With league rugby making a pleasant return to Heywood Lane after an eleven week lay-off due to the recent adverse weather, Coastal Cottages sponsored Tenby United faced a Betws side that had managed to put four successive victories together, including a 29-16 defeat of local side Pembroke Dock Quins at Bierspool, and are handily placed in the league holding down third place.
With last week’s narrow WRU Bowl victory still fresh in their minds, along with the six try thrashing handed out to Betws when they visited today’s opposition earlier in the season, Tenby kicked off with the strong wind at their backs and showed their intention to play an attacking game by throwing the ball around despite the adverse weather conditions. The early efforts brought two quick penalties for the seasiders which Jimmy Davies slotted for a 6-0 lead, as Betws resorted to killing the ball to stem the momentum, a ploy easily spotted and picked-up by referee Jason Ludgate.
Attacking at every opportunity, and getting a swift service from the base of the scrum by the returning will crockford, who was playing his first game of rugby this season, Tenby ran in two tries with number eight sam smith again getting on the scoreboard with a try, to be followed by Gavin Brace who rounded off a move involving backs and forwards to go in under the posts. With Jimmy Davies adding the extras the home side were now leading 20-0 and Betws were struggling to live with the pace of the game, and the constant stream of attacking rugby.
The scoring didn’t stop there as will crockford, spotting a gap and celebrated his return to playing with a neat try under the sticks which was added too by Davies to give the seasiders a healthy 27-0 half time lead.
Playing against the strong wind had little impact on the seasiders intent to play open rugby and they were quickly into their stride with a sweeping three quarter movement ending with wing Simon Stanford sliding over in the corner for try number four and a vital try bonus point. Despite having the bigger and heavier pack, it was Betws that struggled at the set piece and being unable to dominate the scrum seemed to upset their usual style of play. Next it was influential number eight sam smith on the score board as he powered his way over for his second try, converted by Davies, to stretch the lead to 39-0.
The Betws side were obviously struggling to keep Tenby in check but as the half progressed they eventually obtained some quality ball and it was the home sides defence that was now being put to the test. Several sorties were held up short of the Tenby line and from a breakaway move on the halfway line, where sam smith released wing Simon Stanford, the winger just made it to the corner for his second try - a feat remarkably achieved with his opposite number clinging to him like a rag doll from about the 22 - to stretch to lead out to 44-0.
To their credit Betws continued to push for a score and their hard work was eventually rewarded as speedy wing Damian Rees went over for a try converted by outside half Matthew Williams. With a score on the board, Betws gained more confidence and started to string some threatening moves together and it was the defensive qualities of the home side that were again severely put to the test, and to their credit they held firm. From a steal at a breakdown they then exploded into attack mode with a sweeping move ending with impressive full back Dan Colley trotting over for a try taking Tenby into an unassailable 49-7 lead. With time running out it was Betws that got the final score with wing Rees getting his second try. skirting the touchline on route, for a try converted by Williams and a final score of 49-14 and a thoroughly good win for the home side.
With a combination of injuries, holidays, unavailability's accounting for ten changes from the side that played up at Aberaeron the week previous, the playing resources were stretched for this game, but on the positive side, the team that took to the field quickly got their game into full swing and coming off the field with seven tries scored (and a win bonus point picked-up) must have made up for some of the national disappointment with Wales losing to the old enemy the night before.
Thanks must also go to Park Leisure UK for sponsoring the game, and the club hope they enjoyed the day out, and were pleased with the on the pitch entertainment.
With a rearranged game away at Hendy next Saturday, kicking off at 2,30, Tenby will hope to keep their successful league programme on track and record their ninth league victory and keep the pressure on current league leaders Amman United.
Tenby fielded:- Dan Colley; Dan Thomas; Jimmy Davies; Gavin Brace; Simon Stanford; Toby Smith; will crockford (Rhys Thomas); John Palmer; Nicky Guymer (capt); Rob Clarke (Scott Payne); Gareth Edwards; Wyndham Williams (Laurens Brits); Luke Dedman ; sam smith; ilaisa torau (Terry John)
Photos - Dave Bolton and Susan McKehon.
Please see the website albums for more photos of this game.