DESPITE a disappointing loss to the Cardiff side, the Scarlets remain play-off contenders after earning a losing bonus point through a late John Barclay try.
Scarlets were caught napping in the opening exchange of the game, with two of the Blues’ internationals crossing the try line to put the hosts under pressure. However, patience eventually paid dividends and Jones’ accuracy from the tee kept the Scarlets within touching distance as half time drew nearer.
It was the visitors that headed in at the break with a nine point lead and the Scarlets looking to get back into the game with yet another half to play.
The Scarlets fought back hard in the latter half of the game but the Blues secured enough points to keep the hosts at bay. A disappointing loss for the fourth placed region but their focus will nevertheless turn to Glasgow Warriors who travel to Llanelli in two weeks’ time.
With eight minutes gone, the Welsh international half back, Gareth Anscombe, gives the Blues their first points of the game and an early lead. Moments later, ripping the ball and earning themselves excellent field position from the counter attack, it’s the other Welsh international half back, Lloyd Williams, that gets an important early try. The conversion is good and the Blues find themselves ten points clear in the opening phase of the game.
Scarlets’ very own Wales U20s Grand Slam Championship winning fly half Dan Jones narrows the deficit to just seven points with a well struck penalty kick.
A penalty for tackling a player without the ball allows Jones to kick his second only moments later, and the Scarlets are back within a try!
Despite some aggressive, albeit desperate tackling from the Scarlets on their own try line, winger Tom James uses every inch of his reach to plant the ball over the line after powering through his opposite man. Anscombe’s conversion attempt is short but the Blues earn another five points and widen the gap once more.
Scarlets put the squeeze on the Blues front front row at scrum time and the visitors yield a penalty which Dan Jones converts to add another three points to the scoreboard.
Another foray into Scarlets’ territory yields more points for the visitors, with Anscombe slotting the easiest of penalties from in front of the posts.
Another defensive effort keeps the Blues out in the dying moments of the first half and the Scarlets head in at half time trailing by nine points. The hosts will be looking to come out of the changing rooms in the next period firing on all cylinders to turn the deficit around and salvage a win from this important derby game.
Scarlets get the first points of the second half through the boot of Jones once more, taking the hosts into double figures and within a converted try of the leaders!
It takes another ten minutes before the Blues get their next points, with Gareth Anscombe slotting his third penalty and taking the Blues away from the Scarlets once more.
It’s Aled Thomas, the new replacement, who takes over the kicking duties and his first action of the game is to slot the Scarlets’ fifth penalty of the day.
From the turn over, Tom James breaks the line and finds his fellow Welsh international, Anscombe, who ghosts past the final defenders with a dummy and scores beneath the posts. The Kiwi converts his own try and takes his side thirteen points clear with only seventeen minutes to go.
A scrum against the head gives Barclay the ball and a run at the line; he puts his head down and powers onwards, his fellow forwards boosting him forward! He’s carried over the try line and gets the ball down! Thomas adds the conversion and the hosts are back within a converted try!
Despite the Scarlets throwing everything at the Blues in the final thirty seconds, the Blues manage to hold on to the lead and kick the ball into touch to secure an impressive away victory. Scarlets salvage a bonus point from the loss but remain firmly in the Top 4 and in a play-off spot.
In a fortnight, Scarlets welcome last year’s champions, Glasgow Warriors to the Parc and will be looking to make amends for their defeat.
Foel’s Championship dream halted
FELINFOEL’s hopes of promotion to the WRU Championship were brought to an end on Sunday (May 12) as they were beaten in the play-offs by Ystalyfera.
Ystalyfera had won the first leg 34-28 on their home soil but Felinfoel were still very much in the tie and they had the backing of an 800-strong home crowd in the reverse fixture. Fans packed in to the ground and they witnessed an epic encounter.
Felinfoel held the lead at one time but their opponents hit back to seal a 20-30 win to win overall by 64 points to 48.
Felinfoel played some attractive rugby during the first half with wingers Eray Wilson and Elliot Dawe scoring tries wide out one of which was converted by Aled Roberts. Ystalyfera scored a penalty and a converted try making the half time score 12 points to 10.
The second half opened brightly for Felinfoel with Roberts kicking a penalty and Wilson scoring a further try. With the score at 20 points to 10, matters were looking favourable for the home team.
It was at this stage that the Ystalyfera forwards took complete control of the match denying Felinfoel of any possession for the final 20mins of the match. With a strong scrummage and dynamic driving maul they continued to exert pressure onto the home team.
Ystalyfera were rewarded with a further two converted tries, penalty goal and drop goal and deserved their victory 20 points to 30, and promotion to the championship.
Both teams are to be congratulated in the way in which the game was played. Both sides gave their all and provided an entertaining encounter.
Both sets of supporters gave loud vocal support to each team and were sporting throughout the match.
At the end of the match Felinfoel coach Mike King who is leaving after two years in charge was given a rousing send off by players and supporters alike.
After the game Felinfoel took to twitter saying: “After another successful season, it’s time to say thank you. Thank you to all sponsors for supporting the club throughout the season once again. Without you we would not exist. Thank you to all the supporters who have been with us through thick and thin.
“Lastly, thank you to head coach Mike King who will be leaving us. He has set the foundations of the club and has turned this club around for the better. All at Felinfoel RFC can’t thank you enough. We wish you all the best in the future.”
Morgan marches seconds home
DAFEN Seconds earned the bragging rights over Llanelli Seconds on Saturday (May 11) as they cruised to an eight wicket win.
Dafen won the toss but elected to field and that looked to be a good decision as they bowled their opponents out for just 118 inside 22 overs.
Aadil Mukhtar finished with excellent figures of 5-21 while Oliver Evans supported well taking four wickets for the loss of 40 runs.
Needing just thirty overs of their reply, Dafen Seconds eased to victory as Jac Morgan finished not out on 64 to see his side over the line.
The win for Dafen keeps them joint top of the table with Briton Ferry Town after two games while Llanelli sit bottom of Division 3 and are still searching for their first win.
On Saturday (May 18), Dafen Seconds are at home against Dyffryn while Llanelli Seconds are away to Neath thirds.
Jones duo sink Bronwydd
LLANGENNECH earned their first win of the season on Saturday (May 11) as they beat Bronwydd by 14 runs in a low scoring game.
Llangennech won the toss and elected to bat but they lost Chris Hickey early on when he was caught by Jacob Jenkinson off the bowling of Colin Tucker.
Matthew Jones scored 11 before he was caught and bowled by Tucker before David Williams was caught by Tom Gleeson off the bowling of Matthew Vaughan for a score of 14.
James Taube made the same score but was then caught by Phillip Howell off the bowling of Dafydd Morgan. Morgan also bowled Martin Gregory to leave Llangennech on 83-5.
Opener Scott Lloyd’s score of 30 had come off 127 balls and he was eventually caught by Vaughan off the bowling of Callum Collins-Davies.
Richard Clement was the third Llangennech batsman to make a score of 14 before getting out as he was caught by Jenkinson off the bowling of Gleeson.
Michael Jones was then run out before Gleeson claimed his second wicket as he had Simon Clement caught by Oliver Furneaux.
Vaughan then wrapped up the innings as he had Bav Patel caught by James Cale to leave Llangennech all out on 124. Photo by Darren Harries
Bronwydd’s opening pair of James Cale and Philip Howell shared 15 runs but Howell was out for a score of 8 to the bowling of Michael Jones.
Oliver Furneaux was next to fall when he was trapped leg before by Matthew Jones on a score of 11.
Chris Hickey then gave Owain Phillips his first wicket as he caught Jacob Jenkinson and the bowler then claimed his second as he had Cale caught by David Williams on a score of 17.
That left Bronwydd on 44-4 but Iwan Davies and Dafydd Morgan shared 40 runs for the fifth wicket to keep their side in the game.
Davies hit three fours and a six in his knock of 33 but he was then trapped leg before by Michael Jones. He then also bowled Callum Collins-Davies for a duck to reduce Bronwydd to 84-6.
Matthew Jones then had Dafydd Morgan caught on a score of 8 before then trapping Tom Gleeson leg before.
Hickey then took two more catches of Matthew Vaughan and Colin Tucker to give Matthew Jones his five-wicket haul and Bronwydd were all out for 110.
Gareth John had finished not out on 18 but it wasn’t enough for victory for the visitors.
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