15 October 2017 / Team News

More disappointment on the road


Last season Emlyn’s away form was a revelation as they managed to secure more points from their away fixtures than games at Dol Wiber. For the first half hour of this game on Saturday they looked as if they had re-discovered their mojo as their attacking play was nothing short of sublime. Showing control and directness in their attacks they posed endless problems for the home defence and scored two very good tries. Indeed the few supporters who had made the long journey up to the Gwent Valleys were beginning to harbour dreams of a bonus point win.

That, however, was not to be as the Emlyn defence completely imploded as half time approached conceding two soft tries, both converted, within a minute of each other, as they went from seventeen points to eight ahead to seventeen twenty-two down. Things did not improve at the start of the second half as they again conceded a soft try. The five tries Emlyn conceded would have embarrassed a school side and the number of mistakes they made in possession in the second half did not do justice to the undoubted skills and ability these players possess.

Emlyn attacked from the kick off and from a scrum, awarded to them on the half way line, they executed a lovely three-quarter movement rounded off with centre Steffan Evans breaching the home defence. He passed inside to the supporting flanker Gareth Thomson who was brought down short of the line. Showing greater composure than they have done so far this year they went through two quick rucks and prop Emrys Davies crashed over for the opening try, converted by full back Dan Davies.

It was all Emlyn pressure at this time but, as has often happened to the red and whites this year, they allowed the opposition back into the game after ten minutes. They managed to lose the ball from a driving maul on the Newbridge ten metre line, the home side moved the ball wide and outside centre Paul King rounded his opposite number with ease. He linked with the powerful right winger Ryan Evans and some inter-passing, allied with some non- existent Emlyn defence, saw King cross for a try wide out.

Emlyn came right back at the home side and their play during this period was nothing short of commanding and the best they have produced this year. Steffan Evans was a constant threat, with his strong elusive running, as time and again he got over the gain line and gave the forwards a target to aim at. The shame was that as the game progressed Evans was fighting a lone battle as far as the three-quarters were concerned, with some of Emlyn’s outside backs looking as if they would rather be somewhere else. The respective kickers, Davies for Emlyn and Simon Veall, exchanged penalties but it was the red and whites who were in control. A possible early warning of what was to come came when an Emlyn attack floundered out wide and King put Evans away on the left wing and it took a couple of Emlyn defenders some fifty metres before they managed to bundle him into touch.

Emlyn extended their lead with an excellent try in the twenty fifth minute. From a line out on half way number eight, Brynmor Jones, presented scrum half Dafydd Evans with ball off the top of the line. Steffan Evans ran a lovely line to take the ball at speed and burst through the Newbridge defence. He linked with his co-centre Teifion Davies who left defenders in his wake as he sprinted some thirty metres to score a try converted by Davies.

Then as half time approached the game completely changed, Emlyn second row Dan Havard was rightly sin-binned for entering a ruck from the wrong side. Newbridge kicked to the corner but the Emlyn forwards managed to defend their line well and the home side tried three times unsuccessfully to score using this ploy. They then moved the ball wide and Emlyn were penalised for off-side in midfield. With the Emlyn backs looking rather confused at this award Newbridge took a quick tap penalty and King crossed for his second try without a hand being laid on him, converted by Veall.

From the restart the ball did not travel ten metres, all the Emlyn forwards were in a line watching the ball awaiting the whistle for a scrum back on the half way line. Newbridge second row Symons had other ideas and ran forward to catch the ball, sprint some twenty metres, and passed to flanker Luke Morgan who carried on running to score under the posts, for Veall to add the extra points.

It was important to Emlyn and the game that they would be the ones to score next at the start of the second half, however it was not to be. Gaining possession just inside their own half Emlyn put in a diagonal kick which the Newbridge full back fielded. He kicked over the heads of the advancing Emlyn backs, pushed one of them out of the way, fly hacked the ball to the Emlyn line and was given plenty of time to stop short of the line, pick it up and place it for their bonus point try, converted from wide out by Veall. Basically in the space of five minutes Emlyn had gifted Newbridge with twenty one points.

Would there be an Emlyn come back? Could the red and whites recapture the form they showed at the beginning of the game? The forwards worked hard and obtained a plentiful share of possession from all phases. The problem was every time they tried to put a sequence together, to break down a determined Newbridge defence, someone eventually knocked the ball on or, in the case of the driving maul, just dropped it. In veteran centre Scott Williams Newbridge had a player who showed all his experience to absolutely halt every attack Emlyn tried to put together in the backs.

Time and again Emlyn basically set up camp in the Newbridge half and time after time they coughed up possession within inches of the Newbridge line. Williams was like a rock and attack after attack floundered against him as Emlyn were unable to find a way past him. As time went by Emlyn’s best hope was a third try to get within a losing bonus point but that looked a forlorn hope as they continued to turn in a pretty miserable performance. With time running out salt was rubbed into Emlyn’s wounds when a pretty innocuous kick downfield saw Paul King round off an excellent game for him when he won the race for the touch-down for a try converted by Veall, to round off a pretty miserable day for Emlyn.

With Beddau being the visitors to Dol Wiber next week Emlyn will have to considerably improve on this performance. If they could play for the whole game as they did at the beginning of this game it will take a really good side to live with them. They have to, however, cut out the unforced errors and hope that all fifteen players want to ensure that their unbeaten home record continues.




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