EDINBURGH overtook the Scarlets in the race for the top six of the Guinness Pro12 and in the process ended their opponents superb home record in a tough, abrasive game at the Parc y Scarlets.
Unbeaten at the Parc y Scarlets since December 2013, the Scarlets missed a golden opportunity to steal a march on their rivals for an automatic place in next seasons Champions Cup. Despite this they still remain only three points behind the current occupiers of the coveted sixth spot, Connaught.
The result puts Edinburgh in a promising position as they chase a top half finish, with two games at Murrayfield to come in the next two rounds.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to get the scoreboard ticking over, as fly-half Steven Shingler, preferred to returning Wales number ten Rhys Priestland, slotted a straightforward penalty in the first minute.
But the visitors arrived at the Parc y Scarlets having won four of their last six Pro12 matches, and it was they who registered the game’s opening try with a fantastic length-of-the-field score.
Full-back Jack Cuthbert shipped the ball on after gathering his own kick, and Burleigh produced a well timed pass to returning Scotland winger Tim Visser who raced clear for his sides first try. Hidalgo-Clyne was on target with the conversion.
With both sides showing attacking intent in what was a pivotal fixture, Shingler responded with three quick-fire penalties to regain the lead for his side.
After a carbon copy of the opening penalty of the game he reduced his sides arrears to a single point and with Edinburgh’s indiscipline threatening to become an issue, they gave away another three-point opportunity from a driving maul. After notching his third successful penalty, Shingler further justified his place in the starting fifteen with a fine run that led to his sides fourth penalty. Spotting a gap he dummied his way through, bringing the Scarlets into the Edinburgh twenty-two. After a few phases the Edinburgh forwards were penalised for infringing at the ruck.
The Scarlets were boosted further when referee John Lacey finally lost his patience with the Scottish side and dismissed Greig Tonks from the field for ten minutes, after the fly-half had interfered at the breakdown. Shingler was impeccable again from the tee and extended his sides lead to leave the visitors requiring two scores.
Despite being reduced to fourteen men, the visitors were beginning to dominate proceedings and perhaps should have grabbed their second try of the game with thirty minutes gone, but Hamish Watson failed to ground the ball. The flanker was then held up for a second time from the subsequent scrum but the visitors were now really testing the Scarlets with constant sustained pressure.
This pressure took its toll as back-rower John Barclay joined Tonks in the bin. Despite the blow of losing their one man advantage, the Scarlets will have been relieved that Edinburgh only managed three points from this spell of pressure as Hidalgo-Clyne slotted a penalty.
It got worse for the Scarlets as vice-captain Scott Williams was joined by George Earle in leaving the field of play early through injury. This was compounded by Wales international Ken Owens faltering time and again at the lineout. Sensing his sides opportunity to take advantage of this, Hidalgo-Clyne was pinning the Scarlets deep in their own half with a sustained period of first-class position kicking.
From one of the ensuing lineouts, Edinburgh pounced. They went through several phases before David Denton found sufficient space to crash over. With Hidalgo-Clyne squeezing his conversion over, the visitors went in at the break leading 15-17.
The second half started at a much slower pace than the first, and as the hosts’ penalty count began to creep up, their home record looked in serious jeopardy.
Wayne Pivac introduced Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies as he looked to gain some momentum for his backline and get his side back in the game. This proved fruitless after a moment that would rival Steven Gerrard for the quickest, most senseless dismissal in sport of 2015. Davies found himself back in the dressing room after striking an opponent with his head as the indiscipline that had plagued the game since kick-off reached an ugly crescendo. Man of the Match Hidalgo-Clyne compounded the situation for the Scarlets by notching the penalty.
Andries Strauss thought he was set to clinch the game as he raced clear when the ball went loose in midfield, but play was called back for a knock-on by Denton in contact.
This mattered not as Scrum-half Hidalgo-Clyne maintained his 100 percent record with the boot to stretch Edinburgh’s lead to eight points after the Scarlets pack folded at a scrum, and a further three-pointer sealed an impressive result for the Scottish club.
In two weeks’ time, Wayne Pivac’s side travel to Zebre for their next Pro12 fixture, hunting a bonus point win to retain hope for a successful end to the season.
Behind the Scenes with West Wales Raiders & Llanelli Town AFC CEO Peter Tiffin
EACH week we will take a look at what’s going on at both clubs with an insight from the CEO.
As most in sport know January is a busy time for clubs with the transfer window back open, last week saw both the Raiders and Reds welcome in new players and will be straight in to action for both sides before the end of the month.
It’s been a very difficult period with the spectator’s restrictions and the pausing in season for the Reds especially with the new managers coming in and beginning their time with the club with a win at Stebonheath Park.
Thankfully the restrictions are easing and next weekend both the Raiders and the Reds will be able to welcome back fans to our home of Stebonheath Park with home fixtures on Friday evening (Llanelli Town v Undy) & Sunday afternoon (West Wales Raiders v Swinton Lions).
This week has also seen a few new partnerships and one in particular was a launch to support a community project for lonely people to attend various events, both the Raiders & the Reds have offered tickets to all home games and our home bar will be working with the project on a fortnightly luncheon club.
To continue with new partnerships the Raiders decided this week that we would swap our sponsors logos with charities for a one off jersey which the players will play in against Swinton next week, I will be looking to work a lot closer with all 7 charities throughout the year and including both clubs in any events.
To finish off this week I wanted to add that Ethan George an up and coming local professional boxer who has plenty of talent will now be working a lot closer with myself, as a few of you may be aware that another professional boxer Angelo Dragone has worked very closely with both clubs and myself and we both will be working with Ethan to help him on his development within boxing.
Leaders Trostre held to draw by Killay
CARMARTHENSHIRE Premier Division leaders Trostre were held to an exciting 3-3 draw by Killay on Saturday (Jan 15).
Ben Lynch had put Killay ahead in the tenth minute but two goals in seven minutes from Ashton Jones turned the game around for the league leaders.
However, just four minutes later Liam Bennett equalised for the visitors.
The first half scoring wasnt done as Trostre regained the lead thanks to Rhys Griffiths.
That gave them a 3-2 lead at half time but they were dealt a blow early in the second half when Christopher Price-Williams was sent off for a second bookable offence.
It looked as if they were going to hold to their lead but five minutes from the end Brandon Davies scored to level the game.
The point for Killay moves them to within four points of second placed Pontlliw who were beaten 2-0 by Gorseinon Athletic on Saturday.
Matthew Hurford scored twice in the first half for Gorseinon to all but seal the win for his side.
Elsewhere in the Premier Division, Loughor Rovers scored two late goals to seal victory against Burry Port.
Josh Element put Burry Port ahead midway through the first half but two minutes later Andrew Burt missed a penalty for Loughor.
The score remained 1-0 to the visitors until eight minutes from time when Michael Grimwade scored.
Burt then made amends for his penalty miss as he scored the winner in the 89th minute.
Seaside earned their third win in a row on Saturday as they beat Pengelli United 7-2 away from home.
Callum Thomas put Seaside ahead on seven minutes but three minutes later Reily Lewis levelled for Pengelli.
Tray Jenkins then put Seaside back in the lead but the home side hit back again as Luke Rees levelled the game at 2-2.
Ben Honeybun then put Seaside back in front and they held on to their 3-2 lead until half time.
Twenty minutes into the second half Ross Jones scored to make it 4-2 before they scored three late goals.
Leon Bonifacio scored twice in three minutes and Jones added his second in injury time to complete the scoring.
On Saturday, January 22, Trostre visit Loughor Rovers and Gorseinon Athletic host Burry Port.
Killay are at home as they take on Bwlch Rangers.
Felinfoel reserves edge seven-goal thriller
FELINFOEL Reserves moved up to sixth place in Carmarthenshire Reserve Division 2 on Saturday (Jan 15) as they beat Dafen Reserves 4-3.
Felinfoel were forced into a change early on but just a minute after coming Morgan Smith had put the home side ahead.
Nicky Morgan then put Felinfoel in a strong position as he double his side’s lead.
However, Dafen hit back with Rhys Winnett scoring ten minutes before half time and then a minute before the interval to level the game at 2-2.
Just four minutes into the second half Morgan grabbed his second goal of the game to put the home side back in the lead.
With just under 20 minutes to go, Dafen levelled once more as Matthew Davies found the back of the net.
It looked as if the game might finish all square but four minutes from time Morgan Harries scored what would prove to be the winner for Felinfoel.
Elsewhere in the Division, Tumble reserves beat Pontarddulais reserves 3-2 to leapfrog Dafen into second place.
Saturday’s only other game in the division saw Johnstown reserves run out 10-3 winners over Kidwelly reserves, with Jack Kluge scoring five times while Jack Starkey also scored a hat trick.
On Saturday, January 22, Dafen reserves host Johnstown reserves while Felinfoel hosts Loughor Rovers thirds.
Llangennech reserves are also in action as they face Pontarddulais Town reserves.
Photo by Darren Harries
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