NARBERTH took on Bedwas, a former Premier Division team, at the Lewis Lloyd Ground on Saturday and games between these two sides are always close and hard fought affairs.
Bedwas started strongly and had the Otters pinned well inside their half for most of the first fifteen minutes of the game. However stern defence from the home team managed to keep the visitors at bay.
Then after a rare incursion into the Bedwas half, a catch and drive from a lineout saw Narberth No.8 Roy Osborn break free from the maul and charge downfield. He slipped a pass to his supporting scrum half, Lewys Gibby who scampered in for a try from about 20 metres out. The conversion attempt failed (5-0).
Further pressure ensued from the Bedwas team but with a strong wind at their backs some excellent defence and long relieving kicks downfield by Otters fly half, Jonathan Rogers, denied the visitors from crossing the home try line. Bedwas seemed to dominate possession and were very good at retaining the ball which was frustrating the Otters from making good use of the wind and getting a foothold in the Bedwas half.
Just before half time a defensive blunder by the visitors near their line gifted Narberth a penalty and the home team decided to opt for a scrum. Osborn picked up and drove towards the line and then managed to get his pass to Gibby who went over for his second try and brought the half time score to 10-0 in favour of the Otters.
With such a strong wind, some of the Narberth supporters were dubious whether ten points would be sufficient to withstand the Bedwas onslaught and how right they proved to be.
Narberth started the second half in similar manner to the first by giving away too many penalties and being pressurised by the visitors close to their line.
Eventually from a catch and drive at a lineout the Bedwas hooker forced his way over for a try which was duly converted to bring the score to 10-7.
For the next fifteen minutes Narberth had more of the possession and came close to scoring on two occasions but a knock on and some sloppy passing saw chances lost. The Otters continued to incur the wrath of the referee and further penalties were awarded to the visitors which resulted in them drawing level and then taking the lead for the first time in the game by 10-13.
Almost immediately from the resulting kick off Narberth were awarded a rare penalty and this was kicked by Otters full back, Nick Gale, to level the scores and bring up a milestone in his rugby career for the Otters by scoring 1000 points in league matches.
With time now running out, Bedwas once again continued to put the Otters under pressure and with almost the last move of the game they scored a converted try wide out to win the game 13-20.
With Neath RFC the next visitors to the Lewis Lloyd Ground in two weeks’ time the Otters will certainly need to up their game.