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Final heartache for brave Emlyn

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Newcastle Emlyn 17

The team : A t the final whistle

The team : A t the final whistle

                                                                                  Ystrad Rhondda 25

THE NEWCASTLE EMLYN team did themselves and the hundreds of fans who travelled up the M4 proud on Sunday (May 3) in their first ever appearance in the Millennium Stadium. With the lead changing hands seven times the result was in doubt up until the final few minutes of this cracking encounter. The greatest pity was that the second half was played in a torrential downpour with the WRU only deciding to close the roof at the end of the game.

Ystrad Rhondda in the end proved to be the more powerful side and deserved their victory, scoring three tries to Emlyn’s one. With the rain pouring down both sides deserved a great deal of credit for their intent to play in conditions which did not suit running rugby. It was possibly the red and whites that suffered most as they attempted to move the ball wide throughout the second half in their attempts to break down the well organised Ystrad defence.

All the early pressure came from Ystrad who started positively and declined two kickable penalties, as they went for a try from two line outs and two scrums on the Emlyn line. They undoubtedly thought they could target the Emlyn scrum but the fit again props Dai Jones and Gethin Davies, aided by hooker Alex Williams, proved to be very solid in the set piece. It was from a line out that Emlyn were in fact extremely fortunate not to concede a try with the video referee ruling that Emlyn number eight Brynmor Jones had been able to halt an Ystrad forward millimetres from the line.

After twelve minutes Emlyn were finally able to relieve the pressure when centre Viv Jenkins was able to intercept a pass and set up a ruck, allowing full back Shaun Leonard to clear the ball to the half way line. In fact, against the run of play, it was Leonard who opened the scoring with a long range penalty after Ystrad were penalised for a high tackle.

With both sides in second place in their respective leagues this game was always going to be a tight affair decided by the side who made the fewest mistakes or moments of individual brilliance. The moment of brilliance came from the Ystrad full back David Gratton. From the restart the Emlyn clearance kick was not particularly well directed allowing outside half Rhys Truelove to gather the ball on the half way line in the middle of the pitch. Gratton took the pass and ran at the advancing Emlyn defenders, he chipped over their heads, caught the ball and rounded the only remaining Emlyn defender to score an unconverted try in the corner.

To their credit Emlyn did not allow this defensive lapse to upset them and proceeded, courtesy of the boots of outside half Rhidian Harries and Shaun Leonard, to spend a great deal of the half in Ystrad territory. From a line out just outside the Ystrad twenty two, an accurate throw by Williams saw second row Arwel Davies deliver perfect ball from the top of his jump to scrum half Mike Jones. He fed Rhidian Harries who spotted a gap in the Ystrad defence and went straight through it. Unfortunately for him the supporting centre Alun Howells could not quite get clear of a defender as he desperately attempted to get close to Harries. The outside half’s run was brought to a halt some seven metres out and when Emlyn were penalised at the resulting ruck Harries was left stricken on the ground. After lengthy treatment Harries was eventually carried from the field on a stretcher and Steffan Evans came on as a replacement for him.

Territorially Emlyn dominated this half but found it virtually impossible to break down the Ystrad defence. They did have a golden opportunity when centre Alun Howells made a nice outside break and fed full back Leonard on the narrow side. Unfortunately Leonard decided to attempt to chip kick the ball over the head of the remaining defender instead of feeding unmarked winger Dan Davies. The kick was charged down and Ystrad were able to clear the danger.

With half time approaching Emlyn finally managed to score a try. From a ruck on the right hand side of the field the ball was passed to Leonard standing in the outside half position. The full back perfectly judged his cross kick for winger Dan Davies to catch and manage to squeeze over in the corner for an unconverted try.

Emlyn attacked from the start of the second half and were unfortunate when, after some excellent driving play by the forwards led by Arwel Davies, the slippery ball shot out of a ruck on the Ystrad side allowing them to clear the ball downfield. Leonard extended Emlyn’s lead to six points with a well struck penalty soon after the restart but the heavy rain was beginning to have an effect on the game as the ball, for handling purposes, became like a bar of soap.

The next score belonged to Ystrad when their outside half Truelove chipped over the Emlyn defenders in a pre-planned move from a ruck for right winger Mathew Hurley to gather the ball. The winger was brought down short of the line and through the excellent work of open-side Owain Powell, who was comfortably Emlyn’s best player, Emlyn managed to turn the ball over. Unfortunately a poor clearance kick gave the men from the Rhondda the opportunity to attack Emlyn on the narrow side and left winger Chris Clayton crossed for a try excellently converted from wide out by outside half Rhys Truelove.

Their one point lead was short lived as from the kick off they were penalised and Shaun Leonard regained the lead for Emlyn with a penalty goal. Coach Marc Lloyd now brought on replacement Luke Kendall and the big number eight with Premiership experience started to take the game to Ystrad with some powerful surging runs. Leonard extended Emlyn’s lead when after runs by Kendall and Alun Howells, Ystrad, defending desperately, were penalised for off side and he kicked another penalty to extend Emlyn’s lead to five points.

Emlyn’s cause was not then helped when scrum half Mike Jones had to leave the field with an injury, necessitating Powell having to move to scrum half with Gareth Patterson coming on as a flanker. Ystrad began to empty their bench and the strength on their bench became apparent as their forwards began to take greater control of the game. In second row Nathan Hughes, they had a fine line out forward who dominated the front of the line out supplying them with a constant stream of possession, allowing them to set up numerous driving line outs from deep inside their own twenty two metre area.

The weather then played its part in the next Ystrad try when from a line out inside their own twenty two, the Emlyn pack supplied excellent ball back for it to be cleared. Unfortunately the slippery ball was dropped five metres from their own line. From the resulting scrum Ystrad number eight Liam Davies bulldozed over for a try converted by Truelove to give them a two point lead.

Emlyn continued trying to move the ball wide and use their speedy backs although handling had become something of a lottery. An Emlyn move broke down just inside the Ystrad half and they fly-hacked the ball downfield. Leonard covering across just managed to get to the ball ahead of the chasing backs as the ball crossed the touchline. Unable to stop he kicked the ball into the crowd only to find that bizarrely the referee penalised him for kicking the ball away stopping Ystrad from taking a quick throw in ! This was despite the fact that it would have been an Emlyn throw. Truelove stepped up and increased Ystrad’s lead to five points.

Strong runs by Kendall brought Emlyn back into the Ystrad twenty two and the number eight was brought down short of the line on two occasions. Using the forwards effectively Emlyn set up a number of rucks and then moved the ball wide only for Dan Davies to be tackled into touch inches from the Ystrad line.

Another attack saw the slippery ball spilled by an Emlyn player, picked up by winger Hurley who looked certain to score but for a fine covering tackle by Shaun Leonard. With time running out Emlyn’s efforts became even more desperate but the Ystrad pack were now fully in control of the game. When Emlyn were penalised at a ruck in front of their posts Truelove stepped up to convert the kick and give them their winning eight point margin.

Emlyn Will now be concentrating on their remaining league fixtures as they look to clinch the Division One West crown.

TEAM:

15 Shaun Leonard 14 Owen Francis 13 Alun Howells 12 Viv Jenkins 11 Dan Davies 10 Rhidian Harries 9 Mike Jones: 1 Dai Jones 2 Alex Williams 3 Gethin Davies 4 Dyfed Morgan 5 Arwel Davies 6 Joel James 7 Owain Powell 8 Brynmor Jones

Replacements:

16 Jack Parry 17 Bedwyr Davies 18 Gareth Lloyd 19 Tefion Davies 20 Gareth Patterson 21 Luke Kendall 22 Steffan Evans

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Sport

Whitland and Hook go through in Alec Colley

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WHITLAND and Hook also booked their quarter final places on Tuesday night (Jun 15) as they beat St Ishmaels and Llangwm respectively.

Tish scored 141-6 from their 20 overs after being asked to bat first with Phillip Cockburn top scoring on 44 (eight fours).

Jonathan Pawlett thumped four fours and two sixes in his score of 39 from 25 balls.

Josh Beer’s late score of 14 not out pushed their total up to set Whitland a target of 142.

Rob Owen finished with figures of 2-32 for Whitland while Hywel Bevan claimed 2-30.

There were also wickets for Gethin Benjamin (1-28) and Jacob Owen (1-25).

In reply, Whitland openers Hywel Bevan and Nathan Evans shared 82 runs for the first wicket to put their side in a strong position.

Evans hit four fours in a score of 38 from 29 balls but he then fell to the bowling of Josh Beer.

Bevan and Wayne Jones then shared another 40 runs to all but secure the win for Whitland.

Lenny Rees had Jones caught by Steven Hartley on a score of 14 but Bevan and Jacob Owen then saw their side over the line.

Owen hit three fours in his score of 16 from 10 balls while Bevan finished unbeaten on 58 (five fours) as Whitland won by eight wickets.

In Tuesday’s other game Hook won the toss and elected to bat, going on to make 150-6 from their 20 overs.

Opener George James hit seven fours in a score of 40 but he couldn’t reach his half century as he fell to the bowling of Callum Jenkins.

Dafydd Bowen hit six fours and a six in a score of 38 from 30 while Oscar Willington also batted well to make a score of 29.

Toby Asson finished with figures of 3-33 while Jenkins claimed 2-37. The other wicket to fall went to Michael Williams.

Llangwm were unable to match Hook’s score though despite knocks of 38 from James Venables and 26 from Shaun Waller.

Rhys Phelps’ excellent bowling display saw him pick up five wickets for figures of 5-31.

Oscar Willington also finished with figures of 2-22 as Hook bowled Llangwm out for 130 to win by 20 runs.

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Pritchard blows Town away as Neyland book Alec Colley quarter final spot

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NEYLAND booked their place in the quarter finals of the Alec Colley Cup on Tuesday as they beat Haverfordwest by seven wickets.

On an excellent night, Neyland won the toss but elected to field first.

They were able to remove opener Chris Phillips as he was run out by Jack Griffiths but Town made their way to a score of 70-1 and looked set to make a good total.

Their innings began to unravel though as Tom Pritchard had James Marchant caught by Gregg Miller on a score of 24 from 16 balls (five fours).

Pritchard then removed Dan Field who had hit four fours and a six in a score of 37 to leave Town on 74-3.

The wickets continued to fall as Pritchard had Nigel Morgan caught by Griffiths and Danny Dewstone caught by Luke Ryan.

Paul Miller then took an excellent catch to remove Phillip Rees to give Pritchard his fifth wicket.

That left Town on 86-6 but Ashley James provided some late resistance as he made his way to a score of 28 with four fours and a six.

He then saw Matthew Vaughan bowled by Pritchard and moments later George Evans bowled James on 28.

Pritchard then claimed his seventh wicket as he bowled Jack Peters and he finished with excellent figures of 7-30.

Ryan brought the Town innings to a close as he ran out Dean Flood and it meant Neyland would need just 122 to win.

Neyland lost opener Gregg Miller early on in their reply as he was bowled by Nigel Morgan.

Ashley James also had Jack Griffiths caught by Jack Peters as Neyland slipped to 29-2.

However, a third wicket stand of 66 between Patrick Hannon and Will Hughes all but won them the game.

Hannon hit five fours in a score of 42 from 41 deliveries before he was out to the bowling of Danny Dewstone.

Hughes went on to hit five fours in a score of 40 not out while Stephen Murray’s late 10-ball cameo saw him hit a four and two sixes to finish unbeaten on 20.

It was Murray’s second six that won the game for Neyland who will now look forward to the quarter final.

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Sport

Division 2: Burton move up to third after beating Hook

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BURTON moved up to third place in the Division 2 table as they beat Hook by six wickets on Saturday (Jun 12).

Hook won the toss and elected to bat first and went on to make 183-8 from their 45 overs.

Owen Phelps top scored for Hook with 44 runs and Craig Nutty added 43 to the total.

Seth Willington also batted well for his score of 32 as they set Burton 184 to win the game.

Morgan Scale was the pick of the bowlers as he claimed four wickets for the loss of 6 runs.

Luke Hayman picked up 3-39 from his spell while George Williams finished with figures of 1-12.

In reply, Callum James finished with figures of 2-36 for Hook but it wasn’t enough to stop Burton on their way to victory.

Scale added to his earlier wickets with a score of 22 and Jake Davies added 34.

It was Jon Venables though who scored a century to all but seal the win for the home side.

He finished on a score of 109 as Burton went on to secure the victory.

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