22 April 2018 / Team News

Barbarians style feast of rugby


What entertainment was served up at Dôl Wiber on Saturday as both sides, secure in the knowledge that they would be playing each other in the Championship again next season, threw caution to the winds and played Barbarians style rugby resulting in a total of thirteen tries being scored. That the hosts ended up on the wrong side of the score line basically summed up their season in this performance. There were times when some of Emlyn’s play was brilliant and sometimes absolutely woeful, as their defence sometimes was absent without permission allowing Newbridge to rattle up eight tries in their fifty point total.

Despite being delayed on their journey down here and arriving only three quarters of an hour before kick-off time, it was the visitors who got off to a flying start and, after twenty minutes, were leading by nineteen points to three. Emlyn began the game in a rather cavalier manner, trying to attack from deep inside their own half but some inaccuracy in their passing kept handing the initiative and possession back to the visitors, who capitalised on the home side’s generosity. During this period Newbridge right wing Rory Budina crossed for a brace of tries and captain Anthony Simmonds crashed through some weak Emlyn defence to score, with Eamonn Rees converting two of them. Emlyn’s only response was a long range penalty effort by outside half Mitchell Jones.

Emlyn eventually woke up to the fact that they were looking at conceding a cricket score and their first try was an absolute beauty. Keeping control of possession, they worked their way up to the half way line and the ball was moved along the three quarter line. Number eight Brynmor Jones appeared in the outside centre position and burst through the first defender. He then fed centre Llyr Jones supporting on the inside and the speedy centre accelerated towards Newbridge’s line. He then fed scrum half Mike Jones who outstripped any covering tacklers to score under the posts, for Mitchell Jones to add the extra points.

This did inspire the home side and Newbridge found themselves facing series after series of attacks with backs and forwards combining well to try and add more points for the red and whites. One such sequence saw winger Dan Davies appearing in the middle of the three quarter line on the half way line and he burst through Newbridge’s defence. He linked with Llyr Jones who was brought down short of the line, but quick recycling led to at least three rucks and eventually Mike Jones spotted a gap close to the ruck to dive over for his second try, which Jones converted to narrow the gap between the two sides to two points. The red and whites nearly took the lead when, after a telling break and some patient play, prop Ifan James was brought down from behind as he charged for the line for what looked like a certain try.

Emlyn did take the lead when a desperate visitors’ defence conceded a penalty thirty metres out for Mitchell Jones to convert, giving the home side a one point lead. The lead lasted for all of one minute when the home side’s forwards, not for the first time this season, failed to catch the restart. The ball ended in the hands of Newbridge outside half Simon Veal who beat a couple of defenders and then fed veteran centre Scott Williams who crossed for a try under the posts converted by Rees. They then added another try when number eight Andrew Hughes crossed in the corner for an unconverted try on half time.

The second half began in similar fashion with an Emlyn attack breaking down on the visitors twenty two. The ball was worked out to the Newbridge left wing and some clever inter passing took play up to the Emlyn line, where a superb cover tackle by hard working Emlyn flanker Callum Evans managed to halt a certain try. Unfortunately for Evans he seemed to be the only forward who had managed to make his way back and Newbridge eventually recycled the ball, allowing scrum half Owen Clemett to cross for a try converted by Rees.

Emlyn’s reply came quickly and was probably one of the best tries seen at Dôl Wiber this season. From a scrum inside the Emlyn twenty two the home side bravely decided to run the ball. Centre Steffan Evans ran a lovely angled run which took him through the initial defence, he then fed winger Llyr Freeman and when the winger looked as if he was being caught he passed inside to skipper Alex Williams. Williams, playing in the unaccustomed role of flanker, powered away from any cover to cross under the posts for Mitchel Jones to add the extra points.  

A couple of minutes later Emlyn scored again, this time through winger Dan Davies. A Newbridge attack floundered on the half way line and Davies reacted quickly to pick up the bouncing ball, power his way away from a couple of would be tacklers and sprint some fifty metres to score an unconverted try in the corner to bring up Emlyn’s fourth try and within one score of a win.

Any thoughts Emlyn had of winning the game were dispelled with fifteen minutes to go when the visitors scored what can only be described as a an unbelievably simple try. At a line out in Emlyn’s twenty two the ball was thrown to the Newbridge player standing at the front of the line, the Emlyn players had followed the Newbridge jumpers as they backed away, thus creating a gap at the front of the line. The ball was passed to scrum half Clemett who ran some twenty metres to score without a hand being laid on him.

Such was the see-saw nature of the second half that it was almost a given that the home side would score next. With five minutes to go Emlyn put together a series of rucks close to the Newbrdige line and, although the visitors defended well, eventually Emlyn second row Bleddyn Davies powered over on the blind side of a ruck in the corner for a try well converted by winger Dan Davies. Any thoughts of a victory on the part of the home side were dispelled by the boot of Veal who decided that with time running out he would pin Emlyn back deep into their twenty two. Desperate to get the winning score Emlyn, from a line out in their twenty two, tried to run the ball out. Unfortunately an Emlyn forward knocked the ball on and from the resulting scrum Veal threw a couple of outrageous dummies to cross for a try under the posts converted by Rees to bring the game to an end.

An end of season report would probably state that Emlyn’s form during the year was variable with their League position reflecting this. There were probably at least five games the red and whites lost more through their own faults rather than the opposition being better than them. The Championship is an unforgiving League and the challenge for the new coaching set up of Josh Turnbull, Warren Leach, Marc Lloyd and Charles Gale will be for them to get greater consistency in Emlyn’s performances next season and aim to finish in the top four.

Despite this defeat the Emlyn faithful supporters and players can look forward to a fourth consecutive season at the top flight of the amateur game in Wales with a side made up of primarily of players who have come through the Emlyn system. Well done and thanks to all the players, coaches, committee members, volunteers and supporters.


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