07 November 2015 / Team News

Historic win for Emlyn


Yet another nail biting finish for the red and whites, 21 – 3 down with twenty minutes to go Emlyn looked and played as if they were dead and buried in this the first ever League fixture between the two sides. Narberth have been in the Championship since its inception and last season were the only side from the old county of Dyfed to play in the second most prestigious division in Welsh rugby. They have gained an enviable record against the best that the East have produced and are to be congratulated on a thoroughly professional set up which allows them to trawl the region for the players who are not quite good enough to play at Premiership level.

Their first ever League trip to Dol Wiber saw them bring a large number of their own supporters to give, for what many perceived pre-match as, a lesson in Championship rugby for the upstarts from the Teifi Valley who dared to share a place in the Championship with them. And so it looked as the game progressed with the Narberth pack dominating the match and allowing their half backs Rogers and Griffiths to kick them into good field position deep in the Emlyn half.

On a windy day Narberth’s game plan could not be faulted and they deservedly led by eight points to three at half time, their points coming from a try by number eight Lewis Wood, who brushed off three would be tacklers on the way to the line, and a penalty goal by outside half Ianto Griffiths. All Emlyn could manage in reply was a penalty kick by winger Dan Davies.

Despite a promising start by the home side they found the Narberth defence well organised and solid and the few attacks the red and whites managed to muster saw them flounder against the Narberth defence. A dislocated shoulder to Emlyn flanker Gethin Davies saw Owain Powell, hopefully fully recovered from injury, come on as a replacement and his intelligent covering and tackling started to nullify Narberth’s attacks.  

The second half started in a similar fashion and Narberth should have been out of sight after just five minutes, but they somehow managed to completely botch two glorious try scoring opportunities, one from the kick off and another shortly afterwards. They did manage to extend their lead however when winger Nick Gale kicked a monstrous penalty from nearly the half way line, the ball ending up fairly close to the river!

A quarter of an hour into the half with the visitors dominant in all phases of play, Narberth were awarded a penalty try when Emlyn incurred the wrath of referee Jon Hardy at three consecutive scrums on their line. Hardy had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try after the third infringement sent Emlyn replacement Dai Jones to the bin, and Griffiths added the extra points. Griffiths added three more points five minutes later with a well struck penalty goal.

Being down to fourteen men seemed to galvanise the home side and for the first time in the game they really attacked the Narberth line. From a line out on the Narberth twenty two, the outstanding Emlyn number eight Brynmor Jones won the ball at the tail of the line. A series of forward drives resulted in the ball being moved to the backs. Experienced outside half Barry Thomas delayed his pass to the last second and put full back Shaun Leonard through the minutest of gaps. Approaching the Narberth full back, Leonard passed inside to the ever present Powell who would have scored under the posts but for an early tackle by Jordan Roberts for Narberth. Referee Hardy had no hesitation in awarding another penalty try which Dan Davies converted.

With both sides down to fourteen men the game really opened up with Emlyn realising that at least a losing bonus point was within their grasp. The pack began to produce some quality ball for half backs Dyfan Dafydd and Barry Thomas to start to control matters. A lovely flat pass from a ruck from Thomas saw replacement centre Viv Jenkins put his co-centre Teifion Davies away. Davies who had another excellent game in defence showed his attacking prowess with a lovely timed pass for winger Dan Davies to sprint some twenty metres to cross the line and run under the posts for a try which he converted.

There was no holding Emlyn back now as they realised that Narberth were visibly tiring and an unexpected victory was within their grasp. Inspired by flanker Dylan Davies the pack took the game to Narberth and showed commendable control as they went through ruck after ruck moving downfield. Scrum half Dyfan Dafydd sensed that the Narberth defence were coming up quickly and chipped over the head of the on-coming defenders deep in the Narberth twenty two. The ever present Shaun Leonard followed up the kick, and soccer style chipped the ball over the oncoming defence to score a try converted by Davies.

With time running out Narberth tried desperately to come back into the game and were awarded a penalty kick on the ten metre line in front of the posts. Fortunately for Emlyn, Griffiths pushed the kick just past the post, despite the efforts of their touch judge to change the referee’s mind. From the drop out restart Narberth attempted to run the ball back at Emlyn from deep inside their own half but found an extremely determined Emlyn defence.

The final whistle was greeted with a huge cheer from the Emlyn supporters who could not believe the turnaround in their team’s fortunes. This was a truly historic win for the red and whites in their short history against one of the most established sides in the Championship.

The club would like to point out that the article in last week’s Tivyside newspaper regarding promotion and relegation from the Championship was INCORRECT.

The WRU League Rules state – At the end of the 2015 – 16 season FOUR sides with an ‘A’ Licence will be promoted to the Premiership. (The club have not applied for and A Licence).

The BOTTOM TWO will be relegated.

The winners of Divisions One West, West Central, East, and East Central will be promoted to the Championship.

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