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.
Rees stars as Llanelli beat Bronwydd
LLANELLI’s Iwan Rees took three wickets and then top scored with the bat to help his side to victory over Bronwydd on Satuday (Jun 22).
Bronwydd won the toss and elected to bat but they were all out for 144.
They lost James Dickson early when he was trapped leg before by Steven Devonald for a duck and Gareth John was also out cheaply as he was caught by Rhidian Morgan off the bowling of Devonald.
Iwan Davies and Jacob Jenkinson then shared 33 runs for the third wicket but it was Rees who struck as he had Jenkinson caught by Craig Howells.
Davies hit seven fours as he scored a half century but he was then out on a score of 58 to the bowling of David Richards.
Rees then trapped Philip Howell leg before and Aled Gilley then bowled Oliver Furneaux on a score of 22.
Rees then bowled Callum Collins-Davies to leave Bronwydd on 110-7.
Carwyn Jones and Tom Gleeson took over in the middle and they shared 21 runs for the eighth wicket.
Jones scored 17 before he was bowled by Gilley and Gleeson scored 15 before he was caught by Morgan off the bowling of Alex Symmons.
Steven Devonald then claimed his third wicket as he trapped Matthew Vaughan leg before to bring the innings to a close.
Iwan Rees and Ioan Phillips then shared 40 runs for the first wicket as Llanelli got off to a good start in their reply.
Tom Gleeson picked up the first wicket as he bowled Phillips but Rees and Craig Howells batted on. They shared 97 runs for the second wicket to all but seal the victory.
Rees had hit 12 fours in his score of 75 but he was then caught by Matthew Vaughan off the bowling of Callum Collins-Davies.
Howells and Steven Devonald then saw Llanelli to their target with Howells hitting five fours and a six as he finished not out on 37.
That saw Llanelli achieve victory by eight wickets and on Saturday (Jun 29), they will look for another win when they travel to Maesteg Celtic.
Bronwydd will aim to bounce back in their next game at home to bottom of the table Gowerton.
Dafen too good for Steel
DAFEN proved too strong for Briton Ferry Steel on Saturday (Jun 22) as they earned a five-wicket win.
Dafen won the toss and elected to field which proved to be a good decision as they bowled Steel out for just 93.
Openers Evan Hynes and Lloyd Clement had shared 19 runs for the first wicket but Chris Hudson brought that to and end as he bowled Hynes.
Clement had scored 13 but he was then also bowled by Matthew Evans. Hudson then had Gavin Pugh caught by David Dunfee for a duck and Dunfee then had a hand in the next wicket as he ran out Jason Hughes for another duck.
That left the home side struggling on 31-4 and it soon became 44-5 as Steve Maddock was caught by Daniel Vaughan off the bowling of Jonathan Randell.
Rhys Norgrove offered some resistance with a score of 16 but he was then bowled by Randell. Dunfee then removed Tom Williams in similar fashion to leave the Steel on 67-7.
Rhys Maddock made a score of 10 before he was caught by Chris Hudson off the bowling Randell.
Andrew Herbert then had Daryl Phillips caught on a score of 13 by Vaughan and Herbert then brought the innings to a close when he trapped Leigh Williams LBW.
Dafen made a slow start to their reply and they lost early wickets as opener Chris Davies was caught off the bowling of Daryl Phillips.
Simon Davies was also bowled by Phillips as Dafen slipped to 14-2.
Opener Matthew Evans had scored 19 but he was then caught and bowled by Phillips leaving them on 32-3.
George Lavender and Jonathan Randell shared 18 runs for the fourth wicket before Randell was also caught and bowled by Phillips.
Lavender then shared 27 runs with David Dunfee for the fifth wicket as they edged towards their target.
Dunfee was bowled on a score of 14 by Rhys Norgrove but that would be the last wicket to fall.
Matthew Donoghue finished not out on 14 while Lavender was unbeaten on 25 as Dafen reached their target inside 22 overs.
The Steel were also guilty of giving away 17 runs in extras.
On Saturday (Jun 29), Dafen are at home to Llandysul.
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.
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