NANT FACE UP TO CRUNCH TIME
NANTGAREDIG are sitting pretty in Division Three West B after a 100 per cent winning start to the campaign.
The side are second in the table with five wins and 24 points from five matches, only failing to take a bonus point in one of those games.
They have already brushed aside Llandeilo, Lampeter Town, Llangadog, Bynea and Betws in the league, scoring 193 points as well as running in 32 tries across those five matches.
Amman United, who also have a perfect winning record, currently sit four points clear of Nantgaredig but have played one game more.
And something will have to give this Saturday when action returns and Nantgaredig entertain another side with five wins from as many matches so far in the shape of Trimsaran, who are just a point further back in third.
Nantgaredig are also progressing nicely in the WRU National Bowl.
After a walkover against St Davids in the first round, they were victorious at Cardigan in round two before thumping Llanybydder 52-10 the weekend before last.
Rhys Edwards and George Gleeson both crossed twice, with Meirion Davies, Gethin Dyer Davies, Lloyd Williams and a penalty try also on the scoresheet.
Meirion Davies added five conversions.
Their reward for that win is a trip to Three West Central A side Cwmgors in the fourth round on December 8 for a place in the last 16.
Last season Nantgaredig reached the quarter-finals of the Bowl before being knocked out by Cardiff University, who were subsequently thrown out of the competition after breaching player eligibility rules in their semi-final win over Pembroke.
On the club’s tremendous start to the season and whether they have exceeded their own expectations, Nantgaredig secretary Bryan Phillips said: “I wouldn’t say so, no, because over the last four or five years we’ve been slowly growing and moving up the table.
“It’s been with the same batch of the core players and we’ve just improved every season.
“I think a lot of it is to do with team spirit and we’re a club with a very strong amateur ethos.
“The players, they are all friends and that makes a huge difference. I think the team spirit has come through strongly and we’ve got quality coaches as well in Tomas Marks and Derek Thomas.
“All the wins have been very similar. We’re very well organised and teams find us very hard to break down at the start of games and then, when we do get opportunities, we’ve got a lot of pace in the backs.
“We’ve got a very strong front row, led by captain Elfed Daniels, very skilful backs, and also what we’ve got is a bit of experience now as the boys have been together for years.”
Scrum-half Rhydian Evans and full-back Dafydd Lewis have impressed, and both also played for the West Wales XV last week.
Also impressing are Lloyd Williams, who can operate as a full-back or on the wing, as well as centre Bleddyn Lewis, who is the brother of Dafydd.
Looking ahead at the forthcoming games in league and Bowl, Phillips added: “Trimsaran will probably be the biggest test so far because they are riding high as well.
“With the Bowl game, it’s all on the day and on paper it looks as if it’s a game we could win, but we certainly won’t be going into it with any complacency because in a cup match anything can happen.”
Before the Bowl clash at Cwmgors, Nantgaredig also go to bottom side Penybanc before a tasty-looking home clash with Amman United on December 1.
WRU National Bowl (fourth-round draw, ties to be played Saturday, December 8): Abercrave v Oakdale, Blaina v Pyle, Cwmgors v Nantgaredig, Dolgellau v Bryncethin, Nant Conwy II v Aberaeron, Pentyrch v Bargoed II, Penygraig v COBRA, Pwllheli v Llanhilleth, RTB Ebbw Vale v Pontrhydyfen, St Albans v Amman United, Tredegar Ironsides v Pontyclun, Treharris v Abergavenny, Tylorstown v Haverfordwest, Usk v Neyland, Wrexham v Bridgend Sports, Ynysowen v CR Cymry Caerdydd.
Burry Port centre Duane Evans is halted by Nantgaredig tacklers Tom Smythe and Elfed Daniels last season.