben Field a youthful six year old!

The host club, Haverford based at Meirion, Pennsylvania royally welcomed the tourists with dinners, official welcomes and fun days but the cricketers ensured they reserved enough energy to record three victories.

Haverfordwest also welcomed West Indian Henderson Springer as a professional between 1992 and 1995 and won three consecutive first division titles, a Harrison Allen Bowl, DR Morris Cup, two Alec Colley Cups, an Ormond Youth triumph but lost to Briton Ferry Steel in the Welsh Cup final at Ebbw Vale.

During that period Springer accumulated 2937 runs with a highest score of 92, took 43 catches and 168 wickets, with his best being 4-5 from 815.4 overs bowled.

He was also revered as a catalyst in attracting youngsters to the Club for coaching and the Bajan, who went on to coach the West Indian side after successfully leading his native Barbados in the Currie Cup and ‘Springs’ remains in close contact with many stalwarts from ‘yester-year’.

Haverfordwest currently have four senior teams playing in the Pembrokeshire League, age group teams from their Under 19’s down to Under 9s in their ‘Blue Lightning’ Youth section and are also the current Pembrokeshire Indoor campions and will be playing Gorseinon Cricket club shortly to see who would represent Wales in the National Indoor Championships at Edgbaston.

The evening gave an opportunity for Clubs award winners to receive their trophies but the main winner was Prostrate Cancer, who received a substantial donation from the evening.

Roger Thomas, the Cricket secretary who co-ordinated the evening stated: “It’s been a super night and the laughter from young and old was great to listen to. We have donated to the Professional Players Benevolent Fund as Alan wouldn’t accept anything from us tonight and of course we are proud to contribute to the Pembrokeshire branch of Prostate Cancer.

“We couldn’t have done this tonight without the unstinting work carried out by Mark Coneybeare, our Club steward and I’m looking forward to building on the success of tonight as we approach our bicentenary in 2024 and then the 50th Anniversary in 2027.”

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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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