22 November 2015 / Team News

Emlyn unable to breakdown Newbridge


The disappointment on the faces of the Emlyn coaching staff and supporters at the end of this game was palpable. Newbridge on their first ever visit to Emlyn had come with a reputation of being poor travellers and their inability to name an actual side, only a squad, on Thursday night hinted at such a possibility. However when you can strengthen your side with permit players from the local Premiership teams travelling away does not pose such a problem as Saturday’s result testifies.

To their credit on the day the visitors were the superior side in what was a strangely lacklustre performance by the home team. Newbridge were efficient, disciplined and played to a set pattern which served them very well. There was not a great deal to choose between the two sides for a large part of the game with the first quarter being played in quite heavy rain which did not suit the home side’s speedy backs.

However it was the home side that exerted the early pressure but could not find a way through the visitors defence. The nearest any side came to scoring in the first twenty minutes were two long range penalty efforts, one by each side, which just fell short. The Emlyn pack were winning some good ball at the front of the line out through flanker Dylan Davies but the slippery conditions made a driving maul difficult to execute, and their attempts to move the ball wide to the three-quarters floundered in the wet.

The game sparked to life on the twenty minute mark when from a line out on the half way line Emlyn skipper Alex Williams threw an accurate long throw to Davies, this time at the back of the line. The Emlyn forwards came around on a back peel and the ball was slipped to Williams who burst through some weak tackling and charged for the line. Unfortunately he was brought down some five metres short of the line, his support was slow in arriving and Emlyn conceded a penalty for not releasing the ball allowing Newbridge to clear their lines.

The opening score came some ten minutes later and was unexpected to say the least. Newbridge won a ruck on the Emlyn ten metre line and left winger Mathew McGovern moved in to the scrum half position to pick up the ball. Instead of passing he embarked on a run initially at no great pace expecting to be tackled by the Emlyn defence. For some inexplicable reason two Emlyn forwards made, at what best could be described as feeble attempts to tackle him. Through the first line of defenders he accelerated away leaving a further three defenders grasping at shadows as he crossed under the posts for a try converted by centre Rhys Humphries.

Emlyn opened the scoring some five minutes later when winger Dan Davies kicked a penalty from the ten metre line. Newbridge replied with another penalty as half time approached when again some poor tackling by the red and whites allowed Newbridge to progress up field further than they should have and Humphries kicked a penalty goal when Emlyn were caught offside at a ruck.

Newbridge made a hash of the restart and the loose ball was hacked forward by Emlyn prop Emrys Davies. Showing commendable footballing skills the prop controlled the ball well with his feet and crossed the line for a completely unexpected try. With the conversion failing the half time whistle went with only two points separating the sides.

The start of the second half saw the home side play with real purpose and intent as they pressurised the visitors from the kick off. Newbrdige’s attempt to run the ball from inside their own twenty two nearly ended in disaster for them as Emlyn winger Llyr Jones managed to intercept a pass, but they reacted very quickly to haul him down short of the line. Jones was through a couple of minutes later but was hauled down from behind by a desperate last ditch tackle. Full back Shaun Leonard broke through their first line of defence only to find the Emlyn support non-existent and he conceded a penalty for not releasing the ball after a tackle.

Newbridge settled down, their forwards went through series after series of pick up and drive ensuring Emlyn were unable to get their hands on the ball. Their outside half Scott Williams proceeded to control the game, kicking well to the corners and bringing his backs into the game when he needed to. The elements did not help Emlyn’s efforts to run the ball but they found the Newbridge back row in impressive form as they managed to turn over Emlyn possession five times, all in the Newbridge half of the field, when the home side looked to have excellent field position. 

Newbridge’s next score came as a result of the vision of Williams when he spotted the Emlyn defence was narrow, and he threw a long miss pass out to winger Craig Duncan who crossed for a try without a hand being laid on him which Humphries converted.

The visitors dominated most of the second half territorially and Emlyn were only kept in the game through some excellent line out work by Dyfed Morgan who won a steady stream of possession which was not well used by Emlyn. Unfortunately any backs moves were nullified by the excellent Newbridge defence. It seemed to be only a matter of time before the visitors scored again and this came on the half hour mark courtesy of a scrum five metres out from the Emlyn line. The Emlyn front row of Dai Bryant, Alex Williams, and Emrys Davies and his replacement Dai Jones, had more than held their own against the visitors making a pushover try an unlikely possibility. Newbridge number eight Kyle Taylor did not hesitate and picked up the ball from the base of the scrum to force his way over the line for a try converted by Humphries.

The home side to their credit showed commendable spirit and came back at the visitors. Once again the flying winger Llyr Jones was put away only to be tackled into touch just short of the Newbridge line. But a comeback as they had done against Narberth a fortnight ago was not to be as the visitors defence held firm against anything Emlyn managed to throw against them.

A disappointing day for the home side who have two extremely difficult games coming up. Next week away to last year’s champions Bargoed and then home to the present League leaders Merthyr.     

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