Rugby Reports 1st April 2017
Cardigan break blindside
Scrum time for St Clears
Pictures by Ceri Coleman Phillips
Saints so close to silverware
St Clears 7 - Cardigan 0
St Clears took a major step towards winning the section silverware in this tense, tough tussle over table-topping rivals Cardigan, where a second-half try by flanker Jake Iles, converted by full back Geraint Jones, proved to be the only score of a bruising, uncompromising battle where neither side gave an inch.
The Teifisiders had won 15-10 at the King George Vth Ground and forecast that this return might be just as close were justified since neither defence was broached in a tight first half.
Both sides had half chances but it was Iles’ score which proved the ultimate difference.
So the mathematical formula for success is simple because The Carmarthenshire Saints have now finished their campaign and lead Cardigan by 14 points, who have three fixtures left.
So The Teifisiders can still snatch the trophy but must win at Milford Haven and beat Pembroke Dock Quins and Pembroke at home – and do so with a bonus point for scoring at least four tries in every one of them!
Cardigan win clean lineout possession
Otters confirm deserved second spot
Tata Steel 14 - Narberth 25
Narberth completed a deserved double over Tata Steel and in doing so ensured their right to finish second behind Pontypool in the section table as their undoubted reward with two matches still remaining.
It is a tribute to the work ethic of the coaching staff led by Sean Gale, alongside skipper Alex Jenkins and the rest of the players that The Otters have done so well in what was thought likely to be a transition season.
They had smashed Tata 46-5 at home as the pair were competing for the runners-up spot and although the result here was always going to be a little tighter it was rarely in doubt after an even first 30 minutes saw Narberth claim a try by flanker Sean Jenkins which was converted by outside half Jonathan Rogers, who also landed two penalties.
The Steelmen did respond with a try on half time by No 8 Matthew Llewelyn, converted by Lawrence Howley – but in the second period The Otters increased their lead with a try by scrum half Rhys Lane which Rogers goaled.
An unconverted try from Liam Hutchings made the game safe for the visitors and although Tata rounded off the scoring with a late try by James Owen as the winger intercepted a pass from Ianto Griffiths, and Bleddyn Davies added the simple extra points, but it was a case of too little, too late as Narberth were good value for their 16th win in 20 starts.
Rhys Lane - try for Narberth scrum half
Borderers boosted by another win
Whitland 22 - Gowerton 16
Whitland’s hopes of remaining in Division One (West) received a significant boost with victory over a Gowerton side which remain pinned in the bottom two of the table as they rarely looked like coping throughout with the Borderers’ pack power.
The Borderers had lost at Gowerton by 48-18 in November but led 10-3 at half time and always held that vital edge via a penalty try and other scores from full back Lloyd Williams and outside half Nico Setaro, whose excellent late-season form him also land two conversions and a penalty.
Gowerton responded with a first-half penalty from Josh Hamer, who slotted two more three-pointers after the interval as well as converting a try scored by prop Rhys Thomas.
But it was Whitland who prevailed and if they can maintain this sort of commitment they look good value to avoid the ‘dreaded drop’.
Lloyd Williams - try for Whitland full back
Preseli Men suffer in Mid Wales
Aberystwyth 31 - Crymych 7
Crymych suffered a nasty bout of travel sickness as they made the long trek up the Cardigan Bay Coast to play against Aberystwyth and returned with little to show for their efforts as they found themselves 17-0 adrift by the interval.
Although the Preseli Men managed a solitary try from winger Lawrence Headlam after the oranges they were unable to prevent Aber from claiming a deserved double after the Mid Wales’ side had already won by 31-24 at Parc Lloyd Thomas earlier in the campaign.
Aber also claimed a bonus point for scoring tries by full back Matthew Hughes, No 8 Lee Evans, hooker Owain Bonsall and winger Jordan Thomas, all converted by outside half Steff Rees to go with an early penalty as they stay firmly in fourth place and the visitors still linger in mid table.
Division Two (West):
Birthday boy Danny seals dramatic Blues’ win
Haverfordwest 29 - Tumble 27
Haverfordwest full back Danny Morgan celebrated his birthday with the late penalty that sealed success for The Blues in their nerve-jangling home match before inevitable relegation after just one campaign in this section.
In a tense finale it looked as if Haverfordwest might surrender a hard-earned 26-10 lead with a quarter of the match to go as they trailed 26-27 and seemed out on their feet.
But they somehow rallied and when their pack earned a penalty just outside the Tumble 22 it was Morgan who stepped up, kept his nerve and slotted the ball unerringly between the posts.
Steve Lewis gave Tumble the lead with a penalty but Haverfordwest responded with centre Matthew Phillips and hooker Kyle Hamer, the first converted by Morgan.
Tumble replied with a try by No 8 Nathan Willard which Hewitt converted to reduce The Blues’ interval lead to 12-10 – but the homesters started the second half well through tries by full back Matthew Davies and second row Jack Clancy, both converted by Morgan.
It seemed all over bar the shouting but Haverfordwest wilted as Tumble added tries from Kevin Spain, Gareth Armstrong and Rhys Lewis, the last converted by Hewitt to nudge his side a point ahead, to the despair of home supporters.
But then The Blues steeled themselves for one last effort and it was Morgan who became the ‘Birthday Boy Hero’ with that vital late kick as the final whistle saw them celebrate only their second win from 17 matches.
Danny Morgan looking to steal posession for The Blues
Seagulls shot down in second half
Hendy 31 - Fishguard 0
At half time in their match at Hendy, Fishguard and Goodwick were very much in contention as neither side had been able to score and The Seagulls had positive performances from a pack that had Luke Freebury, Andrew Morrillo, skipper Gavin Walsh and Chris Shusha to the fore.
But then third-placed Hendy broke the deadlock after 47 minutes with a try by outside half Scott Tudor which he also converted and others followed in quick succession from centre Josef Mazaruk, scrum half Ifan Beynon-Thomas, replacement winger Gareth Thomas and Jordan Hilton, three of them converted by Josh Batcup.
It gave Hendy ample revenge for a 12-11 defeat at The Moors as Seagulls’ coach Huw Evans played at outside half, other than for ten minutes in the ‘sin bin’, and there was a memorable moment for the Colella family as dad Romeo joined son Sean for the last ten minutes!
Father and son Romeo and Sean Colella
Picture by Min Walsh
Waterlogged pitch in Ponty!
Pontyberem P Tenby P
*Waterlogged pitch after overnight rain
Division Three (West) A:
Barnie & Co bash The Quins
Milford Haven 82 - Pembroke Dock Quins 0
Milford Haven outside half Craig Barnett created club record as he scored four tries and slotted 11 out of 12 conversions for a personal haul of 42 points against a luckless Pembroke Dock Harlequins’ side which had to play with uncontested scrums and lost skipper Thomas Doyle in the pre-match warm-up.
The Quins were 28 points adrift at half time after young winger Dan McClelland had scored The Mariners first try, followed by others from centre Dan Birch, Barnett and back rower Alun Harries, all converted by the metronomic Barnett.
The floodgates began to open after half time as Barnett sliced through for two more tries alongside Birch, co-centre Josh Thomas (2), full back Dean McSparron, and Gareth Cheshire, with Barnett on target with all the conversions except the try from McSparron.
Craig Barnett - amazing 42 points for Milford fly half
‘Boathouse Boys’ beaten by Tregaron
Tregaron 26 - Laugharne 23
Tregaron won an entertaining home match against Laugharne as they came from behind at half time to also earn a bonus point for scoring tries by Rhydian Jones, Geraint Rowlands, Melfyn Davies and a penalty try, three of them converted by Gwion Phillips.
The Boathouse boys were on top in the first half through a try under the posts by No 10 Owain Thomas, with centre Tom Jameson converting and landing two penalties.
Jameson added a second penalty after the oranges and also converted flanker Lewis Owen’s try but it was Tregaron who reversed a 45-16 defeat in Laugharne as reward for their whole-hearted display.