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Rooks ready for Grave semi

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CAREW take on Giants Grave tonight (Mar 27) with the Rooks looking to go one better than last season when they were beaten by eventual winners Goodwick United in the semi-final.

Their game will take place at the home of Garden Village in Swansea but assistant manager Jeremy Griffiths says the side are not fazed by having to travel there and that they are ‘looking forward to it’.

A few of Carew’s players have already played at Garden Village for the County side but for a number of the players it will be a new experience.

Carew played Giants Grave in the quarter finals last season and earned a 5-2 win but conditions are likely to be a bit different this time around.

Opponents Giants Grave play their football in the Neath Premier Division and are currently sitting ten points off the leaders with three games in hand.

They have nine wins from their 12 games so far this season and only have one defeat on their record.

Giants Grave were beaten finalists in the 2012-13 season when they lost to Dafen Welfare and that remains their only final appearance to date.

Carew have reached the semi-final for the second successive season after last reaching the final in the 70s and they will be looking to make it an all Pembrokeshire League final.

Route to the final

Having reached the last four last season, Carew received a bye for the first round and began their run to the semis in round 2 where they were drawn away to Burry Port.

Two goals each from Jordan Richards and Scott Ferney and another from Lloyd Hughes saw them to a 5-2 win over the Carmarthenshire League Division 1 side.

In round three the Rooks took on Loughor Rovers and eased to an 8-0 win with Hughes scoring four and Jordan Richards scoring a hat trick. Ferney grabbed the other goal.

Shaun Whitfield, Sam Christopher, Scott Ferney and Jordan Richards each scored in round four to earn a 4-0 win for the Rooks away at Maltsters Sports.

In the last eight, Carew played Mumbles Rangers at home and they came from two goals down to win 3-2 with brothers Sam and Jack Christopher on the score sheet alongside Whitfield.

Jordan Richards and Scott Ferney have been in good form in the Cup and the pair will be looking to bring the Giants down.

Giants Grave began their Cup campaign away at Llangennech and needed extra time before earning a 2-1 win.

In the second round they beat Carmarthen Stars 3-1 at home thanks to goals from Richard Barnes, Dean Evans and Ross Hudson. They then beat Trallwm by the same scoreline three days before Christmas.

The Carmarthenshire sides kept coming for Giants Grave as they played Bwlch Rangers in Round 4 but Grave earned a 3-0 win.

They then beat fellow Neath Premier Division side Bryncoch 2-1 in the quarter finals to reach the last four.

What they say

The Herald spoke to members of the Carew team ahead of the game to find out how they were feeling.

Carew’s Assistant Jeremy Griffiths added that it ‘will be nice to go somewhere different’ having already played on the Bridge Meadow recently in the Senior Cup Semi-final and added that it would be excellent if they got to the final.

He said: “We played Giants Grave in the quarter finals last season and beat them 5-2 at our place but we are expecting it to be a lot tougher this time.”

Giants Grave tweeted that they have two coaches booked for their game and that they were ‘looking forward to playing Carew once again’.

The final will take place at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea on Tuesday, May 7.

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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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