2008/2009 SWALEC Cup
Narberth 15 v 53 Cardiff
24 January 2009 - Lewis Lloyd Ground, Narberth

Match Report

Narberth 15 Cardiff 53

The Blue & Blacks aren't quite managing to match points for miles in their cup travels this campaign but another fifty-plus haul following on from their earlier visit to Bethesda eventually constituted a good afternoon's work.

Another cup away day and another warm welcome, this time down west rather than up north. And Narberth didn't allow their hospitality to interfere with their resolve out on the pitch. Within a minute of the kick-off, centre Steve Martin embarrassed Cardiff's midfield defence as he burst through from lineout possession for the opening score.

This was no laughing matter but the wake-up call that the visitors needed and in the seventh minute they drew level as intense pressure from a maul ended with a try for prop Ian George. Three minutes later Gareth Davies slotted a simple penalty goal for an 8-5 lead.

The Otters were, to no one's surprise, proving doughty opponents and it was not until there were 25 minutes played on the clock that Damian Welch's fine run set up a try at the posts by Rhys Shellard, easily converted by Davies. The arrears were reduced in the 36th minute when fly-half Aled Davies kicked a penalty goal for the home side.

Cardiff were far from impressive playing against the wind and the home crowd were having plenty to cheer about.It was no surprise when in first-half injury time centre Nigel Davies crossed for their second try and namesake Aled's routine conversion locked the sides level at 15-all during the interval.

Cardiff's forward power eventually came to the rescue in the third quarter when, in the 48th minute, it disrupted a Narberth scrum and Craig Everett touched down near the corner. The number 8 was in the thick of the action again ten minutes later when he was on hand to finish off a great run by Ryan Howells. Then, on the hour, replacement backs Gareth Chapman and ex-Otter Shaun James combined well before the latter scored Cardiff's fifth try. With Davies adding the extras to both the lead had stretched to a more comfortable 34-15 with 20 minutes still to play.

Next it was the turn of skipper Owen Ruttley to link with his back row for Shellard to gain his second score of the match, again converted by Davies. The superior fitness and skill levels of the Premiership club were now, at last, paying off. A text-book backline move from right to left and then back infield set-up an impressive try for Darren Ryan. Three minutes from the end another glorious attacking moving resulted in the best try of the afternoon for Chapman with Davies kicking his fifth conversion to finish with a peronal tally of 13 points.

Round 6 now beckons on 21 February... time again, perhaps, for more leafing through sundry A to Zs and Gazetteers to find out where the Blue & Blacks' Cup Bandwagon has its next staging post.