In the first of a series of Pembrokeshire rugby columns, Fraser Watson looks at the issues arising from the weekend, and puts a guest in the firing line....

Momentum matters:

It’s an issue flagged up every November, usually because of Autumn Internationals.

I’d hoped we’d escape it in 2019, but then a few weeks of heavy rain coupled with a day off for the Rugby World Cup final put paid to that.

So after the now annual few weeks of inactivity most of our rugby sides returned to action on Saturday and Narberth, Crymych, and Haverfordwest were among those to noticeably under perform.

It’s been a stark reminder that even at amateur level, momentum matters. The notions of form, good numbers in training, excitement about fixtures - it all drops off when players are confined to a few Saturdays of staying on the sofa.

Of course, this is an issue that all clubs have to deal with, not just those in Pembrokeshire. But in an era when contact in training and midweek friendlies seem to be dwindling concepts, I can’t help but believe that teams who stay match hardened on weeks off can steal a march on the rest.

Seagulls left swimming again:

Speaking of enforced breaks, even when everyone else dusted off the cobwebs last weekend Fishguard remained inside – their pitch again plagued by puddles.

As one club member only half-jokingly told me: “If it doesn’t rain between now and the 23rd (Loughor home) we’ll probably still only be 50/50.”

Sometimes problems with pitches are unavoidable. Location, geography, and wild weather can all conspire against you, but The Moors is a surface that has suffered more than most in recent times.

There is so much right about the set up of the club – the Phoenix Centre provides the perfect vantage point for supporters and the clubhouse, situated in the heart of the town, engages the whole community.

But any man or woman who can one day come up with the solution (or money) that solves the drainage problem down there should be rewarded with the freedom of Fishguard and Goodwick. And you could probably throw in Dinas as well.

Milford’s home comforts:

From a team with home frustrations to a team enjoying home comforts.

When a side is promoted from Division Three West A, I always follow their progress the following season with interest. You go from a league where you know 75% of your games will be won with a bonus point to having to fight week in, week out to get results. Like it or not, the mentality changes.

It’s also a Division where it’s difficult to get results on the road, and Milford Haven seem hell bent on making sure that rings true at The Obs. There win over Tenby United was in front of a large home crowd and signified by an aggressive defensive display.

They have so far played five home games and won four of them.

Of course it’s not fool proof to only target home games and head coach Nathan Williams and co will know they need to pick up their away form as well, starting at Carmarthen Athletic this Saturday.

But if The Mariners can continue to make their own back yard a fortress, then they won’t have to worry about a return to the third tier anytime soon.

Adam’s age old example:

It’s debate that has long been raging - and won’t be settling down anytime soon.

Why are fewer young players coming through in Pembrokeshire rugby?

There are multiple points to analyse on this. But attitudes and commitment levels towards the senior game have undoubtedly regressed.

Therefore I couldn’t help but smile wryly when I saw the name of Adam Collins on the Neyland try list for Saturday.

Collins has technically retired from rugby (he ran over me plenty of times before he did so) but when Hakin United 2nds were rained off Saturday morning, the 44-year-old instantly made himself available for the depleted All Blacks. And he was far from out of place.

In an era where we lament youngsters preferring iPhones, pub crawls, and pop festivals to 80 minutes of blood and thunder in the rain, it was a refreshing reminder that for some the desire to just get out and play remains.

And that’s regardless of the shape of the ball.

Amateur ethos alive at Pill Parks:

There is always something heartwarming and captivating about a clash between Llangwm and St Davids.

Ok, as a spectacle it’s never going to have rugby romantics waxing lyrical, and chances are last Saturday’s game won’t be appearing on a DVD anytime soon.

But to see two clubs at the lower end of the WRU League scale, devoid of big playing squads or top class facilities, try and batter hell out of each before joining up to drink and sing afterwards was a throwback to the ethos of the amateur era many now long for.

The re-structure of the leagues has made it increasingly difficult for smaller clubs to compete regularly. But while play hard, drink harder isn’t necessarily the message academy coaches will preach these days, fixtures like the one at Pill Parks prove there is still very much a place for mixing it with the opposition on and off the field.

Guest predictions:

Last week, I thought the goal kicking of Harry Rossiter would swing the game the way of Tenby in Milford. Instead, a great display of tactical kicking from James Trueman, as well as eight important points with the boot, helped get the job done for The Mariners.

The reward for the chopsy little No 10? First go at our new series of guest predictions.

Come May, the guest with the closest set of predictions will be presented with a prize. I’m just not sure what yet…….


Bargoed v Narberth – Bargoed by 25.

Division One West:

Gowerton v Crymych – Crymych by 7.

Pembroke v Yr Hendy – Yr Hendy by 5.

Division Two West:

Carmarthen Athletic v Milford Haven – Milford by 7.

Pontyberem v Fishguard – Fishguard by 15.

Tenby United v Tycroes – Tenby by 5.

Division Three West A:

Cardigan v Tregaron – Cardigan by 10.

Haverfordwest v Pembroke Dock Quins – Quins by 7.

St Clears v Lampeter Town – Lampeter by 7.

St Davids v Neyland – Neyland by 20.