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Seasiders earn third win

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By Jonathan Twigg

THE Tenby Tourers sponsored Tenby United won their third game of their Division 1 West season when they beat Gorseinon on Saturday (Nov 18) at Heywood Lane 13-6 in a match sponsored by Sion Brace Construction.

The ‘Seasiders’ have found life in the division higher difficult at times this season but they played with accuracy, pace and an uncompromising attitude, attributes required to compete against teams plying their trade at this level.

Gorseinon, home club of Wales and Scarlets full back Leigh halfpenny arrived on an unbeaten six game run stretching back to the middle of September which included an away victory at the then unbeaten league leaders Dunvant progressing to the third round of the National Plate.

The Tenby side included three players on permit, all former ‘red and blacks, where Dan Colley from Pembroke came in on the wing, Pat Roberts, normally a flanker with championship side Narberth in the centre and Narberth team mate Jonathon Rogers at outside half.

Rogers brought to the table something perhaps the home side have missed on occasions in that he kept the ball going forward ensuring the game was played in the opposition areas, which was a huge motivation to his peers, especially the forwards who rose from the coal face with energy when they saw their efforts were rewarded.

Tenby’s Jonathan Rogers with the ball in hand

During the second half such was the dominance and game management applied from Tenby, Gorseinon struggled to get out of their own half for long periods. The Tenby forwards to a man were committed to the cause and took the slippery ball with confidence into the lion’s den and have the skill level to set the play or execute an off load to keep the ball alive.

Man of the match Jack Clancy would have devoured the steaks he received for his performance from Heywoods Butchers in Saundersfoot, as he made many crashing inroads to the heart of the Gorseinon defence, carrying for vital yards whilst also being like a fourth back row forward in hunting down the ball and pressurising the opposition into mistakes.

Tenby have a solid back row unit now Roy Osborne has returned from Carmarthen to dove tail in with Andrew Cooke and Barry Parsons, whose work rate was on par with Clancy.

This game was going to be won or lost on how the Tenby pack faced up to the bigger visiting forwards and alarm bells would have been ringing for coach Chris James early on as his side were nudged backwards in the scrums and needed to up their game to gain parity.

Respect came with the work off the ball in defence where props Lewis Davies and Rob Clarke were heavily involved, with young hooker Kyle Hamer who was also a key component in the offensive work of his side.

Hamer peeled off a line out on halfway to set play in motion for the opening score with Rogers left boot put Tenby in the danger zone.

Winger Moritz Neuman found Cooke on his shoulder as play went with speed into the Gorseinon 22 for centre Jack Guerrio to finish off a forty metre move under the gaze of gateman Des Brace for a 5-0 lead.

Gorseinon had an attacking flair, led by full back Andrew Steel who sought out space and wanted the ball in hand as often as he could. He found willing allies in scrum half Jack Gronow and winger Liam Cross who set the play in the Tenby half and skipper Sean Haycock had little hesitation in taking a scrum set piece when they were awarded a penalty.

Outside half Nick Popham and his centre Richard Rees couldn’t make the break through before Gronow slotted a straight forward penalty after second row Luke Dedman was caught offside to reduce the deficit to 5-3 after a quarter of an hour.

Tenby have an exciting backline who were able to exploit some missed tackles with skipper Johnnie Morgan not needing a second offering to run deep into the Gorseinon half, only to be called back for a miniscule foot in touch.

Clancy stole the line out where Parsons and Neuman stretched the home side across the field, where prop Davies and Cooke set up space for Roger to put a cross kick into the hands of Morgan on the opposite side, with space to canter across in the corner after twenty five minutes.

Referee Rob Hale who travelled from Ebbw Vale for the noon kick off took the opportunity to speak to captains about the back chat he was receiving from players who hadn’t heeded many penalties where they were marched back 10 meters and he identified issues with scrum halves Gronow and Matthew Morgans crooked feeds!

Rogers missed his second conversion attempt but Gronow added a second penalty just before half time where the indiscipline of the Tenby side would be an area of concern for coach James and his number 2 Andrew Morgan during the half time team talk.

The weather deteriorated during the second half, but it seemed to galvanise Tenby further, with Clancy, Davies and the back especially relishing the impact side of the game, which saw visiting prop Callum Steele leave the feel with a shoulder injury.

Knowing Rogers was bringing a calm acuity behind them with decision making the Tenby forwards needed no second invitation to do the hard yards, keeping the ball hemmed deep in the Gorseinon half for long periods.

Rogers missed a long range penalty although his ‘up and under’ were a cause of confusion which Cooke and Neuman capitalised on.

The game plan saw Osborne, Davies and Hamer play well with the ball in hand as did Haycock who set up one last thrust from the visitors to get an equalising score after Rogers extended the lead to 13-6 after centre Tim Payne strayed offside with five minutes to play.

With Hale playing through added time Popham had twice punted the ball into touch after the home forwards were penalised and play was set for a line out from 5 metres, which Nick Southgate secured, and his forwards got momentum.

Replacement hooker Joe Poole smuggled himself into the contact area for Tenby and the Swansea University undergraduate managed to wrestle the ball into his hands and emerge to the undoubted delight of his comrades who engulfed him when Hale blew for full time.

Coach Chris James shared that delight as he said: “It builds our campaign; it’s the first game in a sequence where we are aiming to go into 2018 close to the top of the division. We have come unstuck this year in games where we have made mistakes at crucial times and in impact areas which have cost us points but today we were magnificent in all areas.”

Having witnessed his side spend time in the opposition territory but not convert the pressure into points, James was philosophical in stating “we managed the game well, with Jonathon (Rogers) on permit from Narberth playing the game in the right areas and making calls which enabled us to be on the front foot all match. Credit to Gorseinon for the challenge they presented as Clancy, Lewis Davies, Kyle Hamer and the back row continually drove at them.”

Such was the intensity of the home play Gorseinon lost Callum Steel with a shoulder dislocation and second row Nick Southgate with an AC ligament injury as they made over seventy tackles in the second half. The Tenby backline “is purring” said James, “where the work Andrew (Morgan) puts in with handling at practice coming to fruition today and our defensive pattern and discipline restricted the opportunities we offered for Gorseinon, which ultimately led us to victory.”

Next up for Tenby will be a Pembrokeshire Cup Quarter final at Milford on Saturday (Dec 2) with a noon kick off again before they travel to Tycroes and Llanelli Wanderers in the lead up to Christmas, returning to Heywood Lane on Saturday (Dec 30) when Kidwelly will be the visitors.

Sport

Vikings too strong for Wizards

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Hakin United 3-1 Merlins Bridge

HAKIN United secured victory over rivals Merlins Bridge on Saturday (Sept 14) as they won by three goals to one at the Obs.

The Vikings began the game well and went ahead when Justin Harding scored after being played in by Nicky Woodrow.

Woodrow again provided the assist as he set up Adam John to double the home side’s lead.

Adam Hawkins pulled a goal back for the Wizards to keep them in the game with the Vikings holding on to their 2-1 lead until half time.

In the second half, Woodrow completed a hat trick of assists as Shane Walsh scored the home side’s third goal of the game.

Woodrow came close to scoring after he latched on to a forward ball but his shot was pushed wide by the Wizards’ keeper.

Hakin then saw a free kick blocked wide and even a momentary respite when a dog ran on to the pitch failed to help the Wizards.

The visitors twice had free kicks in good positions but both went straight to the arms of the Hakin keeper.

Woodrow then brilliantly controlled a high ball on the bounce before shooting low towards goal but his shot was again saved.

With time running out, Cameron Thomas ran into the box but was upended leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot.

With Woodrow having been subbed moments earlier, it was left to Leon Luby to take the penalty but he saw his effort saved before John sent the rebound wide.

The Vikings saw the game out and they are now one of four teams with a 100% record from their opening two games.

On Saturday (Sept 21), Hakin travel to Goodwick United for Senior Cup First round game.

The Wizards are also in Senior Cup action as the holders travel to Camrose. Both games kick off at 1:45pm.

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Otters beaten by Vale in Cup

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Ebbw Vale 39-17 Narberth

THE Otters made 10 changes to the starting line up following their successful win the previous week.

In the pre-match warm up it was noticeable how more muscular the Premiership players were compared to the Otters squad.

Ianto Griffiths kicked off and immediately the Steelmen showed their intent to cross the gain line but were penalised at the breakdown. Ebbw Vale scored 10 points in 8 minutes, the Steelmen scored their first try when full back Dan Haymond scored near the corner having stretched the Otters defence after play moved quickly across from left to right. Haymond failed to convert his try.

Two minutes later they scored again this time via wing Paul King. It seemed as though the Otters were giving Ebbw Vale too much respect. Again Haymond failed with the conversion. From the restart we saw Otters wing Yannick Parker sprint forward. The Otters were defending bravely but offended at a breakdown infront of the posts which gave Haymond an easy penalty kick bringing the score to 13-0 after 10 minutes.

Otters debut winger Josh Davies received the ball and raced diagonally to cross the try line taking a defender with him. Nick Gale stepped up to convert which brought the score to 13-7 on 13 minutes.

This gave the Otters heart and they began to turn the pressure onto Ebbw Vale.

For 16 minutes Ebbw Vale were pinned down on several occasions with both Ianto Griffiths and Nick Gale landing some strategic kicks whenever the Steelmen attempted to apply pressure back on the Otters.

Eventually the phased play saw the Otters win a penalty which Nick Gale converted with the score now 13-10 which rewarded the Otters determination to pressure Ebbw Vale.

Then the Otters were penalised twice for breakdown infringements at the ruck. The second occasion on 33 minutes resulted in captain Alex Jenkins being yellow carded. This was a blow since he was leading the Otters well, especially in their defensive cover and urging the pack forward.

Now the Otters began to be stretched in their defensive system as Ebbw Vale turned on the pressure.

This saw some frantic defensive work but the Otters were eventually undone, when from a ruck scrum half Sam Ireland moved right and across passing on then running around to receive the final pass to score an unconverted try on 39 minutes.

Play went on into injury time and on 43 minutes flanker David Rubusniak scored when Ebbw Vale set up a rolling maul from a lineout. The conversion was kicked again by Dan Haymond. The score at half time was 25-10.

The second half restarted with Alex Jenkins still in the sin bin. Taking advantage Ebbw Vale scored again within 5 minutes. It came from a lineout on the Otters 22. The Steelmen safely controlled possession. They then set up a rolling maul, releasing the ball, they moved to the far corner where second row Lance Randall charged over the line for a try which Dan Haymond converted.

Alex Jenkins returned and no sooner was he on the field than Jake Baker was sent to the sin bin, yellow carded for a an adjudged deliberate knock on. This seemed a harsh decision since he intercepted a pass whose forceful travel caused the ball to bounce forward as it hit the second row’s hands.

Once again Ebbw Vale stepped up the pressure to take advantage of the situation. but the Otters refused to fold under the pressure.

The Otters supporters spirits were lifted when new wing Josh Davies almost broke through the Ebbw Vale defence. Ebbw Vale kicked to touch 10 metres from the line. Winning the lineout they set up another rolling maul. The maul collapsed but second row Dan Hill picked up the ball and using all his strength forced himself over the line for a try converted by Dan Haymond, at 67 minutes which took the score to 39-10.

On 75 minutes, Ebbw Vale suffered a yellow card with their inside centre having to take his place in the sin bin.

Ebbw Vale defended strongly after sustained pressure and were now scrabbling to clear the ball as the tables turned. The sustained Otters pressure told when on 78 minutes Tom Powell went over for a try which Nick Gale converted. A few minutes later the referee blew for full time with the score 39-17.

Looking back the yellow cards amounted to over 20 minutes play with 14 men who could not control the increased pressure exerted by a strong Ebbw Vale side. This had a telling effect on the result.

Later Director of Rugby Sean Gale stated: “As a game of rugby it was excellent for the neutral observer. We scored some fantastic tries but the intensity between the Premiership and the Championship League is a bit different.

“When we were on the ball, we played some really good rugby but lost a little bit of concentration. We went down 10 points in about 10 minutes. So, the way we bounced back was really very good. Then when we had the yellow cards through which we gave them 26 points. We have got to be a little bit tighter and the concentration levels and intensity just lacked a little bit but the way my boys played today, I was really proud of their attempt to play.

“When we had our defensive patterns in place, we really shook Ebbw Vale up and really frightened them. In the set piece lineout, we lost too many lineouts but our scrum was as good as theirs and that was a big plus. We had a lot of youngsters out there today, we made 10 changes from the Tata Steel game, and the way in which some of those boys put their hands up was absolutely fantastic. It bodes well for the future of Narberth Rugby Club.

“It is difficult these days with the pressure of league rugby to give these lads an opportunity but they had a go today, up against a very strong Ebbw Vale side and did themselves proud, especially Alex Codd who did a good job and I thought Josh Davies in his first competitive game for the club was excellent. Harry Phillips was on one of his first starts and he was very positive. Then in the last 20 minutes we brought senior players on. Overall, the result was not good but the performance and grit within the team was excellent.”

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Quins put All Blacks to the sword

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Pembroke Dock Quins 53-23 Neyland

THE Quins, with a much changed line up from the previous week at Lampeter, put the Pembrokeshire ‘All Blacks’ to the sword on Saturday (Sept 14) scoring no less than nine tries in the process, against a spirited Neyland side who quite easily could have come away with a four-try bonus point.

It took the Quins just three minutes to get the scoreboard moving as a superb pass out of the tackle by Outside Half Kieron Machin sent Centre Jordan Asparassa racing in from 35yds to touch down near the corner flag. Full Back Ben Hathaway missed the conversion.

The Quins lead, however, was short lived as Neyland launched a dangerous attack which ended with Left Wing Henry Macbeth scoring in the corner. Outside Half Toby Hayman missed the conversion.

The Quins were certainly not having things their own way, and when Toby Hayman slotted over a 35-yard penalty to give his side a 5-8 lead, the writing was certainly on the wall.

On 25 minutes the Quins hit back when Scrum Half Elliot Lewis caught the All Blacks napping as he darted round the blind side of a maul to score in the corner. Ben Hathaway missed the difficult conversion.

As the half was drawing to a close Centre Jack Price added an unconverted try to push the Quins into 15-8 lead.

Neyland hit back quickly though when Hayman landed a Penalty to send the teams into the break with the Quins just shading it 15-11.

As the second half started, it was a case of who would score first, and fortunately for the Quins it went their way.

The Quins, once again set up by Man of the Match Kieron Machin, completely outflanked the visitors defence which enabled Prop Liam Smith to again touch down wide out for another unconverted try.

That gave them a bonus point and they soon added a fifth try when Danny Manning, on as a replacement for Left Wing Josh Brown, scored in the corner. Ben Hathaway at last got his radar right and landed the conversion from the touchline.

With a 27-11 lead it was difficult to see how Neyland were going to come back.

The Quins’ sixth try was not long coming when a quick tap penalty sent Jordan Asparassa over for his second try. Ben Hathaway converted to push the lead out to 34-11.

Minutes later Jack Price, not to be outdone by his fellow centre, also grabbed his second try which was again converted by Ben Hathaway.

At 41-11 it looked all up for Neyland but they showed great spirit hitting back with a try from Flanker Owen Evans which was converted by Hayman.

As the game was drawing to a close their was a flurry of tries as Danny Manning added his second, which went unconverted before Neyland hit back with a close range unconverted try from Prop Craig Power.

Ben Hathaway then touched down for his third try of the season which he also converted himself to end the scoring.

Unfortunately for the All Blacks there was not enough time left for them to secure a try bonus point.

On Saturday (Sept 21), the Quins travel to Lampeter Town in the first round of the WRU Bowl, and if it’s anything like the league game a few weeks ago it should be a thriller.

Team: Ben Hathaway, Josh Brown, J Asparassa, Jack Price (Capt), Jordan Kokolin, Kieron Machin, Elliot Lewis, Liam Smith, Marcus Phillips, Jack Davies, Ben Gibby, Martin Cully, Danny McLeod, Harold Owen, Ollie Parsons. Replacements: Dai Moseley, Bronzac Burley, Hywel Baker, Danny Manning, Danny Potter.

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