Narberth RFC | 1st Team 44 - 0 Ystalyfera RFC | 1st Team

Match Report
18 December 2019 / Team News

Narberth 44 – 0 Ystalyfera

Our latest contest in the Welsh National Championship was away against Narberth. Nicknamed “the Otters”, they have won the Pembrokeshire County Cup competition for the last two years, having over 150 junior players registered at all age groups as well as successful Youth, Athletic and Veteran sides. Narberth is also home to the Scarlets’ Under-16 Academy, which plays all its home matches at their Lewis Lloyd ground.   

Conditions were cloudy with a cold wind gusting on occasion up the field. Narberth kicked off and Ystalyfera were soon awarded a penalty, setting the first line out in the home half. The Narberth forwards won the line out and a set of kicks ensued, Ystalyfera getting a further penalty which they chose to run. Both sides had to adjust to the conditions and with a strengthening wind Narberth moved quickly into the ‘Fera half. Assessing the misplaced visitors’ defence the Narberth midfield passed the ball sharply and in the 7th minute No8 Roy Osborn tore thru the centre for the first Try. This was converted by full back Nick Cole: score 7 – 0. The effect of the wind was an advantage and a penalty after the restart set Narberth up on the Ystalyfera 22m line. The ‘Fera forwards stole the ball and worked the line-out well, releasing along their backs, only to run off field at half way. Narberth attacked again, kicking forward where ‘Fera outside half Gareth James cleared back to the middle. From a scrum inside half Zac Beynon looked for a gap but Narberth were awarded a penalty. Selecting a scrum Narberth run the ball only to drop it, Fera full back Taylor Phillips being able to clear into the Narberth half. Thanks to the weather, it was no surprise both sides were having handling difficulties. Narberth won a penalty in the scrum and set up a line out in the top right hand corner. In the 25th minute an effective catch and drive saw Narberth get their second Try, again by No8 Roy Osborn and again converted by Nick Gale; score 14 – 0. A penalty attempt soon after the restart by Ystalyfera centre Steffan Castle missed the target, and fielding the resultant drop out, he took an opportunity to kick and chase, regaining the ball. Ystalyfera attacked only for Narberth to get a penalty for handling the ball on the floor. Play rotated between line outs and scrums, until Narberth got a penalty for offside on the ‘Fera 22m line in front of posts. Nick Gale kicked this over in the 37th minute: score 17 – 0. Ystalyfera attacked from the restart but lost the ball, Narberth kicking into the top right hand corner. Steffan Castle cleared from the line out but did not find touch. Narberth run the ball back and were able to easily break thru the middle of the Ystalyfera defence line, where Centre Joe Hutchings scored their third Try in the 40th minute. Nick Gale converted again lifting the score to 24 – 0. Ystalyfera then immediately gave away a penalty from the restart in the middle of the field, where with the help of the strong wind Nick Gale put over to leave a half time score of 27 – 0.   

Ystalyfera started the second half and Narberth cleared their lines. Both sides had recognisably increased the speed of the game, moving possession and looking for gaps. The ‘Fera won a penalty and Gareth James took it quickly, only for his side to give away a penalty. Narberth in response also run the ball out, and turning play inside allowed flanker Tom Powell to run in the fourth Bonus Try in the 44th minute. This was not converted; score 32 – 0. Besides the wind heavy rain now started, and Steffan Castle responded with a long kick into the top left corner. ‘Fera won the line out but a penalty was given away. The rain continued and Ystalyfera attempted to take advantage. Possession changed hands with both sides understandingly dropping the ball. Play moved into the home 22 with Ystalyfera working hard to attack, Narberth competing hard not to allow any score. The stormy conditions soon went as fast as it had come, and play continued very openly, both sides looking to take advantage of obvious gaps. Gareth James sought to break thru two Narberth defenders in the 75th minute, only to be judged by the referee to have swung his arms too aggressively, earning a sending off. Narberth chose a scrum and after another penalty, ran the ball enabling centre Joe Hutchings to score the fifth Try. This was converted by Nick Gale lifting the score to 39 – 0. Ystalyfera were not giving up and ran the ball from the restart, getting another line out in the top corner. After a loose kick however Narberth gained the ball, and a break out by their backs saw a sixth Try and a hat-trick for No8 Roy Osborn in the 80+2 minute.

Final score was 44 – 0 with a penalty count of 15 for Ystalyfera and 11 for Narberth.   

For Rugby Clubs such as ourselves, who over many long seasons in our past have had to fight tooth and nail just to find 15 players and remain in existence, let alone achieve anything, the experience of any success provides the opportunity to meet and measure ourselves against club sides who have in the main, always played our beloved game amongst the higher echelons of the sport. Ystalyfera have earned the right to contest at a league level with the likes of Pontypool, Neath, Beddau, Bargoed, Bedwas, Cross Keys and Glamorgan Wanderers this season.

Narberth are a side who in their 30 years in the National Leagues (since joining the Heineken League Division Two in 1990), have spent 3% of their time in Division Three and 97% higher up, 30% in Division One alone. In comparison Ystalyfera (since joining Division Eight in 1994), have spent 80% of our seasons in Division Three and below. Yes, on occasion we are understandably overwhelmed for varying, frustrating and possibly avoidable reasons, but on others we give as good as we get – and this is why we do it. Keep your heads up boys, Onwards and upwards – “Fera yw y gore medden nhw”  


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