9:54pm Friday 2nd May 2014
By Fraser Watson
JT Auto Services Pembrokeshire Knockout Cup Final:
Tenby United 38-5 Aberystwyth
TENBY United claimed a second Pemrokeshire Knockout Cup in three years as they comfortably accounted for Aberystwyth with a dominant display at The Moors, Fishguard.
Despite playing a division below Aber this season, many had the Seasiders down as favourites heading into the final – although few would have envisaged such a one sided affair.
The mid Wales side actually made a bright start when Tenby outside half Jonathan Rogers launched an up and under that was spilt by Ian Ellis – but the full back recovered well to pick up the loose ball and break down field. From the ensuing attack Aber were awarded a penalty from out wide but outside half Jason Rees was just off target.
But then the Seasiders took command and they should have taken the lead when they worked an overlap but Toby Smith threw a poor pass to winger Dai Meyrick.
But the centre soon made amends as from the resultant line-out, Luke Hansford gathered a loose throw from Aber hooker Steffan Bonsall and was held up over the line. Tenby were awarded a scrum five and No 9 Will Crockford broke from the base and fed Smith, who powered over from close range.
Rogers was wide with conversion but added a simple penalty moments later, and from the resultant kick off Meyrick thought he had extended the lead when he intercepted a Rees miss pass to race under the posts – only to be called back by referee Alan Jenkins for an earlier knock on.
But just before the half hour mark the Seasiders did extend their lead when a powerful drive by flanker Pat Roberts set up an overlap from which No 8 Roy Osborne powered over. Rogers converted.
And just a minute later the contest was all but ended as again Aber failed to live with the intensity of the Tenby pack, and after prop Rob Clarke went close, the Seasiders went wide where the impressive Osborn was again waiting to grab his second try.
At this point, the division three west side were utterly dominant and half backs Crockford and Rogers revelled in the clean ball as they looked to attack at every opportunity.
When Aber did have spells of possession, they made few inroads against a solid Tenby defence. Winger Mathew Evans did find some space down the right, but his chip ahead was easily dealt with by Tenby full back Damian Miller.
The Seasiders felt they should have had another try before the break but Crockford’s scoring pass to Pat Roberts was adjudged forward – but right on the whistle Rogers added another three points to make it 23-0.
The outside half did the same just after the break, before Aber second row Robbie Parry was sin binned for killing the ball. The Seasiders opted for a scrum five and man of the match Roberts, playing at No 8 while Osborn received treatment for a blood injury, dived over.
Rogers converted but to Aber’s credit, they did work their way onto the scoresheet with 20 minutes left after a spell of pressure culminated with hooker Bonsall burying over from close range.
But fittingly, the final try went to Tenby when again they worked extra numbers out wide and Osborne supplied the scoring pass to full back Miller – who finished brilliantly from 35 yards.
The final moments petered out as both sides made a string of substitutions, although Tenby replacement Mark Heywood went close to adding another score when he knocked on just short of the line.
But by then the outcome had long been decided and referee Alan Jenkins blew the final whistle to spark deserved celebrations amongst the Tenby players and supporters.
"I'm delighted," said Tenby head coach Gareth Thomas.
"Tonight we put in a complete performance. Our forwards set the platform and we were good out wide."
Thomas also paid tribute to the dominant back row of Hansford, Roberts and Osborne: " There were outstanding," he said.
"They are powerful boys but they are athletic as well and really get around the park. Pat was given man of the match but it could have been any of the three of them."
Tenby have done it the hard way in the cup this season, having won at Whitland and Crymych on route to the final - and now face a promotion play off in two weeks time where they will look to round off a memorable campaign.
"The cup draws have been tough for us which makes winning it all the more sweeter," said Thomas.
"It's been a cracking season so far but now our focus will turn to the play off."
Tenby United: Damian Miller, Jack Guerreiro, Jack Price, Toby Smith, Dai Meyrick, Jonathan Rogers, Will Crockford, Rob Clarke, Gareth Jones, Jonny Palmer, Chris James (capt), Ash Murdoch, Pat Roberts, Luke Hansford, Roy Osborne. Replacements (all used): Scott Payne, Rob Fairlie, Nicky Guymer, Stephen Dyde, Mark Heywood, Jimmy Davies, Wyndham Williams.
Aberystwyth: Ian Ellis, Mathew Evans, Paul Bumford, Steffan Rees, Shaun Lewis, Jason Rees, Ifan Thomas, Billy Thomas, Steffan Bonsall, Geraint Rowlands, Robbie Parry, Lee Evans, Bryn Shepherd, Chris Randall, Dan Binks. Replacements (all used): Carwyn Evans, Llyr Thomas, Sam Howells, Gwian Phillips, Rhys Evans, Eirian Hughes, Huw Jones.
Referee: Alan Jenkins.
Assistants: Jason Ludgate and Adrian Slade.
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