WITH a backlog of fixtures due to adverse weather conditions over the winter months, Narberth travelled to Pontypool for an early kick off due to it being an International Rugby weekend.
‘Pooler’ are unbeaten at home and have a team deserving of being in the Premier Division. They regularly rack up big scores against Championship opposition and unfortunately even though the Otters put up a valiant performance the end result was a 54-23 loss which in all fairness didn’t reflect the closeness of the match.
In the first ten minutes the Pooler left wing sneaked in for a try at the corner flag which wasn’t converted. Narberth got back into the game with a penalty kicked by full back Nick Gale. Shortly afterwards the home crowd were stunned into silence when a Pooler pass went astray and was collected by centre Jordan Roberts who dashed up field and dived over in the corner for a splendid try which Gale converted to put the Otters in front 5-10.
In the 27th minute after some strong defence by the entire Narberth team, Pontypool eventually managed a further score when their centre dived over in the corner for a converted try (12-10).
Narberth refused to buckle under a lot of pressure and when chances arrived from Pooler indiscretions Gale stepped up to kick two further penalties to put the Otters back in the lead at 12-16. It looked as though this would be the half time score but right on 40 minutes Pontypool scored a converted try under the posts to go into the changing rooms with a slender 19-16 lead.
Five minutes into the second half Pooler had a lineout near the Narberth try line and after a well drilled catch and drive the Pooler captain and No.8 dived over for a try which fly half Jarvis converted to extend the lead to 26-16.
Solid defence by the Otters held Pontypool out until about fifteen minutes from time when a further try from a driving lineout put the game well out of the Otters reach. Substitutions were made by both teams but the Pooler squad is quite formidable and ultimately a further three tries were scored with the Otters managing one of their own after a great break through the middle by centre Ilan Phillips who was brought down just short of the line but released a pass to supporting scrum half Ben Thomas who scored the try converted by Gale.
After the match, Pontypool said that it had been a difficult first 40 minutes for them. It had been a good test against quality opposition as both sides contributed to an entertaining match. Narberth would certainly agree with that summary.