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Harriers selected for Mini Marathon

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WELSH Athletics have named their team of thirty-six who will head to the Virgin Money Giving London Mini Marathon races in 2019.

The Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 28, 2019 and is the official British Athletic three-mile road championships for young athletes aged between 11 and 17.

The race is open to entrants from the nine regions of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, and teams from all 33 London Boroughs.

It kicks off the day’s action in the English Capital as early as 8.40am before the main 26.2 mile London Marathon starts half an hour later.

A new selection was in place this year as each of the four regions in Wales held time trial events in January over 3000m. The winners from the South, East, West and North were guaranteed a selection spot whilst the final two spots were decided on the fastest times across the under 13, under 15 and under 17 age groups.

A total of five club athletes in the Dyfed district received the news recently that they’ve been selected to compete in the upcoming event, along with three reserves. For two, they will look forward to picking up their first Welsh vest and making their debuts in the English Capital.

The Under 15 boys has plenty of experience in the team which will include Carmarthen Harriers duo Liam Edwards and Dafydd Jones along with 2019 Welsh Cross Country Champion and Llanelli AAC’s Adam Beer.

Iori Humphreys (Pembrokeshire Harriers) has been named as one of the reserves should a space arise. All four have been in fantastic form over the country this winter and will aim to use the event experience to their advantage.

It has been a great cross-country season for the Carmarthen Harriers’ under 13s in the Gwent League and two of the group will join their Welsh teammates for the road trip to London. Zach Elvy and Jack Thomas both ran quick enough times in the time trials earlier this year to be selected.

Ffion Ouseley (Pembrokeshire Harriers) and Frances Mackie (Carmarthen Harriers) are the first two reserves in the under 13 girls’ category and will be ready should they be called up to the team.

For the majority of the squad, it will be an opportunity for them to test themselves against the best in Great Britain & Northern Ireland, competing against the other Celtic nations, the powerful English regions and athletes representing each of the London boroughs.

The London Mini Marathon is over the last 3 miles of the main 26.2 mile course. Hundreds of the next generation will take centre stage, following in the footsteps of their heroes including the likes of Mo Farah, Shelly Woods and David Weir.

This Weekend (Saturday, March 23), Welsh Schools will head to the annual SIAB Schools Athletic Board Cross Country International which in 2019 is hosted by Irish Schools in Dublin.

The Welsh schools squad expects to be highly placed in several of the age groups against athletes from their Celtic neighbours, with a number of experienced athletes looking to impress alongside debutants making their first appearance on the international stage.

Athletes heading to the International to wear the red vest of Wales were selected following the Welsh Schools National Cross-Country Championships, in Brecon on 13th February where the leading finishers that day were automatically chosen to be involved in this end-of-season International event.

There will be individual Junior and Intermediate races between English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish Schools as well as a new 4 x 1500m relay in the upper age group where an additional 2 boys and 2 girls will be invited to participate in this additional element.

Wales’ team includes Beer, who finished as the second Welsh athlete in 7th at the 2018 edition in Nottingham and Humphreys who was 15th at the same fixture. They will both contest the Inter Boys’ 6,000m distance.

Jones will also make the journey and start in the 4 x 1500m lap relay alongside his country teammates.

Bro Myrddin’s Frank Morgan eased to victory at the selection race in Brecon in February and after competing in the East Midlands 12 months ago, will fancy his chances in the upper year of the age group.

Rhys Llewellyn (Haverfordwest High) will join Morgan in the junior boys’ race following his seventh-place finish in Mid Wales. Ioan Cressey-Rodgers is a reserve in this category.

Harriers coaches Delyth Brown and Carol Jones are among the Welsh team managers for the trip to Northern Ireland later this week.

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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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