05 February 2017 / Team News

Welcome win for Emlyn


After the mauling they had received last week at the hands of Carmarthen Quins this victory was a welcome boost to the morale of the Emlyn squad. It was not a classic encounter and was littered with errors which turned the game into a rather dour encounter. With Llyr Jones and Bleddyn Davies being added to the lengthy injury list from last week, Emlyn’s woes continued when centre Richard Hope was forced to withdraw with a rib injury after training on Thursday night. There were a couple of big plusses for the red and whites with vice-captain Owain Powell returning at open side wing forward for his first match since the second week in September, and winger Llyr Freeman in his first start for the team who had a fine match in attack and defence.

The Broadacre pitch is renowned for its draining qualities and the pitch was in perfect condition and belied all the rain that had fallen on it during the previous twenty four hours. Making the most of the near perfect conditions Emlyn, playing into a fairly strong breeze, started positively and forwards and backs combined well to take play into the home twenty two metre area. The ball was then moved from right to left and ended up in the hands of winger Dan Davies. Davies had two men to beat and did it comfortably showing some of pace and elusiveness which make him such a deadly finisher and crossed in the corner for a try which he converted himself.

As often happens to the Emlyn side when they score early in the game they have a tendency to relax and allow the opposition back into the game and so it proved. Dunvant’s beefy pack were quite happy to run at Emlyn around the fringes of rucks and mauls and proved effective when running off the short passes of scrum half Bob Ley. With their outside half Aled Lewis using the wind effectively they pinned Emlyn back inside their twenty two on a number of occasions. From one such situation, a line out deep in the Emlyn twenty two, Dunvant moved the ball nicely along their three quarter line and some hesitancy in the Emlyn defence saw winger Sam Evans pass inside to the supporting full back Mitchell Ford who crossed in the corner for a try well converted by Lewis.

The rest of the half was littered with Emlyn mistakes when they were in possession. Dunvant to their credit played a very simple game with Lewis kicking for position and their pack driving effectively, the Emlyn forwards defended manfully halting drive after drive. Powell and captain Alex Williams led by example with Powell effecting a couple of turnovers to ease the pressure. When they had the ball Emlyn tried to attack but proved to be their own worst enemy as time after time attacks floundered with the ball either being dropped, knocked on, or a clearing kick going directly into touch.

The best Emlyn move of the half summed up their display. From a line out on Emlyn’s twenty two, the pack drove forward some twenty metres, number eight Brynmor Jones broke away and made a further twenty metres, Emlyn won quick ruck ball but the pass from scrum half Mike Jones hit an Emlyn forward was picked up by Dunvant who counter attacked and play eventually was halted some ten metres from the Emlyn line. From the scrum Lewis put in a lovely cross kick to his left wing but it was Emlyn debutant Freeman who jumped, won the ball, and called a mark. The attempted clearance kick by Dan Davies was hurried, failed to find touch, and Dunvant winger Sam Evans dropped a goal from forty metres out to give the homesters the lead at half time.

With the wind behind them in the second half the large Emlyn support expected their team to keep Dunvant back in their twenty two with some accurate kicking. Unfortunately Emlyn for most of the half declined to use the boot and ran at Dunvant from all parts of the field. This resulted in both sides’ defences cancelling each other out with the majority of the play taking place between the two ten metre lines.

Emlyn did even the scores up soon after the restart when Dan Davies kicked a forty metre penalty goal. From the restart Brynmor Jones caught the ball, ran well at Dunvant and linked with flanker Joel James on the half way line. The big flanker troubled the Dunvant defence all afternoon with his powerful runs and he burst through some four would be tacklers and looked certain to score. With five metres to go to the line he realised he might not make it and looked to pass to Emrys Davies who was on his shoulder in support. Just as he was about to take the pass he was scythed down from the side by a feet first tackle, which on a soccer field would have earned the perpetrator a red card. The excellent referee Mathew Thomas had no hesitation in awarding Emlyn a penalty try converted by Davies but only sin binned the Dunvant offender.

Emlyn continued to look to attack with the ball in hand rather than kick for position and it almost backfired on them. Another powerful run by James set up a ruck just inside the Dunvant half, Emlyn looked to move it wide but the long flat pass was intercepted by Dunvant centre David Davies. He quickly passed the ball to his co-centre Kevin Jones who sprinted for the corner. With Emlyn full back Leonard in the line the red and whites had no cover behind their three quarter line. Showing great speed and determination Emlyn centres John Lumb and Tomi Jones turned and chased back after their counterparts. It was Lumb who pulled off a great try saving tackle ten metres from the line and Jones was on hand to pick up the ball and clear it to touch.

Half way through the half Dunvant managed to work their way into the Emlyn twenty two when yet again Powell managed to turn the ball over at a ruck. This ended up in a scrum for the red and whites and instead of clearing to touch number eight Jones picked the ball up, went on the blind side of the scrum and fed winger Freeman. The winger, a Youth team player a season ago and a regular in Emlyn’s second team, showed a great turn of speed, rounded his opposite number and set off on a fifty metre run. Brought down on the half way line, Emlyn went through a couple of quick rucks and approached Dunvant’s twenty two. The home side were then penalised for killing the ball at a ruck and Davies kicked the penalty goal to extend Emlyn’s lead to ten points.

Dunvant by now were very much on the defensive but Emlyn could not get over the home side’s try line. Their best opportunity came with some five minutes remaining when an up and under kick by outside half Mitchell Jones was allowed to bounce by the home side, speedy Emlyn hooker Tom Curry was onto the ball in a flash. He cleverly threw an overhead pass to Freeman on the wing who then fed Lumb, who had run around outside him, and the centre looked certain to score in the corner. Some desperate cover tackling by the home side brought the centre down inches from the line. Emlyn won the resultant ruck and put in a cross field kick which just eluded three red and white players in the in goal area before it crossed the dead ball line.

There was a great sense of relief in the Emlyn camp when the final whistle went not only at the victory which more or less ensures Championship rugby at Dol Wiber for next season but also the fact that no player had picked up any serious injury in what was a very physical confrontation. The victory moves the red and whites up to joint fifth in the table and a goal for the rest of the season should be to consolidate this position in the table. With a gap of three weeks now Emlyn’s next game will be on the 4th March when second place Tata Steel will be the visitors to the Teifi Valley. 

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