IT was a rare off-day for Narberth as they lost 15-21 to Ystrad Rhondda at the Lloyd Lewis Ground in the WRU Championship last weekend.

Their fourth league defeat of the campaign leaves Narberth lingering in mid-table, with 20 points and four wins after eight games played.

Despite the weather, which was atrocious, it was a day where Otters never got going – having taken the lead twice, but conceding it to a Rhondda side who were up for revenge after the 24-46 drubbing they received from Narberth the previous weekend in the new Championship Cup competition.

Record appearance holder Dan Smith, who was celebrating his 300th appearance for the club, admitted that he couldn’t work out what went wrong for the Otters on Saturday.

“I can’t put my finger on it today,” said Dan after the match. 

“There was no communication, no ambition. It just felt as if they wanted it more than us on the day. It just was not Narberth.”

Coach Sean Gale said he was not familiar with the performance he saw on Saturday, compared to the commitment he sees in coaching.

“That was not the Narberth side I am accustomed to,” said Gale.

“The weather was difficult, but we did not finish off enough chances, having made plenty opportunities.

“Last week we had a tremendous win against them, but I think they learnt more lessons than us.

“Rhondda played the conditions better than we did. We had enough quality to win the game. We should not be losing like that, but I am sure we are going to bounce back.”

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Narberth took the lead through rising star George McDonald after a great break by Gino Setaro, however Rhondda responded minutes later through hooker Carl Williams who somehow broke through the Narberth lines to finish under the posts.

Midway through the first half McDonald was at the centre of the action again, breaking through the centre of the pitch before Narberth worked the ball out to Nick Gale to finish off a try out in the corner.

Gale then knocked over a penalty to make it 15-7, but despite the scoreline Narberth were under pressure from a ferocious Rhondda forward pack.

If it wasn’t for McDonald’s last-ditch tackle to stop Rhondda full back Aron Clarke the visitors would have closed the gap earlier, however their pressure told a minute before half time with Liam Wiggins going over the line to bring it to 15-14.

The only score of the second half was from Rhondda, eight minutes in, when Setaro’s pass was intercepted in his own half by MacCauley Rowley, who went under the posts.

The rest of the half became a beleaguered Narberth attack versus a spirited Rhondda defence.

Narberth did not have the killer instinct and as the conditions worsened the roar of Rhondda was decisive when, with five minutes to go, the visitors won turn overs that seemed to sap what little spirit Narberth had left in them.

WRU Championship results: Beddau 8 Maesteg Quins 17; Cardiff Met 22 Cross Keys 21; Glamorgan Wanderers 16 Bedwas 12; Narberth 15 Ystrad Rhondda 21; Pontypool 45 Trebanos 14; Tata Steel 19 Bargoed 56; Ystalyfera 11 Neath 19.