17 May 2015 / Team News

Emlyn clinch place in the Champioship in style


What an end to the most successful season this young club has ever had. On Saturday Newcastle Emlyn turned on the style and played what one supporter called ‘champagne rugby’ to defeat the winners of Division One West Central, Bonymaen, and clinch a place in the Championship next season. Having been relegated from the Championship last season Bonymaen were looking to bounce straight back but came up against an Emlyn side determined to end their season on as high a note as possible.

The red and whites scored a total of seven tries as, from the first whistle, they played fast open running rugby which Bonymaen had no answer to. The Swansea side had a game plan which revolved around their livewire scrum half, Connor Slater, using his large forwards to carry the ball from rucks and attack Emlyn close to the contact situation. Unfortunately for them Emlyn had prepared very well for this and, in Owain Powell and Gareth Patterson, they had a pair of flankers who not only tackled everything that came at them but managed to turn the ball over on countless occasions to initiate Emlyn counter attacks.

Emlyn number eight Brynmor Jones needed no second invitation and his running in broken play not only with the ball but also in support of the ball carrier was an important factor in Emlyn’s victory. It was Jones who was instrumental in Emlyn’s first score after just five minutes. From a lineout drive the ball was worked out to Jones whose surging run brought him close to the Bonymaen line and he fed outside half Steffan Evans who powered over for the first try, converted by Shaun Leonard.

This served to inspire Emlyn and, playing into the wind, they ran at Bonymaen at every opportunity. The Swansea side were penalised for killing the ball at a ruck but Leonard hit the post with a long range effort. On their first incursion into the Emlyn twenty two some sloppy defending by Emlyn led to Bonymaen outside half Paul Warlow kicking a relatively easy penalty for the Swansea side. This motivated Emlyn and a series of excellent drives down the middle of the field saw the ball moved wide to right winger Llyr Jones. The winger has missed the last few weeks with a hamstring injury but showed a fine turn of pace to round his opposite number, shrug off the full back’s attempted tackle to score a try converted by Leonard.

Bonymaen were struggling to cope with the pace Emlyn were playing the game at and were forced to defend desperately. When their outside half Warlow was sin binned for kicking Emlyn flanker Patterson things began to look grim for the Swansea side. Unfortunately Leonard hit the post again with his kick, but made amends from the restart. Bonymaen kicked a long restart, caught by Leonard who hoisted a huge up and under which held up nicely in the wind. Outside half Evans followed the kick and challenged for the ball in the air, causing the defender to drop the ball. Showing great anticipation right winger Jones appeared from nowhere, picked up the bouncing ball and sprinted some thirty metres to score under the posts for Leonard to convert.

With half time approaching Bonymaen decided that it was time for them to show how they had won their Division title. A series of drives by their large pack took play along the touchline up to the Emlyn five metre line. From the resultant tackle situation it was Emlyn centre Alun Howells who found himself in the sin bin for killing the ball. A series of mauls from the ensuing line out eventually saw the Bonymaen number eight Rhys Leonard cross for an unconverted try.

The start of the second half saw Emlyn extend their lead, despite being a man down. Some powerful ball carrying by hooker Alex Williams and flanker Patterson set up an ideal position for Emlyn to move the ball wide into the hands of number eight Brynmor Jones, who crossed wide out for an unconverted try to extend Emlyn’s lead.

A few minutes later a potentially threatening Bonymaen attack deep in the Emlyn twenty two, saw Patterson rip the ball out of a maul. The impressive flanker started on a run up field, linked with his fellow back rower Jones who looked certain to score himself but linked with supporting backs Leonard and Jones. A try looked a certainty but some desperate defending by two Bonymaen players eventually saw Llyr Jones forced into touch ten metres from the Swansea side’s line.

Being eighteen points behind Bonymaen had to play catch up rugby and desperately tried to run the ball out of defence. Their three-quarters had struggled against the aggressive Emlyn defence, led by centres Viv Jenkins and Alun Howells, all afternoon. When they tried to move the ball along the line they ran into a red and white brick wall which caused them to drop the ball. Ever alert open side flanker Owain Powell pounced on the dropped pass and hacked the ball over the Bonymaen line to score another Emlyn try converted by Leonard.

As a contest the game looked to be over half way through the half when, from a scrum inside the Bonymaen half, outside half Evans executed a perfect wrap around move and passed inside to the supporting Leonard for the full back to cross for a try which he converted himself. To their credit Bonymaen did not throw in the towel and came back at the red and whites, causing some anxious moments in Emlyn ranks as firstly centre Kyle Slater crossed for a try converted by Mark Simmons. Then scrum half Salter took advantage of Emlyn’s desire to run the ball from their own line to intercept a pass to score in the corner.

With ten minutes remaining Emlyn decided to adopt a more conservative approach and used the siege gun boot of Shaun Leonard to pin Bonymaen back into their own twenty-two area. With second rows Arwel Davies and skipper Gethin Greves both having commanding games at the line out, Bonymaen struggled to gain any worthwhile possession. A great deal of credit at the line out must also go to hooker Alex Williams whose accurate throwing in found player coach Davies time and again.

The penultimate score for Emlyn came with time running out and from quite an unexpected source. The much criticised Emlyn front row of props Dai Jones and Gethin Davies, and replacement prop Jack Parry, along with hooker Alex Williams had a superb afternoon and dominated their opponents. Under pressure at the scrum Bonymaen were penalised  under their posts and up stepped Leonard to convert the penalty kick to take the Emlyn lead past three scores.

From the restart Emlyn ran the ball back at Bonymaen and some slick handling saw the ball in the hands of winger Dan Davies, with replacement winger Teifion Davies outside him the winger threw a dummy and stepped inside the full back to cross for Emlyn’s seventh try, converted by Leonard to bring up the half century of points. The final whistle saw the start of huge celebrations by players and fans alike which continued well into the night at the club’s annual dinner to round off a quite memorable season.   

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