24 January 2016 / Team News

Important victory for Emlyn


This was an extremely satisfying result for the red and whites on a day when ground conditions and, after twenty five minutes, the weather did not suit either side. The students have always had a reputation for playing fast, open, attractive rugby and in recent years Emlyn have also gained a reputation for a similar style. The river Teifi has not been kind to Dol Wiber over the last six weeks, completely submerging the whole area under water on at least two occasions. With the floods having subsided Emlyn were finally able to play their first home match since the beginning of December.

Just as both sides were adapting to the heavy underfoot conditions the heavens opened and the remaining fifty five minutes were played in heavy rain, making handling difficult for both sides. To their credit both sides continued to attempt to play attractive open rugby and the handling skills of all the players on view was to be complimented. The pity is that for both sides the threat of relegation still looms large in a league where the powers that be have ruled that two teams are to be relegated and four promoted.

It was the home side that started positively and placed their visitors under pressure with a series of forward drives through numerous rucks leading eventually to the excellent referee Justin Williams penalising the students defence and winger Dan Davies kicking the penalty goal. The students replied almost immediately with a penalty kick of their own through centre Tom Morgans.

There then followed a period of sustained pressure by the Emlyn side, with the forwards showing great discipline and control by going through numerous phases of play in their efforts to breach a determined student defence. When the students did manage to get their hands on the ball and kick it downfield they found the Emlyn full back in imperious form with the boot, as he continually fielded clearing kicks and drove the ball back deep into the Cardiff twenty two.

With Emlyn scrum half Dafydd Evans organising his forwards extremely well it had to be only a matter of time before the home side scored. The first try came after some fifteen minutes when, after another series of rucks, scrum half Evans went on a dart across field and passed back inside to Emlyn prop Gethin Davies who from five metres out is virtually unstoppable, Dan Davies added the extra points. The only point of concern for the Emlyn coaches was that during this period Emlyn threw in to two attacking line outs five metres out and lost both of them.

To be fair, unlike previous weeks, the Emlyn lineout did function very well throughout the game with skipper Alex Williams more often than not finding his jumpers. Through debutant second row Ryan Morgans, his fellow second row partner Dylan Davies and number eight Gareth Thomson the ball they supplied scrum half Evans was often of the highest quality. Indeed young Gareth Thomson, deputising for the injured Brynmor Jones, had a very good game, showing some excellent control of the ball at the base of the scrum as well as a high work rate around the park.

The next score came from quite an unexpected source just before the heavens opened. From a defensive line out some ten metres out the students, instead of Emlyn, got their line out calls completely wrong, over-threw the ball from a shortened line straight into the hands of Emlyn prop Dai Jones. Known more for his hard work around the field rather than his try scoring, the prop needed no second invitation to sprint the ten metres and crash over without a hand being laid on him. The try was converted by Davies.

The students, having been outplayed throughout the half showed great character by coming back at Emlyn as the half drew to a close. Emlyn were perhaps guilty of not playing for position by kicking the ball deep into the visitors half, as they had done throughout the half, and they found themselves having to defend for the first time in the game. Fortunately Emlyn’s drift defence closed the space down and forced the opposition to kick into the Emlyn in goal area, but Leonard won the race to touch the ball down.

The students were obviously given a stern talking to at half time and began the second half in impressive manner. Unfortunately for them they found the Emlyn defence in miserly mood and the midfield, of outside half Barry Thomas and centres Dan and Teifion Davies, stopped every student attack on the gain line. When it came to the tackle situation the Emlyn flankers Owain Powell and Gareth Patterson ruled the roost and turned the students over time and again.   

Emlyn were in no mood to relinquish their control and lead in the game however, and went back to the tactics which had served them so well for the first half. With Dafydd Evans and Leonard controlling matters the students were forced in to some pretty desperate tactics to try and gain some territory. One kick out of defence was fielded by Leonard on the near touch on the left hand side of the field near the half way line. The full back went on a mazy infield run evading three would- be tacklers. When his space was being closed down he somehow, with the outside of his left boot, kicked the ball back in the opposite direction to where he was running towards the corner flag. There then followed an exciting chase between scrum half Evans and one of the student forwards. Evans unfortunately did not realise he had time to pick up the ball and dived on the ball to slide over the line, but the ball squirted out from under him and was ruled as a knock on.

This did not deter the home side and a few minutes later, from a line out in the visitors twenty two, a series of drives by the forwards saw the ball released to the backs and some excellent handling saw centre Teifion Davies put away on the right wing. Davies looked to have squeezed over in the corner for an excellent try which was over ruled by the Cardiff Met touch judge who adjudged that Davies’ foot had touched the touch line just before he grounded the ball.

With the heavy rain having a greater influence as the game went on, the superior fitness of the students began to tell. A quickly taken line out by Emlyn, in the students twenty two, saw them win the ball and a determined sequence of drives, allied with some good handling, saw them take play up to the Emlyn ten metre line. Gaining in confidence, a good drive by their forwards had the Emlyn pack struggling to stop them and the balance of the game was swinging in favour of the visitors.

On the half hour mark an excellent catch and drive, starting on the half way line, saw Cardiff Met drive the ball some twenty metres upfield. When the ball was eventually released to the backs some excellent straight running and handling saw the ball in the hands of the powerful right winger Miles Moorhouse. The winger showed good balance and strength to round one defender and step out of another tackle before scoring in the corner. Fortunately for the red and whites the difficult conversion which would have brought the students to within seven points of Emlyn just missed.

Spurred on by another excellent crowd Emlyn were determined not to lose the game. Coach Marc Lloyd emptied his bench and replacement props Emrys Davies and Neil Elworthy made an impact in the tight and loose with some forceful driving play. The tension as the students tried to get the score for a bonus point and Emlyn tried to keep them at bay eventually exploded in a mass brawl on the half way line. Referee Williams was unsighted as to the instigators but decided Emlyn flanker Joel James had to go to the bin for his part in the brawl.

As often happens this inspired the side reduced to fourteen men and Emlyn, led by their flankers Powell and Patterson, pressurised the students forcing them back deep into their own half even when they had the ball. With time running out Emlyn pressure saw the ball dropped and was kicked ahead by Emlyn, and from the resulting ruck deep in their twenty two the ball was turned over and Mike Jones calmly fed Dafydd Evans who scampered over in the corner for the final score of the game.

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