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Three horse race at the top

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GOING into the penultimate round of Cricket fixtures just seven points separates the top three teams in Division 1.

Haverfordwest hold a slender two point advantage over second placed Cresselly going into Saturday’s (Aug 18) fixtures.

Not to be ruled out are Neyland and they face a tough test against fourth placed Whitland.

Neyland will be keen to keep the pressure on with victory knowing that they take on Haverfordwest in the last game of the season (Aug 25).

Whitland meanwhile will be aiming to keep themselves in fourth place knowing that a defeat could let in Lawrenny who take on St Ishmaels.

Haverfordwest are at home as they take on Llangwm and will be looking to put themselves in the best position possible going into that final game.

Cresselly’s last game saw them lift the Harrison Allen Trophy and they will be keen to keep up that winning momentum.

Cresselly are away to Kilgetty, who are fighting for their Division 1 survival, in what will be another exciting game.

Kilgetty are 38 points above second from bottom Burton with two games left to play and a win will see them safe and Burton relegated.

However, a win for Burton against already relegated Johnston, coupled with defeat for Kilgetty, will see them close the gap to their relegation rivals.

That will set up an exciting final day with Burton at home to St Ishmaels and Kilgetty away to Whitland.

Who will join Carew in Division 1?

In Division 2, Carew are already promoted as Champions and one of two teams will be joining them next season.

Saundersfoot currently occupy second place and hold a 36-point lead over third placed Kilgetty.

Saturday (Aug 18), sees Saundersfoot travel to Carew in what will be another excellent game. Carew may already be champions but having not lost all season, they will be determined to finish unbeaten.

Prior to last week’s games being abandoned Saundersfoot had won their last seven games, their last defeat coming against Carew, and they will be keen to show why they are gunning for promotion.

Defeat for Saundersfoot would then allow Narberth to close the gap should they beat Cresselly Seconds.

Haverfordwest Seconds sit fourth going into Saturday’s games and they will be keen to stay there with victory away to Hook. A win for Hook could see them go above Haverfordwest into fourth place.

At the other end, Whitland Seconds are already relegated but they could still have a say in who joins them in Division 3 as they host Stackpole.

Stackpole are just four points from safety and a positive result could be enough to see move out of the bottom two should Llechryd lose their game away to Pembroke.

Pembroke are not quite safe themselves with a 34 point game between them and Stackpole but a win could see them secure their Division 2 status for 2019.

Sport

Bluebirds awarded promotion to the Cymru Premier League

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Paul Davies MS and David Hughes during a visit to Haverfordwest County AFC before lockdown restrictions were introduced in Wales

HAVERFORDWEST COUNTY AFC have secured their promotion to the Cymru Premier League.

Following the Football Association of Wales (FAW) decision back in March to curtail all domestic football throughout Wales, many teams have waited in angst for clarification on how the promotion and relegation process would be decided.

The FAW, confirmed on Tuesday, June 16, using the ‘average points per game’ method that Haverfordwest County AFC had done enough to be promoted to the Cymru Premier for the upcoming 2020/2021 season.

Taking to their website to confirm the news, the club said “It is nothing less than Wayne, the coaching staff, players, board and volunteers deserve after a fantastic effort last season.

“It has been a long wait to learn our fate, but the club and its staff have worked tirelessly on and off the pitch to ensure we had as much in place as possible, and following the announcement we can now hit the ground running and prepare for next season.

“We cannot wait to welcome the best teams in Wales to The Bridge Meadow!”

Local Member of the Welsh Parliament Paul Davies has also added his congratulations to Haverfordwest County AFC on their promotion back to the JD Cymru Premier League.

Commenting on the achievement, Paul Davies said “It’s great that Haverfordwest County will once again compete in the Premier National League of Wales with the likes of The New Saints, Barry Town and newly crowned champions Connah’s Quay Nomads. The management and players have done a fantastic job in gaining promotion from the JD Cymru South League.”

“With the Conygar Bridge Meadow Stadium widely regarded as being one of the top grounds in Welsh non-league football, it’s only fitting that the Bluebirds will be back in the premier division.”

“I would also take the opportunity to thank David Hughes and Rob Davies for the work they have done as Chairman and Vice Chairman of the club respectively. I have known David for a number of years and he has worked tirelessly for the club. I’m delighted to learn that both David and Rob will stay on the Board as Robert Edwards takes over as Chairman. Their knowledge and experience will be vital moving forward into this exciting new era.”

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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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