ANOTHER thrilling match in front of a big crowd at the Lewis Lloyd Ground saw the Otters just coming up short after a last gasp try in injury time by Cross Keys.
Early on both teams kept possession well and defences were difficult to breach. Wing Ashley Sutton was put away down the touchline but forced into touch five metres out. Eventually full back Nick Gale put the first points on the board for the Otters with a straightforward penalty (3-0).
Then, the first missed tackle by the Narberth backs saw the visitors take full advantage with Keys tighthead Prop scoring a converted try under the posts (3-7).
Shortly afterwards it was the visitors’ backs who dropped a pass and Narberth wing Josh Davies collected the ball and sprinted in from 30 yards out for a try converted by Gale (10-7).
Cross Keys replied with a penalty to even the scores but within minutes Narberth were back in front when a fine break by centre Ilan Phillips saw him pass the ball to wing Davies who again made ground before passing back to Phillips to score wide out (15-10).
In the very last move of the first half a half break by the visitors’ centre saw their full back scorching over the line for a converted try which nudged Keys in front 15-17.
After the break, a kick ahead by Otters scrum half Lewys Gibby saw Sutton dive on the ball but the referee adjudged the touchdown to be right on the dead ball line and the try was disallowed. Keys came back with a furter penalty to extend the lead to 15-20 but then the Otters forced their way back into the game.
Some excellent forward drives from the Narberth forwards saw Gale eventually force his way over the line for an unconverted try (20-20).
Then another elusive run from wing Davies saw him brought down just short of the line. The ball was recycled and centre Hedd Nicholas drove on again to be tackled inches short. The ball was again moved quickly to flanker Caine Rees-Jones who dived in under the posts for a fourth try converted by Gale which gave the Otters a bonus point (27-20).
Almost from the restart, Keys recovered the ball and after several surging runs by their forwards their 2nd Row forced his way over the Narberth line for a converted try which again levelled the scores.
A great break from replacement scrum half Ben Thomas saw centre Phillips put into space and he sprinted downfield towards the Keys 22 metre line where he was tackled and this ultimately led to a further penalty to Narberth which was kicked by Gale to again give the Otters the lead in the third minute of injury time.
Unfortunately in the eighth minute of injury time there was still one further opportunity for the Keys left wing to scorch over in the corner for an unconverted try to steal the game form the Otters grasp and leave the final score 30-32 in favour of the visitors.
A truly great game between two excellent teams produced eight exciting tries between them. The Otters faithful were obviously disappointed but gave credit to their team for being part of a highly entertaining hard fought match.