Newcastle Emlyn 18
IN INJURY TIME the home side took the lead for the first time in the match with an excellent team try, only for Emlyn, showing tremendous grit and determination, to come back at them and clinch victory with a penalty try with the very last move of the game.
The win demonstrates just how much the red and whites have improved since the start of the season and is a credit to all the hard work done by players and coaches throughout the season.
Played in absolutely monsoon like conditions both sides attempted from the outset to defy the conditions and play running rugby. Credit must be given to the ground staff at the Welfare Ground who produced a surface which was firm underfoot.
Emlyn played into the elements in the first half, but instead of kicking for position the home side decided to run everything at the visitors.
The first score of the game came after twenty minutes when, after ten consecutive rucks and pick up and drives, Newbridge were forced to dive in and kill the ball as play had almost reached their line, and Emlyn full back Shaun Leonard kicked the penalty.
The Emlyn pack started to dominate the game and second rows Ryan Morgans and Dyfed Morgan worked well with hooker Dai Jones and began to win a good line out ball with their two handed catching. From one line out, on his own ten metre line, Mike Jones broke through the Newbridge back row and found Ryan Morgans in support. The athletic second row surged forward and took the ball up to the home twenty two metre line, unfortunately his supporting runners were unable to hold on to what might have been a scoring pass.
From the resulting scrum Newbridge looked to clear their lines with a big kick down field through their outside half Kieron Meek. Unfortunately for him his opposite number Barry Thomas was up on him in a flash and not only charged the kick down but won the race to dive on the ball and score in the corner. Needless to say the conversion into the driving wind and rain was an impossible kick.
It was all Emlyn now as the pack took almost complete control of the game. The Emlyn front row of Jack Parry, Dai Jones and Gethin Davies started driving Newbridge backwards at scrum time, and open side flanker Owain Powell was his usual busy self in the loose.
Outside half Thomas, when the ball did reach him, showed commendable control and used inside centre Steffan Evans as an effective ball carrier.
Emlyn looked to move the ball wide on the half way line but instead of short passes someone decided to throw a long miss pass out to winger Dan Davies. Newbridge scrum half Lloyd Peart was the only home defender and he went for the interception, knocked the ball on and then fly hacked it forward and comfortably dived on the ball over the Emlyn line.
Unfortunately for the red and whites there was one person on the field who did not see the knock on, and referee Newman awarded a try, which Meek converted.
This did not deter Emlyn and they continued to put the pressure on and after another series of drives a Newbridge player was yellow carded for foul play and full back Leonard kicked the penalty to extend Emlyn’s lead.
The end of the half saw conditions worsen considerably as the rain intensified, creating puddles of water all over the field and raising the question as to whether the match would be completed.
In the second half, Newbridge began to pose questions for the Emlyn defence which fortunately was more than up to the challenge.
Meek narrowed the lead to just a point with a penalty after fifteen minutes but the Emlyn pack continued to dominate the set piece.
As the game went into injury time it looked as if the one point lead would have to suffice for the red and whites.
From a line out on the home side’s ten metre line Emlyn competed on the Newbridge throw and unfortunately tapped the ball back.
In attempting to pick up and pass, the ball slipped out of Powell’s hands straight to a Newbridge forward. Some excellent handling saw the ball moved across the field and after concerted pressure Mike Kavenagh eventually crossed for a try, converted by Meek.
Emlyn were awarded a five metre scrum and went for the push over try. Newbridge wheeled the scrum and were penalised, Emlyn went for another scrum and push over try. This time Newbridge wheeled the scrum in the other direction and tried to pull the scrum towards touch.
Fortunately referee Newman was having none of it and had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try which Leonard converted to give Emlyn yet another hard fought away win.
Raiders seal first ever win
West Wales Raiders 44
Coventry Bears 16
Lucas Marshall, Stebonheath Park,
A LATE rally by Coventry Bears was not enough to deny a jubilant West Wales Raiders their first-ever win at the 45th time of asking.
The old South Wales Ironmen tasted victory against Gloucestershire All Golds in the first match played at Stebonheath Park back in July 2017, but never before have the side won under the Raiders banner. And it was certainly worth the wait as the Raiders dominated much of the game against a Bears side that doesn’t have the best record when travelling to South Wales. The other game the Ironmen won in 2017 was against Coventry, whilst the Bears only won by 10 points at Llanelli last season.
Dewi Billingham made his Coventry debut while trialist Zak Williams made his first appearance since returning to the Bears. But both former Raiders stars were unable to come back to haunt their former employers.
Much of the damage was done in the first half with the Raiders taking control from the kick-off and eventually going in 20-0 up at the break.
It took only six minutes for Raiders to break the Bears defence when good work down the left put Dalton Desmond-Walker in for the opener. Phil Cowburn added the extras but was off target just moments later after Ash Bateman was on the end of some quick passing to go in on the right.
When Morgan Evans went in for the Raiders third, again converted by Cowburn, their loyal band of supporters started to believe they were on course for victory.
It could have been even worse for the Bears, but strong defence saw them hold the visitors up over the line on three occasions mid-way through the half. Although there was no denying Archie Snook with one of the final plays of the half after Welsh International Steve Parry had split the Bears defence to put the centre through. Cowburn once again failed with the conversion but the Raiders still celebrated their most positive 40 minutes in almost two years.
After the break, it was the Bears who struck first through Reece Rance, but any hopes of a comeback were soon extinguished by three quick-fire tries.
First, former Bears player Mitch Shaw scooted over, before Bateman and Snook both got their second try of the afternoon to all but secure the victory for the Llanelli-based outfit.
Parry then went in for the Raiders’ eighth try of the day to put the icing on a long-awaited cake.
But the Bears were by no means done and added two further tries of their own to make the scoreline look a little less dominate than the game suggested.
Tries from Errol Carter and South Wales youth system graduate Cobi Green, along with two Joe Sanderson conversions rounded off the scoring for the visitors.
Dafen see off Porthcawl
DAFEN Seconds earned their sixth win of the season on Saturday (Jul 6) as they beat Porthcawl by 75 runs.
Porthcawl won the toss and elected to field and they were able to bowl Dafen out for 182.
Opener Oliver Evans made a score of 19 and Chris Randell scored 25 as a number of Dafen batsmen made good starts.
Jonathan Griffiths scored 22 and there were also scores of 15 from Tom Lavender and 16 from Luke Dunning.
Matthew Thomas made a late score of 18 while Andrew Randell top scored with 43 runs.
Nicholas Morgan was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets for the loss of 30 runs from his 6.3 overs.
Mark Bevan also bowled well to finish with figures of 3-37.
That set Porthcawl 138 to win but they lost a number of batsmen for single figure scores as they struggled to put runs on the board.
Andrew Randell had Nicholas Morgan caught by Jac Morgan and Matthew Thomas had Rhodri Phillips caught by Chris Randell.
Chris Richards made a score of 13 before he was bowled by Rhys Marchant who then also bowled Rob Warren and had David Lewis caught by Chris Randell, both for ducks.
Tim Richards also fell for a duck when he was caught off the bowling of Matthew Thomas.
Mark Lewis had scored 25 but he also fell to the bowling of Marchant.
Steffan Flood also scored 25 before he was bowled by Chris Randell and Joshua Aubrey added 20 late on before he also fell to the bowling of Randell.
That meant that Porthcawl were all out for 107, giving Dafen seconds an excellent win.
On Saturday (Jul 13), Dafen seconds are away to local rivals Llanelli seconds.
Rees century sees Llanelli to win
LLANELLI’s Iwan Rees scored a century on Saturday (Jul 6) to help his side to victory over Briton Ferry Steel.
Briton Ferry won the toss and elected to bat but they were restricted to 186-8 in their innings.
Steven Devonald struck early on to remove Evan Hynes but Lloyd Clement and Jamie Griffiths shared 44 runs for the second wicket.
Jac Rees had Griffiths caught by Craig Howells on a score of 24 and soon after Craig Evans was bowled by Aled Gilley for a duck.
Clement had made a score of 41 but when he was bowled by Rees, the Steel found themselves on 81-4.
That soon became 88-5 as Steve Maddock was caught by Marcus Leaf off the bowling of Gilley.
Iwan Rees then had Steffan Evans caught by Howells and Rhys Norgrove fell in similar fashion.
Jason Hughes and Thomas Williams shared 56 runs for the eighth wicket as they looked to give their side a total to defend.
On the last ball Williams was caught by Rees off the bowling of Gilley on a score of 24 which left Hughes not out on 67.
Llanelli openers Iwan Rees and Ioan Phillips shared 42 runs for the first wicket before Phillips was caught by Rhys Norgrove off the bowling of Jay Webb.
That was as good as it got for the Steel though as they were unable to claim any further wickets.
Craig Howells hit seven fours as he finished unbeaten on 53 while Rees starred with 14 fours to finish unbeaten on 104.
The win gives Llanelli 19 points and keeps them third in the table. On Saturday (Jul 13), they travel to local rivals Dafen.
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