29 October 2017 / Team News

Penalties cost Emlyn dearly


When they review the season this will be yet another game in which Emlyn could say ‘we should have won it, but we didn’t, through our own failings rather than the excellence of the opposition’. Bedlinog were nothing if not determined defenders and their small, narrow pitch suited their style of play perfectly. They were aided in this by some Emlyn forwards who seemed totally unaware of some of the more basic Laws of the Game. Time and again, whether it be in attack or defence, Emlyn were forced to concede possession and with it territory when certain players conceded rather mindless penalties.

On the plus side the Emlyn eight had possibly their best performance of the season at scrum time with the front row of props Dai Jones and Bryant along with hooker Alex Williams giving their opposite numbers a torrid time, resulting in the home side opting for uncontested scrums during the second half. The line out also proved to be a regular source of quality possession with Williams finding second row Dan Havard and number eight Brynmor Jones with some excellent throwing. With this domination one might well wonder how the red and whites lost, the reason has been explained above, perhaps some of the Emlyn forwards need to go on a Level 1 refereeing course!

Playing with quite a strong wind behind them the home side soon went into a six point lead courtesy of the accurate boot of full back Dan Parry. Emlyn then began to get more into the game and a series of carries and rucks by the forwards eventually took play close to the Bedlinog line and winger Dan Davies opened Emlyn’s account with a penalty kick. From the restart Bedlinog managed to regain possession and looked to set up a series of attacks. Unfortunately for them Emlyn outside half Steffan Evans anticipated a pass from their scrum half, intercepted, and showed a fine turn of pace to sprint some seventy metres to score a try converted by Dan Davies.

Instead of turning the screw and exerting constant pressure on the home team, Emlyn continued to keep Bedlinog in the match through conceding needless penalties in the loose. Parry narrowed the lead to a single point with his third penalty on the half hour mark. With half time approaching Emlyn put together a series of attacks and it was the home side who were forced to defend desperately.  On a wider pitch Emlyn might well have scored a couple of tries but the home side’s scrambling defence managed to just close down the threat posed by the speedy wing Llyr Jones. Then came what can only be described as some mystifying decision-making by the red and whites. Awarded a penalty in front of the posts some thirty five metres out, they declined to kick at goal, took a quick tap penalty which took them up to some ten metres from the home line. Awarded another penalty, they took another quick tap kick, held up short, awarded a third penalty almost under the posts they again declined the almost certain three points, lost the ball in contact and Bedlinog breathed a huge sigh of relief as the whistle went for half time.

The second half began with Davies extending Emlyn’s lead with his second penalty goal but as the home side’s discipline improved so Emlyn’s deteriorated. Time after time they handed the advantage back to Bedlinog by conceding needless penalties. Close to their line Emlyn defended really well but when they cleared their lines it was a guarantee that they would concede a penalty kick allowing Bedlinog to return to the Emlyn twenty two and continue to pressurise Emlyn’s line.

On the quarter hour mark Bedlinog regained the lead through a slightly fortuitous try. From a scrum on the Emlyn twenty two, the Emlyn eight put on a mighty shove but the Bedlinog number eight Tyler Oliver managed to pick the ball up and feed scrum half James Soames. Realising that the Emlyn flankers were still bound on to the scrum, aided by his own flanker, he darted through a huge gap in the Emlyn defence to cross for a try converted by Parry.

It took Emlyn until the half hour mark before they managed to put something constructive together. From inside his own half lively scrum half Mike Jones caught the home defence napping with a quick tap penalty, burst through some tackles and fed supporting half back Steffan Evans. The outside half looked to try and outpace the home defenders but was gradually being forced across the field by the cover, with speedy winger Llyr Jones haring up outside him Evans, unfortunately, slightly delayed his pass and Jones was forced infield. He was brought down inside the twenty two, Emlyn won the subsequent ruck but desperate Bedlinog defending saw them manage to dislodge the ball from an Emlyn forward driving towards the line.

The Emlyn forwards had shown that they were more than capable of driving Bedlinog off the ball at scrum time. However they were denied that opportunity when the home side, through injury, had to opt for uncontested scrums. They managed to clear their line only as far as their own twenty two metre line and from the line out Emlyn continued to pressurise the home line. Awarded a penalty right in front of the posts they eventually decided to kick for goal and Dan Davies converted the penalty to bring the scores level with very little time left.

From the restart a mistake by an Emlyn player led to the home side having a line out in Emlyn’s twenty two and from the subsequent ruck Emlyn were yet again penalised and Parry kicked a very good penalty from wide out to hand the lead back to the home side. With time running out Emlyn tried their best to get back into the Bedlinog half and it just about summed up Emlyn’s day when yet another Mike Jones break ended up with the ball being knocked on and Bedlinog able to scramble the ball into touch.

Pontypool are the visitors to Dôl Wiber next week and the Championship leaders will present a stern test for the home side who, if they can reduce the number of penalties they concede, might be able mount a challenge to the unbeaten visitors. 

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