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.
Gealey holds nerve to send Stars to victory
NEW DOCK STARS earned their first win of the season on Saturday (Jan 15) as they beat Bynea 29-30 in a thrilling encounter.
The Dock held a 20-12 lead at half time and were ahead going into the final stages.
Bynea thought they had won the game when a late score put them 29-27 in front.
However, the Stars hit back with time running out and Adam Gealey scored a penalty to win the game for his side.
That gave him a personal haul of 15 points having already scored with two penalties and three conversions.
Dylan Jones scored two tries for the visitors and Jordan Evans got the other.
Bynea’s George MacDonald scored a hat trick of tries and Finlay Cooke also crossed the whitewash once.
James Branson added three conversions and one penalty.
It was a thrilling encounter as both sides belied their positions at the foot of the table.
On Saturday, January 22, the Stars travel to Llandybie while Bynea host Betws.
Photo by Darren Harries
Furnace seal second win
FURNACE UNITED earned their second win of the League 3 West B season on Saturday (Jan 15) as they beat Llandybie.
Daf Green scored for the Cherries with other tries coming from Joe Qualters-Jones, Myles Harries, Joe Pugh and Jonny Roberts.
Green was successful with three of five conversion attempts and he also added a penalty.
Furnace held a 13-5 lead at half time as Llandybie scored an unconverted try in each half.
Ioan Rees and Josh Watkins scored the tries for the visitors.
On Saturday, January 22, Furnace United travel to Llandeilo while Llandybie host New Dock Stars.
PHOTO by Darren Harries
Saunders stars as Llangennech beat Gowerton
LLANGENNECH remain unbeaten in League 1 West after they won 33-16 away at Gowerton on Saturday (Jan 15).
Liam Hutchings put the visitors ahead with the first try of the game and Tom Neale added the extras.
Gowerton then got themselves on the scoreboard with a penalty but Llangennech were soon back on the attack.
Jordan Saunders was next to go over and Neale again added the extras.
Gowerton reduced the arrears once more with another penalty and the visitors held a 14-6 lead when the half time whistle went.
Gowerton scored another penalty early in the second half to keep themselves in the game.
However, Llangennech kept applying the pressure and they soon had their third try with Saunders going over for his second and Neale adding his third conversion to make it 21-9.
Saunders then completed his hat trick to also earn his side a bonus point.
Gowerton responded with a converted try to bring the score back to 16-26 but it was the visitors who had the last word.
Greg George scored their fifth try of the game and Neale converted to complete the scoring.
Saunders was named man of the match for his try hat trick and the win sees them move on to 25 points, six points above second placed Newcastle Emlyn.
The sides are next in action on Saturday, January 29, when Llangennech host third placed Felinfoel while Gowerton travel to Aberystwyth.
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