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Emlyn clinch Division One title

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Newcastle Emlyn: Division One West Champions .

Newcastle Emlyn: Division One West Champions .

NEWCASTLE EMLYN became the first ever winners of the WRU Division One West League title on Wednesday night when they defeated Gorseinon at Dol Wiber. With a number of players still suffering from the effects of Sunday’s cup final, Director of Rugby Marc Lloyd was forced to make a total of nine changes from Sunday’s starting line-up. It was a tribute to the strength in depth of the squad and also the excellent coaching they have received all season from Lloyd, player coach Arwel Davies and scrum specialist Charles Gale that these players were able to slot in and perform in the manner they did to clinch the title with one game left. Knowing that a bonus point win would give them the Championship, Emlyn started the game at a rate of knots and soon put the Gorseinon line under a great deal of pressure. However Gorseinon had not read the script and were not prepared to roll over and hand the title to the home side. They defended their line resolutely and the first half saw almost total Emlyn territorial dominance but when the excellent referee Justin Williams blew for half time Emlyn only had one try on the scoreboard.

What a try it was, after some fifteen minutes play Gorseinon took a twenty two metre restart and the ball was caught by Emlyn flanker Joel James. He then slipped a pass to oncoming full back Shaun Leonard, his pace took him past two defenders. Leonard off loaded in the tackle to supporting winger Teifi on Davies and when he was tackled he passed to the impressive Joel James who took a defender with him over the line for a try converted by Leonard. The large crowd then settled down expecting a try fest, but it was not to be as a combination of over complication behind, poor option taking and the stern Gorseinon defence meant that there were no further additions to the score in the first half. The half time team talk by coaches Lloyd and Davies must have been worth listening to as it had an immediate effect on the home side. Emlyn went back to doing what they do best, using forwards to set up two, three phases of play then moving it wider. In number eight Luke Kendall and Joel James they had two back row forwards who carried the ball with purpose always taking at least a couple of defenders out with their powerful runs. The Emlyn front row of props Dai Jones and Gethin Davies along with hooker Bedwyr Davies had the upper hand all evening and the next score originated from a scrum. Gorseinon managed to wheel two Emlyn attempts at push over tries and on the third scrum the ball was moved wide for outside half Steffan Evans to use his strength to force his way over the line for a try converted by Leonard.

Lloyd now started to empty the Emlyn bench when an arm injury forced Joel James off to be replaced by Brynmor Jones and there proved to be no let up for the visitors defence as Jones linked well with Kendall to carry the ball at the visitors line. The two second rows, of returning skipper Gethin Greves and Bleddyn Davies also supported the runners intelligently as did the front row. When regular scrum half Mike Jones came on to replace the rapidly developing back row forward Gareth Thomson this necessitated a tactical switch. Owain Powell reverted to his normal open side position and then veteran Arwel Davies replaced Bleddyn Davies, Gorseinon’s hopes of getting anything from the game virtually disappeared.

The tempo of the game increased greatly and the off loading out of the tackle was a joy to behold as Emlyn went in search of the two tries which would hand them the title. But with the introduction of greater experience from the bench there was far greater control to the Emlyn game. The wild passes and over ambitious moves of the first half were a thing of the past as Emlyn laid siege to the visitors line. The third try came from a fine two handed line out catch by Arwel Davies and a drive to the Gorseinon line, held up short, the ball was moved back on the blind side for powerful number eight Kendall to cross for a try converted by Leonard.

From the restart Leonard caught the ball and went on a long mazy run and ignoring the support outside him the full back looked certain to score the all important fourth try but a desperate tackle from behind brought him down a couple of metres from the line. With hooker Alex Williams and prop Gareth Lloyd on the field giving the home side not only fresh legs but greater scrum power due to their freshness, the home side camped on the visitors line. Scrum after scrum was wheeled to be reset, drives close to the scrum were stopped by determined tackling.

Eventually the ball was moved wider for centre Alun Howells to come on a run back to the forwards. When he was held up it was his co-centre Viv Jenkins who managed to rip the ball out of the maul and cross for the fourth try, greeted by a huge roar from the crowd, converted by Leonard. Gorseinon never gave up and ran the ball back at the home team at every opportunity. In centre Andrew Burden they had a powerful runner who took some stopping and scrum half Jack Gronow tried his best to get his threequarter line moving, but as many sides have found out this year, breaching the Emlyn defence is not an easy job and defensively as well as in attack Howells and Jenkins have proven to be an excellent combination.

Emlyn by now were rampant running the ball from all parts of the field with the confidence of a side that knew they had the game and championship won. Both wingers Teifi on Davies and fireman Daniel Davies were bundled into touch short of the line after excellent runs. The fifth and final try was an absolute gem scored in the dying minutes of the game. From a midfield scrum just inside the Gorseinon half, Kendall picked up from the base drew two defenders and put scrum half Mike Jones away on another run. He then drew the last defender and slipped the pass to the supporting Leonard who crossed for a try, which he was unable to convert to complete the scoring. * With the title already won Emlyn went away to Crymych for their final game and went down to a heavy 41-8 defeat to their nearest rivals. It will have mattered little to Emlyn who capped a season that saw them in a Millennium Stadium final with the league trophy. However it will serve

 

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Sport

Skilton’s half century beats Felinfoel

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A HALF century from Llandarcy’s Paul Skilton helped his side to victory over Felinfoel Seconds on Saturday (May 18).

Llandarcy invited Felinfoel to bat first after winning the toss and that proved to be a good decision as they soon had them in trouble on 41-5.

Opener Nicholas Jones made 18 for Felinfoel but he was bowled by Steven Moul.

Meirion Rees and Josh Powell both fell cheaply to the bowling of Chris Harland as did Ben Williams and Shaun Caton.

Jamie Cranham and Adam Edwards then offered some resistance to the Llandarcy bowlers with a stand of 48 for the sixth wicket.

Cranham hit six fours as he scored 32 but he was then caught off the bowling of Robert Jones.

Edwards and Ian Meredith then shared 52 runs for the seventh wicket as they looked to give their side something to defend.

Meredith made 21 with five fours but was then also out to the bowling of Jones. He then also took the wicket of Steve Johns for a duck.

That left Edwards not out on 35 (six fours) as he took Felinfoel to their total of 153-8.

Photo by Darren Harries

Steve Johns then struck twice as Llandarcy began their reply as he had Ian Davies caught by Jamie Cranham and Steven Moul caught by Josh Powell.

That left them on 12-2 but opener Chris Pickford was joined by Paul Skilton and the pair shared 65 runs for the third wicket.

Pickford hit seven fours in his knock of 35 but he was then bowled by Nicholas Jones. Josh Powell then bowled Ben Owen for a duck to reduce Llandarcy to 78-4.

Another good stand between Skilton and Paul Maunder followed as they all but secured victory. Maunder made 25 before he was caught by Cranham off the bowling of Jones.

Skilton and Anthony Fletcher went on to see Llandarcy to their target with plenty of time to spare.

Fletcher was not out on 11 while Skilton had hit ten fours and a six to finish not out on 63.

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Dafen edged out by Dyffryn

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DAFEN Seconds’ were denied victory on Saturday (May 18) as Dyffryn edged to a 1-wicket win after their target was revised under the Duckworth Lewis method.

Dafen had made an excellent total of 263-6 in their innings but after a break for rain, Dyffryn were given a revised target of 185 from 35 overs.

Jac Morgan scored 19 early on for Dafen but was then out to the bowling of Chris Davies. Scott Phillips made 25 with three fours and a six before he was also out to Davies.

Chris Randell also batted well for his score of 31 but he was then bowled by Kyle Green.

Green also bowled George Lavender leaving Dafen on 185-5 but opener Oliver Evans and Andrew Randell smashed their side past 250 runs.

Evans hit eight fours and two sixes as he scored 80 before he was run out.

Photo by Darren Harries

Randell smashed six fours and three sixes as he finished not out on 51 to help set Dyffryn a challenging target.

However, rain meant that Dyffryn would need a revised target of 185 to win.

Andrew Herbert took two wickets early on for Dafen to leave them on 21-2 but scores of 31 from Alun Evans, 20 from Jon Lewis and 43 from Rhodri Morgan kept Dyffryn on target.

All three fell to the bowling of Rhys Marchant and after James McKenna was bowled by Scott Phillips, Dyffryn were 128-6.

Darren Wood made 17 before he was out to the bowling of Cieran Latham and he also had Kyle Green caught by Chris Randell.

Lewis Day had made 21 for the visitors but when he was out to the bowling of Gleb Roberts it looked as if Dafen would take the win.

However, Grant Pearce and Chris Davies had other ideas as they steered Dyffryn over the line with four balls to spare.

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Llanelli too good for Llandysul

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LLANELLI put in a good all-round team performance as they batted well to make a good score before bowling Llandysul out to earn a 52-run win.

Llandysul won the toss and elected to field but they could only watch as the home side racked up nearly 300 runs.

Iwan Rees and Ioan Phillips got Llanelli off to an excellent start as they shared 91 runs for the first wicket.

Rees hit five fours in a score of 41 but he was then stumped by Andrew Barrett off the bowling of Joseph Swift.

Phillips and Ryan Nicholas then shared a stand of 60 for the second wicket as they continued to put runs on the board.

Nicholas made 26 but was then caught by Luke Swift off the bowling of Steffan Jones.

Photo by Darren Harries

More good batting followed as Phillips and Rhidian Morgan shared 59 runs for the third wicket.

Morgan smashed five fours and two sixes as his score of 40 came from 28 balls but he then found the hands of Llewelyn Hughes, giving Ashleigh Cox his first wicket.

Phillips had hit 11 fours in his knock of 96 but was unlucky to miss out on a century as he was caught by Ben Edkins off the bowling of Cox.

Marcus Leaf fell cheaply to the bowling of Luke Swift and he later had Steven Devonald caught by Cox.

Devonald had hit five fours in a score of 38 from 25 balls as Llanelli went on to set Llandysul 280 to win.

Llandysul were keen to make a good start in their reply and although they lost Bleddyn Morgan early on when he was caught by Ryan Nicholas off the bowling of Chris Thomas, a stand of 50 for the second wicket between Meurig Jones and Ashleigh Cox gave them a good platform. Jones made 26 before he was bowled by David Richards.

Cox had reached his half century but then saw Ben Edkins bowled by Steven Devonald on a score of 17.

Richards then had Llewelyn Hughes caught by Chris Thomas for a duck as Llandysul slipped to 115-4.

Cox was closing in on his century but was also losing partners as Carwyn Evans made 15 before he was trapped leg before by Iwan Rees.

Photo by Darren Harries

Cox reached his century with nine fours and a six but was then bowled by Thomas on a score of 104.

That left Llandysul on 190-6 but when Steffan Jones departed having scored 28, trapped leg before by Thomas, their innings began to fall apart.

Devonald took the wicket of Luke Swift and then also ran out Joe Swift before Jac Rees wrapped up the innings with the wicket of Arfon Jones.

The win gives Llanelli 20 points and they remain top of Division 1.

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