27 April 2015 / Team News

Emlyn take another step towards the title


Emlyn took another step towards the Division One West title for the first time in their brief history with a three try victory over a spirited Llangennech side on Saturday. They are now five points behind the leaders Kidwelly who have completed their league programme and Emlyn have two games left to play. The re-arranged game against Gorseinon at Dol Wiber on Wednesday 6th May could be the title decider with the red and whites having to obtain a bonus point win to secure the title before their trip to Crymych on the following Saturday.

There was some disappointment amongst the Emlyn supporters that the bonus point eluded their side but if anything it was due to over eagerness leading to a stray final pass on at least four occasions and some quite awful refereeing decisions. One always finds it quite baffling when the side that is playing the majority of attacking rugby is constantly being penalised at the ruck situation, leading to Emlyn playing part of the second half with only thirteen players. The home side continually killed the ball, entered rucks from the side and formed their defensive line almost on the Emlyn hind most foot. All offences especially in the second half conveniently ignored by the man with the whistle who also found the pace of the game too much for him on occasions.

It was the home side who started positively and put a great deal of pressure on the Emlyn line for the first ten minutes. Emlyn’s defence held firm though and on their first foray into Llangennech territory they were awarded a penalty some forty metres out which full back Shaun Leonard converted to open the scoring. This was quickly cancelled out by the home sides outside half Jamie Herbert who kicked a penalty goal.

The prolific Leonard extended Emlyn’s lead with two other penalties in the next ten minutes, but the first try looked to be eluding them. Winger Dan Davies looked to have crossed after a fine run and pass by flanker Joel James, but the referee deemed the final pass forward.

This galvanised the red and whites and a fine run by centre Viv Jenkins saw him perfectly time his pass to Leonard for the full back to cross for a try in the corner which he also converted. Llangennech came back at Emlyn but when their attack broke down in the Emlyn half the red and whites counter attacked. The loose ball was picked up by Leonard who went on a mazy run up-field and eventually fired out a long pass to scrum half Mike Jones who sprinted some thirty metres to score an unconverted try in the corner just before half time.

With the slope in their favour in the second half, the large band of Emlyn supporters expected a try avalanche but that was not forthcoming as Llangennech raised their game and, aided by some poor refereeing, attacked the Emlyn line with gusto. The home side’s back three of Hewitt ,Long and Barnes were quick to run any ball back at the Emlyn side. Unfortunately they were given a lot of ball to run back as Emlyn kicked badly for field position.

The first fifteen minutes of this half proved to be a bit of a nightmare for the red and whites as referee Mason decided to give Emlyn’s defensive qualities a test by sin binning prop Gareth Lloyd and centre Viv Jenkins within a few minutes of each other. They were for offences at the ruck, the pity was he did not apply the laws to the home side.

Ably marshalled by hooker Alex Williams and centre Alun Howells the red and whites managed to hold out. When they had the ball, despite the pressure they were under, number eight Luke Kendall continually made the hard yards as he picked up the ball from a retreating scrum. Indeed Kendall, who last season was playing Premiership rugby, made quite an impression with his powerful carries in the loose throughout the game.

Back to full strength, Emlyn tried desperately to add to their try count. On three occasions length of the field attacks floundered when the last pass went behind an Emlyn player or just a bit too far in front of him. Eventually they did score their third try when after a series of powerful carries by the forwards the ball was transferred wide for winger Owen Francis to cross for a try converted by Leonard.

With ten minutes to go Emlyn threw caution to the wind in their attempt to gain the bonus point try. Unfortunately for them the official had decided that three tries were obviously going to be enough for Emlyn and continually allowed Llangennech to blatantly infringe at the ruck, not just slowing the ball down but actually stealing almost from Mike Jones’ hands.

Llangennech’s consolation try came when Emlyn tried to run the ball out from behind their own line. Forced to grubber kick ahead the ball was gathered by their left wing Tom Barnes who managed to squeeze over in the corner for an unconverted try.

With the final whistle everyone’s thoughts now turn to the next Emlyn match at the Millennium Stadium this coming Sunday, when they take on the might of Ystrad Rhondda in the SWALEC WRU Plate final.

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