EDINBURGH overtook the Scarlets in the race for the top six of the Guinness Pro12 and in the process ended their opponents superb home record in a tough, abrasive game at the Parc y Scarlets.
Unbeaten at the Parc y Scarlets since December 2013, the Scarlets missed a golden opportunity to steal a march on their rivals for an automatic place in next seasons Champions Cup. Despite this they still remain only three points behind the current occupiers of the coveted sixth spot, Connaught.
The result puts Edinburgh in a promising position as they chase a top half finish, with two games at Murrayfield to come in the next two rounds.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to get the scoreboard ticking over, as fly-half Steven Shingler, preferred to returning Wales number ten Rhys Priestland, slotted a straightforward penalty in the first minute.
But the visitors arrived at the Parc y Scarlets having won four of their last six Pro12 matches, and it was they who registered the game’s opening try with a fantastic length-of-the-field score.
Full-back Jack Cuthbert shipped the ball on after gathering his own kick, and Burleigh produced a well timed pass to returning Scotland winger Tim Visser who raced clear for his sides first try. Hidalgo-Clyne was on target with the conversion.
With both sides showing attacking intent in what was a pivotal fixture, Shingler responded with three quick-fire penalties to regain the lead for his side.
After a carbon copy of the opening penalty of the game he reduced his sides arrears to a single point and with Edinburgh’s indiscipline threatening to become an issue, they gave away another three-point opportunity from a driving maul. After notching his third successful penalty, Shingler further justified his place in the starting fifteen with a fine run that led to his sides fourth penalty. Spotting a gap he dummied his way through, bringing the Scarlets into the Edinburgh twenty-two. After a few phases the Edinburgh forwards were penalised for infringing at the ruck.
The Scarlets were boosted further when referee John Lacey finally lost his patience with the Scottish side and dismissed Greig Tonks from the field for ten minutes, after the fly-half had interfered at the breakdown. Shingler was impeccable again from the tee and extended his sides lead to leave the visitors requiring two scores.
Despite being reduced to fourteen men, the visitors were beginning to dominate proceedings and perhaps should have grabbed their second try of the game with thirty minutes gone, but Hamish Watson failed to ground the ball. The flanker was then held up for a second time from the subsequent scrum but the visitors were now really testing the Scarlets with constant sustained pressure.
This pressure took its toll as back-rower John Barclay joined Tonks in the bin. Despite the blow of losing their one man advantage, the Scarlets will have been relieved that Edinburgh only managed three points from this spell of pressure as Hidalgo-Clyne slotted a penalty.
It got worse for the Scarlets as vice-captain Scott Williams was joined by George Earle in leaving the field of play early through injury. This was compounded by Wales international Ken Owens faltering time and again at the lineout. Sensing his sides opportunity to take advantage of this, Hidalgo-Clyne was pinning the Scarlets deep in their own half with a sustained period of first-class position kicking.
From one of the ensuing lineouts, Edinburgh pounced. They went through several phases before David Denton found sufficient space to crash over. With Hidalgo-Clyne squeezing his conversion over, the visitors went in at the break leading 15-17.
The second half started at a much slower pace than the first, and as the hosts’ penalty count began to creep up, their home record looked in serious jeopardy.
Wayne Pivac introduced Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies as he looked to gain some momentum for his backline and get his side back in the game. This proved fruitless after a moment that would rival Steven Gerrard for the quickest, most senseless dismissal in sport of 2015. Davies found himself back in the dressing room after striking an opponent with his head as the indiscipline that had plagued the game since kick-off reached an ugly crescendo. Man of the Match Hidalgo-Clyne compounded the situation for the Scarlets by notching the penalty.
Andries Strauss thought he was set to clinch the game as he raced clear when the ball went loose in midfield, but play was called back for a knock-on by Denton in contact.
This mattered not as Scrum-half Hidalgo-Clyne maintained his 100 percent record with the boot to stretch Edinburgh’s lead to eight points after the Scarlets pack folded at a scrum, and a further three-pointer sealed an impressive result for the Scottish club.
In two weeks’ time, Wayne Pivac’s side travel to Zebre for their next Pro12 fixture, hunting a bonus point win to retain hope for a successful end to the season.
Felinfoel edged out
FELINFOEL just missed out on victory on Saturday (Jun 15) as opponents Skewen edged to a three-wicket win.
Skewen won the toss and elected to field and that looked to be a good decision as they were able to bowl Felinfoel out for 155.
Felinfoel lost Andrew Thomas early on when he was trapped leg before by Steve James.
Craig Richards and Rhys Jones shared 55 runs for the second wicket before James struck again as he bowled Richards on a score of 34.
Rhys Jones scored 32 before he was bowled by Luke Martin and Julian Griffiths scored 25 before he suffered the same fate as Jones.
Martin also bowled Ian Meredith and he then trapped Rober Nangalia leg before.
When Dean Kriescher trapped Rohan Nangalia leg before it left Felinfoel on 128-7, having seemingly been in a good position at 118-3.
Stuart Parmenter was then bowled by Kriescher and he then took the catch to dismiss Stephen Jones.
Rhys Harries batted on while he watched his team mates fall but he was eventually out for a score of 26 to the bowling of Kriescher.
That meant that Skewen would need 156 to win but Felinfoel did their best to derail their run chase.
Anthony Matthias bowled David Jenkins and Craig Richards had Callum Davies caught by Andrew Thomas as Skewen slipped to 17-2.
Richards then claimed his second wicket as he had Daniel Rees caught by Ian Meredith and Johnny Morris was bowled by Julian Griffiths.
That left Skewen on 49-4 but Dean Kriescher and John Jones swung the game in their favour with a stand of 57 for the fifth wicket.
Rhys Harries then bowled Jones on a score of 25 and he also had Jordan Jones caught by Stuart Parmenter.
Julian Griffiths then bowled Andrew Rogers but Kriescher was the hero for Skewen as he finished unbeaten on 76 with nine fours and a six to see his side over the line.
Dafen fall short
DAFEN fell 24 runs short of their target on Saturday (Jun 15) as they were beaten by Division 1 leaders Cowbridge.
Dafen elected to field on winning the toss but they watched on as Cowbridge scored a good total of 228-5 in their 46 overs.
Cowbridge started well reaching fifty in the first eight overs as openers Thomas Merilaht and Ben Wright shared a stand of 93.
Philip George made the breakthrough for Dafen as he had Merilaht caught by Kai Rees on a score of 36.
Jonathan Randell had Chris Willey caught by David Dunfee before Wright, who had hit ten fours and two sixes in his knock of 81, was caught by Daniel Vaughan off the bowling of Rees.
Chris Hudson trapped Jack Cropper leg before on a score of 15 and then had Tom Williams stumped by Vaughan to leave Cowbridge on 172-5.
Brad Evans and Yodhin Punja batted on to take their side past 200 runs.
Evans smashed six fours and two sixes as he finished unbeaten on 51 from 41 balls to set a challenging target for Dafen to chase.
Dafen got off to a bad start in their reply however as they lost four wickets early on.
Jonathan Randell was first out as he was bowled by Brad Evans and George Lavender scored 16 before he was caught by Tom Williams off the bowling of Sam Russell.
Matthew Evans was then trapped leg before by Yodhin Punja and Chris Davies was also bowled by Russell.
That left Dafen on 43-4 but Matthew Donoghue and David Dunfee restored some order as they shared 64 runs for the fifth wicket.
Donoghue scored 25 but he was then bowled by Evans. Dunfee hit five fours and two sixes as he scored 48 but he was also bowled by Evans.
Evans then claimed his fourth as he had Kai Rees caught by Ben Wright to leave Dafen on 126-7.
Dafen then lost Daniel Vaughan to the bowling of Nicholas Wood as they slipped to 143-8.
Scott Phillips took it upon himself to add to the scoring as he hit two fours and smashed nine sixes in a score of 71 from just 34 balls.
Unfortunately for Dafen, he was then caught by Brad Evans off the bowling of Tom Williams.
Phillip George was then run out by Wright as Dafen ended up all out on 204.
Raiders well beaten by Town
By Ian Golden at Stebonheath Park
WORKINGTON Town eased to a 58-12 over West Wales Raiders in Llanelli on Saturday (Jun 8) with their ten tries all coming from different players.
The away side did enough to win the game despite their many errors that would cost them a lot more against a higher placed side.
Town took an early lead after Gordon Maulding found a gaping hole in the Raiders’ backline and easily ran 10 metres to score. Carl Forber converted.
From kick-off, they doubled the score. No Raiders’ player had the answer to Fui Fui Moi Moi’s strength as he burst past the back-line. No issues again for Forber.
A short kick-off worked well for Raiders as they regained possession from kick-off and they nearly scored. Steve Parry was held a metre from the line on the final tackle of the set.
As frustrations started to boil over, the referee stopped his watch on 25 minutes to give Raiders a team warning for persistent offending, and now was the time for Town to take advantage. Stevie Scholey was close, but from the next tackle, Sean Penkywicz dived over. Forber converted.
Town scored their fourth on the half hour. Perry Singleton was on the end of a good passing move, straight from a scrum on Raiders’ ten-metre line. Forber’s kick was just wide.
Then just before half-time, after winning a penalty on Raiders’ 40-metre line, Stevie Scholey ran through for Workington’s fifth. Forber converted again for a 28-0 lead at the break.
Town had an early second half try chalked off for a forward pass but after Raiders gave away a penalty for off-side, Ryan Fieldhouse twisted his way over the line for a try that Forber improved.
Then on 51 minutes, Raiders finally broke their duck for what was the best try of the game. Phil Cowburn broke from the half-way line, offloaded to Ashley Bateman who lost the ball under pressure, but Cowburn was on hand to pick up the loose ball, score under the sticks and convert his own try.
However, following another Raiders dropped ball and a penalty from the next tackle, Workington addressed the balance as Declan O’Donnell crashed over underneath the sticks and Forber easily converted.
From kick-off, a Welshman finally got on the scoresheet after Sam Hopkins catching his own chip and run to the line for Town’s eighth try.
Forber kicked the goal, then set up the next try, opening up a gap for Oliver Wilkes to celebrate his 100th career try. Forber converted.
Raiders weren’t giving up. They won another goal-line drop out and continued to put on the pressure. Steve Parry was held up over the line and from the next tackle, Morgan Evans ran through a hole in the Town defence. Cowburn converted.
But after Town won the ball from kick-off, they went over from their tenth and final try of the afternoon as debutant Blain Marwood eased his way past the tiring home defence with his first touch of the ball for the club after another good Forber offload.
The man of the match converted to cement the win.
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