23 October 2016 / Team News

Last gasp bonus point for Emlyn


Despite the scoreline this was a far better performance by Emlyn than the score suggests as they turned in their best away performance of the season at Tata Steel on Saturday. Realistically, Emlyn should have been pleased in scoring four tries, but on another day with a little bit of luck they could have ended up scoring eight tries in a performance which summed up the inconsistencies which have plagued them this season. On occasions the red and whites were quite brilliant in attack, on occasions in defence they were absolutely woeful, conceding some very, very soft tries.

They conceded two ‘soft’ tries in the first fifteen minutes, the first one to Tata Steel’s outside half Liam Popham who just brushed some half dozen would be tacklers aside to score under the posts for a try converted by scrum half Rhodri Cole. The second followed shortly after, when poor tackling allowed Tata to set up a ruck in the Emlyn twenty two and scrum half Cole cleverly used the referee as a shield to dart through a gap to score a try he converted himself.

Things were beginning to look pretty grim for the red and whites at this point especially with the ease at which Tata forwards were allowed to gain ground and burst through would be tackles. Emlyn did manage to tighten up their game and their gain line defence, led by outside half Dyfan Dafydd, was very positive and aggressive in cutting down the time and space Tata had to deploy their backs. Dafydd in fact was a big plus point for Emlyn and his ability to take the ball flat and get his backs running on to the ball at speed was a revelation.

Gradually Emlyn worked their way back into the game and after a series of rucks Tata were penalised just inside their half but Leonard’s long range effort was just wide of the mark. Two minutes later he had another chance much closer to the posts and he made no mistake to open the scoring for the visitors.

If anything this seemed to galvanise the home side and with the powerful running of flanker Scott Malone and number eight Mathew Llewelyn causing Emlyn no end of problems the home side quickly set up camp in the Emlyn twenty two. There was a certain inevitability about the next try with the home side, when awarded a penalty, opting for the kick to touch and drive from the ensuing line out. Emlyn did manage to repel a couple of drives but eventually Tata got everything right and hooker Dan Vella was accredited with the try converted by Cole. Their fourth bonus point try followed soon after and had an element of good fortune about it as the final scoring pass to Cole was definitely forward but despite being directly in line with it referee Kibble allowed play to continue and the scrum half converted his own score. Things were looking pretty grim for Emlyn at this point with the home side obtaining an endless supply of ball and running at what was, on occasions, a very porous Emlyn defence.

However, at last showing some grit and determination, with Dyfan Dafydd making excellent use of whatever Emlyn possession they managed to obtain, the red and whites gradually worked their way downfield. For once it was Tata’s defence that began to look brittle as Dafydd and centres Alun Howells and Rhys Schiavone ran at them. From a series of rucks in Tata’s twenty two, scrum half Dafydd Evans broke on the blind side and reverse passed behind him to the ever supporting prop Emrys Davies who galloped over under the posts without a hand being laid on him, Leonard added the extra points.

Emlyn continued to attack Tata from all parts of the field and the home side were forced to defend desperately, often illegally. A break from midfield by Dafydd was carried on by the forwards, the ball was moved wide and flanker Joel James passed out to Shaun Leonard. The full back was brought down by a desperate tackle, Emlyn won quick ruck ball and scrum half Evans passed back inside to the supporting Emrys Davies. Unfortunately for Emlyn a Tata player decided to tackle the prop before the ball reached him and the try scoring chance was lost. From the ensuing penalty Emlyn decided to kick to touch but unfortunately lost the line out enabling the home side to clear their lines.

Emlyn dominated the start of the second half and looked to have scored a try through winger Dan Davies after just two minutes, but referee Kibble ruled the final pass forward despite its similarity to the forward pass he ignored in the first half leading to a Tata try. Both sides were running the ball from all parts of the field and the second half was played at an exhilarating pace.  Spectators and players alike were aware that it was important for the game that the next score should come from the red and whites and it so nearly did. An attempted clearance kick from inside the Emlyn twenty two was partially charged down by Tata. Showing great alertness Emlyn second row Ryan Morgans realised he had been played onside by the charge down, picked up the ball and began to run downfield. He found prop Emrys Davies in support and he then fed hooker Tom Curry, with players either side of him Curry passed to Joel James and the flanker looked certain to score only to be brought down a couple of metres from the line.

But it was the home side who eventually scored next after some twenty minutes when they declined a penalty kick at goal, opted for the kick to touch, line out and from the resultant catch and drive captain and flanker David Griggs was awarded an unconverted try. Disaster struck Emlyn from the restart when they won the ball from the kick off but then lost it at a ruck in the Tata twenty two. Showing great adventure Tata attacked and some excellent support play eventually led to impressive flanker Scott Malone crossing for a try converted by Lewis Evans.

The introduction from the bench of Mike Jones, Alex Williams, Jack Parry and Bleddyn Davies brought fresh legs to the Emlyn performance and the extra pace of Jones at scrum half began to pose problems for Tata. A break by number eight Brynmor Jones took play deep into Tata’s twenty two and his potentially scoring pass to flanker James was rather cynically stopped by a Tata player pulling the flanker back from behind. From the resultant penalty Emlyn worked a nice wrap around move for Mike Jones to cross for a try converted by Leonard.

Such was the end to end nature of the second half, with Emlyn’s defence still on occasions leaving a great deal to be desired, that Tata added two more tries before the red and whites scored again. Their tries coming from winger Jordan Skidmore and a length of the field move started and finished by Popham, now playing at full back, converted by Lewis Evans.     

To their credit Emlyn continued to run the ball at the home side and with five minutes to go scored their third try when from another movement, begun again by second row Ryan Morgans, the ball eventually reached right winger Llyr Davies who crossed in the corner for an unconverted try. With time running out Emlyn’s hopes of a fourth bonus point try looked to be receding, as they failed to gather the restart and Tata were awarded the line out on the Emlyn twenty two.

Fortunately for the red and whites the line out led to a ruck, and Tata were penalised. Leonard, with a huge touch finder, took play within ten metres of the Tata line. As has often happened Emlyn managed to lose the ball at the line out, but fortunately Tata knocked on and Emlyn were awarded the scrum. Defending desperately from the scrum Tata were penalised twice in quick succession and when Mike Jones took another quick tap penalty five metres out only to be tackled before he had gone more than a metre  referee Kibble’s patience was exhausted and he awarded Emlyn a penalty try which Leonard converted and the game was over.


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