Newcastle Emlyn 7
Ebbw Vale 61
AS THIS RESULT shows, the gulf between the upper end of the Principality Premiership and the lower reaches of the WRU Championship is huge.
The only other time these two sides have met was nineteen years ago when Emlyn were languishing in Division Six West and although the defeat then 0-43 was not as great as Saturday’s that game was completely dominated by the visitors.
Statistics wise Ebbw Vale are the most successful side in the Premiership when it comes to winning first phase possession.
Their pattern of play was simple and highly effective, driving through the forwards and then, when it was moved wide, using their big centres to carry the ball up at speed to cross the gain line and recycling for the forwards to carry on forward.
However it was Emlyn who applied all the early pressure and drove down to the visitors’ twentytwo metre line, where they were awarded a penalty when Ebbw desperately killed the ball at a ruck.
Unfortunately for the home side winger Dan Davies pushed his attempt just wide of the posts. Ebbw Vale’s response was powerful and determined, setting up camp in the Emlyn twenty two they placed the home side’s scrum under a great deal of pressure.
Vale number eight Ethan Doyle controlled the ball and the drive very well at the second attempt and he was awarded a pushover try converted by outside half Ian Smerdon, who had an almost faultless day with the boot converting seven out of his eight attempts at goal.
Urged on by the large crowd, Emlyn continued to pressurise Ebbw Vale and another run by Davies brought play close to the visitors line.
This time it was an Ebbw Vale player who felt the blast of referee Neil Jones’ whistle as prop Robert Sevenoaks was carded for handling the ball at a ruck on their line. Emlyn captain Alex Williams declined the kick at goal and went for the quick tap penalty only to be held up short of the line. Emlyn recycled a couple of times but could not find a way over the try line, eventually knocking the ball on and Ebbw cleared their line.
The visitors extended their lead when Emlyn disputed a penalty awarded against them at a ruck on their own twenty two line and quick thinking by Ebbw Vale scrum half David Lewis Jones saw him tap the ball and cross for an unconverted try, while a number of Emlyn players were awaiting an explanation for the decision. They then extended their lead just before half time with a well-controlled catch and drive from a line out with flanker Luke Crockett being accredited with the score, converted by Smerdon.
The second half began with Ebbw Vale bringing on club captain Damien Hudd in the second row to bring even greater control to their game. Playing for position they soon extended their lead through tries by prop Sevenoaks, from a driving line out, and full back Daniel Haymond who sneaked in at the back of a driving maul to claim the score. Both were converted by Smerdon to take their lead up to forty points.
Half way through the half Emlyn finally got on the scoreboard with probably the best try of the game. From a line out on their own ten-metre line, Ryan Morgans took an excellent two handed catch and delivered it to scrum half Mike Jones from the top of his jump. Jones passed to centre Mitchell Jones who sent out a twenty-metre pass to outside half Barry Thomas who had looped round his centres. Thomas passed to full back Leonard who timed his pass to winger Dan Davies to perfection.
The speedster rounded his opposite number, with the cover coming across he passed back inside to Leonard, two passes later the ball was in the hands of the supporting Mike Jones. With twenty metres to go the scrum half put his head back and sprinted to score under the posts for Dan Davies to convert.
With both sides emptying their benches the game lost some of its structure as both sides opted for running the ball rather than kicking for position.
Ebbw added further converted tries through Crockett and replacement centre Jordan Howells. With time running out Emlyn looked to have added another score when a delicate chip over the advancing Ebbw Vale defenders saw the ball bounce in the in-goal area.
Following up at pace winger Dan Davies looked certain to score but a nudge on him by an Ebbw player meant he just missed the ball as he went to dive on it. The final score came with the last play of the game when winger David Williams crossed under the posts for a try converted by replacement David Langdon.
Felinfoel win comfortably
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.
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).
Cherries hold off Penygroes
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.
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.
Burry Port stay in touch
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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