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Wizards sink Swifts to set up Carew final

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MERLINS Bridge set up a Senior Cup Final date with Carew as they beat Monkton Swifts 3-0 at the Bridge Meadow on Tuesday night (Mar 19).

Both sides named strong line-ups for the game, determined to make it into the final, but it was the Bridge who proved the stronger as they exacted revenge for a 5-1 league defeat to the Swifts earlier in the season.

A good crowd gathered to watch the game despite persistent light rain throughout the evening.

A minutes silence was also held prior to kick off in respect of former Merlins Bridge player Denzil (Tally) John, who sadly passed away.

The Wizards had previously beaten Monkton 3-0 in the West Wales Cup and from the first whistle it was clear that they were in a confident mood.

Adam Hawkins and Nathan Greene linked up well but when Greene was tackled the ball fell to Laurie Haworth whose shot was saved.

Hawkins then saw a shot saved after he had been put through and he then played a one-two with Jordan Thomas whose shot hit the post.

Monkton then had their first chance as James Russell won a 50-50 but he saw his shot blocked wide for a corner.

All that action came in the first five minutes and it set the tone for the rest of the game with both sides coming close to opening the scoring.

The Bridge then came close again when Dai Davies sent Greene through but he flashed his shot across goal and wide.

With half an hour gone Russell came forward but dwelt on the ball too long leaving Dylan Davies and Ben Steele frustrated after both made good runs.

Blake James then saw a cross go straight into the arms of Bridge keeper Gary Thomas who then also saved Davies’ deflected shot.

With seven minutes to go until half time, the Wizards took the lead as Laurie Haworth turned excellently in the left corner and ran into the box before crossing for Hawkins who fired in to the roof of the net.

Five minutes later they doubled their lead as Ashley Beck played the ball through for Haworth who poked the ball past Swifts keeper Michael Murray to make it 2-0.

Monkton looked to respond but a corner on the stroke of half time from Chris Richards went out over the bar.

It left the Division 1 leaders with a mountain to climb in the second half and they knew they would need an early goal if they were to get back into the game.

Ten minutes in the Wizards had the first real chance of the half as Haworth won the ball and crossed for Beck but he shot wide.

On the hour mark Monkton won a free kick on the edge of the D but Steele’s free kick bounced back off the wall.

The Bridge won a series of corners which came to nothing and when Monkton looked to break off one, Hawkins made a desperate lunge to try and stop the attack. He was booked for his challenge which may have done more harm than good as he was then replaced by Will Haworth.

With twenty minutes to go sub Ryan Griffiths crossed into the box but Russell’s looping header was comfortably claimed by Thomas.

Moments later it should have been 3-0 as a slip allowed Greene in but he fluffed his lines and scuffed his shot wide.

The Swifts continued to look for a way back into the game and when Steele went down in the box he was adamant he had been pushed but referee Angus Scourfield waved away his prolonged protests.

Davies then saw a shot saved and then came perhaps their best chance of getting back into the game as a good move found Richards but Davies could only head wide from his cross.

They were soon made to pay for their missed chances as Laurie Haworth found Greene in the box who knocked in to all but seal the win.

Greene and Matthew D’Ivry were then taken off in a double change, perhaps with one eye on the West Wales Cup semi-final with Hakin next week.

The game had been won but Monkton’s Josh Richards, who had only came on in the second half, let his frustrations get the better of him late on as he overstepped the mark and saw red for his language.

Merlins Bridge saw the game out and will now look forward to the final with Carew. That game will take place on Saturday, April 20, again at the Bridge Meadow Stadium.

Speaking after the match, Merlins Bridge boss Matthew D’Ivry said: “We are really pleased with the result. We were confident that if we played to our abilities that we would get the result.

“We were confident on the back of the season we have had so far, having only had one loss to Monkton. It wasn’t about getting revenge, but more about us achieving what we had set out to do.

“Last night our experience in the bigger games shone through and that gave us the edge.”

Sport

Pembrokeshire Youngsters experience ‘Fit, Fed, Fun’ camps

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THE Welsh Rugby Union is setting new standards within world sport with its recently launched rugby-themed “Fit, Fed, Fun” camps to support children and families throughout Wales during the school holidays.

This new initiative is being run in partnership with WE Soda, the world’s largest producer of natural soda ash which is an essential ingredient used in the manufacture of many everyday sustainable products such as glass, detergents and electric vehicle batteries.

The WRU “Fit, Fed, Fun” camps are free to attend and are running throughout Wales this summer during the school holidays, feeding thousands of children in some of the nation’s most under-resourced areas.

The camps are open to all children, but will specifically target children who will benefit from free meals as well as the fun activities on offer.

The programme will be gradually expanded over the next three years and has the objective of reaching all areas of Wales by 2025, providing around 600 camps each year. In this first year, the camps are already on target to support more than 8,000 children across 165 camps already planned in Pembrokeshire, Bridgend, Newport, Conwy, Powys, Gwynedd, and the South Wales valleys.

Feeding the children a hearty breakfast and lunch is a key focus of the camps, with rugby coaching and fun activities for children of all ages and abilities hosted by experienced WRU-trained staff. As part of the programme, the children will also learn about the benefits of looking after their community and the environment.

The initiative is only able to work on such a large scale due to close collaboration with local authorities and regional community foundations and with funding provided by WE Soda, the community partner of the WRU.

Princes Gate Mineral Water, the official water supplier to Welsh rugby, are providing natural mineral water and all food at the camps is sourced locally.

“Our first priority is to ensure no child attending goes hungry or thirsty,” said WRU community director Geraint John.

“From our experience with the first camps trialled this Easter, we noticed some children were arriving hungry and so we have now introduced a hearty breakfast to start the day. Feeding the children is very important to us and we have worked hard to provide quality healthy meals that all the children enjoy.

“The children will learn about looking after their community and the environment, with a focus on recycling and reducing waste.

“And of course there is a strong rugby element too.”

The camps are aiming to reach a more diverse group of children than ever before, groups which rugby may not have previously touched.

Learning whilst having fun is also a key element of the programme.

“The response to WRU “Fit, Fed, Fun” has been hugely successful so far and we could fill the places on our camps many times over, but our primary ambition is to provide support to those who need it most,” said John.

The “Fit, Fed, Fun” camps will be run at rugby clubs, sports centres, schools and local authority venues across Wales, with each event specifically targeting those children and groups who will most benefit from the programme.

The camps run alongside a separate provision for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) being delivered as part of the WRU’s broader community rugby initiatives and inclusion strategy which forms a key part of the WRU ‘Jersey for All’ campaign to make rugby more accessible for all. This initiative is also funded and supported by WE Soda.

John added: “We talk about there being a ‘Jersey for All’ in Welsh rugby and this programme is about making that statement a reality for children of all abilities across our nation, ensuring that the opportunity to get involved with the game really is there for everybody.

“We are hugely grateful to WE Soda in particular for their support and partnership in this incredibly important initiative. I would also like to expressly thank our regional community foundations for their continued help and support in in our delivering this programme.”

WE Soda, headquartered in the UK, became the community partner of the WRU in March 2022. Commenting on the various community initiatives being supported by WE Soda, Alasdair Warren, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are providing fun rugby-based activity camps and community support to some of the most underrepresented groups in Wales.

“Welsh rugby’s values are a perfect fit for our business and together we are using rugby as the vehicle to make positive social change in Wales.

“This is much more than just a participation initiative, it’s about getting involved and really supporting the community. Alongside important educational messaging about environmental responsibility, recycling and waste reduction, we are delighted to be involved in an initiative which is having such a directly positive impact on the lives of children throughout the country.

“This programme puts food directly into the mouths of the children who need it most, aiming to ensure that no child goes hungry during the school holidays.”

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Burton ladies beat Pembroke Dock to win Clive Huxley Cup

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BURTON ladies won the Clive Huxley Cup on Sunday, August 7, as they beat Pembroke Dock in the final.

The game was played at Stackpole and a good crowd gathered to watch two teams who had played brilliantly throughout the league season.

Pembroke Dock sat top of Division 2 while Burton were second in Division 1 and it promised to be an exciting final.

There were some excellent performances and some outstanding catches but it was Burton who came out on top.

Burton won the toss and chose to field first and they were able to restrict the Dockettes to 82-8 in their 20 overs.

Olivia James struck in the second to remove Carys Lloyd. Sian James scored 16 but she was then bowled by James.

Katie Griffiths and Ava Midgeley then shared 31 runs for the third wicket. However, Midgeley was then stumped off the bowling of Zoe Brick on a score of 14.

Soon after, Griffiths departed, having also scored 14, when she was caught by Bronwen Scale off the bowling of Finola Scale.

Finola Scale also claimed the wicket of Cheryl Hughes before Lilly Thomas bowled both Rachel Sander and Nicola Murray.

Olivia James returned and she bowled Lana Jones for a duck and to finish with excellent figures of 3-18.

Pembroke Dock ladies celebrate the catch of the match

Burton began their reply well with Finola Scale and Rhiannon Morgan sharing 45 runs for the first wicket.

Morgan was then trapped leg before by Lana Jones but the runs continued as Scale and Lilly Thomas added another 34 runs before the second wicket fell.

Thomas hit two fours but she was caught and bowled by Cheryl Hughes.

Finola Scale was joined by Bronwen Scale and the pair shared the best partnership of the match, adding 72 runs for the third wicket.

Bronwen hit four fours in her score of 30 but she was then caught by Lana Jones off the bowling of Carys Lloyd.

Ava Midgeley then bowled Rebecca Barton for a duck and Olivia James was run out as the Dock hit back late on, looking to keep the score down.

They were unable to remove Finola Scale though as she finished unbeaten on 76 which included 10 fours.

That gave Burton a score of 163-5 in their 20 overs, a lead of 81.

The Dockettes knew they would need to bat well if they were to get Burton to bat again and they made a good start with Katie Griffiths and Ava Midgeley sharing 20 runs.

Midgeley made a score of 10 but she was then bowled by Finola Scale.

Soon after, Sian James was caught by Elaine Scale off the bowling of Rhiannon Morgan and Carys Lloyd was also caught by Elaine off the bowling off the bowling of Finola Scale.

That left the Dock 33-3 but Griffiths and Cheryl Hughes added 27 runs for the fourth wicket.

Hughes hit two fours in her score of 16 but she was then bowled by Morgan.

More wickets began to fall as Rachel Sander was run out and Nicola Murray was bowled by Finola Scale for a duck.

Opener Griffiths had made her way to a score of 21 but she was then bowled by Lilly Thomas the Dock slipped to 72-7.

Louise Kitts was bowled by Thomas and Ellie Davies was run out. Olivia James then bowled Lowis Hughes and the Dockettes were all out for 83.

It meant that Burton would need just three runs to win the game. They needed just five runs to hit the winning four and Burton celebrated their cup win.

After the match, Finola Scale was named as the player of the match for her knock of 76 and figures of 3-11 and 2-10 in both innings.

Player of the match: Finola Scale
Runners up: Pembroke Dock ladies
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Rogers achieves fourth place finish at UK Strongest Man event

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PEMBROKESHIRE man Wayne Rodgers recently achieved a fourth place finish at the UK’s Strongest Man Masters tournament.

Wayne, from Mastlebridge, travelled to the event, held in Bishop Auckland, following numerous hours of training.

Competing with some of the strongest men in Great Britain, Wayne finished just half a point off the podium places.

And he is already looking ahead to his next competition, Wales’ Strongest Man, in Cwmbran on October 31.

Speaking to the Herald after the event, Wayne said: “It felt good, there were some massive lads there. I was half a point off finishing in third place. It was a shock to the system but I am chuffed with that.”

It was an incredibly tight contest with just two points separating the top four.

Among the events Wayne competed in was the Viking Press. He came third in that event with 12 reps, the winner producing 15 reps.

In the deadlift event, Wayne managed 310kg and was all set to go for 320kg, which would have been a Welsh Masters’ record, but he was just unable to complete the lift.

Wayne also did a Farmers Walk and also competed in the famous Atlas Stones event. Wayne managed 140kg but couldn’t quite get the 150kg stone up.

The final event was the car deadlift and Wayne managed to hold for 85 seconds, just five seconds off the leaders’ time.

Wayne, who works as a roofer, trains three nights a week with Pembrokeshire Powerlifting in Cresselly and is also one of the organisers of the Pembrokeshire’s Strongest Man event.

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