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Slow start costs Otters in thriller

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A SLOW start cost Narberth on Saturday (Mar 30) but they still put up a big fight before succumbing to a 42-34 defeat at the hands of Tata Steel.

The Otters fielded a few replacements due to injury but the subs bench was strong with experienced, hardened players likely to make an impact.

Tata attacked from the off with some early pressure with the Otters defence holding firm. Both sides attempted to move the ball through the hands but the strong tackling created a number of knock ons’.

Play remained in midfield until the Steelmen set up a kick and chase scenario which the Otters safely minored as it went over the try line.

The first try came ten minutes into the game with Tata Steel advancing into the Otters 22 they stretched the Otters defence enabling their wing Morgan Williams to sprint through the gap created to score with fly half Dan Gurenani converting.

Within two minutes, the Steelmen scored a second try. The Otters restarted the game after the first try and quickly set up an attack only to lose possession in the close forward exchange. Tata Steel moved the ball quickly with flanker Dan Griggs breaking through to score with Dan Gurenani converting. Suddenly Tata Steel had a fourteen point to nil lead and looked very threatening with such a start.

Photos by Myrddin Dennis

The Otters responded and Keiron Jones made an effective break to reach the Tata Steel five metre line before he was tackled. A lineout followed with the Otters winning the jump setting up a maul which quickly collapsed with the ref awarding Tata Steel a scrum.

The Otters continued their efforts and were awarded a penalty thirty metres from the line which Jonathan Rogers slotted over for three points. Tata Steel restarted using a grubber kick and when the Otters attempted to collect and move forward they knocked the ball forward in the tackle. The ref blew his whistle and awarded a scrum which had to be reset and once the scrum was set the ref awarded the Steelmen a penalty which was about forty metres from the posts, Dan Gurenani kicked adding a further three points making the score 17-3.

Five minutes later on the half hour the referee awarded Tata Steel a controversial penalty try. They were attacking close to the Otters line and from what appeared to be a simple knock on awarded the penalty try.

This was followed with the Otters setting up attacks but knocking on in the tackle. Scrum half Lewys Gibby from the heel passed to the right before there was another knock on.

However, after a series of plays Jack Price regained the ball and in typical barn storming style forced his way over the line for an unconverted try to make it 24-8 at half time.

Whilst the Steelmen looked the stronger side, Otter supporters were remembering a past game where they were losing quite heavily but turned the game around and ended winning.

Tata Steel restarted the second half and begun to look the stronger scrummaging team.

Jonathan Rogers gathered the restart and responded with one of his long kicks which Tata Steel gathered and attacked strongly up field only to knock on at the breakdown. Rogers replied kicking into touch well into the opposition half. Tata Steel failed to throw the ball straight at the lineout and the ref awarded the Otters a scrum. The Otters made a further change with Dan Jacobs replacing Dewi Williams with Tom Kaijak moving into the second row. This change restored the Otters scrummage with the Otters heeling, Tom Powell broke away from the scrum and fed Lewys Gibby who passed to Jonathan Rogers. He then threw a long pass out to Jack Price who moved strongly forward before handing the ball to wing Yannnick Parker who crossed the line for an unconverted try.

Within five minutes Tata Steel responded with a try by replacement Steff Davies again converted by Dan Gurenani to make it 31-13.

From the restart, the Tata Steel number eight gathered the ball broke out of their half and in the movement that followed the Otters defence were adjudged offside. This enabled Dan Gurenani to kick a further three points to their score on fifty minutes.

The Otters rallied, Jonathan Rogers kicked into touch on the opposition 22. Tata infringed and the Otters kicked towards the corner. At the lineout Alex Jenkins jumped and taking clean ball set up a rolling maul, the ball was released and moved right with Tata Steel defending defiantly before Jack Price forced his over for his second try. Ianto Griffiths came forward and converted the try. The score was now 34-20.

The Otters followed this with a further attack before conceding a penalty which Dan Gurenani added a further three points. From the restart the Otters set up several attempts to proceed downfield with Jack Price prominent as he forced his way over the gain line.

On 64 minutes he took a quick penalty in the opposition 22 and crossed the line to touch down. Again Ianto Griffiths converted bringing the score to 37-27.

On 70 minutes Tata suffered a yellow card for taking out Alex Jenkins. Before this the Otters moved to near the line, the referee awarded a penalty and chose a scrum. This had to be reset and after a further infringement awarded the Otters a penalty try. This had the Otter supporters on edge with the score now 37-34, a possible win seemed on the cards.

However on 78 minutes hooker Jake Lewis scored an unconverted try. This was followed by a breakout by Tom Powell who raced downfield only to be caught near the 5 metre line but unfortunately was not supported.

Tata recovered and a few minutes later the game ended with the final score 42-34 with the Otters gaining a single bonus point.

Sport

Swifts eyes on double.

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Monkton Swifts reserves have blown away the second division this season and now have the double in their sights. They face Merlins Bridge reserves in the semi final of the second division cup and lived up to their favourites tag.

Swifts won comfortably with key player Butland getting three assists and Josh Sture grabbing a brace. Waterman and Rhys Sture added the other goals as outstanding Monkton won 4-0.

Herbrandston and Johnston played in the other semi final and this was a much harder fixture to call. The promoted Herbie a younger and perhaps less physical outfit in comparison to the Tigers. Johnston quickly took control of the game when they found themselves two up after just 29 minutes.

However when Scott Murray was shown a red card just eight minutes later, Herbie would have been confident of staging a comeback. Despite being a man light, Johnston held Herbie until the final minute of the 90, when Alex Ouzman gave Herbie late hope. The Tigers held firm however and progress to the final where they will be underdogs. A tag that I’m sure the players and manager Steven Allen won’t mind too much.

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Sport

Tenby hit five against downbeat Bridge

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On a beautiful day in Tenby, the hosts welcomed Merlins Bridge to The Clicketts, fresh from their West Wales semi final defeat midweek.

The Bridge squad was missing some influential players after picking up some injuries and the visiting team asked questions over the fitness of the pitch, which, according to the Bridge management, was too hard.

The referee waved these away and the game was on, with the Tenby squad clearly thinking they were already in the heads of the Bridge team.

Almost straight from Kick off Tenby set their stall out with some great attacking play, which Jerome Mansbridge benefitted from in just the second minute putting the home team ahead.

The bridge players weren’t at the races and Tenby capitalised scoring a further 4 first half goals, including a Mansbridge hat trick, leaving the away team bewildered and 5-0 down at half time.

What could have been a hugely embarrassing defeat for a team that harboured title hopes at the beginning of the season, turned around somewhat at half time, when Dai Davies, the club captain, almost singlehandedly dragged them to a much higher level in the second half, ensuring his players kept their discipline and worked hard against a very good Tenby team. Undoubtedly Merlin’s Bridge were the better team in the second period, but the damage had already been done in the first half, and despite Bridges best efforts, the score remained 5-0 to the home team.

In a game which saw Tenby jump to 4th in the league, they can be hugely proud of their season and will look to build on that for their next in Division one.

A fantastic game on a beautiful day with a good home crowd watching, the team from the Clicketts will be justifiably happy with their afternoons work.

Tenby 5-0 Merlins Bridge.

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Preseli poses a challenge for novice crews

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THE END of April will see the popular novice night rally organised by the Teifi Valley Motor Club being held in Pembrokeshire. On the weekend of 27th and 28th April, Rali Bro Preseli will see 75 novice crews tackling the winding and challenging roads that Pembrokeshire has to offer.

Clerks of the Course, father and son Richard and Jason Davies along with Aled Richards have a terrific route lined up for competitors. Starting as usual at the Crymych Mart, the route will appeal to all novice drivers and navigators.

“It will offer a bit of everything. It will be challenging but easy to follow with some whites thrown in the mix. Aled has designed the whole route and we’ve done the donkey work,” said Jason, now in his second year as Clerk of the Course.

As regular competitors, Jason and Richard wanted to give something back to the sport and they enjoy being on the organising side of the things.

Jason, who won the Bro Preseli with his father in 2013, explained: “We’ve competed in the Preseli on several occasions, and we decided to give something back to the sport and that’s why dad and I thought it would be a good idea to help.

“It’s interesting to see how it all comes together and the work involved, and there’s a lot of that,”

He also won the event with Tim Hand in 2016 and was fourth overall in 2019.

Aled Richards, Joint Clerk of the Course, knows the routes of Rali Bro Preseli like the back of his hand having only ever missed it once since its formation in 2003. He’s driven on four of them in 2005 – 2008 with the best result of a 4th place with Arwel Jenkins in the navigator seat.

Aled has been Chief Marshal on Rali Bro Preseli since 2013 before moving on to being Clerk of the Course this year and competitors can look forward to a great event.

Aled told the Herald: “This is the first time I’ve been Clerk of the Course, but we have a good team with Dylan Davies as Chief Marshal and Olwen Davies as Secretary.

“I live some 30 miles away from the actual route, but we’ve been around it twice and I’m confident it will be a good yet challenging night. Some of the whites are currently waterlogged but the farmers have been brilliant and offered to help clear the tracks before the event and we are very grateful.”

The rally, kindly sponsored by Arjay Factors and Home James Taxis, will have four official Spectator Points on the night and the locations will be available at signing on.

The Clerks of the Course and the Teifi Valley Motor Club would like to thank all those who have helped to organise the event – landowners, homes en route, petrol at Brian Llewellyn a’i Ferched, and the start and finish venues – Crymych Mart and the Teifi Waterside Hotel.

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