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Edinburgh dent Scarlets European hopes

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Scarlets 51
Edinburgh 6

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.

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Felinfoel win comfortably

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FELINFOEL continued their unbeaten start to the season on Saturday (Oct 5) as they beat Gowerton 23-0.

In a game played in difficult conditions both sides contributed to an open match with Felinfoel finally ending up comfortable winners.

Felinfoel took an early lead with a try from left wing Jordan Dunne converted by full back Aled Roberts.

Roberts added a further two penalties before the break making the score at half time 13 – nil.

Photo by Darren Harries

The weather conditions deteriorated in the second half and it was not until the 20th minute that Felinfoel increased their lead with a further penalty from Roberts.

As Felinfoel added further pressure, live wire wing Dunne went in for his second try again well converted from wide out by Roberts.

Gowerton came close to scoring at the end, but strong defence by Felinfoel prevented them from scoring.

Felinfoel now look forward to round two of the WRU Plate competition when they entertain Skewen on Saturday (Oct 12).

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Cherries hold off Penygroes

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Furnace United 18-9 Penygroes

FURNACE United welcomed Penygroes to Cae Castell on Saturday (Oct 5) and after two attritional battles last season this game was highly anticipated.

The field conditions were excellent even though there was a little drizzle throughout.

The game started at a frantic pace with Furnace taking the early initiative resulting in a try from second row Andrew Evans after five minutes. Daf Green slotted the conversion from out wide to make it 7-0 to the home side.

Five minutes later, from subsequent Penygroes pressure, they were able to score their first points of the game as the trusted boot of number 10 Christopher Powell slotted a penalty between the sticks.

Straight from the restart Furnace gained good field position and were awarded a penalty in front of the sticks.

Green added the three points to make it 10-3 to the home side.

Photo by Darren Harries

The rest of the first half saw Penygroes put pressure on the Furnace line but to no avail.

The first 25 minutes of the second half saw the visitors throw the kitchen sink at the Furnace line.

However, although some stern defence meant they weren’t able to cross the line, they did manage two further penalties from the boot of Powell to bring the score to 10-9.

Having defended for much of the half, Furnace looked to increase their lead and they marched up the field before Daf Green slotted a drop goal to make it 13-9 to the Cherries.

The last ten minutes saw Penygroes pressing again but without reward.

From the last play of the game, Furnace intercepted a loose pass and Centre Scott Davies galloped 60 metres down the paddock to cross and put the game to bed.

The conversion was missed but it mattered little as the Cherries earned an 18-9 victory.

On Saturday (Oct 12), both sides take a break from league action as they take part in the second round of the WRU Bowl.

Furnace are away to Cefn Cribbwr while Penygroes are at home to Abercarn.

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Burry Port stay in touch

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Burry Port Res 3-0 Evans & Williams Res

BURRY Port Reserves kept themselves in touch with the top two as they beat Evans and Williams Reserves 3-0 on Saturday (Oct 5).

A very even first half ended with Jamie Phillips heading home from a corner to make it 1-0 to Burry Port.

In the second half the home side played much better and were on top from the start going 2-0 up through Sam Saer.

They dominated for a spell but Evans and Williams came back strong and looked as if they might get one back.

Eventually the home side got their third through Ryan Owens to seal the win and all but end any hopes Evans and Williams had of getting back into the game.

Burry Port remain level on points with the top two with all three having won four of their five games so far this season.

On Saturday (Oct 12), Evans and Williams will look to bounce back when they take on Gorseinon Reserves.

The reserves do not have a game but Burry Port’s first team are in action in the first round of the West Wales Cup as they host Cwm Albion Colts.

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