Rugby Reports for 28th December 2019


Championship Division:


Excellent away win for The Otters


Neath 22 - Narberth 24

Rhys Lane - opening try for NarberthNarberth reserved one of their best team performances of the season so far as they eased home against once-mighty Neath to show that on their day they are capable of doing well against teams above them in the table.

They also created a little bit of local rugby history as they became the first-ever Pembrokeshire side to beat the Welsh All Blacks at The Gnoll.

The Otters made a solid start at The Gnoll as they took the lead from a Nick Gale penalty but then the Welsh All Blacks hit back with two tries, the first from outside half Callum Hall and the second from Kevin Tobias which Hall converted.

Otters fight back after trailing by 12 points

When Hall had a successful penalty to nudge his side 15-3 ahead the writing was on the wall for The Otters but with their back row of Tom Powell, Roy Osborne and skipper Richard Rees raising the tempo they clawed their way back with a close-range snipe from scrum half Rhys Lane which Gale converted and another seven points from a penalty try which was enough to nudge The Otters into a 17-15 interval advantage.

The second period was equally competitive and each team added another converted try as Neath’s scorer was Dan Griggs, converted by Hall – whilst The Otters’ third try of the game came from livewire flanker Tom Powell, with Gale knocking over the conversion.

Important game on Saturday

Next Saturday sees them entertain bottom-placed Tata Steel, whom they beat 28-15 on the opening day of the season – and coach Sean gale will certainly have this fixture targetted as a bonus-point win to move them even further up the table than their current sixth spot.

Narberth: Nick Gale, Elliot Dawe, Josh Davies, Joe Hutchings, Dafydd Pritchard, Ianto Griffiths, Rhys Lane, Bradley Davies, Rhodri Owens, Tom Slater, Jake Baker, Alex Jenkins, Rich Rees (capt), Tom Powell, Roy Osborn. Replacements: Dan Smith, Dan Jacobs, Steff Phillips, Jonathan Rogers, Lewys Gibby.


Photo - Rhys Lane - opening try for Narberth


Division One (West):


Welcome win for Preseli Men


Crymych 20 - Yr Hendy 10

Richard Sharp-Williams - back with a try for CrymychCrymych turned in a great team display to see off Yr Hendy at the Parc Lloyd Thomas ground and in the process, moved out of the bottom two.

Returning No 8 Osian Davies was named man of the match after a barn-storming display, but in truth it was a real collective effort from the Preseli Men as they controlled matters throughout.

They led 13-3 at half time with No 10 Ifan Phillips getting the opening try, hacking through a loose ball and just about beating teammate Laurence Headlam to the touch down.

Phillips converted his own score and also landed two penalties, with Rhydian Morris kicking three points for the visitors.

The home side crossed again after the interval when good hands from hooker Carwyn Rees put flanker Richard Sharpe-Williams over on the blind side, and Phillips again added the extras.

Yr Hendy did get a second half try themselves through Gareth Thomas and Morris converted, but it was Crymych who deservedly ended a run of five straight league defeats.

“The boys really played well – everyone was up for it today,” said team manager Iwan James.

“It was a massive improvement on recent weeks.”

 Photo - Richard Sharp-Williams - back with a try for Crymych

Classy centre Gino Setaro scored a brilliant try hat-trickĀ  for Whitland. Picture by Paul Rodgers

Photo: Classy centre Gino Setaro scored a brilliant try hat-trick  for Whitland. Picture by Paul Rodgers

Scarlets overwhelmed at Parc Llwyn Ty Gwyn


Whitland 34 - Pembroke 0

The Pembrokeshire derby at Parc Llwyn Ty Gwyn turned out to be a one sided affair – with Whitland producing a dominant display to beat struggling Pembroke 34-0.

It was the home pack that laid the foundations for the win with some strong running off half backs Jac Howells and Nico Setaro, with skipper Marc Jones and No 8 Jack Mason in particular outstanding with their ball carrying. The second row pairing of Courtney Bowman and Raff Williams also stood out.

But despite this, five of the six tries came via the backline with centre Gino Setaro running in a sparkling hat trick, while wingers Ollie Hughes and Geraint Jones and prop Michael Ryan also crossed. Setaro added two conversions.

For Pembroke, who suffered the disruption of losing key No 10 Toby Smith an hour before the game, there were good displays from young back rower Harry Phillips and centre Lewis Davies while Andrew ‘Peewee’ Davies stepped out of retirement to solve their scrum half crisis.

But overall it was a harrowing 80 minutes for the Scarlets, who remain bottom of the table ahead of a massive home game with Penclawdd on Saturday.

“We started ok but leaked soft tries,” said forwards coach Kyle Davies.

“And overall we were out-muscled.”

Whitland head coach Gareth Bennett meanwhile, was delighted with his side’s display.

“The forwards were outstanding. I thought we were dominant from the first whistle.”

Whitland: Jonathan Thomas, Geraint Jones, Gino Setaro, James Stephenson, Courtney Bowman, Nico Setaro, Jac Howells, Aaron Mayne, Marc Jones, Michael Ryan, Courtney Bowman, Raff Williams, Ryan Morgan, Jamie Lewis, Jack Mason. Replacements: Tomos Evans, Dan Evans, Ifan Lewis, James Thomas, Ben Kirk.

Pembroke: Luke Hartland, Shaun Dalling, Tom Harding-Jones, Lewis Davies, Geraint Powell, Kyren Grey, Andrew Davies, Lloyd Davies, Seamus Wiseman, Johnny Palmer, Dom Colman, Will Edwards, Alex Thomas, Jack Smythe, Harry Phillips. Replacements: Shane Gwyther, Scott Powell, Barry Alderman-John, Rhodri Walters.

Whitland scrum half Jac Howells makes a break. Picture Paul Rodgers

Photo: Whitland scrum half Jac Howells makes a break. Picture Paul Rodgers


Division Two (West):


Seasiders miss out against basement battlers


Kidwelly 11 - Tenby United 7

Jack Broadhurst - grabbed Tenbys only tryIt was a frustrating day for Tenby United as they failed to turn possession into points and as a result were beaten by bottom of the table Kidwelly.

In fact the Ambers’ only two league wins this season have now come against the Seasiders, who themselves need an upturn in form having gone five games without victory.

The only score for the visitors came in the first half when they pushed the home pack off their own ball at a scrum and No 8 Jack Broadhurst took full advantage by touching down near the posts. No 10 Harry Rossiter converted.

But it was Kidwelly who led 8-7 half time as a clever blindside move resulted in winger Arwel Rees going over, with James Owens missing the conversion but making amends by landing a penalty.

Owens added three more points in the second half, while Tenby were guilty of wasting a series of good field positions and their frustration was compounded late on when Jack Brown was sin binned.

“With all the forward dominance and field position we had we have to be disappointed,” said assistant coach Andrew Barlow, taking charge with Jonathan Evans abroad.

“We didn’t convert pressure.”

 Photo - Jack Broadhurst - grabbed Tenby's only try


Division Three (West) A:


Laugharne gain a cliff-edge derby win


Tom Davies - vital try for LaugharneLaugharne 10 - St Clears 6

Local derbies certainly don’t get much tougher or closer than this as St Clears led 6-5 at the interval before Laugharne scored the only points in a titanic second half to leap-frog The Saints in the table and leave them just four points behind Lampeter Town with two games in hand.

As usual, No 8 Mikey Williams played an important back row role for Laugharne and scored their first-half unconverted try – but The Saints had to two penalties from Dan Thomas to nudge them ahead.

The second period was equally as fiercely contested but it was Tom Davies who buried the visitors’ hopes of gaining revenge for a 12-7 home defeat in September as he ploughed over for an unconverted try.


Photo - Tom Davies - vital try for Laugharne

Quins on the charge

PHOTO: Quins on the charge


Quins edge through despite Quins’ efforts


Neyland 10 - Pembroke Dock Harlequins 12

Pembroke Harlequins made the short journey across the Cleddau Bridge and returned home with a narrow win over Neyland at The Athletic Ground after the home side grabbed a last-ditch try but the conversion went wide and so the home side had to settle for a losing bonus point instead of a share of the spoils.

To be fair to The Quins they had a major share of the territorial advantage but encountered a Neyland side in ultra-determined mood as they refused to submit, especially in the first half, where Quins’ No 10 Tyler Castle rapped the near post with a penalty and spurned three other chances where they opted for close-range scrums which came to nought through dropped passes under pressure near the Neyland line.

Indicators of true grit

But perhaps the best indicator of their grit came when The Quins’ talented full back Aaron James looked certain to score in the left corner after a powerful run up the touchline but was felled by a superb cover tackle by opposite number Tom Hughes.

Iestyn Evans caught the eye with his speed to the breakdown and excellent lineout skills and from out of the blue The All Blacks scored a breakaway try when winger Henry McBeth intercepted a floated pass and raced 75 metres to the line for an unconverted try.

Yellow cards prove vital

But after The Quins had lock Ben Gibby shown the yellow card right at the end of the first half he home side lost forwards Craig Bennett and Sam Katakai to yellow cards within minutes of the second half’s start – and from an overlap initiated by Castle and Kieran Machin it was winger Jordan Asparassa who reached the corner and stretch out for a try to level matters.

With their temporary numerical advantage The Quins claimed a penalty try as they used their set-piece strength to good effect and that is the way the scoreline stayed until the final moments when a determined drive by the Neyland pack saw veteran second row Andrew Slark cross the whitewash.

It set up the chance for a draw for Neyland but the kick went wide – leaving The Quins with a double since they had already won the earlier meeting with a 53-23 victory!

Neyland: Tom Hughes: Sean Meaney; Shane Phillips; George Williams (Capt); Henry McBeth: Toby Hayman; Chris Morgan: Ieuan Hadley; Craig Bennett; Sam Katakai: Simon Phillips; Andrew Slark: Ben Williams; Owain Evans; Iestyn Evans. Replacements: Steve Roberts; Mark James; Chris Busby; Steve Hamer.

Pembroke Dock Harlequins: Aaron James: Jordan Asparassa; Josh Thomas; Kieran Machin; Aaron Treweeks: Tyler Castle; Jake Griffiths (Capt): Jack Davies; Nick Drewett; Dai Moseley: Ben Gibby; Ollie Parsons: Jordan Palmer; Danny Manning; Hywel Baker. Replacements: Tom Clarkson; Dan McLeod; Gethin Bradney; Carl Scott; Martin Culley.

Referee: Ian Jones (Bridgend)

Toby Hayman clears the danger for Neyland

Photo: Toby Hayman clears the danger for Neyland


Rogers ruins Saints’ hopes


St Davids 5 - Cardigan 31

Luke Rogers - hat-trick of tries for Cardigan at St DavidsA classy second half display from Luke Rogers was the catalyst for a bonus-point win for Cardigan at St Davids.

Rogers, who has also played for Narberth and Crymych and is currently home over the Christmas period whilst studying away, came on at half time with the score locked at 5-5 and scored a second half hat trick of tries to settle matters.

The first 40 minutes had been a real dogfight but the away side began to pile on pressure on the 30 minute mark as centres Aaron Tomkinson and Rhun Phillips, and no 8 Tom Taylor, all went close with powerful bursts.

They were repelled by some determined Saints defence, with flanker Rhys Price and namesake Morgan at full back outstanding, but eventually the first score came as winger Llion Williams (on as a blood replacement) went over in the corner.

But St Davids came back with 51-year-old No 8 Anthony Davies again carrying tirelessly, and it was a break from winger Luke Brooks which set up a series of attacks, culminating in centre George Raymond picking up a loose ball and finishing powerfully from 25 metres out.

Cardigan kept possession far better after the break though and after Taylor was held up over the line, winger Ceryth Griffiths got their second try as he benefitted from an overlap outside wide.

It remained 10-5 until the final quarter when Rogers jinked through for his first try and Llyr Jones converted, and as the game opened up late on the replacement had his second from a neat dummy and dart from close range.

He completed his treble moments later by rounding off a counter-attack from deep to complete a job well done for Cardigan and leave St Davids player coach Gethin Bateman disappointed.

“We have built some momentum lately and after the first 40 minutes today we felt we had an opportunity to take control and get that first win,” he said.

“But fair play to Cardigan they changed their game plan and ran away with it second half.”

St Davids: Rhys Morgan, Lee Phillips, Louis Murphy, George Raymond, Luke Brooks, Owain Beynon, Fraser Watson, Will Davies, Mikey Matthews, Dan Murphy, Dan Boyes, Gethin Bateman, Hywel Churchill, Rhys Price, Gethin Bateman. Replacements: Gabe York, Jason Davies, Ryan Foot, Alex Richmond, Jack Crimlis.

Cardigan: Llyr Jones, Ceryth Griffiths, Rhun Phillips, Aaron Tomkinson, Gwern Phillips, Iwan John, Danny Bradshaw, William Brice, Ben Cox, Ben Hughes, Sion Phillips, Dyfed Simmons, Ossian Rees, Geraint Williams, Tom Taylor. Replacements: Callum Plowright, Llion Williams, Kester Adams, Oliver Leeming, Luke Rogers.

Photo - Luke Rogers - hat-trick of tries for Cardigan at St Davids



Aber pouch welcome away win


Llanybydder 20 - Aberaeron 27

Aberaeron battled really hard to gain victory at Llanybydder after leading by 20-7 at half time but having to repel a strong surge by the homesters in the second half.

Llanybydder skipper and No 8 Ricky Davies scored his team’s only try of the first period, converted by outside half Steff Richards – but Aberaeron used the elements in their favour to claim tries by flanker Aaron Lewis and full back Rhodri Jenkins, who also slotted both conversions and a couple of penalties.

But home No 10 Richards helped his side battle back with two early penalties on target before he also sliced through for a try which he converted – and Aberaeron were rocked back on their heels.

But they showed resolve as flanker Lewis powered over for a try which Jenkins goaled and although Llanybydder grabbed a 75th minute try and conversion from Richards it was Aberaeron who stayed calm to take the verdict in an entertaining clash.


Town stay top after beating Tregaron


Lampeter Town 27 - Tregaron 10

Lampeter completed a deserved double over Tregaron as they followed up their 24-16 away victory with this 27-10 home win.

This eighth win in 11 starts (plus a draw and two defeats) kept Lampeter on top of the table but having to face another strong challenge on Saturday as they travel to Llanybydder.


Blues bag bonus point win

Llangwm 0 - Haverfordwest 38

** Played on Boxing Day as part of the Bishop Cup contest – already reported on earlier in the week.