This could have been such a difficult day. Beddau`s emotions were tangled in memories of young prop forward Tom Owen, a first team debutant at 18, who so tragically lost his life in the workplace earlier in the week. A minute`s silence, followed by spontaneous applause was beautifully observed and the Club were very grateful for the sympathetic management of referee Mr Jason Morris.
The match proceeded at a high tempo with both sides seeking to stamp some authority. The out of hand kicking of Narberth outside half Jonathon Rogers, lengthy and precise, stretched Beddau`s defence and centres Jack Price and the long-striding Oli Reyland were also asking questions.
From a collision following a lineout near halfway, the ball found its way to Callum Tree. The Narberth Number 8 galloped into space and found lock Jake Simm in support. His pass freed hooker Dan Smith to score in the corner.
From a Narberth offence Beddau scrum half Carl Lewis sped off from a tap and go but ran out of support. Narberth grabbed the ball and a length of the field kick required the great defensive cover of David Francis, supported by Owen Cotton, to keep the Otters at bay. Beddau were looking a little ragged at this point but when their hard working forwards won an offside decision outside half Hywel Chatham marked his hundredth first team appearance with a well struck penalty.
They had no time to reflect as an obstruction allowed full back Nick Gale to restore Narberth`s five point lead. Some devastating running from the deep had alerted Beddau to the dangers in Narberth`s ranks but increasingly these raids were in counter to the pressure Beddau were beginning to exert. When Narberth scrum half Rhys Lane stole away from a breakdown though, his grubber was brilliantly fielded by Liam Hutchings and the winger found Oli Reynard who finished a score converted by Jonathon Rogers.
It was 15-3 now but Hywel Chatham spurned a 3-pointer in favour of the touchline and from a Lloyd Evans catch the drive was well orchestrated for hooker Jack Dando to cross for a try Chatham converted. The penalty count was now ratcheting up and it was no surprise that Narberth skipper Alex Jenkins saw yellow when the ball was again killed. Beddau went for touch again but saw the lineout go astray. It mattered not because Adam Ashford launched an attack from full-back that Joe Casella and Tyler Wells continued. Desperate defence ended with a fly-hack to touch and this time Beddau drove purposefully to provide Jack Dando with a second try. Hywel Chatham could not convert and it was 15-15 at half time.
Everything was flowing Beddau`s way as the second period progressed but Narberth were unbending. Some quick handling had taken Beddau deep into the 22 but a maul came to an ugly end with Narberth loose head Bradley Davies laying into a prone body. Kristian Parker remonstrated and after a period of discussion Mr Morris showed a red card to the Narberth prop while Kristian Parker received a yellow.
Beddau`s penalty to touch was negated but Carl Lewis fed Chatham who gave Tyler Wells a run. As the tackle came in a stunning offload from the young centre provided a try for the busy Jordan Goodwin. Hywel Chatham converted. Jonathon Rogers struck a penalty to bring the scores to 22-18 but a quite brilliant try for Beddau that had seen Adam Ashford, Gabriel Davies and David Francis involved was finished by the pacy Carl Lewis and the Hywel Chatham conversion proved decisive.
For the second fixture this season Narberth turned to the non-competitive scrum and to accompany that Mr Morris awarded a succession of penalties. Beddau lost, in quick succession, winger Joe Casella and replacement prop Cerith Jones to the bin meaning they would have to play out time with 13 men against the 14 Otters. Ianto Griffiths had replaced Jonathon Rogers and his initial break made a gap that full back Nick Gale raced through for a fine score. Agonisingly for Narberth the straightforward conversion almost damaged the goal frame but didn`t add any points.
With four minutes of added time already passed Narberth had the go ahead to ply the touch line. Beddau held the first drive but a series of passes went back and forth before winger Gethin Gibby slid in at the flag. The kick was from the left touchline and whether Rogers, Gale or Griffiths Narberth appear to be stocked with left-footed kickers. It was heart in the mouth time but the hands lifted in celebration were Beddau`s as the kick drifted wide of the mark. It was a win that was well-merited but both sides gave it their all and the match was a fitting memorial to Tom Owen.
Report by Lynn West