18 September 2016 / Team News

Narberth take the honours


Narberth were fully deserving of this victory over a Newcastle Emlyn side who, once again on home soil, failed to perform and produced a display which was well below par. To their credit Narberth worked hard, came with a game plan, and stuck to it throughout with a thoroughly professional performance. Their outside half Johnathan Rogers controlled matters from the outset and his cultured left boot drove Emlyn back into their half on numerous occasions. In fact Rogers’ display was in stark contrast to the Emlyn kickers Setaro and Leonard who were poor to say the least, often kicking aimlessly downfield allowing the visitors time to return their kicks with interest.

Emlyn started brightly enough running the ball well and testing the Narberth defence. Second row Rhys Davies collected a bouncing ball and put centre Tomi Jones away only for the centre to be caught from behind some ten metres out. A powerful burst by outstanding Emlyn flanker Joel James set up a ruck some five metres from the Narberth line. Quick re-cycling saw outside half Nico Setaro cross the line under the posts only for referee Mathew J. Thomas to rule that an Emlyn player has obstructed a Narberth defender.

It was all Emlyn at this stage and Narberth were forced to defend desperately. A break inside the Narberth half by Shaun Leonard took play deep into the visitors twenty two, Leonard’s potentially try scoring pass was knocked backwards by a defender only for the ball to bounce over the line for debutant centre Rhys Schiavone to touch down for the opening score. Referee Thomas ruled that the conversion would have hit the post and over-ruled both his touch judges who both signalled a successful conversion.

Unfortunately for the large crowd that more or less was it for the home side as far as adventurous attacking rugby went. Rogers started pinning Emlyn back in their own half and their big, well organised pack started to control the game with effective driving mauls.  Wing Nick Gale opened their account with a well taken penalty and a few minutes later Emlyn prop Gethin Davies was sin-binned for a high tackle on the lively Narberth scrum half Rhys Lane. Fortunately for Emlyn Gale was wide of the mark with the kick at goal.

Narberth did make the extra man count a few minutes later when they pressurised Emlyn into conceding a line out ten metres out. The red and whites managed to halt the first drive but from the resultant penalty Narberth went for touch again, won the line out and drove hard for the line for veteran hooker Dan Smith to be awarded the try, converted by Gale.

Emlyn did come storming back at Narberth and another excellent burst by Joel James from half way saw tacklers bouncing off him. Unfortunately as he approached the line he had speedy winger Llyr Jones on his shoulder but he neglected to use him and was brought down short of the line. The first of four fairly clear cut try scoring chances spurned by the home side.

On the half hour the visitors put together an excellent passage of play with forwards and backs handling and supporting really well and eventually they scored a first class, unconverted try through winger Liam Hutchings. Emlyn by now were relying almost entirely on the powerful runs of James and number eight Luke Kendall to make any inroads against a disciplined well organised Narberth. With half time approaching the home side eventually got into the Narberth twenty two and were awarded a penalty in front of the post which Setaro somehow managed to miss, to leave the home side trailing by ten points at half time.

Territorially the home side dominated the second half but found it extremely difficult to score. The visitors, with their pack beginning to dominate in the loose, gave outside half Rogers plenty of time to drop back into the pocket and pin Emlyn back into their own half with well -judged kicks to the corners. The Emlyn line out was functioning very well with Ryan Morgans and Kendall wining some quality ball thanks to some excellent throwing in by hooker Tom Curry.

After ten minutes Narberth eventually had flanker Joe Powell binned for killing the ball and Setaro made amends for his earlier miss by converting the penalty to bring Emlyn within seven points. Despite being down a man Narberth continued to exert pressure on Emlyn by driving them backwards. From a line out five metres from the Emlyn line centre Tomi Jones ran a lovely line to break through, run some fifty metres, kicked ahead and desperate Narberth defence saw them knock the ball on. From the scrum, for once, Emlyn went through some phases but when a try looked to be a certainty the ball was dropped a couple of metres from the line by an attacker.

Acting captain Emrys Davies then burst away from a ruck inside the Emlyn half and showing a fine turn of speed embarked on a fifty metre run. With only one player to beat, this time he ignored the flying winger Llyr Jones and cut inside only to be brought down by three Narberth defenders. A feature of this match was Emlyn’s inability to use their pacey wingers Jones and John Lumb, neither of whom received a pass throughout the game.

Narberth increased their lead from a long kick downfield by Rogers. Leonard picked up the ball deep in his own twenty two and for some inexplicable reason instead of kicking it back downfield, and with no Emlyn players in support, the full back decided to run the ball back with six Narberth players converging on him. When tackled he was penalised for not releasing the ball and Rogers extended the visitors lead to ten points with the penalty kick.

With some thirteen minutes left Lumb finally had the opportunity to run with the ball when he fielded a Narberth kick just outside his own twenty two. He then embarked on a mazy run which left defenders trailing in his wake and looked certain to score a brilliant individual try. Brought down just short if the line, flanker James was in support to flick the ball up to centre Tomi Jones who managed to force his way over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Back came Narberth and the introduction of fresh legs in the front row  in the case of two props really put the Emlyn scrum under pressure as time was running out. Rogers moved play up to the Emlyn twenty two with yet another excellent kick and from the resultant line out they went through a series of phases before livewire scrum half Rhys Lane spotted an opening on the edge of a ruck and sprinted some fifteen metres to score an unconverted try to take the bonus point away from the home side.  The game in fact concluded in a very similar fashion to what most of the second half had been played with an Emlyn player making a break only for the supporting player to drop the ball. A very frustrating afternoon for the home supporters.


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