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Classic game of two halves

Tenby United (0) 7 Gorseinon (17) 17

With Gorseinon the last but one visitors for this season, they kicked off with the wind behind them at a sparsely filled Heywood Lane against FBM sponsored Tenby United, with every intention of coming away with the double and with as many league points as they could gain, to help them climb up the league table. Uncharacteristically the ball was spilled immediately and Tenby were on the back foot from the start and despite some resolute early defending Tenby went 3 points behind as playing the ball at the breakdown ended with fullback Rhodri Phelps slotting the awarded penalty. That lead was doubled soon afterwards when another penalty was awarded at the breakdown and Tenby were up against it from the start now being 0-6 down as Rhodri Phelps slotted penalty number two.

Slowly getting into the game, Tenby threatened to trouble the scoreboard operators, when centre Moritz Neumann sliced through the visitors defence but veered to the right seeking support, when his option should have been left, where his speedy winger was unmarked. His flipped inside pass went straight to a tracking Gorseinon player and the threat fizzled out. A tap down by Luke Dedman at the next lineout was seized upon by the visitor’s lively number seven but fortunately for Tenby he knocked the ball on. Tenby were building some momentum at last with Huw Evans, Rob Luly, Luke Hansford, Charlie Patching, Tom Barrass all contributing and a chip over the onrushing defence by Lloyd Thomas was taken by Jordon Asparassa but he was collared by the scrambling visitors defence.

At the breakdown around the halfway line Tenby put in a tremendous counter ruck but unfortunately the ball popped out the side allowing second row Alun Evans to gather the ball and make valuable yards toward the Tenby line and as he was tackled he managed to skilfully pop the ball to the supporting Jack Gronow who crossed wide, out extending the lead to 0-11. This lead was extended within minutes as another shrill blast on the whistle by referee Aaron Cross, who was somewhat over zealous with his constant use of his whistle, at the breakdown, presented Rhodri Phelps with his third successful penalty extending the lead to 0-14.

With words of encouragement from skipper Luke Dedman while the team grouped under the sticks from the restart Tenby built up a head of steam with a tap and go at a penalty seeing Rob Luly along with Huw Evans again prominent, with additional support from Tom Barrass, Ethan Morgan, Dan Allen, Jack Tucker, Billy Truman and wingers Evan Watson and Jason Asparassa. Truman unfortunately left the field for a blood injury during this passage of play to be replaced by Ryan Hill. A follow up attacking series, this time involving strong running Moritz Neumann, Luke Dedman, Charlie Patching, half backs Lloyd and Dan Thomas developed but the move came to nothing as the referee seemed to totally switch off and did not see/blow for the blatant off side situation involving nearly the entire Gorseinon three quarter line and too add more misery for Tenby penalised them, allowing Phelps to add another penalty to his contribution, taking the score out to 0-17. To add a touch of humour to proceedings, referee Cross went tumbling to the ground just as he blew for half time. Taking into account his performance in the first half, that was the highlight of his first forty minutes.

The wind that had favoured the visitors in the first half seemed to totally die away as Tenby restarted the game with the blood reversal of Truman and Hill happening at half time along with Jack Broadhurst replacing Charlie Patching. Obviously with the instructions from the coaching team fresh in their heads Tenby went straight on the attack with Jordan Asparassa, Dan Thomas, Dan Allen, Lloyd Thomas, Luke’s, Hansford and Dedman, Huw Evans and Jack Tucker – with Rob Luly and Jack Broadhurst finishing off the move creating the opportunity for centre Billy Truman to cross for a try converted by Lloyd Thomas closing the scores to 7-17.

Maintaining the pressure, a long clearing kick by the visitors was safely collected by Jack Tucker and linking with Jordan Asparassa saw the threat come to an end with fellow winger Evan Watson being bundled into touch by the scrambling Gorseinon defence. Watson was again swiftly back in the action when he cleverly prevented a long touch finder from crossing the whitewash and Jack Tucker linked with Lloyd Thomas and the pair released wing Jordon Asparassa into space but the Gorseinon defence handled the threat.

Tenby were dominating the second half and emptied their bench, and Gorseinon were stretched to contain the home side and referee Cross came to their assistance with what was by some length his worst 60 seconds so far. A series of pick and go’s close to the Gorseinon line was threatening a score when two visiting players put in a couple of high tackles on the ball carriers – shouting “high tackle” and holding his arm out, the referee allowed play to continue and seconds later, when a Tenby played knocked the ball on, he blew and awarded a scrum to Gorseinon!!! As the whole series of actions had taken about sixty seconds to happen, skipper Luke Dedman queried what had happened to the awarded penalties, but by then the referee had stopped explaining his actions as both captains had queried his decisions for most of the match, and unfortunately Luke’s question wafted away on the breeze.

Almost immediately Tenby were subject to another strange decision when a charged down kick, virtually on the Gorseinon try line, was deemed by the referee to be a knock on…with Tenby camped on the Gorseinon line for the remainder of the match, either being held up over the line or just short of the try line, referee Cross decided to blow for time having eventually got around to the side of the breakdown where the ball was, to award a “not grounded” decision, and blow for time.

The Tenby coaches were unhappy at half time that Gorseinon had been allowed to dominate the first half with the home side playing a very narrow attacking game and not spinning the ball wide to get the bulky Gorseinon forwards to run around the park added to this, they were not blessed pleased with what had been a totally unacceptable penalty count. All of this resulted in a total game plan change at halftime with the instructions that the ball was to be spun wide at every opportunity and containing anything Gorseinon had in terms of attack, an increase in the defensive line speed….. which was all taken on board providing a winning second half performance by the home side – pity about the lack of adequate game management in the first half.

We all accept that without a referee games cannot take place but this game was a case of a match being played by the two teams despite the presence of a referee. Both sets of players, officials and supporters came away from Heywood Lane totally mystified by many of the on field decisions.

Tomorrow it is local derby time with Tenby travelling the short distance to Whitland with the home side sitting fourth in the league and wanting to complete the double and gain local bragging rights

Scorers Tenby: Try Billy Truman. Conv. Lloyd Thomas

Scorers Gorseinon: Try Jack Gronow. Penalties Rhodri Phelps x 4

Tenby: – Jack Tucker (Mark Hamilton), Jordan Asparassa, Moritz Neumann, Billy Truman, Evan Watson (Ryan Hill), Lloyd Thomas, Dan Thomas, Ethan Morgan, Dan Allen, Rob Luly, Huw Evans (Harry Bolton), Luke Dedman, Charlie Patching (Jack Broadhurst), Tom Barrass, Luke Hansford.

Gorseinon: Rhodri Phelps, O Thomas, Nicky Jenkins, Luke Cross, Geraint Morgan, Jack Gronow, D Tinnuane, Rhys Juhasz Richards, Cameron Collis, F Holder, N Southgate, Alun Evans, Declan Norman, R Craig, Sean Haycock Reps: M Thomas, Anthony Pompa, Ben Cross, D Wilcox, L Popham

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