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Otters edged out by Bargoed

ON Saturday, January 22, Narberth RFC travelled to Bargoed with some trepidation as the home team were sitting top of the Championship table.

However the match turned out to be a very close affair with both teams playing top quality rugby.

Both teams attempted to play an expansive game but strong running by both sets of backs was always met by crunching tackles and the match was certainly not one for the faint hearted.

Tactics were frequently changed with kicks downfield which were regularly returned with interest and long passes out wide to the wingers but despite all efforts neither side was able to make any decisive breaks and cross the try line. 

Twenty minutes into the game Narberth conceded a penalty at a scrum around their 22 metre line and the Bargoed fly half stroked the ball firmly between the posts to open the scoring (3-0). Ten minutes later the Bargoed backs were caught offside at a ruck and full back Nick Gale kicked the penalty to level the score at 3-3. There was no further score before half time.

After the break Bargoed put Narberth under a lot of pressure but the Otters defensive work and tackling throughout the team was outstanding and somehow kept the home team out. The Narberth forwards were also effectively disrupting the Bargoed lineouts but eventually the pressure told and after a penalty had been awarded a lineout on the Otters five metre line led to a catch and drive which the Otters failed to stop and the Bargoed hooker was awarded a try which was converted (10-3).

Bargoed were getting a stranglehold on the game but the entire Narberth team refused to give in and after further defensive work and turn overs at the breakdown the Otters began to work their way back into the game.

With fifteen minutes left a Narberth lineout nearly led to a try when the ensuing maul was driven to within a metre of the try line but the Otters were unable to recycle the ball when the maul collapsed and the chance of scoring was lost.

With five minutes remaining Narberth were again camped on the Bargoed try line and from a ruck George MacDonald passed to the blind side where winger Aled Rees did well to collect and appeared to get over in the corner but to the dismay of the Narberth supporters the Bargoed touch judge had raised his flag for a foot in touch.

The try was therefore disallowed and the game finished with a 10-3 win for Bargoed.

The Otters picked up a well-deserved losing point. This was undoubtedly Narberth’s best performance of the season and augurs well for next week’s home match against Pontypool.

Report by Chairman Rob Lewis