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Winter Nationals success for Pembrokeshire swimmers

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY SWIMMING (PCS) took away 13 medals from the Swim Wales Winter Nationals held at the Wales National Pool over the weekend of Friday (Dec 1) to Sunday (Dec 3).

The National championships were an opportunity for the countries best swimmers to post times as they aimed to achieve qualification for the Commonwealth Games next year on the Gold Coast, Australia.

The Pembrokeshire team, led by coach Craig Nelson and his Assistant Sam Jones returned with five gold, four silvers and four bronze medals, where Jones proudly commented: “Overall the Championships were another great display from the swimmers, as they developed our success from the Summer Open Meet in August.

“These results ensure we are now seen as a force to be reckoned with in Wales as we were competing against the best in Wales at all age groups and it was the first experience for our newest squad members to compete at this level.”

The Pembrokeshire coaches have also worked hard to build a team spirit off the pool deck, where the training sessions whilst being physically challenging are times when there is also an opportunity for some rest and recuperation.

“Sunday was Funday at the Championships” laughed Jones “and we were definitely one of the teams who entered into the Christmas spirit, where swimmers, coaches, parents and Swim Wales officials from the County dressed in their Christmas clobber.

“Such opportunities build the confidence and enjoyment of the whole squad and the hours of training the swimmers put in are rewarded in the window of opportunity when we can all enjoy the moment, before returning to the rigours of training and focusing again, even with Christmas approaching.”

Swim Wales Winter Welsh Meet 2017 Finals Results

Rory Andrews: (11-12) 50m Freestyle 7th; 200m Butterfly Silver medal; 200m Freestyle Silver medal;  100m Freestyle Bronze medal; 50m Freestyle 8th

Sean Barrett: (14-15) 50m Breast stroke Bronze medal; 200m Butterfly 4th; 100m Breast stroke Gold medal

Charlotte Whalley: (13-14) 200m Backstroke Silver medal; 200m Freestyle 8th; 50m Freestyle 7th; 100m Backstroke Gold medal; 50m Backstroke Gold medal

Arabella Haley: (15-16) 200m Backstroke Gold medal

Henry White: 200m Backstroke (13-14) 8th

Rhys Davies: 200m Backstroke (open) Gold; 100m Breaststroke 4th; 50m Backstroke 5th

Louisa Twigg: 200m Butterfly (15-16) Bronze Medal; 200m IM Silver medal; 200m Breast stroke Bronze medal

Josh McDowell: (11-12) 200m IM 7th; 100m Breast stroke 4th

Bethan Jones: (13-14) 50m Butterfly 8th

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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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