FORMER WELSH International Andy Powell and his colleagues from big spending Merthyr caused the upset of the round, as they deservedly knocked out Premiership side Llanelli in a bruising encounter at the Parc y Scarlets.
It is the first time in the club’s history that Merthyr have made it into the quarterfinals, and the victory will go down in the folklore of the club, although with promotion from the Championship a certainty, the valley side’s travelling support can be sure of many days like this in the future. The reward for victory in this tie is a trip to Sardis Road to face Premiership giants Pontypridd.
Merthyr started off the more adventurous side putting early pressure on Llanelli with big hits going in from both sets of forwards. Top points scoring full back Matthew Jarvis let Llanelli off the hook when he missed two easy penalty attempts in the first 15 minutes.
The deadlock was broken when ex-Merthyr outside half Josh Lewis slotted a 25-metre penalty after Merthyr were caught offside. However Jarvis made amends for his earlier misses when he kicked a penalty to draw the side’s level at 3-3.
Merthyr won good line out ball from both Craig Locke and young Ben Murphy, which allowed man of the match Rhys Downes to bring his backs into action with only good home defence preventing a score. Back row men Tom Daley, Phil Rees and captain Andy Powell were big ball carriers for Merthyr as the pack began to take the game to Llanelli.
However Llanelli extended their lead to 6-3, when Lewis kicked a 35-metre penalty for a high tackle. Then came the first try of the game when, Merthyr turned down a kick at goal with Gunter kicking deep into the Llanelli 22.
From the lineout won by second row Locke, outside half Gunter brought in blind side wing Alex Howman who took and inside pass to race away under the posts, Jarvis converted and Merthyr had taken the lead for the first time 6-10.
Things got worse for the home side as a Merthyr attacked once again and a chip ahead from Gunter deep in the Llanelli half caused panic and when Llanelli failed to clear their lines an attempted clearance kick was charged down by scum half Rhys Downes who raced away for the try in the corner, Jarvis slotted over the kick and Merthyr had taken a 6-17 interval lead.
The second half began with an all out attack from Llanelli to try and get back into the game, and only good defence keeping them out. Merthyr were guilty of giving away too many soft penalties and it was not long before Lewis closed the gap as he slotted over a penalty kick to bring the score 9-17.
Merthyr began to settle once again with Phil Rees and Tom Daley making good ground with big charges up field. Llanelli made several changes, as they looked for that all important score as they began to run the ball at Merthyr, but credit to Merthyr their defence was rock solid. However a missed tackle in midfield did allow home centre Nathan Edwards to race away to score wide out, Lewis missed with the conversion but Llanelli had closed the gap 14-17.
From the restart Llanelli attacked once again looking for that allimportant score turning down several kicks at goal. A penalty under the posts was turned down with Llanelli opting for a scrum. After several scrum attempts a score looked certain, but a rock solid scrummage from Merthyr kept them out and when the scum collapsed Merthyr were awarded a penalty and released the pressure.
Merthyr raced up field with time running out and big carries once again from replacement Osian Davies, Phil Rees, and Craig Locke kept Llanelli pinned their own 22.
With only minutes remaining Merthyr were awarded a penalty to seal the game but the reliable Jarvis missed, which allowed Llanelli one last attack from behind their line but the attack broke down on the half way line, with referee Gwyn Morris blowing for full time.
This was a huge win for Merthyr against a Premiership side and the whole side should be given credit for this famous win. The Merthyr forwards more than held their own against the big Llanelli pack, but credit also to half backs Downes and Gunter, with Gunter putting in some fine touch kicks, pinning Llanelli back on several occasions.
Llanelli: 15 Dion Jones, 14 Shaun Pearce, 13 Nathan Edwards, 12 Steffan Hughes, 11 Ryan Davies, 10 Josh Lewis, 9 Josh Guy, 8 Trystan Lloyd, 7 Owain Morgan, 6 Nathan Hart, 5 Jack Jones, 4 Adam Powell, 3 Gareth Havard, 2 Torin Myhill, 1 Rhys Thomas
Replacements: 16 Tom Kaijaks, 17 Taylor Davies, 18 Jack Payne, 19 Chris Long, 20 Elliot Rees, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Jonny Lewis, 23 Matthew Pearce
Merthyr: 15 M Jarvis, 14 D Parry, 13 M Trowbridge, 12 D Bishop, 11 A Howman, 10 D Gunter, 9 R Downes, 1 J Howe, 2 R Williams, 3 G Powell, 4 C Locke, 5 B Murphy, 6 P Rees, 7 T Daley, 8 A Powell
Replacements: 16 G Way, 17 L Jones/M Davies, 18 R James, 19 R East, 20 O Davies, 21 M Luckwell, 22 A Hoskins, 23 T Hiscock.
Gascoigne entertains Llanelli
OVER 400 people were at attendance in the Selwyn Samuel Centre in Llanelli on Saturday (Jun 18) to see former England legend Paul Gascoigne talk about his life and footballing career.
Gazza had the crowd in stitches with his stories from his past and was visibly emotional with the crowd’s warm reaction to him being there.
At one point a member of the crowd asked him if he could play one last game for one team who would it be… his answer was Swansea City to the crowds delight.
His next event will be in Tenby on September 17. The event was kindly sponsored by RDH Contractors and Sylan Lakes holiday cottages in five roads.
Ryan Giggs quits as Wales manager with ‘immediate effect’
EX Man-Utd winger has left his position as the manager of the national football team with ‘immediate effect’.
Giggs stepped back from his role in November 2020 following after being arrested.
49-year-old Giggs has been charged with assault and using controlling behaviour towards an ex-partner. A claim that Giggs has denied.
In a heartfelt statement on his decision, Giggs said: “After much consideration, I am standing down from my position as manager of the Wales men’s national team with immediate effect.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to manage my country, but it is only right that the Wales FA, the coaching staff and the players prepare for the tournament with certainty, clarification and without speculation around the position of their head coach.
“I do not want the country’s preparations for the World Cup to be affected, destabilised or jeopardised in any way by the continued interest around this case.
“I am sad that we cannot continue this journey together because I believe that this extraordinary group will make the country proud at our first World Cup since 1958.
“It is my intention to resume my managerial career at a later date.”
Following Giggs arrest in 2020, former Wales captain Robert Page took over as interim manager.
Under Page Wales beat Ukraine to earn themselves a place at Qatar World Cup for the first time in 64 years.
Giggs faces one charge of using controlling and coercive behaviour August 2017 and November 2020, one charge of assault causing actual bodily harm of his ex-girlfriend Kate Greville on November 1, 2020.
He also faces a charge of common assault on the victim’s sister.
Giggs denies all charges against him and will stand trial on August 8.
The trial is expected to last five days.
Following the announcement, a FAW spokesperson said: “The FAW places on record its gratitude to Ryan Giggs for his tenure as manager of the Cymru men’s national team and appreciates the decision he has taken, which is in the best interests of Welsh football,
“The full focus of the FAW and the Cymru men’s national team is on the Fifa World Cup in Qatar later this year.”
Llanelli edged out as Ynystawe pull off mammoth chase
A SCORE of 331-4 would normally be enough for a team to pick up victory, but South Wales Premier Division 2 leaders Ynystawe had other ideas as they pulled off a remarkable chase on Saturday (Jun 4).
Llanelli had been asked to bat first after Ynystawe had won the toss and their total was underpinned by a brilliant unbeaten century from Iwan Rees.
The opener hit sixteen fours and four sixes in his knock of 153 which came off 146 balls.
He had good support from Steven Devonald who scored 29 and Rhydian Morgan who scored 20 (2 fours, 1 six).
Rees and Rhys Harris shared the best stand of the match as they put on 157 runs for the fourth wicket.
Harris hit 12 fours in his score of 87 from 74 balls but he was out to the bowling of Rhys Palmer.
Rhys Westcott also finished unbeaten on 18 from 11 balls as Ynystawe were set 332 to win the game.
In reply, opener Nathan Lee scored 20 before falling to Jac Rees who also then took the wicket of Morgan Hodges on a score of 23.
Carl Roberts played well for his half century, hitting eight fours in his score of 56 before being trapped leg before by Aled Gilley.
Andrew Beasley was run out on a score of 15 and that left Ynystawe on 140-4.
Thomas Morgan and Luke Garthwaite shared 93 runs for the fifth wicket. Both reached their half centuries but Morgan was out to Iwan Rees on a score of 50.
Rees also bowled Ceri Durke and Rhys Palmer was run out by Rhydian Morgan having hit a four and a six in a quickfire score of 15.
That left Ynystawe 275-7 and they only had six overs left to get their target.
Garthwaite was on a score of 75 when Palmer fell and he took control as he smashed his way to a century.
He finished unbeaten on 118 from 67 balls after hitting 20 fours and two sixes. The last of his fours won the game for the home side as they ended up winning with two overs to spare.
On Saturday, June 11, Llanelli host Cowbridge while Ynynstawe travel to Penarth.
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