NANT FACE UP TO CRUNCH TIME

Carmarthen Journal - - Local Rugby -

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.

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