Wanderers battle back to record fine away win
“The resilience shown by such a young group is tremendous. The first half was tough but they regrouped at half time, used the elements well and got themselves back into the game. They are so keen to learn and succeed its great to be a part of it” commented Martyn Fowler. “We knew the conditions would be a great leveller and that proved the case”
“We had a real go at the group for their blasé approach and we asked them to respond and they did” added Darren Gibbon “that goes for the whole squad and coaching group as well. We have a great group and it goes beyond the 20 selected. Some are disappointed about not being included and it’s great to have the competition for places. They will get their chances. It can only be positive going forward.”
“Credit to the Narberth ground staff for providing a decent surface despite the weather” added Chairman Gerry Blake.
On a wet, windy afternoon in Pembrokeshire the home side decided to play with the elements in the first half and after two minutes their decision seemed justified. A clearance kick from the Wanderers failed to find touch in the wind and Narberth took full advantage. Attacking down the left wing they outstripped the defence and after some slick handling they crossed for the opening score 5-0. Both sides struggled to get to grips with the conditions early on but it was the Otters that looked more accomplished. The Wanderers found it tough to get out of their own half and some poor kicking out of hand didn’t help their cause. The home side extended their lead with a penalty soon afterwards to make the lead to 8-0 as all the play was with Narberth. It was 16 minutes into the game when the visitors eventually made it to the opposition 22 but the attack petered out under some good defensive work from the home side. Wanderers did have a chance to register a score but a Paul Short penalty went wide and the Otters were soon back in the ascendancy. The Wanderers were forced into a long period of defence but good marshalling of the tacklers and difficulty of handling in the conditions meant that Narberth could not extend their lead. Varying their attack with forward drives and width on their plays Narberth tried in vain to break down a resilient Wanderers defence. The pressure was intense but any thoughts that the visitors could be blown away by half time were stuck in the mud. A penalty on the stroke of 40 minutes did extend the lead to 11-0 but the Wanderers retreated to the warmth of the changing rooms knowing that they were not too far adrift.
More rain greeted the players at the start of the second half and there followed some aerial tennis by both sides. The Wanderers made an early change with Eddie Drake joining the fray and after being awarded a penalty Jake Beetham kicked the visitors into their best attacking position of the game. The Wanderers pack took up the challenge and they drove at the solid Narberth defence with back row of Rob Weston, Max Wootton and Ryan Matthew to the fore. The pressure had its desired effect and when awarded a kickable penalty Short stepped up to give the Wanderers their first score 11-3. Momentum seemed to be changing with the tide and the visitors deployed more fresh legs which certainly made an impact. Now it was the home side that were struggling to get out of their half and Short landed his second penalty with a shot that went over off the post to close the gap to 11-6. The bounce of the ball and the breaks were certainly going in the Wanderers favour and the Otters position was made tougher when after a series of penalties they were reduced to 14 for ten minutes. The man advantage in the wet made a big difference and with another good deep attacking kick Beetham kept the Wanderers on the front foot. A driving lineout was well executed and Rob Weston burst from the maul to cross for the Wanderers try. In tough conditions Short landed a superb touchline conversion and the Wanderers were ahead 11-13. With 15 minutes still to play the home side emptied its bench but the conditions certainly didn’t favour their expansive approach. The Wanderers defence dug deep and time and time again they were able to defend their line. The home side had chances to get back ahead but they saw a long range penalty fall short in the wind and some poor execution at lineouts with the wet ball allowed the visitors a reprieve. As time started to ebb away the home side attacks were forced into more desperation and the Wanderers were able to manage the game well enough to keep them pinned back in their half and allow the clock to run down giving the Wanderers a rare win in Narberth. Final score 11-13.
Try: Rob Weston
Cons: Paul Short
Pens: Paul Short (2)
Wanderers Management man of the match: Rob Weston
Massiv man of the match: Rob Weston, Special mention: Ryan Matthew