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Otters fight back against Bargoed

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Narberth 17
Bargoed 22

Otters: Narberth’s Adam Clark battles for the ball at the line-out after an over throw.

Otters: Narberth’s Adam Clark battles for the ball at the line-out after an over throw.

TABLE toppers Bargoed had to withstand a second half siege by Narberth, as the Otters clawed back a nineteen point half time deficit to come within a score of beating the Blues in a thrilling encounter at the Lewis Lloyd ground. The Otters were the only club this season to deny Bargoed a bonus point victory, and they did it again, restricting the Rhymney Valley side to a three try total as the Blues continued their unbeaten run to seventeen games in the Championship.

The game couldn’t have got off to a better start for Bargoed as a scrum on the half way saw number eight Ross Coombes pick up and feed scrum half James Pizey. Jordan Purcell hit the line at pace from full back and the youngster jinked his way to the line, wrong-footing four Narberth defenders to score a brilliant solo effort from 35 metres. Josh Prosser added the extras and the scoreboard was ticking over after only two minutes.

Both sides were clearly up for a fluid game but defences were on top until just before the half hour mark, when Bargoed extended their lead. Narberth were caught offside and Prosser pinned them back in their twenty-two. A clean catch and drive saw the forwards go close, Coombes broke from the back and slipped a pass to wing Lewis Protheroe who twisted out of a tackle by a Narberth second row and his strength took him over for a try. Prosser again adding the extras.

Referee Jon Hardy, having a fine afternoon with the whistle, warned the Narberth captain after the penalty count started to mount. Prosser again opted to kick to the corner rather than take a fairly simple shot at goal. The inevitable catch and drive came on but was halted. Geraint Edmunds took it on and as he went down slipped a pass to quick thinking prop Keiron Brown and over he went for the Blues’ third try. Prosser missed his only kick of the afternoon to make it 0-19.

Prosser and Narberth outside half Ianto Griffiths swapped penalties in the final two minutes of the half and the game looked over for the home side at 3-22.

Bargoed started strongly following up a deep kick into the Narberth twenty two and charging down the clearing kick. The ball could have gone anywhere but it fell kindly for retreating Narberth centre Steve Martin who took the ball in what would have been an offside position had he not been played onside by the Bargoed charge down. The Otters surged up-field where they scored from a driving maul, flanker Stuart Worral taking advantage of a big blindside gap to score in the corner. Ianto Griffiths converted well from the touchline and Narberth were back in the game at 10-22 with only five minutes of the second half gone.

Two minutes later referee Jon Hardy having issued the earlier warning yellow-carded Narberth replacement prop Ollie Evans for a ruck infringement and equalled matters up five minutes later with Bargoed’s Geraint Edmunds getting the same treatment. Neither side could take advantage but Narberth were camped in Bargoed’s half for long periods unable to break through the Blues’ defence. Time and again they battered away without success – for their part Bargoed tried and failed to get field position and as the clock ran down, worse was to follow with influential Bargoed hooker and captain Leigh Meades got a yellow for bringing down a driving maul.

Narberth sniffed a way back and called a scrum from the penalty which the Bargoed seven repelled magnificently. However, Narberth got to within a score of Bargoed’s lead with a 79th minute try from wing Lawrence Headlam converted by Nick Gale. There was still time for a restart and the Bargoed supporters looked on nervously as they retained possession from the restart and cleared into touch to make it seventeen in a row as they ran out 17-22 winners.

Narberth sit in sixth position and travel to Llanharan on January 28.

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Signed Wales shirts gifted to RNLI go up for auction

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FOLLOWING a winning start to the Six Nations Tournament, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) have scored a winning try for the RNLI, gifting six signed rugby shirts to help save lives at sea.

Each rugby shirt has been signed by the full WRU squad and are accompanied by a certificate of authentication – a winning prize for any Welsh rugby fan.

To avoid a ruck for the WRU shirts the charity has placed all six signed shirts on an online auction, ensuring a fair game for all who wish to win the golden prize. The auction will be live until Wednesday, March 31, which allows plenty of time for supporters to bid for the team in red.

Each signed shirt includes Wales Captain, Mumbles RNLI supporter and the most capped international player of all time Alun Wyn Jones; as well as Louis Rees-Zammit, the Man of the Match in the nail-biting Scotland v Wales game.

Nick Evans, RNLI Fundraising and Partnership Lead said: ‘On behalf of the charity I would like to say a big thank you to the Welsh Rugby Union for donating these fantastic prizes to the RNLI. RNLI volunteers are on call 24-7 and are often called away from important events such as family celebrations – or international rugby tournaments – to respond to the pager if someone is in trouble at sea.

‘Like all charities, 2020 was a challenging year for the RNLI when all traditional fundraising had to stop – all our shops were closed, there were no collections and all events had to be cancelled. This is why we at the RNLI are so grateful to all the team at WRU for their ongoing support. The auction is now live and we would like to encourage all Wales rugby supporters to throw the RNLI a lifeline and place their bid for the winning prize.’

To place a bid or find out more about the charity auction please visit https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/rnliwru.

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Five subs to be allowed for JD Cymru Premier clubs

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THE FAW’s National Leagues Board has confirmed that JD Cymru Premier clubs will be permitted to make five substitutions in matches, in accordance with the Laws of the Game, until the end of the 2020-21 top-flight season.

FIFA extended the use of the rule, which was first introduced following the COVID-19 outbreak, citing “player welfare” as part of the reason for the temporary amendment to Law 3 of the Laws of the Game.

FIFA stated that “Some competitions which resumed in 2020 may have a shorter-than-usual recovery/preparation period before the start of their next season.”

“For many competitions, the 2020/21 season will involve matches being played in a condensed period due to a delayed start and the inability to end later than usual because of major international tournaments.”

With the JD Cymru Premier set to restart on March 2, the National Leagues Board has approved the use of the rule in the JD Cymru Premier until the end of the current campaign.

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Haverfordwest County’s remaining phase 1 fixtures released

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HAVERFORDWEST County will return to action on Saturday, March 6, with a home game against Cardiff Met University.

The JD Cymru Premier has been granted elite status by the National Sports Group once again and the FAW has announced the rescheduled fixtures.

The first fixture upon the return will see Newtown AFC host Penybont on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 live on Facebook via Sgorio’s platforms.

Bala Town travel to The New Saints on Sgorio on March 6, 2021 with a 5pm kick off.

This will be followed by a full host of fixtures on Saturday, March 6, 2021.

The new calendar sees clubs play their final six matches of Phase One, which is now due to be completed on April 4, 2021.

Haverfordwest County’s remaining fixtures for phase 1 are listed below.

March 6 – 14:30

Haverfordwest County FC v Cardiff Met University FC

March 9 – 19:45

Aberystwyth Town FC v Haverfordwest County FC

March 13 – 14:30

Haverfordwest County FC v The New Saints FC

March 20 – 14:30

Connah’s Quay Nomads FC v Haverfordwest County FC

March 27 – 14:30

Newtown AFC v Haverfordwest County FC

April 2 – 17:00

Penybont FC v Haverfordwest County FC

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