SSE SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
MAY 14 2016
LLANHARAN 42 NARBERTH 24 HT 13-5
There was jubilation in abundance at the Dairyfield as we broke our duck with an inspired bonus point victory over Narberth.
Head coach Colin Malone, stepping down after eighteen years sterling service to the club, could not have wished for a better send off.
The victory was all the more impressive as the home side played out three quarters of the game with fourteen men after Rhys Haines’ somewhat harsh red card.
It was a showing full of commitment and determination, each player performing as though it was a cup final, and offering great encouragement to new head coach Jeff Pick and his assistants Kevin Jones and Wayne Jervis.
Yet the first five minutes suggested a less favourable outcome, the visitors’ Nick gale hitting the upright with a penalty and then striding over the line as he cashed in on some fatal hesitation.
However, we were soon in the action as Richard Lawrence and Liam Union each went close to scoring, the team’s play stimulated by the lively Craig Burton at scrum half and brilliantly led by Huw Thomas.
We claimed a deserved first try just after Thomas and his effective back row partners Lawrence and Tom Wilson once more combined to allow outside half Jones to convert a penalty
The Black and Blues continued to create chances and made light of our numerical disadvantage after entering the second quarter.
The reward came with the irrepressible Thomas going over from a scrum, Jones adding the kick for 10-5 lead.
He put over his second penalty before half time, and although Otters’ wing Jordan Roberts was rightly sin binned for a deliberate knock on, advantage wasn’t played and an Evan Parry-John touch down counted for nothing.
Jones struck a third three pointer soon after the turn around, but Gale’s mazy run brought him a well-earned try.
However, Llanharan were clearly in determined mood and Burton and Liam Union worked the ball behind the defence for Union to score again, the kick making it 23-10.
Not long after, Evan Parry-John intercepted and raced in from 45 metres and one sensed that at last it was going to be our day with a twenty points lead.
When Narberth did attack they found the breakdown work of the likes of Wilson and Kieran Martin a constant obstacle.
And it was the basement club that scored again, Union bringing up the bonus point helped by incisive approach work from Harry Griffiths and Jack Pring.
Jones took his haul to seventeen with the conversion and was himself near to grabbing a try after an exciting kick and chase.
With tiring limbs evident on both sides in a fast-moving encounter, Narberth gained their own worthy bonus point thanks to John Mogs and Ollie Reyand, Gale converting the first.
But between the scores Gavin Parsons had raced in to ensure an emphatic win for his side.
It was a day when there was no suppressing Thomas’s ebullient Dairyfield team who left their delighted supporters with happy memories to take into the summer and grounds for confidence in the future.
Llanharan tries: Liam Union 2, Evan Parry-John, Huw Thomas, and Gavin Parsons. Cons 4 pens 3: Scott Jones.
Narberth tries: Nick Gale 2 (plus 2 cons), Johnny Mogs, Ollie Reyland.
15 HARRISON EVANS (JACK PRING 51)
14 LIAM UNION (GAVIN PARSONS 71)
13 HARRY GRIFFITHS
12 CHRIS WILLIAMS
11 LLOYD THOMAS
10 SCOTT JONES
9 CRAIG BURTON
1 RHYS TAYLOR (GETHIN CASHMORE 44)
2 SAM PICK (JAMES HOLMES 65)
3 RHYS HAINES ( Red Card 21)
4 OWAIN HOWE ( SAM LLEWELLYN 58)
5 KIERAN MARTIN
6 TOM WILSON
7 RICHARD LAWRENCE
8 HUW THOMAS (CAPT)
Report by Hugh Smith. Images by Richie Jenkins.