FORMER WELSH International Andy Powell and his colleagues from big spending Merthyr caused the upset of the round, as they deservedly knocked out Premiership side Llanelli in a bruising encounter at the Parc y Scarlets.
It is the first time in the club’s history that Merthyr have made it into the quarterfinals, and the victory will go down in the folklore of the club, although with promotion from the Championship a certainty, the valley side’s travelling support can be sure of many days like this in the future. The reward for victory in this tie is a trip to Sardis Road to face Premiership giants Pontypridd.
Merthyr started off the more adventurous side putting early pressure on Llanelli with big hits going in from both sets of forwards. Top points scoring full back Matthew Jarvis let Llanelli off the hook when he missed two easy penalty attempts in the first 15 minutes.
The deadlock was broken when ex-Merthyr outside half Josh Lewis slotted a 25-metre penalty after Merthyr were caught offside. However Jarvis made amends for his earlier misses when he kicked a penalty to draw the side’s level at 3-3.
Merthyr won good line out ball from both Craig Locke and young Ben Murphy, which allowed man of the match Rhys Downes to bring his backs into action with only good home defence preventing a score. Back row men Tom Daley, Phil Rees and captain Andy Powell were big ball carriers for Merthyr as the pack began to take the game to Llanelli.
However Llanelli extended their lead to 6-3, when Lewis kicked a 35-metre penalty for a high tackle. Then came the first try of the game when, Merthyr turned down a kick at goal with Gunter kicking deep into the Llanelli 22.
From the lineout won by second row Locke, outside half Gunter brought in blind side wing Alex Howman who took and inside pass to race away under the posts, Jarvis converted and Merthyr had taken the lead for the first time 6-10.
Things got worse for the home side as a Merthyr attacked once again and a chip ahead from Gunter deep in the Llanelli half caused panic and when Llanelli failed to clear their lines an attempted clearance kick was charged down by scum half Rhys Downes who raced away for the try in the corner, Jarvis slotted over the kick and Merthyr had taken a 6-17 interval lead.
The second half began with an all out attack from Llanelli to try and get back into the game, and only good defence keeping them out. Merthyr were guilty of giving away too many soft penalties and it was not long before Lewis closed the gap as he slotted over a penalty kick to bring the score 9-17.
Merthyr began to settle once again with Phil Rees and Tom Daley making good ground with big charges up field. Llanelli made several changes, as they looked for that all important score as they began to run the ball at Merthyr, but credit to Merthyr their defence was rock solid. However a missed tackle in midfield did allow home centre Nathan Edwards to race away to score wide out, Lewis missed with the conversion but Llanelli had closed the gap 14-17.
From the restart Llanelli attacked once again looking for that allimportant score turning down several kicks at goal. A penalty under the posts was turned down with Llanelli opting for a scrum. After several scrum attempts a score looked certain, but a rock solid scrummage from Merthyr kept them out and when the scum collapsed Merthyr were awarded a penalty and released the pressure.
Merthyr raced up field with time running out and big carries once again from replacement Osian Davies, Phil Rees, and Craig Locke kept Llanelli pinned their own 22.
With only minutes remaining Merthyr were awarded a penalty to seal the game but the reliable Jarvis missed, which allowed Llanelli one last attack from behind their line but the attack broke down on the half way line, with referee Gwyn Morris blowing for full time.
This was a huge win for Merthyr against a Premiership side and the whole side should be given credit for this famous win. The Merthyr forwards more than held their own against the big Llanelli pack, but credit also to half backs Downes and Gunter, with Gunter putting in some fine touch kicks, pinning Llanelli back on several occasions.
Llanelli: 15 Dion Jones, 14 Shaun Pearce, 13 Nathan Edwards, 12 Steffan Hughes, 11 Ryan Davies, 10 Josh Lewis, 9 Josh Guy, 8 Trystan Lloyd, 7 Owain Morgan, 6 Nathan Hart, 5 Jack Jones, 4 Adam Powell, 3 Gareth Havard, 2 Torin Myhill, 1 Rhys Thomas
Replacements: 16 Tom Kaijaks, 17 Taylor Davies, 18 Jack Payne, 19 Chris Long, 20 Elliot Rees, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Jonny Lewis, 23 Matthew Pearce
Merthyr: 15 M Jarvis, 14 D Parry, 13 M Trowbridge, 12 D Bishop, 11 A Howman, 10 D Gunter, 9 R Downes, 1 J Howe, 2 R Williams, 3 G Powell, 4 C Locke, 5 B Murphy, 6 P Rees, 7 T Daley, 8 A Powell
Replacements: 16 G Way, 17 L Jones/M Davies, 18 R James, 19 R East, 20 O Davies, 21 M Luckwell, 22 A Hoskins, 23 T Hiscock.
Llanelli AC round off season
LLANELLI Athletics Club junior members from under 11’s upwards rounded off their track and field season with the annual end-of-season Inter Club Competition at the Pemberton Athletics Track on the final Tuesday of August.
Events held were 75m, 100m, 800m, High Jump, Long Jump, Javelin and Shot.
48 hours later, it was the turn of the under 17, under 20 and senior athletes to participate in the track championships situated next to Parc Y Scarlets.
They were great evenings of friendly competition in front of family, friends and coaches as members now look forward to the cross country, road and indoor season in Wales and further afield in England.
Thirty-five under 11, under 13 and under 15 athletes took part on the first evening whilst more than a dozen of the club’s under 17, under 20 and senior were in action at the second event.
Age Group winners will be announced at the club’s annual presentation evening later this year.
Elsewhere, there was a good representation of senior and master athletes at the recent Cardiff Metropolitan University 10K in the Welsh Capital.
Out of the twenty-six running from the club, twelve recorded new personal bests over this distance in an event which saw more than 6,000 runners finish as it continues to grow year on year.
Finishing times: Dai Keenan (34:02), Nick Sheehan (34:04), Dean Summers (34:22), Jimmy Watkins (34:37), Jamie Stedman (36:29), Alan Davies (36:57), Simon Rees (38:36), Rob Davies (42:55), Mike Halsall (44:16), Jordan Chappell (45:27), Tahir Altimimi (45:47), Craig Hopkins (46:10), Roxanne Turner (47:36), Luigi Bonifacio (52:56), Vanessa Buckler (53:35), Andrew Stephens (55:02), Andrew Bowen (55:27), Emily Denmark (56:11), Heledd Jones (59:48), Hannah Gale (59:49), Rachel Evans (60:29), Zoe Jermin-Jones (63:14), Lisa Campion (67:40), Rob Campion (67:42), Vicki Turner (71:22) and Amanda de la Hey (74:29).
Carmarthen’s David Jones crossed the line as the 63rd male home, in a time of 34 minutes 45 seconds.
Stars batter Bynea
New Dock Stars 91-0 Bynea
NEW DOCK STARS earned their first win of the season on Saturday as they thrashed Bynea 91-0.
The home side ran in thirteen tries in an impressive display which saw Jason Baxter convert ten of those.
Jordan Evans, Josh Harris and Luke Morris all scored twice as did Joe Scott and Stu Taylor.
Luke Edwards, Kieron James and Levi Roots also bagged themselves a try each as they showed no let up against their opponents.
Baxter also added two penalties for an excellent personal haul of 26 points.
The result lifts the Stars up to third in the table while Bynea remain bottom.
On Saturday (Sept 21), Bynea will look to bounce back when they face Laugharne in the first round of the WRU Bowl.
The Stars will be full of confidence after their big win and they face Tumble in the first round of the Bowl.
Trim too good for Furnace
Furnace 8-21 Trimsaran
TRIMSARAN travelled the short distance to Furnace on Saturday (Sept 14) for what was an entertaining derbt clash.
This was the first meeting between the two teams for a few years as Furnace were promoted along with Penygroes last season after finishing second in League 3 West Central C last season.
The cherries won their first game last week against Bynea by 55-8 so were on a high coming into the game after also having a successful pre-season which saw them win all 3 of their games.
Trim also made a winning start to the season last week after a narrow victory over Cefneithin by 18-15.
Trimsaran were under no illusions how difficult this game would be and knew they would have to give 110% if they wanted to stop the cherries.
Trim kicked off and after a handling error Furnace had the early initiative with a scrum near halfway.
Trim showed their intention from this scrum driving Furnace back 10-15 meters and getting awarded the early penalty.
This was the start of a period of 20 minutes where Trim were pressuring the Furnace defence and in the home teams territory constantly.
Furnace did show some strong defence and had secured a couple of turnover but it wasn’t long until Trim took a well-deserved lead after second row Emyr Evans crossed the whitewash to open the scoring after some good build up work by Trim.
Furnace ill-discipline allowed Trim to get the territory and within the next 10 minutes Trim had extended their lead to 11-0 after two penalties by fly half Corey Phillips.
Furnace came into the game now after a loose return kick from the kick off and had a run of possession and territory, this allowed them to break down the wing and score their first try of the game in the corner against the run of play. The score was now 5-11 to the visitors with 10 minutes of the first half left.
Trim were back pressuring the home team deep in their 22 and set up a driving maul from a lineout but some good defence from Furnace turned the ball over and allowed them to clear their lines.
However, some more ill-discipline for being offside allowed Trim to again get territory and after a few good phases of play from the forwards the ball was passed out to winger Callum McCormack who touched down for his teams second try in the corner.
The difficult conversion was nailed over by Corey Phillips and with only 5 minutes of the first half remaining the score was 5-18.
From the kick off Trim cleared their lines only to be told it was kicked out on the full so Furnace now had an ideal attacking lineout just before half time to hit back. The cherries were awarded a scrum 5 yards out after the ball became unplayable and had one more chance as the ref called last play to get some sort of points.
Furnace tried to power their way through but Trim held them out before they spread the ball wide and were tackled into touch to bring the first half to an end. Trim were happy with the outcome at half time but knew Furnace would come back at them in the second half all guns blazing.
Furnace kicked off the second half and were the team to pressure first. They were awarded a penalty of their own which they kicked at goal to reduce the deficit after 5 minutes of the second half.
Trim pushed for another score to extend their league but a pass was intercepted by the Furnace hooker and he booted the ball back down deep into the Trim 22.
A shove from the Cherries number 9 off the ball resulted in a yellow card for him as the ref had finally had enough of the penalties conceded after numerous warnings. This allowed Trim to clear their lines and retain possession from the lineout.
The game started to turn a bit scrappy now with both teams failing to retain possession for enough phases to trouble the defensive lines. Furnace did have a break down the wing but the green and blacks defence was strong enough to keep them out only for Furnace to be awarded a penalty and a shot at goal which was unsuccessful. 5 minutes later it was Trim who were extending their lead thanks to a drop goal from hooker and captain Ryan Edwards to make the score 8-21 with 20 minutes left.
Trim had a further chance through a penalty to take the game beyond the home team but the shot at goal was just missed. Furnace had more possession and territory in the final 10 minutes of the game but the green and blacks held firm in defence and managed to hold out everything the cherries threw at them. When the ref called last play of the game full back Dan Griffiths booted the ball off the field to secure an impressive win for Trimsaran and to make it two wins out of two.
On Saturday (Sept 21), Trimsaran host Amman United and Furnace travel to Cardigan in the first round of the Specsavers National Bowl.
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