Division One West: Crymych 12-10 Whitland 

HARI Williams proved the Crymych hero as they edged this war of attrition with Whitland, as the young centre came off the bench to land three crucial penalties.

The 18-year-old who came on with his side trailing 10-3 after centre Carwyn Phillips sustained a leg injury, and held his nerve to slot a penalty from his first touch.

He was later yellow-carded by referee Jackey Boswell (Llanelli) but added two more penalties in a desperate last 20 minutes as The Borderers battled away with 13 men – and although he was wide with a fourth attempt it mattered little because the final whistle blew straight afterwards.

It certainly wasn’t a pretty affair but the large crowd of vociferous supporters from both camps were treated to a confrontational derby that was a credit to both clubs in terms of total commitment and effort – and a measure of the defensive hard work that saw only one try.

There were also errors aplenty as both teams sought to gain the upper hand as the home side were on top in terms of territory based on a formidable pack power but Whitland were excellent on the counter.

Crymych served notice of their intent as Rhys Davies’ boys started well with powerful surges from Osian Phillips, Matthew Freebury and especially No 8 Guto Davies, whilst prop Ryan Rees staked claims for the man of the match tag for his scrummaging, tackling and especially ball carrying.

They took the lead from a penalty by 38-year-old outside half Gareth Davies but over eagerness cost them points and Whitland battled back with their first incursion into the home 22.

After Setaro was off-target with a penalty from long range and Adam Davies was unlucky not to score from a quickly-taken tap penalty – but when Setaro kicked his side into the corner a superbly-controlled drive saw No 8 Jack Mason emerge from a pile of bodies with the ball. Setaro added the extra points from wide out.

Guto Davies launched another Crymych attack with a strong surge but he was halted by a ‘no arms’ tackle; although Davies was then off-target with the resulting penalty.

At the other end James Stephenson missed with a snap drop goal and after Carwyn Phillips limped off for Crymych up stepped Hari Williams to land a vital penalty.

Both teams had chances to score in the second half from useful counter-attacks when the ball was lost on the ground, with Josh Thomas and Gino Setaro tidying up well for The Borderers and Gethin Gibby and Laurence Headlam always posing a threat from the home side.

Another Williams’ penalty hauled his side to within a point before Whitland had a chance to gain breathing space as Setaro lined up a penalty – but hit the near post and allow the chance of a terrific Crymych counter attack which was again halted by a forced pass.

The miss proved costly because after fussy referee Boswell had awarded another Crymych penalty it was Williams who put his side two points ahead against The Borderers’ 13 men - as Jimmy Buirds and Stephenson were yellow carded.

Hearts were in mouths in the home crowd at the death as Crymych elected to take a quick tap penalty instead of hoofing the ball into touch but it ended well as they fashioned a penalty chance for Williams, which he pulled right of the posts.

It rounded off a game bristling with intent as neither side took a backwards step – and which showcased the playing strengths of both Crymych and Whitland.

Crymych: Tomos Phillips, Tomos Jones, Gethin Gibby, Carwyn Phillips, Laurence Headlam, Gareth Davies, Adam Forster, Steffan Harries, Aled Harries, Ryan Rees, Rhys Richards, Matthew Freebury, Rhys Davies (capt), Osian Phillips, Guto Davies. Replacements: Jason Nicholls, Llew Rees, Hari Williams, Dyfan Phillips, Dafydd Phillips.

Whitland: Nico Setaro, Liam Price, Gino Setaro, Josh Thomas, Rhys Schiavone, James Stephenson, Adam Davies, Tomos Evans, Marc Jones (capt), Michael Ryan, Courtney Bowman, Ben Kirk, Ryan Morgan, Danny Evans, Jack Mason. Replacements: Aaron Mayne, Jamie Thomas, Jimmy Buirds, Scott Buirds, James Thomas.