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.
Reds open with a point
LLANELLI Town manager Andy Hill will probably be relatively pleased with the point earned in their opening home league game in the JD Cymru League Championship South, as they were trailing as early as the 12th minute before levelling matters five minutes prior to the break.
With the Reds having brought in eleven new signings during the close season, five of them were included in Friday’s (Aug 16) opener, with Zac Brown, Jake Parry and Tim Parker starting, with Scott Smith and Nathan Logan named on the bench.
It will take a little while for the new recruits to adapt, but the early signs are promising, and hopefully augur well for a successful season.
The hosts enjoyed most of the early possession, and when a Liam Samuel cross was helped on by Jordan Davies to Parker, his effort deflected off a visitors` defender for a corner.
This set the pattern for the opening stages, with the home side forcing a number of flag kicks, but completely against the run of play it was the visitors who struck first when a clearance upfield by keeper Morgan Davies did not seem to pose any real threat, but was pursued by striker Luke Gullick who then caught Reds` right back Luke Morgan in possession, and he came away with the ball before making inroads into the box and rifling his finish low into the bottom corner on 12 minutes.
At the other end, a Parker delivery across the face of goal failed to pick out anyone, while a Davies shot lacked any power when presented with a chance, and the keeper made an easy save.
A James Loveridge free kick for the Reds from distance was arrowed towards the top corner before being diverted over the bar by Davies, and the same player had a couple of efforts sail well off target when he gained possession.
With the interval approaching it seemed as if the home side would go in at half time trailing by the solitary goal, but on 40 minutes they levelled matters when Parker notched up his first goal for the club, glancing home a header just inside the near post following good build-up play involving both Loveridge and Davies to set up the chance.
After the restart, the Reds again seized the initiative, with Samuel meeting a Brown free kick on the edge of the box to volley narrowly over the goal.
A Loveridge foray down the left culminated in Parker meeting his driven ball into the middle, but a potential success was blocked by a defender at the expense of a corner.
The first substitution of the contest saw Logan replacing Morgan after 59 minutes, before it took a saving tackle by Reds` captain Lee Bevan on Gullick on the edge of the area to prevent the striker a route on goal.
Gullick was involved again shortly after, when he was put clear on a run into home territory, but he failed to make the most of a promising situation and the ball finally ran harmlessly out of play.
The home side were then dealt a devastating blow with the dismissal of Loveridge in the 71st minute by referee Alex McInch for a two-footed lunge on Louis Gerrard, and he will now face an automatic three match ban.
Despite the numerical disadvantage up to the close, the Reds were not unduly troubled by their opponents, and both sides rung the changes prior to the final whistle, with Parker being replaced by Smith, while the visitors brought on Joshua Maksemovic and Kareen Leigh for Aiden Lewis and Vaughan Fowler respectively.
In stoppage time, the home goal did survive a narrow escape when a header by Gerrard from a free kick into the box drifted just wide, but overall a point apiece was probably a fair reflection of the overall performance by both sides.
The Reds` next fixture sees them travel to Glenhafod Park on Saturday to take on Goytre United, kick off 2.30pm, while on Tuesday, August 27, they welcome Briton Ferry Llansawel to Stebonheath, with a 7.30pm start.
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.
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