LLANELLI fell to their third straight Principality defeat of the season, to leave themselves just three points above the bottom two (although this matters for little as there is no relegation for the 2015/16 season).
This will be a concern for Dai Flanagan as before this run they had been enjoying something of a renaissance in the league.
On the other hand, for visitors Newport, victory saw them go top momentarily, as their fine start to the season continues, and they remain firmly in the hunt to be crowned Principality Premiership champions, as a whole host of teams seek to end league giants Pontypridd’s four year dominance.
Newport’s form in recent years has been a long way short of what the Black and Ambers fans will have hoped for and expected, so to be challenging at the top end of the table is encouraging for the Gwent side. What was not quite so encouraging was the sight of Scarlets and Wales prop Rhodri Jones’ name on the team sheet as he made his return from a long period of injury. In the Newport team Haydn Palmer was a late replacement for unavailable Aled James at centre and an even later call was to see Joe Cullimore replace Rhys Jenkins at No.7 after Rhys suffered a reoccurrence of his knee injury, which tightened up during the warm up.
The game was all Llanelli for the first quarter as the hosts piled on relentless pressure and held onto possession. Newport’s defence stood firm and time after time the home team were turned back. Cullimore, Rhodri Jones and Brendon Lampitt formed a very efficient backrow for the visitors, who tackling ferociously and putting their bodies on the line. Llanelli were getting the majority of the refs decisions and always went in search of tries, constantly kicking penalties to the corner rather than go for goal. Indeed the hosts could have been six or eight points up after fifteen minutes but the score remained 0-0.
Newport eventually managed to acquire enough possession to make some concerted attacks and it was clear that in attack they had a greater cutting edge. A superb handling move consisting of multiple phases with quick recycling saw Newport deep in enemy territory and from a resulting penalty a five-metre line out was obtained. Dan Partridge secured possession but it was knocked on in the next phase ending a promising period of play. However the next attacking move saw some quick ‘tap and go’s’ before a beautiful reverse chip from Ryan James sent the ball into the try zone. Elliot Frewen chased hard and patiently waited for the ball to bounce in his favour before touching down for the first try. Arwel Robson missed the difficult conversion.
Five minutes later the lead was extended, as from a move straight off the training paddock, swift interplay led to Wes Cunliffe scoring out wide on the right. The conversion was missed but Newport were now dominant.
Wales prop Rhodri Jones limped off for the hosts after 30 minutes just as his team forced some rapid movement up the pitch. Newport infringed by putting hands into a ruck and this led to the often seen kick, lineout, catch, drive and 6 point try that is becoming increasingly common this season, with hooker Torin Myhill forcing his way over. Flyhalf Billy McBryde converted and Llanelli were up and running.
Just three minutes later this hard work was undone as Newport returned straight back to the Llanelli twenty-two, and superb interplay between forwards and backs, including a beautiful pass from Lavender, put Llywarch Ap Myrddin into space and the returning fullback danced his way through for a wonderful score. Robson banged over the conversion and the visitors were 8-20 to the good at half time.
The second half started with an aerial bombardment from both teams as play switched quickly from end to end. The pace of the game rose and the tiny crowd in attendance were witness to 40 minutes of the most frenetic rugby you are likely to see all season with full out attacks being met by heroic defence. Llywarch danced his way through midfield again and the Llanelli defence flapped and coughed the ball up. From the resulting scrum a neat move sent Haydn Palmer through for a well worked try that secured the bonus point and was also converted.
Moments later the lead was extended as Newport kicked a penalty to extend the lead and from the restart Llanelli squandered a great opportunity with an accidental offside and then within moments messed up another score when a beautiful cross kick was secured, only for the Dion Jones not to back himself for the inevitable score but choosing instead to pass inside to the supporting Matthew Owen, who duly dropped the ball over the line.
Owen did score in the dying moments – with McBryde converting – but it came too late to prevent a Newport victory.
If Llanelli are going to avoid losing four games on the bounce, then they will have to do it at the ‘House of Pain’ as Pontypridd, who themselves have lost three on the bounce, welcome them to Sardis Road.
Teams: Llanelli: 15.Dion Jones 14.Nathan Edwards 13.Steffan Hughes 12.Matthew Pearce 11.Matthew Owen 10.Billy McBryde: 9.Justin James 8.Trystan Lloyd 7.Shaun Edwards 6.Jack Jones 5.Christian Long 4.Rhydian Gierat 3.Rhodri Jones 2.Torin Myhill 1.Rhys Thomas Replacements: 16.Rhys Fawcett 17.Taylor Davies 18.Ben Leung 19.Greg George 20.Liam Puckett 21.Josh Guy 22.Gareth Walters 23.Paul Davies
Newport: Llywarch Ap Myrddin, Wes Cunliffe, Barney Nightingale, Aled James, Elliot Frewen, Arwel Robson, Ryan James, Brendan Lampitt, Rhys Jenkins, Rhodri Jones, Dan Partridge, Adam Brown, Alex Jeffries, Henry Palmer, John Lavender. Replacements: Evan Whitson, James Greenfield, Tom Piper, Bryce Morgan, Joe Culimore, Owen Davies, Julian Mogg, John Morris.
Williams-duo sink Porthcawl
LLANELLI Seconds earned victory on Saturday (Aug 10) as they beat Porthcawl by 42 runs.
Porthcawl won the toss and elected to field and they were able to bowl Llanelli out for 170.
Rhys Westcott and Lewis Jones got Llanelli off to a steady start before Westcott was caught by Steffan Flood off the bowling of Nicholas Morgan on a score of 19.
Morgan then also caught and bowled Daniel Lewis before Dafydd Daniel supported Jones with a score of 17.
Daniel also fell to the bowling of Morgan who then claimed his second caught and bowled of the match when he caught Jordan Evans.
Morgan wasn’t done there as he had Richard Williams caught by Anthony Dixon.
Jones had made his way to a score of 85 but he was then caught by Isaak Cronje off the bowling of Stephen Richmond.
Spencer Morgan then claimed the final two wickets to leave Llanelli all out on 170 after 43 overs.
Richard Williams struck early on as he had Nicholas Morgan caught by Dafydd Daniel.
Richard then also had Mark Lewis caught by Harri Rees before Joshua Williams had Steven Doherty stumped by Morgan Jones.
Richard then had Chris Richards caught by Daniel to reduce Porthcawl to 45-4.
Anthony Dixon had made his way to a score of 30 but he was caught by Daniel Lewis off the bowling of Joshua Williams.
That left the visitors on 49-5 and it soon became 60-6 as Joshua had Steffan Flood caught by Harri Rees.
Joshua then also claimed the wicket of Spencer Williams before Isaak Cronje was run out by Daniel.
Joshua then bowled Matthew Pugh as Porthcawl were staring at a heavy defeat on 77-9.
Stephen Richmond and Mark Bevan did their best to keep the score ticking over with Richmond reaching a score of 44.
He was eventually caught by Owain Baxter off the bowling of Lewis Jones and although Llanelli gave away 21 runs in extras, Porthcawl were all out for 128.
It was just a second win of the season for Llanelli seconds who will now look to finish the season on a high.
On Saturday (Aug 17), they travel to Dyffryn.
Felinfoel see off Drefach
FELINFOEL earned their eighth win of the season on Saturday (Aug 10) as they beat Drefach by four wickets.
The game was reduced to 48 overs-a-side after earlier rain and the toss was won by Felinfoel who elected to field.
Rob Seymour got Drefach going with four fours in his score of 16 from 12 balls but he was then caught by Andrew Thomas off the bowling of Julian Griffiths.
Soon after, Griffiths had Ben Mitchell caught by Rohan Nangalia.
Anthony Mathias then bowled James Carter and trapped Neil Harris leg before as Drefach slipped to 40-4.
Dafydd Humprheys and Billy McBryde then shared 44 runs for the fifth wicket before McBryde, who hit four fours and a six in his score of 29, was caught by Nangalia off the bowling of Matthias.
Humprheys and Ciaran Llewellyn then shared 57 runs for the sixth wicket as they continued to put runs on the board.
Llewelyn hit six fours in his score of 31 but he was then caught by Rhys Jones off the bowling of Tom Jones.
Humphreys then reached his half century but then saw Leigh Davies caught by Nangalia off the bowling of Craig Richards.
Richards then also Roy Llewelyn before before Chris Bowen bowled Elis Jones.
That left Humphreys not out on 63 which included four fours and a six.
Set 182 to win, Felinfoel lost Andrew Thomas early on when he was bowled by Ben Mitchell.
Craig Richards and Rhys Jones then shared an excellent second-wicket stand worth 106 runs.
Jones hit five fours on his way to a score of 43 before he was stumped by Neil Harris off the bowling of Leigh Davies.
Three balls later, Roy Llewelyn bowled Richards on a score of 73 that included 11 fours.
Drefach then picked up a third wicket as Davies bowled Julian Griffiths for a duck to reduce Felinfoel to 124-4.
Tom Jones also fell to the bowling of Llewelyn as Drefach looked to keep the pressure on.
Rhys Harries hit three fours in a score of 16 but he was then bowled by James Carter as Felinfoel were further reduced to 155-6.
Chris Bowen and Rohan Nangalia had other ideas though as they guided their side to their target.
Bowen finished not out on 16 while Nangalia was not out on 19 from 12 balls after hitting three fours.
On Saturday (Aug 17), Drefach travel to play fourth placed Aberdare while Felinfoel are away to second placed Skewen.
Llangennech earn crucial win
LLANGENNECH moved themselves out of the bottom two of Division 1 on Saturday (Aug 10) as they beat Llanelli in a rain-affected match.
The hosts won the toss and elected to field and they were able to restrict Llanelli 129 all out in their 33 overs.
Llanelli lost opener Ioan Phillips for a duck early on when he was caught by David Williams off the bowling of Michael Jones.
Iwan Rees and Marcus Leaf then shared 58 runs for the second wicket as they looked to get their side into a good position.
Leaf hit eight fours in his score of 40 but he was then also caught by Williams off the bowling of Aamir Ikram.
Ben Edward was then caught by Michael Jones off the bowling of Owain Phillips.
Robert Bowen hit two fours and a six in his score of 18 but he was then bowled by Jones as Llanelli were reduced to 102-4.
It did not get much better for the visitors from then on as Matthew Jones had Rees caught by Williams on a score of 40.
He then had Alex Symmons caught by Williams on a duck before also trapping Aled Gilley leg before.
That brought the score to 108-7 and it was soon 109-8 as David Richard was bowled by Simon Clement.
Clement also bowled Vaughan Thomas before Jac Rees and Carwyn Phillips shared 16 runs for the final wicket.
Phillips was then run out as Llangennech were set just 130 to win the game.
Llangennech lost Scott Lloyd early in their reply when he was caught by Iwan Rees off the bowling of Alex Symmons.
However, a stand of 73 between Matthew Jones and James Taube all but secured the win for the home side.
Taube hit seven fours and three sixes in his score of 55 from 32 balls but he was then bowled by Aled Gilley.
Jones had hit three fours in his score of 24 but he was then caught by Vaughan Thomas off the bowling of Rees.
Rees then trapped Hedd-Wyn Jones leg before to leave Llangennech on 107-4 but Llanelli were unable to take any further wickets.
David Williams and Chris Hickey hit three fours each as they finished unbeaten on scores of 20 and 15 respectively to see their side over the line with time to spare.
With other sides seeing their games abandoned, the win lifts Llangennech up to sixth place in the table, 17 points above now second from bottom Briton Ferry Steel.
On Saturday (Aug 17), Llanelli will look to get back to winning ways when they take on second placed Tata Steel while Llangennech travel to bottom of the table Gowerton.
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