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Wanderers walloping of Crymych marred after fracas

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By Jonathan Twigg

THE WRU National leagues have copped some criticism since its inception in 1995, although this game in the shadow of Stradey Park, previous home of the Scarlets, showed the raw side of Club rugby at its uncompromising best and unfortunately its worst on Saturday (Jan 20).

Llanelli Wanderers emerged 44-12 victors over Crymych as both sides saw it as a crunch relegation encounter, the first at the ground since the renovation work undertaken by the community club.

The game was marred when Crymych prop Jason Nicholls took a punch when exposed in the scrum in the final minute and resulted in a trip to Morriston hospital where he was diagnosed with a fractured eye socket, nose and cheekbone.

Both sides entered the fixture with players associated to their respective clubs; no permits, no dual registration which were not normally selected and both came to play the conditions set before them at the ‘Ranch’. It was Crymych who took on the challenge of playing against the wind and the slope, finding the tenacity of home flanker Steffan Tafetsauffer, No 8 Nicky Harries and scum half Josh Weeds difficult to deal with in the opening exchanges.

The visitors lost influential scrum half Jonathan Rogers at the end of the first quarter, which was pointless despite continual penalties awarded by Cwmtwrch based referee Efryn Morris-Roberts to the home side through the ten and twelve channels. Morris Roberts, originally from Bala and teaching in Ystradgynlais was frim in his opinions as the underfoot conditions played their part. He didn’t endear himself to the visiting support who question those marginal decisions vociferously and as the game wore on perhaps with tinted spectacles.

Outside half Jonathan George eventually landed a penalty after 22 minutes from in front of the posts to open the home sides account, which spurred the visiting ‘mountain men’ into action. Replacement scrum half Gareth Davies was a livewire and chose to take a quick tap penalty thirty metres from the Wanderers try line, feeding second row Rhys Davies who combined with flanker Aled Harries to send outside half Jake Jenkins the ball.

He drew in centres Carwyn and Ifan Phillips to make ground with ball in hand allowing No. 8 Guto Davies to pounce for the games opening try, converted by outside centre Ifan Phillips.

Crymych were on top at this stage, the home side reduced to 14 men after Harries was deemed to have overstepped the tolerance level of Morris Roberts, which allowed the visitors to secure a second try. Scrum half Davies once again took a quick penalty finding the try scorer Davies close at hand. Jenkins and the Phillips’s boys in midfield created space for full back Tomos Phillips who glided over unopposed for an unconverted try.

What epitomises club rugby best is the ability to expect the unexpected and on small decisions much wider consequences occur. As the half ended the Crymych forwards, minus teenage hooker Lee Griffiths who had been injured five minutes before lost possession when they should have put the ball clear of the touchline.

Photo by Darren Harries

The resultant turnover led to a penalty and the games second yellow card when flanker Sion collella trudged off for handling in the ruck.

Front ball to skipper James Bannister led to a drive down towards the new changing quarters, with replacement Ben Phillips touching down for an un converted try, as George effort clipped the upright for the second time in the half and 12-10 scoreline in favour of Crymych.

Replacement back row dynamo Zak France-Miller started the second period well carrying the ball, linking with his scrum half as their side tried to absorb the loss of Collella.

However, France -Miller saw his pass intercepted seven minutes into the half, which allowed centre Rhydian Morgan to scoot into the corner under pressure for an unconverted try. The Maroon shirted home side were on the charge as Bannisters second row colleague Ben Williams trampled 20 metres towards the line which put Morgan in for his second try of the afternoon, again unconverted by George.

The yellow card against Crymych had yielded three tries and fifteen points but perhaps most importantly the games and possibly Division 1 West survival in the Wanderers favour.

Crymych had lost their way, playing unstructured rugby at a tempo not suited to their game meaning they were losing the close quarter exchanges drawing incandescent commentary from diehard followers.

The home pack were buoyant with ball in hand and destructive in defence stopping the visitors in their tracks, ensuring they played the game deep in Crymych territory.

Last years Divisional runners up plundered in for their bonus point try from scrum half Josh Weeds after George had booted a penalty and Morris-Roberts reversed a free kick for back chat. Full back Lloyd Thomas crossed to finish a flowing handling move and George converted whilst also crossing the whitewash to make his travel from Cardiff worthwhile.

Flanker Sianco Morgan and man of the match Morgan crossed, the later completing a try hat trick which suggested the Max Boyce ballad relating to Morgan the Moon.

The Wanderers equivalent would have been atop of Pen Waun Twmpath after the game, 502 feet above sea level, bathed in white light and chewing a stick of Porthcawl rock. Toasted at the Ranch by Bethania and his colleagues with copious amounts of the local ale, Morgan’s team now stand 14 points clear of their opponents having lost just a single game since November 4, although a dark cloud may be hovering because of the Nicholls rumble.

They head across the Loughor bridge to tackle Gorseinon on Saturday (Jan 27); meanwhile Crymych must forget their WRU National Bowl quarter final at home to Ystalafera in March and reflect on their indiscipline as another crunch relegation fixture looms high when last seasons Division 1 West champions Kidwelly make an appearance at Parc Lloyd Thomas.

Sport

Successful weekend for Croft and O’Sullivan

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CARDIGAN ABC’s Garan Croft was team captain as a Wales boxing team made a successful weekend trip to Ireland, picking up a unanimous points victory over Mathew Tyndall, a six-times Irish national champion at New Ross Youth Centre, County Wexford.

The bout began in lively fashion with both boxers trying to hold the centre of the ring, but midway through the opening round the Crymych teenager had taken control.

Croft, who was landing the cleaner and harder shots, gave Tyndall a standing count in the third round en route to a convincing triumph.

Cardigan’s successful weekend continued at Dagenham, Essex, on Sunday where Fishguard schoolboy Mikey O’Sullivan was part of a Wales Select team who took on Repton, the famous East End club.

Pitted against Albie Smith, O’Sullivan came out with all guns blazing matching the Londoner punch for punch in a very even round.

But in the second the Welsh boy’s superior boxing skills saw him get on top with an excellent display of slipping and counter-punching.

The third round was pretty even with both boxers throwing everything they had, yet O’Sullivan was awarded a split decision victory following his mastery during the second round in what was a great result in Repton’s own back yard.

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Sport

Pembroke hammer Tumble

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PEMBROKE put in one of their best displays of the season on Saturday (Oct 13) as they beat Tumble 56-8.

Tumble travelled from Carmarthenshire with Storm Callum in full force and there was no let up as they faced a storm of another kind as Pembroke ran riot.

Dan Colley got the home side going early on with the first try of the game before Mitchell Jones replied with a penalty for Tumble.

Dom Colman then went over for Pembroke’s second try but the conversion was missed and the home side held a 12-3 lead.

Tumble came forward again and from a lineout they worked the ball left but were then penalised for holding on. Possession switched hands on a couple of occasions before Pembroke almost scored their third try.

From a Tumble scrum, Pembroke overpowered them, pushing them back and Toby Smith picked the ball up and headed for the line. He passed to Fraser James but he dropped the ball as he was going over and the ball was knocked on.

However, they weren’t to be denied their third try as Sam Smith burst through near the posts to touch down giving Toby Smith an ease conversion.

Pembroke then earned their fourth try and a bonus point after good work from Luke Hartland set the ground running for Colley’s second try of the game. Smith then added the extras in front of the posts for a 26-3 lead.

Tumble looked to respond towards the end of the first half when Pembroke were penalised for a tackle off the ball but they were unable to take advantage as the home side kept them out.

At the start of the second half Pembroke came forward and an advantage was played for a high tackle. When it seemed there was no way through the ball was dropped back for Smith who sent a drop goal through the posts.

Colman then went over for his second try before Tom Lewis went over for another two tries.

Fraser James then did get his try and Smith again added the extra two points.

Steffan Price pulled a late try back for Tumble but it did little to affect the final score as Pembroke held on for an emphatic win with Smith claiming a deserved try at the end.

Pembroke now sit fourth in the table and on Saturday (Oct 20) they travel to sixth placed Tycroes.

Tumble have just one win to their name so far this season and on Saturday they are at home to Pontarddulais.

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Sport

Robins breeze past Lawrenny

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PENNAR Robins proved too strong for Lawrenny on Saturday (Oct 13) as they scored ten times to book their place in the third round of the Senior Cup.

Despite the weather conditions the Bush Camp pitch was in excellent condition and the home side dominated for large parts of the game.

Jason Donohoe had an early chance for the Robins but he sent his free kick over the bar.

Josh Clark went on a good run and burst through the challenge of a Lawrenny attacker and although the ball found the back of the net, the ball was deemed to have gone out of play before Clark put his cross in.

With nine minutes gone Donohoe found Sam Southcott but his effort was saved.

Lawrenny won a free kick and Ryan Morton sent the ball into the box which Patrick Elliot headed towards goal but Stuart James was able to make the save.

Connor Roberts then came close to scoring in spectacular fashion but his curling effort was tipped over by Lawrenny keeper Danny Harries.

Nick Willis then saw a shot saved at the front post and he then also saw an acrobatic effort saved as the Robins continued to look for the opening goal.

Harries had to be alert as Donohoe’s cross looked to be going in with the wind but on 22 minutes the Robins finally made the breakthrough.

Southcott played the ball through for Ben Adams on the left and he shot into the bottom right corner of the net.

Three minutes later it was 2-0 as Mikey Powell crossed into the box and Southcott was in the right place at the back post to tap the ball home.

Roberts and Willis combined with a neat one-two but the former sent his effort wide of the post.

The Robins added a third on the half hour mark and they continued to show their dominance with a further seven goals.

Adams and Southcott both completed their hat tricks while Tom Grimwood, Connor Roberts, Scott Trayhern and Luke Phillips all got on the scoresheet.

It was an excellent win for Pennar who must wait and see who they will play in the third round after other games were called off.

On Saturday (Oct 20), Lawrenny are again in cup action as they take on Hundleton in the first round of the Second Division Cup.

Pennar will return to league action as they take on local rivals Lamphey.

Pennar: Stuart James, Josh Clark, Luke Phillips, Ross Lascelles, Mikey Powell, Tom Grimwood, Connor Roberts, Ben Adams, Sam Southcott, Jason Donohoe, Nick Willis. Subs: Jack Phillips, Rhys Lucas, Scott Trayhern.

Lawrenny: Danny Harries, Edward Merriman, James Durbridge, Adam Jenkins, Ryan Morton, Tom Lewis, Patrick Elliot, Matt Lewis, Harry Thomas, Owen James, Tom Cole. Subs: Kieron Johnson, Phil Cole, Sam Davies.

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