Tenby United (5) 10 Crymych (34) 41
The stage was set for a full blooded Pembrokeshire derby – but it ended in a comfortable Crymych win with a hat trick of tries from winger Laurence Headlam that underlined their dominance as they hammered FBM sponsored Tenby United at Heywood Lane on Thursday December 20th, although the victory was marred late on with Crymych replacement Osian Edwards stretchered off and later taken to hospital with a serious looking head injury.
Thankfully, have been advised that despite severe bruising on his Vertebrae, his CT scans have come back clear and he is expected to make a full recovery within six weeks.
His injury meant a slightly premature conclusion as referee Matthew Thomas opted to blow for full time after consulting with both captains and coaches, but the official also confirmed afterwards the result will stand with all parties in agreement.
Indeed, the outcome seemed inevitable from the start as the Preseli Men dominated the early possession with a prolonged series of pick and go’s – switching attack from right to left and back again, driving the valiant defenders of Tenby back toward their goal line, and outside half Gareth Davies ensured their efforts didn’t go to waste with a snap drop goal for an early an well deserved 0-3 lead. Moments later the veteran 10 was instrumental in his team’s opening try as it was his inside pass that set outstanding No 8 Osian Davies on a charging run into the Tenby 22, and then, with men over out wide, he chipped across field into the hands of unmarked Nick Bevan – who in turn popped a pass inside for Headlam to score and extend the lead to 0-8. It was a brilliantly executed score, and one that set the tone for the remainder of the half.
Tenby threatened briefly as a chip ahead deflected back into the hands of outside half Lloyd Thomas, but the Seasiders for some unknown reason were struggling to retain the ball for any length of time and regaining possession, Crymych soon moved further ahead with another superb team score. Impressive number 8 Davies burst out of his own 22 and then had the presence of mind to offload to Headlam on half way, who made ground before returning the favour and after Davies was stopped just short of the line – scrum half Dafydd Phillips was on hand to take the pass to go under the posts.Gareth Davies converted for a deserved 0-15 lead.
The visitors then made their intentions for a four try bonus point clear by turning down a simple three points in favour of a scrum, another area in which they were dominant early on, but the call came to nothing and on the 25 minute mark, Tenby got a foothold.
From a penalty on half way, Thomas kicked his side within 20 metres and from the lineout that followed the pack executed a classic rolling maul – with flanker Luke Hansford touching down for an unconverted score closing the score to 5-15.
The hope of a come back however was short lived as Headlam struck again with a carbon copy of his first try as again Davies kicked to Bevan wide out on the left touchline, and the full back gathered the high ball and linked with the winger ten metres out for Crymych’s third try taking the score out to 5-22.
Next it was the bonus try point which arrived in style via flanker Guto Davies, who picked up a loose ball some forty metres out and showed serious pace to outstrip the cover defence and reach the posts. Gareth Davies converted to make it 29-5 – and there was still time for a fifth Crymych try before the break as prop Ryan Rees, another to make inroads all night, drove over from close range allowing Crymych to end the half comfortably leading 5-34.
The second half didn’t start at the same pace as the first and Tenby appeared briefly to shore up somewhat defensively, but while Lloyd Thomas again and winger Jordan Asparassa threatened with breaks from deep, spells of pressure were rare and easily contained by the visitors, and showing the home side what should have been done, it was the Preseli Men who duly struck again after a big hit from centre Gethin Gibby on opposite number Aaron James forced a turnover, and it was Headlam who evaded the tackle of replacement full back Shane Rossiter to speed down the left for his hat trick try, which Davies converted extending the lead to 5-41
The Seasiders, having made several bench changes did then grab a second score after a series of forward drives culminating in skipper Luke Dedman going over by the corner flag to add a bit of respectability to the score bring it to 10-41, but then, just before the 70 minute mark, the game was halted with the injury mentioned previously, and was subsequently brought to an early close by referee Thomas.
Jordan Asparassa’s tip tackle on Edwards appeared reckless with the winger yellow carded by referee Matthew Thomas, and with a long wait imminent after an ambulance was called for the Crymych player, it was agreed by all involved to end matters there with the result standing.
So for the second time in six days these sides failed to go the full 80 minutes, but just like Saturday, the referee made the correct call.
The contest was done and dusted, a long wait was pending, and the clock had passed the 60 minute mark needed for the score to stand and above all, treatment to Osian Edwards had to take precedent and the most important thing is that he had suffered no long term damage.
Many thought was the tackle warranted a red, but Thomas is one of the better young WRU referees and was well placed to see it. Fair to say we should trust his judgement.
The Crymych coaching staff afterwards said it was the first time they had really clicked this season and it appeared that way. They played with structure and with purpose and the ball carriers up front regularly got them across the gain line. And once the Preseli Men are on the front foot, they will always have a back line ready to do damage.
Gareth Davies was also masterful in orchestrating things and his two cross field kicks which led the tries capped a controlled display. The front row of Steff Harries, Carwyn Rees, and Ryan Rees meanwhile, also got in the ascendancy at the scrum. Crymych are now up to sixth and if they can maintain the accuracy and intensity they displayed last night there is no reason why they can’t finish higher. The downer of course, was the knock to Edwards while No 8 Guto Davies also appeared to badly damage his shoulder.
As for Tenby, now resting firmly as the bottom club in the Division, they have a long hard season in front of them with the majority of sides in the Division faced once and the return fixture will be viewed, by them, as one of their easier games as the second half of the season unfolds – unless there is a significant improvement shown by this young Tenby outfit.
Tenby:- Jack Tucker (Shane Rossiter) , Jordan Asparassa, Aaron James, Moritz Neumann, Geraint Powell, Lloyd Thomas, Ben Pugh, Huw Evans (Jack Davies), Tom Barrass, Ethan Morgan, Luke Dedman (Capt) Charlie Patching (Will Swales), Luke Hansford (Jack Brown), Roy Osborn, Jack Broadhurst
Crymych:- Nick Bevan, Tomos Lewis, Gethin Gibby, Tomi Jones, Laurance Headlam, Gareth Davies, Dafydd Phillips, Steff Harries, Aled Harries, Ryan Rees, Matthew Freebury, Rhys Richards, Rhys Davies, Guto Davies, Osian Davies.Reps: Jason Nicholas, Carwyn Rees, Sion Colella, Harri Williams, Osian Edwards