SATURDAY (Oct 29) saw Narberth entertain Maesteg Harlequins in the last match before a well-deserved break.
As the heavens opened the Narberth supporters wondered what awaited them as the Otters were targeting another win to go with 5 wins and 2 losses for the first 7 games of a particularly difficult opening period of the season.
The Otters have had some terrible injury problems over the last few weeks which resulted in Head Coach Sean Gale having to name 4 hookers in the match-day squad.
Indeed, it was a scrappy affair for the first 20mins with neither team able to break the deadlock as Narberth made several errors playing against a strong wind and driving rain and dogged defence by Quins kept scoring to a minimum.
Quins opened with a long-range penalty to take the lead before Narberth started to pick their game up mainly due to some quick blind-side bursts by Josh Davies and Lewis Gibby.
These bursts eventually paved the way for a clean break by Davies who had Ilan Phillips on his inside to canter over for the first try. Fly half Jonathan Rogers converted (7-3).
Several line breaks ensued but the Otters could not quite capitalise and Maesteg Quins cleared time and time again. However some good interplay down the blind led to Gibby showing his pace and racing clear to stretch Narberth’s lead to 12-3. The conversion attempt failed and shortly afterwards the referee blew the whistle for half time.
With the strong wind at their back the Lewis Lloyd ground regulars were fully expecting to see a territory game from the home team, however several errors and some poor decision making led to a stalemate for the first 20mins with both teams losing possession at critical times.
However, the tide did turn in Narberth’s favour as some long raking Jonathan Rogers kicks saw the Quins remain deep in their half. Some slick interplay by the backs and an excellent running line from Lewis Gibby saw him unlock the mid-field defence and sprint clear to score in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful (17-3).
Narberth’s defence, once more proved crucial and Quins could not find their way through the excellent aggressive tackling by the entire Otters team.
With twenty minutes still to play a bonus point was there for the taking but for some time Narberth just could not break the resolute Quins defence. However, the constant pressure finally told when another attacking move close to the visitors line led to the Quins deliberately knocking a ball down and conceding a penalty try (24-3).
With Narberth now in total control an excellent attacking set-piece play saw man of the match Ilan Phillips break through the Quins fragile defence to finally release George McDonald to score the final try of the game near to the posts.
Full back Ianto Griffiths converted to make the final score 31-3 to the Otters.