St Clears 10
Burry Port 32
A 22-MILE drive down the A40 and along the A484 is what separated two rugby teams on Saturday (Oct 29) as Burry Port took on St Clears hot off their 40-0 victory over Nantgaredig last week.
St Clears are a respectable fourth in the Division Three West A league and they have a long history of good players at the club, including former Welsh international Alan ‘Santa’ Reynolds, now first team manager.
A fair crowd had turned up to watch this cup game and a distinct whiff of beef burgers and sausages sizzling on a griddle somewhere filled the air.
With the second XV and Burry Port AFC playing on pitches nearby, whoever was cooking was going to be busy.
The Blues, it was, turned up the gas and were off the mark first following a lot of territorial advantage. They looked to have the measure of Burry Port and some lovely handling out wide after a turnover saw them run in a try out wide, which was converted by their fly half to take the score to 0-7 to the visitors.
It was a really hard fought first half, with both sides coming close but relinquishing possession through unforced errors or penalties.
Burry Port managed to work their way down the other end of the field and earned themselves a penalty. They opted to go for touch and the ensuing line out led to a catch and drive, and after some very impressive work from the home forwards, flanker Llyr Sims was able to bundle his way over out wide.
St Clears got a late first half penalty and went into the changing rooms with the score at 5-10, which must have generated some strong talk in the Burry Port changing room.
The Herald sports team went without a half time burger while catching up on the neighbouring football (association variety) game next door.
Perhaps the All Blacks had been fed raw meat, a sort of burger tartare, to get those primitive juices going. Whatever was said certainly fired up the home team and they were soon dominating play and focusing on field position rather than the stick it up your jumper approach in the pack.
The home team used their powerful catch and drive to see hooker Iwan Roberts find his way to the try line. The try was successfully converted by scrum half Ben Williams.
On the back of a number of darting runs and fine handling, Burry Port, playing in their familiar black kit, were storming away and saying tata to St Clears.
The fitness of the youthful Burry Port pack turned into dominance in the loose and after some nice handling out wide, second row Richard Parker cut through the defence to dive over for the teams third try of the match. Ben Williams once again converted. Soon after, Ben the Boot was once again successful with the boot as he kicked a penalty to stretch the lead further.
There was more to come from the All Blacks as a St Clears attack was intercepted by Burry Port Hooker Iwan Roberts, who dived over unopposed for his second of the game. The final score of the game was a very well worked score, and saw both forwards and backs combine with some beautiful handling and a late switch pass out wide saw Luke Ruddall score in the corner.
At one point, St Clears lost a player who was sin binned for what resembled a high tackle. It did look like St Clears had run out of gas and were in danger of conceding more tries and going home with the leftovers from the party. However, after a hard talking to under the posts from their captain, the Blues stemmed the flow of any more points from the in-form home side.
St Clears will be disappointed that they did not put away the chances they had in the first half and more so that they just didn’t get into top gear from the whistle at the start of the second half. Burry Port will be more than happy with their performance and in the words of Mr McClaren (not the Sex Pistols manager): “There’ll be a few barrels of beer being emptied in the bars of Burry Port tonight.”
Burry Port are at home to Brawdy Senior Men RFC in a Remembrance match on Saturday (Nov 5). Expect some fireworks for that one. Kick off is at 11am.
Errors prove costly for Raiders
West Wales Raiders 16
North Wales Crusaders 56
By Ian Golden at Stebonheath Park
NORTH Wales Crusaders’ play-off hopes took a boost on Saturday after taking advantage of West Wales Raiders’ many errors to earn to a large win.
The Wrexham-based side will go into their last two games full of confidence but know they’ll have a tougher outing at Newcastle Thunder in a fortnight.
Their first try came on 11 minutes when Ben Stead forced his way through, and the lead was soon doubled after Dave Eccleston dived through a gaping hole in Raiders’ back-line. Stead converted to put the score on 10-0.
West Wales were close to getting a try back midway through the first half after winning a repeat set near to the North Wales line. Ash Bateman was close following a good run from Archie Snook, but the ball was forced off him when diving for the line.
Crusaders made them pay. From the resulting scrum, a 90-metre set culminated in Warren Thompson scoring under the sticks and Stead converting.
Raiders hit back on the half-hour. Regaining the ball on halfway after Snook bravely collected a kick from close range, Phil Cowburn sneakily slipped the ball back to Mitch Shaw who dived under the sticks. Cowburn converted.
Crusaders struck back when Steven Roper couldn’t believe his luck and even hesitated when he saw a gap he could easily run through to score a try. He added the extras himself.
There was controversy with the next score. The referee initially awarded a scrum to Crusaders but after consultation, he gave Crusaders a penalty and Matthew Reid scored from that set.
And it went from bad to ridiculous on the half-time hooter after Sam Baker spilled the ball inside his own goal area allowing Alex Eckley to touch down easily. Roper missed both kicks but Crusaders were 30-6 up.
They added to their lead on 47 minutes in a try they had to work hard for. Raiders were defending well but Joe Ryan finally managed to break through before Lewis Fairhurst converted.
Raiders were unlucky not to a try back on the hour when Baker was pushed into touch when diving for the line. Crusaders went straight back up-field and after winning a penalty, Dante Monte-Samuels crashed over. Fairhurst’s kick just made it through the posts despite the wind taking it wide and Crusaders were 42-6 up.
There were five full Wales internationals in the game, two of them with Crusaders, but it took until the 68th minute before one got on the scoresheet. Rob Massam, the North Wales winger was sent over in the corner. Fairhurst missed the kick.
Then, after regaining the ball from kick-off, one of the West Wales trio scored and it was typically Steve Parry, diving low from dummy half. Cowburn sliced the kick wide.
In the set after that was a rare Crusaders error. Snook did well to beat his marker to score, much to the delight of his mother on the PA system! Cowburn converted.
But it was Crusaders who ended on a high as Massam crossed for two more in the left corner. Shaw did cross for Raiders in the last move of the game but it was chalked off for a forward pass.
Town too good for Dafen
DAFEN Seconds suffered defeat on Saturday (Aug 17) as they were beaten by Briton Ferry Town.
The game was reduced to 40-overs a side because of earlier rain and when Dafen won the toss they elected to field.
However, Briton Ferry racked up an impressive score of 225-4 in those 40 overs.
Amar Waseem and Neil Baggridge shared 146 runs for the first wicket as both reached their half centuries.
Waseem fell for a score of 68 and Baggridge for 63 as Dafen looked to hit back and keep the runs down.
Adeel Khan made a score of 22 while Aman Tasnem made 25 from 14 balls with a four and two sixes before he was run out.
Adrian Mainwaring then finished not out on 27 as Dafen were set 226 to win the game.
Dafen lost Oliver Evans early on to the bowling of Nabel Iqbal and he also claimed the wickets of Harvey Jones (12) and Jonathan Griffiths (14).
He then claimed a fourth with the wicket of Luke Dunning as Dafen’s reply faltered.
Rhys Marchant made a score of 14 before being bowled by Mumtaz Hussain and he also claimed a further three wickets.
Aadil Mukhtar hit three fours and a six in his score of 22 but he was then bowled by Adeel Khan.
Andrew Herbert finished unbeaten on 15 but it wasn’t enough as Dafen were bowled out for 133.
Llanelli close the gap
LLANELLI closed the gap to second placed Tata Steel on Saturday (Aug 17) as they beat them by eight wickets.
Llanelli elected to field on winning the toss and they were able to bowl Tata out for 117.
Chris Thomas trapped Kelvin Bartle leg before early on and Steven Devonald did the same to Rohan Herbert to leave the visitors on 13-2.
Morgan Jones and Martin Lewis then made a good partnership worth 57 runs.
That was brought to and end though as Lewis was caught by Rhidian Morgan off the bowling of Iwan Rees.
Jones had made a score of 38 but he was then bowled by Jac Rees as Tata slipped to 72-4.
That became 78-5 when Phillip Taylor was trapped leg before by Iwan Rees.
The same bowler then had Joseph Crocket caught by Morgan as wickets continued to fall.
The score soon read 94-7 as David Richards caught and bowled Sean Holley.
Nathan Ferrell made a late score of 10 but then saw himself caught by Morgan off the bowling of Richards who then also had Adam Jardine caught by Devonald.
Richards then claimed his fourth as he had Damien Williams stumped by Morgan to finish with figures of 4-13.
That left Llanelli needing 118 for victory and although they lost Ioan Phillips early on in their reply they were never really troubled.
Iwan Rees and Craig Howells shared 87 runs for the second wicket to all but give the home side victory.
Howells hit eight fours and a six as he scored 50 but he was then caught by Morgan Jones off the bowling of Damien Williams.
Rees and Ryan Nicholas then saw their side to victory with Nicholas finishing unbeaten on 19 with two fours and a six from his 14 balls faced.
Rees finished not out on 33 as Llanelli reached their target with plenty of time to spare.
The win moves them to within 14 points of second placed Tata Steel with two games remaining.
The first of those games takes place on Saturday (Aug 24) when Llanelli travel to Bronwydd. They then finish the season at home to third placed Maesteg Celtic.
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