Rugby Reports - 27th January 2024

Lewys Gibby - scored a vital try for Narberth (Myrddin Dennis) 

Championship Division (West):


Otters battle through in vital table-topper against Brecon


Narberth 19 - Brecon 15

Narberth called upon every last ounce of energy and commitment to stage a second half recovery against Brecon that saw them maintain their proud 100% record after being tested all the way by the team in third place and being equally determined to take the honours.
Indeed, it looked as if Brecon had every chance as they deservedly led 15-6 at the interval and The Otters were struggling at the lineouts, where opposing skipper Alwyn Lee ruled the roost, and at the break down, where their back row of Osian Davies, Logan McIntosh and especially Kristian Dacey turned he ball over or gained penalties to deny Narberth attacking platforms.
But whatever coach Liam Gadd said at the interval The Otters came out looking a different side as Brecon conceded far too many penalties for high tackles, lost discipline in key areas and ran out of steam, especially in the set scrums as front-row fitness told.

Supreme defence by The Otters’ entire team

They still posed a potent threat in desperate late attempts to claw more than just a losing bonus point out of the fire but then Narberth’s defence was supreme as replacement full back Geraint Lewellyn made vital tackles alongside Hedd Nicholas and Ilan Phillips, and Aled Rees and especially Dean James covered well – and the latter earning the crowd’s praise for his ability to blast through tackle after tackle.
Half backs Lewys Gibby and Jonathan Rogers were pivotal figures as the former was heavily involved in attack and defence, whilst Rogers not only claimed 14 points with that powerful left boot but was deservedly awarded man of the match for the way he controlled play and ultimately kicked Brecon to death.
But it was up front that the game was decided as skipper Tom Powell was immense in leading by example and was closely followed by Roy Osborn and Josh Hamer, plus Richie Rees when he came on – and front rowers Brad Davies, Kyle Hamer, Tom Slater, and Ricky Guest got through an amazing amount of work.
Second rows Alex Jenkins and Will Blackburn had quiet games for them but both worked tirelessly in the home cause.
The game started badly for Narberth as they went down 7-0 as early as the ninth minute when Brecon No 9 cleverly kicked to the corner and skipper Lee was driven over for fly half Dion McIntosh, the second of coach Dale McIntosh’s sons involved, slotted the conversion.
The Otters lost Ashley Sutton with injury after he had looked ready to run the ball from deep but the game developed into a battle of attrition as The Otters were unable to build long periods of pressure and all they could muster were two penalties from three attempts by Rogers – and Brecon added a second try from one of the home side’s failures in ball retention and a kick through to the left corner saw winger Thomas Richards gain the touchdown.

Llewellyn and Gibby light the come-back touch paper

Narberth needed a little bit of magic to light a recovery and it came after 49 minutes when Llewellyn made the break for Gibby to be on hand for a trademark 25-metre sprint to the posts for Rogers to add the extras – before colly landing a penalty from the right-hand side of the field, 36 metres out, that tested his temperament to the full – and suddenly The Otters were a point ahead!
It stung Brecon into even greater attempts and they crossed the line from a corner lineout drive but The Otters held out, as they did from a few other raids, with Llewellyn getting in a try-saving tackle on one occasion after Rogers had extended the lead to four points with his fourth penalty.
The final saw Narberth as winners of an epic battle that certainly wasn’t a classic but had everyone on their toes and victory saw them sit proudly atop the table, where they have remained all season.
Narberth: Ashley Sutton:  Dean James; Ilan Phillips; Hedd Nicholas; Aled Rees: Jonathan Rogers; Lewis Gibby: Bradley Davies; Kyle Hamer; Tom Slater: Will Blackburn; Alex Jenkins: Josh Hamer; Tom Powell (Capt); Roy Osborn: Replacements: Ricky Guest, Lewis Davies; Richard Rees; Alex Williams; Geraint Llewellyn.

Skipper Tom Powell - in the thick of things for Narberth (Myrddin Dennis)

Crymych just miss out again


Crymych 24 - Ammanford 25

Ifan Davies - back with a try for CrymychCrymych had previously lost in Ammanford by 27-25 earlier in the campaign and this return fixture followed a similar pattern at Parc Lloyd Thomas as Crymych were 10-6 ahead at half time thanks to a Matthew Freebury try, converted by full back Adam Phillips as well as a penalty from the No 15 late in the half as No 10 Ifan Davies, who was making a welcome return from injury looked sharp – and Ammanford responded with two Sam Potter penalties.
Both teams found more gaps after the interval but Crymych will feel that they should have had something more to show for their efforts than a losing bonus point but that will come with experience at this higher level and in their first season in the championship this was going to happen at times.
Potter played an influential role as sliced through for a try and converted two tries from winger Emyr Lewis alongside those two firth-half penalties.
For The Preseli Men No 10 Ifan Davies and  winger Laurence Headlam scored good tries, both converted by Adam Phillps, but in the final analysis it was another narrow defeat when they will eventually gain more experience at this level and turn some of them into successes!
Crymych: Adam Phillips: Dafydd Phillips; Tomos Phillips; Ifan Phillips; Laurence Headlam: Ifan Davies; Tristan Jones: Aled Hughes; Carwyn Rees; Osian Davies: Llyr Davies; Matthew Freebury: Trystan Griffiths; Jon Hill; Carwyn Phillips (Capt). Sion Wilson; Daf Gibby; Rhys Davies, Gai Ifans; Deiniol Mathias.

Division One (West):


Brave Borderers go so close


Whitland 21 - Yr Hendy 22

Cian Evans - played well for WhitlandWhitland continue to show signs of development as they pushed fifth-placed Yr Hendy all the way before losing by a single point after a battling performance by the whole squad – and no-one typified that attitude more than Zac France-Miller as the regular winner of man of the match awards switched from flanker to prop in the club’s cause.
Also catching the eye were Lewis Tingay, Callum Evans,  Cian Evans, and skipper Benji Kirk, with full back Harry Fuller and Gino Setaro always ready to attack from the back.
The Borderers were 15-0 down at the halfway stage but scored good tries afterwards by Harry Fuller, Kieran Rees, and Gino Setaro, all converted by centre Geraint Jones.
For Yr Hendy there were tries by Dyfan Wiliams (2), Gareth Tomas and Callum Williams to assure themselves of a bonus point, one converted by Aaron Evans, but they were holding on at the end as Whitland played with plenty of commitment and plenty of skill too!
Whitland: Harry Fuller: Dom Davies; Gino Setaro; Geraint Jones; Trystan Rees: Jonathan Thomas; Rhys Nicholas. Zac France-Miller; Marc Jones; Martin Nicholas: Lewis Tingay; Benji Kirk (Capt): Dan Bennett; Cian Evans; Callum Evans. Replacements: Dan Richards; Oli Bujega; Kieran Rees.
Yr Hendy: Miles Harries: Robbie Davies; Josh Thomas; Dyfan Williams; Tom Havard: Tyler Payne; Ifan Beynon: Alex Williams; Jenson Owen; Dafydd Humphries: Iestyn Jones; Jordan Thomas:  Dean Courtney; Jordan Daniels; Gareth Thomas. Replacements: Shaun Williams; Aaron Evans; Teifion Evans; Yousif Suliman; Nathan Rees.

Division Two (West):


Seasiders bounce back to winning ways


Tenby United 23 - Carmarthen Athletic 17

Jack Gooding - centre scored a try for Tenby UnitedTenby United needed a win after the disappointing defeat the previous week and that is what they achieved against a Carmarthen Athletic who were sitting just one place below them in the section table.
The Seasiders played arguably their best rugby for a while in the opening quarter and deservedly took a 15-0 lead as their reward, starting with a Harry Rossiter penalty followed by a splendid try from Jack Gooding after almost the whole team had handled in a sweeping move before Dan Colley supplied the scoring pass and Rossiter landed the easy conversion.
Dan Colley then continued his phenomenal scoring record with a push over try but then The Seasiders were perhaps a little guilty of trying to force a final pass and lost some good chances – and after one suck move broke down neat the interval The Athletic picked up and got to the Seasiders try line for winger Morgan Morse to score a try which Zac Williams converted before also adding a penalty to reduce his team’s deficit to just 15-10.
Tenby responded positively at the start of the second half as skipper Luke Dedman found himself wide out on the flank, sold a great dummy and received the loudest cheer of the half for his rare score.
Rossiter added a penalty but after a quiet period of play The Athletic had another Morse try, this time converted by Scott Maynard to set up a tense few minutes but The Seasiders remained in control to bag there tenth win in 12 matches to stay in contention at the top – but still with the need to kill off games earlier when they have the chance!
Tenby United: Lloyd Thomas: Gwion Jones; Jack Gooding; Luke Waygood; Luke Hartland: Harry Rossiter; Tom Lewis: George Rossiter; Joe Poole; Rob Luly: Tom Barrass; Luke Dedman (Capt): Hywel Baker; Liam Pugh; Dan Colley. Replacements: Ethan Morgan; Dan Allen; Will Swales; Joe Andrews; Will James.

Seagulls’  youngsters continue their learning curve


Tycroes 27 - Fishguard & Goodwick 13

Dan Cleary - two tries for FishguardTycroes have previously only won twice in  13 league starts but a relatively young and inexperienced squad from Fishguard and Goodwick are still learning to cope with these away matches after a fair bit of travel – and were unable to record a seventh success from their 12 starts so far.
Sion Colella was skipper for the day in James Griffiths’ absence and he played his usual powerful game alongside young players like Will and Rhys Lewis, Jack and Will Delaney, Creegan Foot and Steve Goss, who was making his first team-debut.
It was centre Dan Cleary who grabbed both the Seagulls tries, one from a strong surge and the other after a clever diagonal kick by Jake Jenkins when they were playing with advantage from a penalty. Jenkins also landed a penalty as he and Max Jones tried to keep their pack moving at every opportunity.

For Tycroes, there were tries by Sam Icke, Kieron Gravel, Dan Thomas and Sion Jones to ensure a bonus points, plus two conversions and a penalty by Eldon Griffiths.
Fishguard & Goodwick: Creegan Foot: Ed Bendall; James Reynolds; Dan Cleary; Dylan Scott: Jake Jenkins; Max Jones: Will Delaney; Liam Wilkes; Iwan McVeigh: Rhys Lewis; Steve Goss: Will Lewis; Sion Colella (Capt); Jac Delaney. Replacements: Matt Driver; Ryan Foot; Joe Dunn; Richard Hunter; Dan Evans.

Mariners miss out as Saints snatch last-gasp win


St Clears 8 - Milford Haven 6

John Gostling - only try of game for St ClearsSt Clears gained a last-ditch victory over Milford Haven as Dan Griffiths landed a penalty from the last kick of the match, denying The Mariners what would have been a famous victory and reward for an all-round squad performance playing with commitment in the proud name of the club.
And if St Clears do gain a deserved promotion, they will certainly look back on this return match, after winning by 28-17 at The Obs as four points that might have done it for them.
Milford had the edge in the set-pieces from the outset as skipper Zac davies and Dewi Williams inspired their scrummaging and lineout skills – whilst The Saints showed that they could stay in contention on the pace of a back division where Daf Waters, John Gostling and Jac Howells are a real threat.
It was Gostling who scored the only try of the first half and James Trueman responded for Milford with a penalty – and added a second three points in the second period on the work-rate of an outstanding front row on the day, ably assisted by their other five forwards.
And so, the seconds ticked away until those fascinating final moments when a last desperate surge by the table-toppers saw the referee raise his arm in their favour to signal a penalty for the home club – and their joy at the final whistle, straight after the touch judges’ flags were raised, was certainly tempered by a great deal of relief!
Milford Haven: James Williams: Lee Riley; Efan Morgan; Aaron harries; James Trueman: Ollie Rothero; Dan McClelland: Ben Jenkins; Luke Ryan; Aaron Mayne: Jay Goodall; Zac Davies (Capt): Ben Groves, Dewi Williams; Ryan Mansell. Replacements: Ryan Jenkins; Dai Sweeny; Ethan Aldred; Ieuan Davies; Dean McSparron.
St Clears: Dafydd Waters: Jon Gostling; Jac Howells; Dan Griffiths; Liam Rogers: Sam  Miles; Dafydd Evans: Gary Barnes; Dan Evans; Alun Davies: Brandon Davies; Jayden Leefe: Tomos Williams; Alfie Montgomery-Rice; Jack Green. Replacements: Brandon Williams; Dafydd Page; Sion Williams; Campbell. Evans; Sion Evans.


Division Three (West):


Jack Clancy in action for Haverfordwest (William John)


Blues power pack paves the way at Pill Parks


Llangwm 15 - Haverfordwest 41

Llangwm battled as hard as always in this local derby with old rivals Haverfordwest but in the final analysis the greater experience o and power of The Blues’ pack was always going to be a telling factor as they outscored their opponents by seven tries to two.
But there were positives for this relatively young Wasps team, none more so than the try scoring of winger Jack Roberts, who came off the bench and showed his pace with his two tries, whilst Ashley James continues to shine with his all-action performances – and young No 10 Harry Makepeace, who landed a penalty, plus the experienced prop Ieuan Power, who drove forward at every opportunity.
Young winger Gary North opened The Blues’ scoring with a try converted by Archie Thomas before Scott Candler sped over on the other flank – and after Makepeace’s three points second row Paul Dungey’s try gave Haverfordwest a 19-3 interval lead.
Outstanding second row Jack Clancy opened the second half scoring for The Blues and Dungey crossed for his second score, converted by Liam Eaton, before Roberts raced away for his tries, the first converted by Makepeace, and sandwiched in was a try for Haverfordwest skipper Matty Phillips to keep his side firmly in the promotion race as some of the other results certainly went their way.
Llangwm: Dylan Philpott: Matthew Hughes; Yale Grice; Owen Jones; Ollie Gerson: Harry Makepeace; Giovanni Hutchings: Ieuan Power; Callum Jenkins; Aled Rogers: Dave Reynolds; Sam Rickwood: Max Scott-Walker; James Lewis; Ashley James. Replacements: Charlie Wilson; Ben Elrick; Flynn Tjoonk; Owen Evans; Will Ridge.
Haverfordwest: George Hopkins: Gary North; Gabriel Thicker; Iestyn Arnold; Archie Thomas: Liam Eaton; Lee Summons: Dan Berry; Jamie Zambas; Dan Murphy: Rhydian Watkins; Paul Dungey: Adam Williams; Dylan Williamson;  Matty Phillips (Capt). Replacements:  Terry Lovell; Martin York; Jack Clancy; Jarred Almond-Roberts; Michael Jones. Travelling reserve: Johnny White.

Llangwm on a charge at Pill Parks (William John)

George Evans - 100 points for Neyland (Gordon Thomas)

All Blacks ease home to deserved double


Neyland 27 - Pembroke 17

Neyland completed a deserved double over Pembroke as they followed their 24-14 victory at Crickmarren with this good all-round performance at the Athletic Ground where they established a narrow 10-7 interval lead and then kept ahead thereafter, despite a brave attempt by The Scarlets to claw their way back.

Iestyn Evans and Liam Rees helped set up the first Neyland try for George Evans, who also converted.
The Scarlets responded with a try from Josh Griffiths which Luke Alderwick converted but near the break George Evans added a penalty to complete a deserved 100 points for the All Blacks No 10 this campaign.
The All Blacks looked good in the third quarter as Matthew Coles sped through and  prop Ben James somehow popped up wide out and dived over to widen the gap to 20-7 but Pembroke, driven on by skipper Lloyd Coles and Scott Powell, fought back with unconverted tries by Alderwick and James Jones, who was later chosen as the Pembroke man of the match.
In times past Neyland might have lost focus but not anymore as their young players are well led by Owain Jones and  made the game safe with the try of the match as No 9 Owen Hamer made a break before Luke Griffiths-Dawes supported, slipped a pass to Ben James, who flipped a pass inside for Griffiths-Dawes to cross the whitewash before Evans added the extras from in front of the posts with a bonus point already in the bag.
Neyland: Jake Griffiths: Liam Rees; Akex Codd; Adam Peel; Matthew Coles: George Evans; Owen Hamer: Ben James; Alex Swales; Luke Griffiths-Dawes: Andrew Slark; Mark James: Iestyn Evans; Owain Evans (Capt); Dan Hart. Replacements: Ebs Sokoiwasa; Craig Power; Lewis Hallett; Joel Thomas; Patrick Bellerby.
Pembroke: Zach Evans: Josh Griffiths; James Jones; Rhys Johns; Barry Alderman-John: Luke Alderwick; Jarred Sherratt: Lloyd Davies (Capt); Dan Gosnold; Jamie Brayford: Dai Beynon; Scott Powell: Will Edwards; Jordan Evans; Robin Badham. Replacements: Sam Smith, Paul Muller; Darcy Langstone; S Beynon.

Scott Powell - played well for Pembroke

Quins battle back to take  revenge win


Pembroke Dock Harlequins 23 - St Davids 17

Jack Price - good try for The QuinsSt Davids looked favourites to complete a double over Pembroke Dock Harlequins as they were 17-10 in front at the interval after previously beating them 36-17 at home but Ian Osbourne’s men showed what strides they have made recently in fighting back – and perhaps The Saints were guilty of a little over-confidence as they turned down several kickable penalties in the praiseworthy search for more tries but it back-fired on this occasion as The Quins defended well and bounced back as Jack Price called the shots for them in attack
Quins’ skipper Kieran Machin opened their account with an early unconverted try but then The Saints scored three tries from good pack possession and their ability to find the whitewash via scrum half Zac Morgan, classy centre Morgan Griffiths and powerful centre Ben Joyce, one converted by full back Bob Froy.

Then The Quins also closed the first-half scoring when Ben Hathaway raced over from full back but again missed the conversion.
St Davids were always in contention after the oranges but it was The Quins who scored the points when second row Andrew Rees scored as reward for his outstanding play and after Hathaway had landed a penalty to put his team back in front it was their new second row Taylor Rees who established the chance and Jack Price needed no second bidding to score a try which went unconverted but was enough to seal a bonus-point win and leave St Davids with just a bonus point for their part in an entertaining tussle.
Pembroke Dock Harlequins: Ben Hathaway: Tom Wheeler; Gethin Bradney; Jack Price; Owain Turner: Morgan Rogers; Kieron Machin (Capt): George Bellmaine; Jordan Palmer; Andrew Edwards: Taylor Rees; Callum Jones: Danny Wilkes; Lewis Hunter; Ryan Gammer. Replacements: Alfie Ball; Craig Barnett; Jack Mallitte; Rhys Spencer; Jack Fielding.
St Davids: Harvey Godkin: Bob Froy; Ben Joyce; Morgan Griffiths; Harvey Lavin: Aaron Foster; Zac Morgan: Ethan Griffiths; Adam Williams; Ryan John: Aled Davies; James Goldsmith: Will Savage; Nathan Foster (Capt); George Raymond. Replacements: Rhys Symonds; Ian Kavannah; Mike Gurney; Andrew Groves; Noel Lyons.

All-square in top-four clash


Cardigan 15 - Laugharne 15

Shaun Leonard - scored all 15 points for CardiganThis hard-fought clash looked like ending in cardigan’s favour as Shaun Leonard landed a penalty after 83 minutes but Laugharne still found time to mount a late attack which earned a penalty on the touchline and Leon Reynolds earned them a draw with a superbly judged kick.
The first half served notice of how tight it was likely to be as the only points came from an early dropped goal by full back Shaun Leonard for The Cardies and Laugharne went in 5-3 ahead at the interval from an unconverted try.
The second half was equally uncompromising as Cardigan moved 9-5 in front thanks to two Leonard penalties but Laugharne came back when Adam Davies sniped over and Reynolds added the conversion.
Leonard’s late brace of penalties then came after 71 minutes and in time added on for injuries – but then up popped Reynolds, who held his nerve superbly – and in the final analysis after so much of a battle perhaps a draw was the most fitting result!
Cardigan: Shaun Leonard: John Lumb; Marcus Castle; Emyr Harries (Capt); Alun Jenkins: Jac Davies; Llyr Jones: Will Brice; Luke Palmer-Davies; Ben Hughes: Kester Adams; Sion Phillips: Aaron Tomkinson: Guto Davies; Tom Taylor. Replacements: Ben Cox; Dean Harries;  Geraint Williams; Jackson Tucker Lynch; Jack Taylor. Travelling reserves: Nathan Bowen;  Rhodri Parry Jones.