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Bridge preserve unbeaten run

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MERLINS Bridge moved up to second in Division 1 as they beat Narberth 2-1 in a game that was over-shadowed by a reckless tackle which sparked a brawl between both sides.

Narberth were coming into this game off the back of their first defeat following an eight game unbeaten run and were keen to get back to winning ways.

The Bridge are also on a good run and are yet to taste defeat so far this season with eight wins and two draws.

The Jesse Road pitch was deemed playable despite early rain throughout the county.

It was Narberth who took the lead early on when they were awarded a penalty and it was Tony Evans who stepped up to score.

The Wizards then equalised midway through the first half as Richard Hughes bundled the ball home.

He could have scored a second moments later when the ball was again played into the box but Richard Hughes could not get enough on the ball as he sent it wide.

Ceri Phillips then played the ball through for Dafydd Wright who went one-on-one with the Bridge keeper but he put his effort over the bar.

There was then a flashpoint in the game as a reckless tackle from Bridge player Matthew D’Ivry saw him catch the Narberth player.

Narberth’s players were unhappy with the challenge and a brawl broke out between both sets of players.

Coaches and subs from each bench had to come on to calm their sides down as referee Paul Rooney called the game off because of what had gone on.

However, both captains persuaded Rooney, who had walked as far as the penalty area, not to call the game off.

After it had all calmed down, Bridge’s D’Ivry was shown a yellow card as was a Narberth player and the game continued.

It remained 1-1 at half time but the game had been overshadowed by the bad-tempered incident.

In the second half it was Will Haworth who put the Wizards ahead with an excellent free kick from 30 yards out.

Narberth had a number of chances to score in the second half but they could not find the net.

The Wizards held on for the victory which moves them to within two points of leaders Goodwick United with both teams having played the same amount of games.

Narberth slip to third following this defeat but they felt hard done by after failing to get something out of the game.

The sides are next in action on Saturday, December 30, when Merlins Bridge are at home to Clarbeston Road, who currently sit fourth in the table.

Narberth are away in their next game as they travel to Angle for a 2:30pm kick off.

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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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