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Mariners battle past Wasps

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MILFORD Haven kept hold of top spot in League 3 West A as they made their way to a 34-12 win away at Llangwm on Saturday (Jan 27).

The main pitch at Pill Parks was unplayable due to the heavy rain but the reserve pitch was deemed playable by the referee.

There was a scrappy start to the game with both sides guilty of giving the ball away while Llangwm also defended well in the opening stages.

Indeed, the home side could have taken the lead with just five minutes on the clock but Luke Hayman’s penalty went wide of the posts.

Milford began to put the pressure on after that miss and came close with a driving maul but gave the ball back to the home side following an infringement.

Llangwm had the lineout but Milford stole the ball back and a good run from Jimmy Thomas almost got them but he was halted and passed to Jamie Lewis but Llangwm did well to tackle him out of play.

They continued to look for the opening score and it finally came with seventeen minutes on the clock as Craig Smith found Dan McClelland who in turn fed the ball out wide for Lee Riley who scored down the right hand side.

A last ditch tackle to try and prevent the try resulted in Riley needing treatment and he was taken off to be replaced by Craig Barnett.

The conversion from McClelland was wide but it wasn’t long before they doubled their lead as another maul saw them go over the line with Captain Adam Rees credited with the touch down.

McClelland again tried his luck in the difficult conditions and was unlucky to see his kick bounce down off the crossbar.

There followed a period of play where neither side could gain the upper hand with Milford again going close after Llangwm were penalised for pulling the man down only for the home side to win the ball back and clear their lines.

With the first half coming to a close the Mariners looked to increase their lead once more and they were rewarded when Mark Wonnacott forced his way over for the try.

McClelland’s conversion was again wide and the referee blew for half time with the Mariners leading 0-15.

Llangwm had a good spell at the start of the second half and Milford had to be at their best to keep the home side out.

Having weathered the early storm Jimmy Thomas was sent free to score his side’s fourth try to earn a crucial bonus point and McClelland was successful with his first conversion from four attempts.

Four minutes later they had another try as Ben Groves found Barnett who in turn found Thomas once more who went over for his second try of the game. The conversion again went wide of the posts.

Llangwm again looked to respond with Josh Hicks going on a bursting run only to be halted by the Milford defence.

The home side battled well and came agonising close to a first score of the afternoon but they lost the ball with the line just inches away.

Milford then picked the ball up and Barnett found Craig Smith who ran half the length of the field, despite cries of a forward pass from the home bench, to score and McClelland added the extras for a 34-0 lead.

The Wasps never gave up and with five minutes to go their play was rewarded as they were gifted the ball by a knock on from Milford whilst defending their own try line.

Try: Llangwm score the first of their two tries

From the resulting scrum, Dan Chesmer made a burst for the line and bundled his way over, much to the delight of the home crowd. Hayman then added the conversion to add some respectability to the scoreline.

There was still time for another try and Jason Mock made his way over and although Hayman missed the conversion, the score was no more than they had deserved.

The win for the Mariners keeps them top of the table with second placed Pembroke just four points behind.

Llangwm are next in action on Saturday, February 10, when they travel to Pembroke while Milford’s next game takes place on Saturday, February 17, when they host Cardigan.

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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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