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Mariners edge the Blues

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MILFORD Haven moved to the top of League 3 West A on Saturday (Dec 29) as they beat rivals Haverfordwest 7-3 in a tight game.

After an evenly contested first half it was Milford who had the lead and although the Blues scored a late penalty the Mariners held on for an excellent win.

Visitors Milford are yet to lose a game this season and they started well with only the upright preventing Dan McClelland from giving his side the lead.

The Blues looked to get the first score but a strong tackle resulted in Milford winning the ball back. They went through the phases but play went back to the Blues. However, they knocked the ball on at a lineout and from the resulting play Milford’s Dan Birch bundled his way over near the posts for the opening try of the game. McClelland then added the extra two points.

The Blues responded and took a quick throw and moved the ball out to the right but a loose pass brought the move to an end.

Haverfordwest then had a man sent to the sin bin but Milford failed to take advantage with the kick not going into touch.

Milford then won another penalty but after kicking for touch they dropped the ball at the lineout.

The visitors were also reduced to 14 on the stroke of half time as try scorer Birch was shown a yellow card but Milford still held a 7-0 lead at the break.

The Blues looked to get back into it at the start of the second half but a lineout was lost to Milford and the same outcome occurred after the Mariners had cleared to touch.

Both sides had chances to go forward but lost the ball at key points as play switched from one side to the other.

On the hour mark Milford won a series of penalties but again on the second occasion the kick did not go out and the Blues went forward.

Tempers flared moments later and Milford’s David Round and Haverfordwest’s Karl Busch were both sent to the sin bin.

With eight minutes to go the Blues finally got themselves on the board as Liam Manwaring sent a penalty through the posts.

Another penalty moments after did not trouble the scorers but the Blues continued to push for a late score.

They pushed forward but dropped the ball and after winning the ball back they came forward once more but Milford defended well to keep them out.

There was still time for one last push but having worked the ball out left the ball was kicked forwards when they could have held on to it and the ball went into touch.

Milford won the resulting lineout and kicked the ball into touch to celebrate an excellent win and the double over the Blues.

Haverfordwest will look to get back to winning ways on Saturday (Jan 5) when they travel to Pembroke Dock Quins.

Milford will look to keep their winning run going as they host St Davids.

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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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