Division Three West
Tumble 3 Llanybydder 22
Two breakaway tries proved the undoing of a plucky Magpies performance against lowly Llanybydder and left Tumble staring into the relegation abyss with five games remaining in the season.
The Magpies are now 11 points adrift of third-bottom Llanelli Wanderers and face a trip to high-flying Penclawdd before a crunch match against the Wanderers on April 12.
Things started brightly for the hosts as the Tumble pack provided a strong platform for the backs to use good ball with permit player James Owens looked sharp in midfield.
With the backline growing in strength in recent several weeks, Tumble did everything but score with only the well-organised Llanybydder defence, ill-discipline amongst the own ranks nd some strange refereeing decisions, keeping the hosts at bay.
Flankers Jack Edwards and Sean Farmer carried well as did captain Hefin Dumbrill while several driving mauls took play to the visitors’ defence but, with Tumble infringing, Llanybydder resisted the onslaught.
Full back Steve Hewitt was unsuccessful with two long-range penalty efforts as the visitoes began to look ever more comfortable in defence.
Youngster Adam Davies looked sharp on the wing for the Magpies but, too often, when the hosts did manage to make inroads into the visitors’ back-line, they were easily turned over and the threat came to naught.
The line-outs proved a platform for Dumbrill and fellow man-mountain Gareth Beynon to win ball and - with Chris Davies providing his usual sniping, probing game – Tumble dominated the play.
Drives from props Cieran Guest and James Stephens ensured the Magpies remained on the front foot and when Llanybydder killed the ball near the halfway line, Owens banged over a 48-metre penalty in first half stoppage time.
With a slender lead and confidence growing, Tumble looked forward to the second half despite Llanybydder remaining very much in the game.
Guest’s bullocking runs were met aggressively and when one resulted in a turnover, the hoof upfield created problems for Tumble. Full back Gareth Jones was left isolated and, with Llanybydder gaining a penalty, outside-half Llyr Davies levelled scores after 56 minutes.
With came next was bizarre to say the least.
Tumble restarted and play was mixed with some driving work by both sets of forwards.
When the Magpies with two men down injured and the ball in touch, referee Bulpitt surprisingly allowed play to continue while both physios treated the Tumble injured.
Llanybydder scrum-half Dion Thomas exploited the play and was able to side-step Tumble’s physio in midfield to score a converted try with 58 minutes gone.
Tumble brought their substitutes reshuffled into play and the direct charge of Carl Gabrielsen in midfield and mazy running of Jamie Gimlett took the action into opposition territory.
Llanybydder infringed several times, resulting in one of the visiting forwards seeing yellow.
Hewitt kicked to the corner and the resulting line-out was won by Dumbrill, who powered towards the line with Llanybydder stretched only to see the try-scoring pass intercepted five metres out.
Visiting wing Rhydian Davies raced the 90 metres unopposed despite frenetic attempts to close him down with ten minutes remaining.
The stunned Magpies went in search of a losing bonus point, but again when they attacked within the visitors 22 the ball was played blind and replacement Sion Walker intercepted to run the length of the field for a try under the posts which Davies converted.
Two tries within seven minutes sealed the Magpies’ fate and left them clinging by the thinnest of threads to Division Three survival.