02 September 2018 / Team News

Frustrating start for Emlyn


In probably the most competitive League in Welsh Rugby, with four teams out of twelve being relegated at the end of the season, any thoughts Emlyn  had of turning Dôl Wiber into ‘fortress Emlyn’ were quickly blown away in the first half on Saturday by a Trebanos side who led 26-0 by half time. Normal expectations in rugby are for the home side to start the game ‘all guns blazing’ but on Saturday it was the visitors who proceeded to put on a display of scintillating rugby which threatened to end up being a cricket score. Why they were unable to build on their lead in the second half is something for their coaches and players to ponder on next week. For the Emlyn coaches they will surely be concerned by an insipid first half performance which allowed the visitors four tries. There were occasions when it looked like the Trebanos outside half Lewis Humphries had been awarded the freedom of Dôl Wiber as, time and again, he initiated flowing attacks from all parts of the field. His fellow backs responded by bemusing would be Emlyn attackers with their side stepping and off-loading before and after the tackle. The scant consolation for Emlyn was that with the last move of the game number eight Brynmor Jones crossed for a converted try to give the home side a losing bonus point, something which looked way beyond their powers at half time.

Trebanos were on the scoreboard within three minutes of the start of the game. Humphries set his stall out when, receiving the ball from a defensive scrum on his own twenty two, he decided to run, and a bit like Moses and the Red Sea, the Emlyn defence parted to allow him through. As he approached the Emlyn twenty two the cover came across but he timed his pass nicely to supporting centre Llyr Davies who crossed under the posts for a try converted by winger Mathew Edwards.

Unfortunately for the large home support Emlyn did not learn their lesson when it came to keeping an eye on Humphries and a couple of minutes later he was at it again, initially just running straight at the home defence from a scrum. This time he linked with his backs and some fine inter passing between forwards and backs allied with a couple of quick rucks saw winger David Stone cross for their second try, converted by Edwards. Probably one of the best tries seen at Dôl Wiber for a long time, with probably twelve players handling the ball in the flowing movement.

Things went from bad to worse for the home side on the quarter hour mark when they attempted to run the ball out of defence, but were tackled on their own twenty two metre line and, not for the first time in the half, lost possession at the ensuing ruck. The ball shot out of the side of the ruck and right winger Edwards picked up the ball and strolled over in the corner for their third try which he was unable to convert.

A deathly silence pervaded over the home support as they realised the way the red and whites were playing they were looking at witnessing an embarrassing hammering. Nothing the home side tried seemed to work. The line out malfunctioned, the scrum came under pressure, and every time they looked to attack they either lost the ball in contact or tried some miracle off load. When it came to defending, would be tacklers were left clutching at fresh air as Trebanos players side stepped their way past the Emlyn defence.

Half way through the half the home side actually found themselves in the Trebanos twenty two and were awarded a penalty kick almost in front of the posts some ten metres out. They opted to kick for touch rather than get on the scoreboard with a relatively easy penalty goal. It summed up their play when, although winning the line out, their catch and drive was easily brought to ground, and three close drives later they were penalised for entering a ruck from the side, thus allowing Trebanos to clear their line.

Their fourth bonus point try came as half time approached and it was fittingly scored by outside half Humphries. From a scrum in the Emlyn twenty two, he noticed that there was no one covering behind the Emlyn backs, chipped over the onrushing defence to ground the ball for a well-deserved try converted by Edwards to give the visitors an almost unassailable half time lead of 26 -0.

The second half proved to be a different kettle of fish as the home side tightened up their defence, managing to keep the dangerous Humphries quiet. Emlyn got off to a dream start when from the kick off Emlyn caught the ball and went through two rucks. In broken play the ball ended up in the hands of Emlyn full back Arthur Lennon who used his speed to telling effect as he initially ran at forwards in the defensive line. He broke through and sprinted some seventy metres to score a fine individual try.

This inspired the home side and a few minutes later powerful centre Steffan Evans broke through, fed supporting scrum half Mike Jones, and he in turn passed to prop Emrys Davies who was forced into touch just short of the Trebanos line. Unfortunately for Emlyn, scrum half Jones was injured a few minutes later and had to leave the field. Without a replacement scrum half on the bench Llyr Davies moved in from the wing and proved to be a very able deputy.

Playing with greater confidence Emlyn should have scored again just after the half way period. Again it was a break by Lennon, supported by winger Dan Davies whose strength in running out of tackles drew defenders to him. Some quick recycling saw the ball being moved to the right where Emlyn had four attackers to one defender. Unfortunately Emlyn outside half Mitchell Jones threw a long miss pass out and the one defender was able to nullify the attack.

Emlyn continued to pressurise the visitors and, with the coaches emptying the bench, replacement front row props Dai Jones and Gethin Davies along with hooker Lee Griffiths brought some much needed energy, accuracy and go forward to the red and whites attack. A powerful burst by centre Andrew Owens, one of a number he made in the game, brought play close to the visitors line and only some desperate defending kept Emlyn out. Eventually they managed to breach the Trebanos defence, with some two minutes of normal time left, and the try was scored by prop Emrys Davies, now playing in the back row, converted by Dan Davies.

With time running out the home side realised that a converted try would give them a losing bonus point and they attacked Trebanos from the restart. Play moved up to the visitors line and Emlyn number eight Brynmor Jones picked  the ball up from the base of a ruck and crossed for Emlyn’s third try close to the posts. Davies converted with the last kick of the match to bring the home side within a losing bonus point.

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