The Rugby Preview for 18th January 2020


Championship Division:


Otters should gain an Ystrad double

Nick Gale - vital for Otters successNarberth v Ystrad Rhondda

Pontypool apart, little is certain in terms of results in this division but Narberth should be looking for a repeat of their success at Ystrad Rhondda to add to their current played 13, won seven, drawn one and lost five record. The visitors are two places beneath them, having won four of their 13 starts.

Verdict: The Otters won 18-8 in the Rhondda as Nick Gale was in top form and landed six penalties - and hopefully he will be fit as his side seeks the double at The Lewis Lloyd Ground!


Division One (West):


Preseli Men need a win to boost their season

Rhys Beaky Davies - hoping to lead Crymych to victoryCrymych v Aberystwyth

It's been a tough season for Crymych as they have only won three of their 12 matches and coach Randall Williams will want them out of the bottom two as quickly as possible.

They are a relatively young side and need a boost to their confidence as they take on an improving Aberystwyth side which is now in eighth place.

Verdict: The Preseli Men definitely need to raise their tempo as Aber have now won five and drawn one of their  13 matches - and will arrive at Parc Lloyd Thomas to raise their confidence levels,  so I think Rhys 'Beaky' Davies and Co will do well to pouch a bonus point!


Great chance of Scarlets' success

Kyle Davies - heavily involved at PembrokePembroke v Gowerton

After a run of morale-sapping defeats Pembroke are desperate for a win to boost their 2020 plans and know that this home tussle with Gowerton represents a great chance of doing just that.

The Scarlets are bottom of the table with just one win and a draw from 12 games whilst Gowerton are only two places above them, having won four and drawn one of their 13 fixtures so far.

Verdict: Coaches Geraint Lewis and Kyle Davies have had a string of injury problems to contend with but hopefully will have a strong squad for this match at Crickmarren - and if they start well and stay focussed I hope it will be win No 2 for them!

A tough 'un on the road for The Borderers

Yr Hendy v Whitland

The earlier fixture between these two teams was postponed because of the awful prevailing conditions so this is their first meeting as Yr Hendy enjoy home advantage as they sit in fourth spot, one above The Borderers.

Verdict: The Borderers are currently a team which seems to get itself in tight tussles and this could be another such battle of wills. Hendy have seven successes and six losses whilst Whitland have won six and draw another alongside five defeats - and I believe that if they play to their best form this could be another narrow win No 7 for 'Bennie's Boys'!

Dai Ebsworth, Nico Setaro and Gareth Bennett - The Whitland Think Tank

Division Two (West):


Huge task for Seagulls at The Moors

Fishguard & Goodwick v Burry Port

Fishguard are now just one place above the relegation zone with only four wins and a draw from 10 outings and this weekend face their biggest challenge so far as they play host at The Moors to runaway section leaders Burry Port, who have won all 13 games and are 16 points or more ahead of those left in their wake.

Verdict: Burry Port are clearly going to gain promotion but have been tested a few times in those 13 wins on the trot, winning only 14-0 at home to Pontarddulais last Saturday - and Fishguard are the sort of side who on their day can upset the applecart. So for once I'm going to let my heart rule my head and go for Fishguard - so come on you seagulls!

Seasiders to make it three wins on the bounce

Matthew Morgan - back with a bang for Tenby UnitedLoughor v Tenby United

After two wins on the trot against Carmarthen Athletic and Pontyberem there is a deserved air of optimism at Heywood Lane as Tenby United play host to Loughor. The Seasiders won 30-3 at Loughor, who are now 11th in the table with only three victories alongside 11 defeats. In that game there were two tries from Andrew Cook and talented teenager Harry Rossiter kicked 15 points.

Seasiders’ coach Jonathan Evans is slowly building after a disappointing start with so many youngsters getting their first experience of playing at this level.

Verdict: Three wins on the trot would be great for The Seasiders and the return of Matthew Morgan has provided real impetus so I'm going for the double for Tenby United!


Home tester for The Mariners

Milford Haven v Mumbles

The Obs has been a real fortress for Milford Haven this season and that success will be tested to the full on Saturday as The Mariners entertain high-flying Mumbles, who slammed Fishguard 41-18 seven days ago.

The visitors are looking good for a promotion place as they sit in second spot, having won eight games from 11 starts, but they'll know that The Mariners are a real test with home advantage.

Verdict: Mumbles will start as hot favourites but Nathan Williams, Andrew Williams and Steve Martin will have their team primed for this one - and so I tip a narrow Milford Haven win.


Division Three (West) A:


Saints to keep marching on

Cardigan v St Clears

St Clears beat a battling Llanybydder side 26-14 last weekend whilst Cardigan were without a fixture, so The Saints have an advantage there, as well as being in second place whilst The Teifisiders are six places below them, despite having won five of their 11 games.

Verdict: The Saints won by 53-0 at home and although I suspect the final margin won’t be anywhere as wide at King George Vth Playing Fields it should certainly be a bonus-point win for the visitors.


Vital fixture for both teams

Haverfordwest v Aberaeron

This is a vital fixture for both teams, with Haverfordwest needing a win after a 20-14 reverse at Laugharne last Saturday whilst Aberaeron need to come back down to earth after their epic feat of reaching the WRU Bowl semi-finals.

Both still have title aspirations as The Blues are still third and Aberaeron's sixth place belies the fact that their cup performances have inevitably put them behind in playing league matches.

Verdict: Blues' coach Steve Barnett loves catching me out so he will be delighted that I'm tipping Aberaeron but although he has a good squad they are still not able to put teams below them away as clinically as they might do. But it's going to be close and I'll expect a phone call of thanks from Mr Barnett if they do prove me wrong!

Town to take the honours here

Lampeter Town v Llangwm

Lampeter Town are top of the section table with 10 wins and a draw from 13 matches whilst Llangwm linger at the other end, their two wins and 12 defeats putting them in 11th place.

Lampeter Town won 19-10 at Neyland last Saturday as The Wasps endured an unlucky 3-7 set-back at home to Tregaron but they will know this is a different kettle of fish as the homesters will be at full strength.

Verdict: Llangwm will battle away as always but the big poser is what sort of squad they can take on such a long journey. And so I think Lampeter will keep up their winning streak and gain a bonus point too!

All Blacks need a strong squad

Llanybydder v Neyland

Neyland played really well against front runners Lampeter Town last Saturday and if they can field that team at Llanybydder they will be in with a chance of their fourth win from 12 matches but The All Blacks currently find it hard going on the road.

Verdict: It would be great to see Graham Richards and Co grab a win but it's going to be a big ask so I have to pick Llanybydder, although it goes against the grain!

Laugharne's greater all round strength to pay off

Gary Price - Laugharne coach looking for a vital victory at BierspoolPembroke Dock Harlequins v Laugharne

This looks like being a great contest as The Quins are in fifth place so still have an outside chance of promotion, as do Laugharne; currently a place above them but with two games in hand. The Quins have power galore behind the scrum but will their pack be able to gain the ascendancy against Laugharne's greater all-round strength?

Verdict: The Quins have real try-scoring potential in Jack Price, Josh Thomas and Jordan Asparassa but Laugharne's pack is as good as I've seen in this section and I think they might take control in the second session to take the honours.


Tregaron to make home advantage pay

Gethin Bateman - deserves a medal at St DavidsTregaron v St Davids

St Davids' coach Gethin Bateman has difficulty fielding a strong team for away trips, especially to far-flung places like Tregaron, who have a great team spirit as such treks happen for them every other week.
Tregaron won 22-12 at St Davids and are eager to complete a double with home advantage.

Verdict: I hate going against St Davids every weekend but I love the way Bateman and Co keep plugging away to maintain a team - they deserve a medal for their efforts. But as regards to the result I have to forecast a bonus-point success for Tregaron!