TATA STEEL 20 Narberth 42

Report by Narberth RFC

With blustery conditions in Pembrokeshire on Saturday, Narberth RFC travelled to Tata Steel where surprisingly it was a sunny but cold day, and they came away with a solid 42-20 win in the WRU Championship.

The Otters made an impressive start to the game and within five minutes they scored their first points of the match.

From a ruck situation about 30 metres from the Tata line scrum half George MacDonald switched play to the blind side and passed to hooker Rhodri Owens, who took the ball on and then slipped a pass to winger Jordan Roberts.

When tackled, the ball was quickly recycled, taken on again by forwards Bradley Davies and Alex Jenkins, and MacDonald was then on hand to float a long pass out wide to centre Jake Jenkins.

He then passed to full back Nick Gale, who put No.8 Steff Phillips over in the corner for a lovely try. Gale hit the upright with conversion attempt.

Straight from the kick off the ball was collected and booted downfield by fly half Ianto Griffiths.

When the Tata full back attempted to run the ball back he was knocked back by centre Jenkins and co centre Joe Hutchings attempted to wrestle the ball free.

Tata were penalised for holding on to the ball and Gale stepped up to kick the goal to make it 0-8.

At this point Narberth were firmly in control of the game. From a lineout and driving maul ten metres from the Tata try line, the ball was again recycled and taken on by Rhodri Owens and Joe Hutchings.

The home team were deemed to be offside and Gale again stepped up to kick the penalty (0 – 11).

From the kick off Narberth then attempted to run the ball out of defence and winger Aled Rees was adjudged not to have released the ball in the tackle.

A penalty was awarded and the Tata left wing stepped up and fired the ball firmly between the posts (3 – 11).

Narberth got straight back into the game and were keeping the home team pinned inside their own half.

A relieving kick from the Tata full back saw the ball collected by wing Jordan Roberts about 40 metres out. He side-stepped the first defender and sprinted downfield.

When tackled, centre Joe Hutchings was on hand to take the ball on and when recycled MacDonald switched play to the blind side and gave the ball to Steff Phillips.

He drove forward and from the ensuing ruck MacDonald again passed to prop Bradley Davies on the blind side who crashed over the line in the corner for an excellent try. The conversion attempt failed (3 – 16).

Both teams continued to play an expansive open game but there was no further score before half time.

Ten minutes into the second half another excellent long kick downfield by Otters fly half Ianto Griffiths was collected by the home full back.

He again made the mistake of trying to run out of defence with very little support to hand. He was unceremoniously dumped on the floor by a great tackle from centre Jenkins and 2nd Row Tom Powell was on hand to turn the ball over.

MacDonald was quick to chip the ball over the ruck and chase his own kick which bounced up kindly for him and he sped in for a try near the posts. Gale converted (3 – 23).

Within minutes Narberth were once again on the attack and from a lineout close to the home line a driving maul resulted in flanker Guto Davies powering over the line close to the corner flag. Gale failed with the conversion attempt (3 – 28).

The game was now as good as over and the Otters unfortunately released their grip on the game to some extent.

This inevitably happens when changes are made and at this time Rhys Lane replaced MacDonald, Rhys Williams replaced Tom Powell, Tom Curry replaced Rhodri Owens, Ifan James replaced Bradley Davies and Jon Rogers went to fly half with Ianto Griffiths moving to centre instead of Jake Jenkins.

For the next fifteen minutes the Otters conceded several penalties which ultimately resulted in the Tata No.7 going over for a try after a lineout close to Narberth’s try line. The conversion kick was successful (10 – 28).

This setback galvanised the Otters and it wasn’t long before they worked their way back close to the home tryline.

From an attacking scrum ten metres out No.8 Steff Phillips picked up the ball and ran wide.

He slipped the ball back inside to Rhys Lane who quickly passed to captain Richard Rees and when he was stopped close to the line Guto Davies was on hand to once again force his way over the try line. Gale converted (10 – 35).

Then from the last move of the game, a delicate chip over the top of the Tata scrambled defence by fly half Rogers saw the ball bounce against the upright and pop up nicely into the hands of Guto Davies to score his hat trick of tries. Gale again converted to bring the match to a close (10 – 42).

The Narberth coaches were very pleased with the result and felt that the players had worked hard early on to gain the ascendency.

Several excellent tries were scored and it augured well for next week’s home match against Ystalyfera.

Narberth fielded Bradley Davies, Rhodri Owens, Tom Slater, Tom Powell, Alex Jenkins, Richard Rees, Guto Davies, Steff Phillips, George MacDonald, Ianto Griffiths, Aled Rees, Joe Hutchings, Jake Jenkins, Jordan Roberts, Nick Gale, Ifan James, Tom Curry, Rhys Williams, Rhys Lane and Jonathan Rogers.