16 October 2016 / Team News

Satisfactory win for Emlyn


The last time these two sides met at Dol Wiber it ended up in a high scoring draw as both teams have reputations for running the ball and playing fast, open entertaining rugby. Sadly Saturday’s encounter did not live up to expectations due in no small part to referee Neil Jones who had at best an indifferent game. Jones did not allow the game to flow and this led to a great deal of frustration by players on both sides and the game was marred by a number of off-the-ball scuffles, and the incessant sound of the whistle more often than not penalising the attacking side.

The start of the match augured well for an entertaining afternoon with the weather set fair and no discernible wind to favour either side. Emlyn went into an early lead when some powerful running by prop Emrys Davies and skipper Alex Williams took play deep into the Dunvant twenty two. Swift recycling of the ball saw Shaun Leonard, playing at centre, put in a lovely cross kick for winger Dan Davies to win the race for the touchdown for a try which he was just unable to convert.

The Emlyn pack started the game in the best possible fashion, taking the game to their opponents, and it was undoubtedly their best performance of the season. They pressurised the visitors at every possible phase of play, with their work in the loose being especially noteworthy. For the first time this season they played as a unit against opponents who were highly competitive. It is to their credit, despite falling foul of some confusing refereeing decisions, they managed to keep their composure and, especially in the second half, maintain a territorial stranglehold on the match.

Winger Davies has yet to find his form with the boot and failed with two more penalty attempts in the first ten minutes. In between these efforts Dunvant outside half James Davies was on target with a long range effort to open their account. Davies was successful with a penalty when a concerted attack by the home side looked to have brought a score for flanker Brynmor Jones, making a welcome return from injury, only to be brought back for a forward pass. Referee Jones then awarded Emlyn a penalty in front of the posts and sent Dunvant flanker Sam Tucker to the sin-bin for slowing the ball down at the ruck.

Emlyn extended their lead a couple of minutes later when Shaun Leonard, who had taken over the place kicking, converted a penalty from the half way line. Emlyn’s one man advantage was short lived when second row Dan Havard was sent to the bin for a dangerous tackle. Outside half Davies kicked the resulting penalty to bring the visitors back within five points of the home side.

When Dunvant returned to full strength they put the Emlyn line under a huge amount of pressure. To their credit the red and white forwards showed a lot more determination in defence than they have done all season and time after time Dunvant attacks close to the ruck were repelled by the home pack. Eventually Emlyn were awarded a penalty and Leonard cleared the home side’s line with a monstrous fifty metre kick to touch.  As half time approached play became extremely scrappy with the whistle dominating proceedings. Leonard was just wide with another long range penalty effort but on the stroke of half time he did extend Emlyn’s lead with another penalty goal after some excellent harassing at a scrum by scrum half Dafydd Evans, who had an excellent match.

The second half saw the visitors attack the Emlyn line from the kick off. To their credit the Emlyn midfield, of outside half Barry Thomas, and centres Alun Howells and Leonard, defended really well and managed to nullify the threat posed by powerful Dunvant centre Sam Crowley. Dunvant did manage to cross the Emlyn line after some eight minutes in rather bizarre circumstances to say the least. A series of forward drives down the right hand side of the field was halted and Dunvant moved the ball along the three-quarter line. A crunching tackle by Howells looked to have spilled the ball from a Dunvant player’s grasp. Referee Jones seemed to concur as his arm went out signalling he was playing advantage to Emlyn. Dunvant managed to flick the ball out to their full back Adam Williams-Parry who carried on running to the Emlyn line, referee Jones lowered his arm and then ran across to award the try to Williams –Parry. James Davies converted the try to bring Dunvant within a point of Emlyn.

From the restart Dunvant struggled to clear their twenty-two as Emlyn tackled and competed for the ball at the contact area. When they did manage to drive up to their twenty two such was the pressure they were under that their hooker Ceri Davies decided to take the law into his own hands in his efforts to clear Emlyn players away from the tackle area. Unfortunately for him referee Jones was standing right behind him and had no hesitation in red carding the hooker. Leonard kicked the resultant penalty to extend Emlyn’s lead to four points.

Unfortunately for the home side the heavens opened and the rest of the match was played in heavy rain and, with the score as tight as it was, Emlyn rightly opted to keep things tight. Number eight Luke Kendall and skipper Alex Williams, were immense with their carries and they were ably supported by every member of the pack. With scrum half Dafydd Evans controlling matters behind them he ensured that Dunvant were pinned back into their half for long periods. That Emlyn found it difficult to cross the visitor’s line was not down to a lack of effort on their part, but it seemed every time they put together a series of controlled drives and approached the Dunvant line they would fall foul of the man with the whistle.

Without their regular hooker throwing in Dunvant struggled for possession as the Emlyn pack competed effectively at the line out with second rows Havard and Ryan Morgans, along with flanker Gareth Thomson dominating possession. This enabled Emlyn to quickly return to the offensive and the attitude of the whole team was a marked improvement compared to previous games. Dunvant hardly came into the Emlyn half at all, but on one trip just inside the Emlyn half they were penalised, but referee Jones then reversed the kick and Davies brought them back to within a point with fifteen minutes to go.

Coach Lloyd emptied his bench and the fresh legs brought even more impetus to Emlyn’s attacks. The rest of the pack responded to the driving runs of Kendall and the number eight showed what a quality player he is with some excellent all round play and linking with Evans at the base of the scrum. After another series of drives Dunvant just managed to clear their lines but from the lineout replacement hooker Tom Curry found Morgans in the middle of the line and the Emlyn pack drove over the line with the unconverted try being accredited to Curry.

This was a much improved performance by the red and whites and with two extremely difficult games coming up away to Tata Steel, followed by a home game against runaway leaders Pontypool, one can only hope that Emlyn will be extremely competitive in these matches.  



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