Magpies stunned as visitors battle their way to derby joy
TUMBLE fell to a 21-13 defeat at home to Pontyberem as they were outmuscled by the visitors.
A typical derby game produced errors from both sides, but it was the visitors who were livelier.
Bont took the lead with a well-taken Mike Sauro penalty after ten minutes.
When the Magpies did put some play together via their forwards, they looked threatening.
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Runs by prop Cieran Guest and Alan King enabled the ball to be recycled quickly and Pontyberem's backs were caught offside.
Tumble's Steve Hewitt levelled matters with a penalty after 18 minutes.
Tumble were unable to make the most of their attacking opportunities, often let down by some poor handling and errors of judgement.
Pontyberem were looking strong and were dominating the contact area.
When the backs handled the ball on the counter, they were able to sweep upfield through some poor tackling, and burly No. 8 Steve George was on hand to take the try-scoring pass.
The restart saw the Magpies knock the ball on and the ensuing scrum allowed Pontyberem to attack the blind side. Within a minute of the restart, Sauro had increased their lead with a penalty from 20 metres.
Tumble reduced the deficit with another Hewitt penalty two minutes later.
Playing a more structured game, the visitors were quickly in their stride and a rolling maul and some good handling left Tumble in tatters, allowing centre Iwan Harries to waltz through some woeful tackling and score a converted try under the posts.
With Pontyberem in control, they attacked for the score to seal the game but, when Tumble managed to turn the ball over in midfield following a Bont attack, they countered and centre Dan Mathias ran 50 metres to score near the posts and the reliable Hewitt converted.
Tumble were losing the battle up front to their much livelier opposition.
A break from defence by centre Leighton McKenna took play to halfway and his inside pass was knocked forward with a free run beckoning.
This seemed to extinguish any belief that the Magpies could get back into the game and, with ten minutes remaining, Sauro kicked his second penalty to seal a deserved victory.