Roy celebrates an 'Otters' virtual awards double!

Narberth RFC 2019/20

Roy OsbornNarberth RFC are the latest club to celebrate the 2019/20 rugby season whose abrupt end was brought about by the Coronavirus epidemic – but was still worth celebrating after another successful campaign in the highly competitive Championship Division of the Welsh Rugby Union pyramid system.
The evening was organised on the ‘Zoom’ facility offered on social media, with over 30 players and officials involved after some good organisational work from points-scoring fullback/winger Nick Gale.
Unable to attend was long-serving club president  Dorian Howells, a magnificent club servant over so many years, and everyone agreed the evening was a resounding success, other than the fact that some supporters and committee members, perhaps a little long in the tooth to have yet discovered ‘Zoom’, were unable to participate! 

‘Basher’ takes charge – and is honoured too!

Rob Basher LewisAs usual at the previous club annual dinner awards evenings, the Master of Ceremonies was Rob ‘Basher’ Lewis but, unlike other years, Rob’s involvement at The Lewis Lloyd Ground was also recognised on the evening by his elevation to the role of chairman, which will have to be ratified at a forthcoming AGM.
He takes over from Dorian Phillips, who has served for successive two-year stints and it is nice to report that both stalwarts were in the first Narberth Youth team to win the Pembrokeshire Youth Cup as long ago as 1971, almost 50 years ago!
‘Basher’ thanked the club’s sponsors, ground staff, programme compiler Ken Mathias, stewardess Sheena Conbeer and bar staff,  Freeman Brawn (Announcer), supporters and everyone else who has worked tirelessly to maintain The Otters’ place at such a high level – and anyone else  who has contributed over the season.

Dorian says ‘well done’ as he steps down

Dorian PhillipsHe handed over to Dorian Phillips, who amongst other matters reported that the second XV had a successful campaign and were top of the West Wales Conference when the season was brought to a halt.
The youth team at the same stage had reached  the semi-finals of the Welsh Youth Cup and  only two days before The Lockdown had won the Scarlets’ Region Cup Final in atrocious conditions – only to be denied the chance to take on the top sides in the other regions.
He thanked everyone for their work in both these areas of the club, including James Merriman, Jason Jennings and Bill Ridge  (Second XV); Randal Evans and Shane Higgon (Youth XV), alongside the thriving youth section where a host of coaches and parents are doing terrific work.

Rugby director Sean looks back – and forward too!

Sean GaleThen it was on to Sean Gale, the club’s director of rugby and forwards’ coach, who congratulated his players for an excellent season and thanked his coaching staff for their support.
These included backs coach Deiniol Evans, Jonathan Dodd (Fitness and Defence) and Chris James (Team Manager).
He reported that at the time of the season being prematurely ended his team were in sixth place but had a game in hand over Neath and were only two points behind the former world-famous club.
Indeed, Narberth’s epic win at The Gnoll against the mighty Welsh All Blacks was one of the highlights of the season, alongside another away win at Ystrad Rhondda, never an easy place to gain success, and an epic fight back for a 20-19 home win over Cross Keys.
As Gale said, coming a possible fifth out of 14 teams in a tough section that was made even more demanding after four clubs had been relegated from the Premiership, all of whom had far more financial clout than The Otters, was a magnificent achievement, especially when one considers that prior to the season starting they had lost so many very experienced and talented players.
“But our recruitment system really paid off,”  he said, “as our new recruits all bought in to the squad and club ethos – and at the moment it appears that most of this season’s players will remain at The Lewis Lloyd Ground for the 2021/22 season.”

Roy leads award winners

Joe HutchingsTom SlaterTalented back-rower Roy Osborn had an evening to remember since his outstanding performances saw him chosen as ‘Player of the Year’ by the coaching staff and he doubled up with the ‘Most Man of the Match’ awards trophy by dint of the fact that in the 16 league matches played he was chosen for the accolade on four occasions!
The ‘Players’ Player’ award, often the most coveted at any club, was presented to Osborn’s fellow back-rower Tom Powell, for his outstanding support play and ability to create gaps with his pace – and one of the most popular awards of the evening, the ‘Club Loyalty Award’, went to long-serving prop Tom Slater, who has already racked up over 200 first-team appearances and is still going strong after overcoming a serious injury!

Josh DaviesTom PowellOther awards went to winger/centre Josh Davies as the most promising newcomer and centre Joe Hutchings for being the top try scorer after scoring six tries in a truncated season (and as ‘Basher’ commented, he had once won the award with 24 tries to show how times have changed!)
In an informal setting some wore headgear of their choice and appeared with dummies to help celebrate the birth of skipper Richard Rees’ new-born son.
Half back Jonathan Rogers led the post-presentation festivities and, judging by the ‘Zoom’ pictures it continued to be quite a night!

Narberth RFC Zoom