9:44pm Thursday 15th May 2014
By Fraser Watson
Division three promotion playoff:
Tenby United 58
TENBY United will play in Division One West next season following an utterly dominant display against Wattstown in Dunvant RFC tonight (Thursday).
With the WRU league re-structure coming into place next season, the Seasiders will now jump up two leagues and on this evidence, they will not be out of place as they added promotion to their Pembs KO Cup win earlier this month.
Ironically, the early pressure came from the Rhondda Valley side, after the Seasiders were penalised in the game’s opening scrum and Wattstown No 10 Nathan Bruford kicked into the corner.
But Gareth Thomas’ men held out and the moments later, struck with their first real attack.
Outside half Jonathan Rogers kicked intelligently towards the corner and Wattstown winger Ross Pritchard was bundled into touch as he tried to cover back. From the resultant line out, winger Dai Meyrick came into the line and put fellow winger Jack Guerriero over in the corner.
Rogers converted from out wide and then added a snap drop goal to open up a 10-0 lead.
But Wattstown then enjoyed their best spell of the match as they hammered away at the Tenby line – but were kept at bay by some terrific defence.
Winger Pritchard, playing on permit from Tata Steel, was hauled down inches short and then centre Dano Roberts broke through but with the line at his mercy, saw the ball ripped from him by opposite number Jack Price.
Indeed, much of the Wattstown play centred around the physicality of Roberts, but the Seasiders’ defence continued to snuff him out and they moved 13-0 ahead when Rogers landed a difficult penalty.
Then on the half hour mark, Thomas’ men struck a killer blow when No 8 Roy Osborne charged upfield and slipped an inside pass to full back Damian Miller, who finished brilliantly from 40 metres out. Rogers converted.
Pritchard again threatened for Wattstown when he jinked through but ran out of support – and on the brink of half time the contest was all but ended by a scintillating Seasiders score.
Wattstown were awarded a penalty which Roberts took quickly – but after charging into the 22, was penalised for holding on. Tenby scrum half Will Crockford took a quick tap penalty and the ball went through several pairs of hands before Miller provided the scoring pass to Price, who finished off a length of the field try. Rogers converted to make it 27-0 at half time.
The young outside half kept his side on the front foot early in the second half as he used his left boot to pin Wattstown back – and just six minutes into the half the Seasiders struck again.
Guerriero gathered the ball in midfield and his chip ahead was gathered by Miller, who dived over for his second try.
At the other end, Roberts burst through again, but a spell of pressure was ended when Bruford was bundled into touch in the corner.
But that proved to be Bruford’s last real involvement – before the Wattstown skipper was red carded by referee Wayne Davies for aiming a punch at Price. The Tenby centre was yellow carded for his part in the incident.
Tenby had appeared the fitter and more mobile side in the opening 60 minutes – and therefore it was no surprise that they cut loose in the final quarter.
First, flanker Luke Hansford sniped over from close range before some good handling put replacement winger Dan Colley over in the corner. Rogers converted the latter try to make it 46-0.
Hansford added his second from a forward drive with five minutes left – before a burst from his fellow flanker, Pat Roberts, set up another try for Guerriero.
Fittingly, the final action saw the outstanding Rogers land the conversion from out wide – and the final whistle sparked wild celebrations amongst the Tenby players and their large band of supporters who had made the trip to Dunvant.
“This feels good,” skipper Chris James told Telegraph Sport afterwards.
“We knew they were a physical side and that their main threat would come from their 12, but we defended like demons.
“Then when we had possession we played our game, we pinned them back, and we were clinical when chances came our way.”
The victory means Tenby will join both Whitland and Crymych in division one west next season.
Tenby United: Damian Miller, Jack Guerriero, Jack Price, Toby Smith, Dai Meyrick, Jonathan Rogers, Will Crockford, Rob Clarke, Gareth Jones, Jonathan Palmer, Chris James (capt), Luke Deadman, Luke Hansford, Roy Osborne, Pat Roberts. Replacements: Dan Colley, Ashley Murdoch, Wesley Bonser, Tom Slater.
Wattstown: Rhydian Williams, Ross Pritchard, Richie Lewis, Dano Roberts, Mike Tinson, Nathan Bruford (capt), Jack Foulks, Joel Day, Thomas Foulkes, David Webb, Nigel Jones, Dewi Edwards, Adam Phillips, Chris Evans, Jamie Lewis. Replacements: Ian Swannack, Saimoni Raseru, Andrew Wheele, Mike Evans.
Referee: Wayne Davies.
Assistants: Jonathan Hardy, Peter Evans.
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