In his latest column, Fraser Watson looks at the career of Dominic Day, the KO Cup, Laugharne on the road, and nonsense at Pill Parks.....

Calling it a Day:

His career stats boast 92 games for the Scarlets, 110 for Bath, trophies at Saracens, and stints in both Australia and Japan. Oh yeah, plus three Welsh caps and a Rugby World Cup appearance.

And yet when Pembroke RFC product Dominic Day announced his rugby retirement last week, it was in-keeping with much of his professional career. Understated.

Followers of Premiership rugby in England will testify to Day’s consistency at the top levels of British and European club rugby. But despite the often erratic nature of the Welsh lineout this past decade, such reliability seemingly wasn’t enough for Mr Gatland.

Prior to his sudden selection for the 2015 Webb Ellis tournament, Day had been overlooked by Wales for much of his prime. And was then overlooked thereafter.

Whatever the reasoning, it was our loss as much as his.

Knock yourselves out:

In November 2013, I was part of a Whitland squad that drew lower league Tenby in the Pembrokeshire KO Cup. We made multiple changes, were complacent, and deservedly lost.

In November 2019, Whitland drew lower league Tenby in the KO Cup. They made multiple changes, were probably complacent, and deservedly lost.

Now before I go any further, let’s not discredit The Seasiders. They too were missing players but stood up to be counted and won at a venue where they conceded 67 points last April. That’s some turnaround.

But it was a strange approach by The Borderers. The KO Cup has its detractors but for many teams, it represents their best chance of silverware and the final is always a memorable night for the victors. Whitland themselves know that only too well from last season.

Incidentally, back in 2013 it was Tenby who went on to lift the trophy after further wins over Crymych and then Aberystwyth. They’ll hope history continues to repeat itself.

Cracking the Bowl:

From one cup story to another, full credit to Laugharne for going all out in their midweek jaunt to Abertillery in the last round of the Bowl.

That is another competition where it bewilders me as to why more of the stronger sides don’t take it seriously. The end reward is a game at the Principality Stadium and win or lose, those involved will never forget it.

The Cocklemen turned up all guns blazing to beat Whitehead and won away in Wrexham before that. This Saturday they are again on the road with a tie in Tumble, with the winners going into the last 16.

Too many capable teams see the Bowl has a hindrance and would sooner give walkovers and whinge about the WRU then head up the motorway on a freezing November night. Of course, giving it 100% doesn’t guarantee you’ll reach the hallowed turf, but it will at least give you a chance.

Ask Fishguard, Pembroke, or any other previous Bowl finalists if they think the sacrifices are worth it.

Wide open down west:

When Division Three West A was first formed, it inevitably all began a bit imbalanced. As a result, the title race has rarely delved beyond a two horse one.

This season however, it looks more like a WWE style Battle Royal.

Two points separates first and sixth, and every side has lost at least once. Leaders Lampeter have actually lost twice – while St Clears, Pembroke Dock, Laugharne, Haverfordwest and Aberaeron are all a win away from overtaking them.

It is all far healthier than a couple of teams knowing that 75% of their fixtures are won by kick off. This season, to win promotion it’s going to take consistency, frequent tough tests, and no shortage of mettle.

And that’s how it should be for any side with ambitions to be champions.

Pill Parks plagued by prats:

Were this not down in writing, I would be using a different word to prats. Maybe it's just one prat.

We all like to insinuate that sporting clubs are penalised by being based in Pembrokeshire. Less funds, lack of facilities, unfit surfaces and all the rest of it.

And then you hear that the Llangwm RFC pitch has been deliberately wrecked by some dimwit driver and you wonder if maybe we’re our own worst enemies.

Like any other local surface Pill Parks isn’t perfect. But not only does it give the club a chance to train and play rugby games, it takes on an integral community role for those who come down to watch a match on any given Saturday.

Whoever took the time to try and ruin it will hopefully be identified and punished. But while we may not live in this kind of age nowadays, I’d sooner see said culprit pinned to the ground on the halfway line before the Llangwm pack duly started rucking practice.

That really would be a joy ride.

Guest score predictions:

Kyle Davies, forwards coach at Pembroke RFC, is the tipster this week. Having played at Llandovery he knows only too well the ruthless nature of the higher leagues – and how they can fluctuate quickly. Sure enough, The Scarlets are currently bottom of One West, and yet at the same time sit a bonus point win away from the top half of the table.

His side are in need of a result tomorrow against Gorseinon, and in a show of faith he’s predicted they'll get one....

WRU Championship:

Beddau v Narberth - Narberth by 4.

Division One West:

Llanelli Wanderers v Whitland - Whitland by 7.

Penclawdd v Crymych - Crymych by 12.

Pembroke v Gorseinon - Pembroke by 12.

Division Two West:

Loughor v Milford Haven - Loughor by 11.

Pontarddulais v Fishguard - Pontarddulais by 11.

Tenby United v Burry Port - Burry Port by 10.

Division Three West A:

Cardigan v Neyland - draw (12-12).

Haverfordwest v Lampeter - Haverfordwest by 4.

Pembroke Dock Quins v Tregaron - Quins by 14.

St Clears v Llangwm - St Clears by 30.