Newcastle Emlyn 19
PRE-MATCH expectations at Emlyn before their visit to the ‘Ironmen’ of Merthyr were at best a bonus point for scoring four tries. The home side showed a number of changes to the side that visited Dol Wiber and won 19 – 7 in December.
The challenge facing the red and whites was even greater when it became apparent that a win would secure Merthyr promotion to the Premiership for next season. With their Patron, Sir Stan Thomas watching from the stands they were always going to put on a show to impress their generous benefactor.
To their credit Emlyn, from the start, took the attack to the home side and always looked to keep the ball alive in their search for four tries. In a hugely physical game it was the size and power of the home side that was the difference between the two sides.
Any mistake, forced or unforced, by Emlyn was heavily punished by Merthyr who looked to counter attack from any position on the field. This was not a game of one side kicking for position and going for tries via driving mauls and push over scrums, both sides looked to play the ball out of the tackle and move it across the playing field.
It was the visitors who started the more promisingly in a first half which gave no hint of the carnage that was to come in the second half. The home side were penalised on the Emlyn ten metre line and quick thinking Emlyn scrum half Dafydd Evans took a quick tap penalty, moved the ball along the line to wing Llyr Davies.
The winger beat his man on the inside and, when the cover defence were closing in, put in a clever grubber kick which went into touch five metres from the home line. It took Emlyn two line outs, both caught by second row Ryan Morgans, before they were able to drive over the line for an unconverted try accredited to number eight Brynmor Jones.
The home side came back at Emlyn from the restart and soon responded with a try, from line out possession, by second row Craig Locke converted by full back Mathew Jarvis.
The hosts next try came when an Emlyn movement broke down in Merthyr’s twenty two, the ball was moved out to winger Alex Howman who passed inside to the ever present flanker Osian Davies who crossed under the Emlyn posts for a try converted by Jarvis
On the half hour they extended their lead as hooker Rhys Williams sprinted through a gap to score a try converted by Jarvis.
Alex Howman then scored for Merthyr before Emlyn hit back when Shaun Leonard gathered a chip and chase to cross the whitewash.
The second half was a completely different matter as the home side really turned on the gas, running in a total of eight tries against an Emlyn defence which at times was torn to pieces by this powerful Merthyr outfit.
On this showing they will comfortably hold their own in the Premiership and will probably be challenging for a top four spot by the end of next season. Second half tries were scored by Alex Howman twice, Tom Daley, Mathew Jarvis, Dean Gunter, Martin Luckwell, Miles Normandale, and Osian Davies, five of which were converted by Jarvis.
Emlyn have a crucial game on Saturday away to fellow relegation candidates Glynneath, knowing a win could go a long way to help secure their status in the Championship for next season.
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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