08 January 2017 / Team News

Last gasp defeat for Emlyn


Gutted – there is no other word to describe the feelings of Emlyn players, coaches, and supporters at the end of this pulsating game of rugby. In the eighty sixth minute with Emlyn down to thirteen men, Beddau centre Tyler Wells crossed under the posts to give the visitors the lead for the first time in the match. When outside half Hywel Chatham added the extra points the final whistle was blown by referee Peter Evans to bring to an end a pulsating match which literally was a game of two halves.

The first half belonged to the red and whites who dominated proceedings and led by fifteen points to nil at the interval and on another day it could have been a lot more. To their credit the visitors clawed their way back into the game and ended up placing the home forwards under a great deal of pressure especially at scrum time.

Mindful of the hammering they had had up in Beddau at the start of the season, for once Emlyn came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders. Their scrum was dominant with props Emrys and Gethin Davies along with stand in hooker Neil Elworthy having excellent first halves. Elworthy had a fine all round game carrying the ball well on a number of occasions. It was initially from a scrum that Emlyn opened the scoring, when number eight Brynmor Jones picked up from the base on Beddau’s ten metre line, and some nice inter-passing between himself, flanker Gethin Davies and scrum half Dafydd Evans saw the scrum half cross in the corner for the first try of the match.

The heavy rain on Friday had made conditions very slippery to say the least, and Emlyn opted for a more conservative approach by kicking the ball long and looking to play a territorial game. When in Beddau’s half they did look to run the ball and the visitors were always alert to the possibility of counter attacking. Emlyn outside half Mitchell Jones, playing his first game of the season, along with Shaun Leonard had an excellent first half controlling matters with their long kicks downfield. The mystery to most Emlyn watchers was why they did not continue with this tactic in the second half.

Beddau did, for a short time, put the Emlyn line under pressure in the opening quarter but their attempt to score a try form a line out and catch and drive was thwarted by Emlyn flanker Joel James who managed to get his hands on the ball and halt the driving maul. With Emlyn being awarded the scrum put in they were able to comfortably clear their lines. The underfoot conditions were having an effect on the game and a number of promising moves by both sides were halted by a player slipping or dropping the greasy ball.

The Emlyn centres, Richard Hope and Tomi Jones, put in some thunderous tackles on their opponents every time Beddau tried moving the ball and using their speedy backs. Emlyn nearly added to their score when from a line out on the Beddau ten metre a loose ball was picked up by Joel James who burst through a couple of would be tacklers only to be brought down some five metres from the line. Emlyn were awarded a penalty kick and acting captain, Emrys Davies, opted for a scrum instead of the kick at goal and an almost certain three points. Beddau managed to turn the scrum as Emlyn drove for the line forcing Jones to pick up at number eight.

Two rucks later Beddau flanker Jordan Goodwin was yellow carded for stamping all over the legs of an Emlyn player. Davies again declined the three points opting for another scrum. Again Beddau managed to wheel the scrum and disrupt the Emlyn drive and from the resultant play Emlyn knocked on and Beddau were able to clear their lines. With the Emlyn pack the dominant force in the scrum it was puzzling that the referee did not see anything wrong with the visitors’ tactics at these vital scrums close to their line.

With second rows Ryan Morgans and Dan Havard winning useful line out ball Emlyn were able to stay camped in the Beddau half, but found the visitors defence difficult to breach. They did extend their lead in the thirty fifth minute when Jones stole a ball from a line out on Beddau’s ten metre line. Brought down some ten metres short of the line Beddau managed to steal the ball and attempted to clear their line. The clearance kick fell into the arms of winger Dan Davies, he fed full back Shaun Leonard who spotted a gap in the defence and glided through it, drew the full back and passed back to Davies for the winger to score a try which he also converted.

Almost from the restart another dropped pass by Beddau was pounced on by Emlyn hooker Elworthy who stormed through some would be tacklers, linked with hard working flanker Gethin Davies, who had an excellent match until he dislocated his shoulder, he in turn tried to pass to Joel James but the pass was low and the flanker knocked on. From the resultant scrum, scrumhalf Dafydd Evans harried his opposite number into making a poor pass, centre Richard Hope was quickly up on Beddau and forced them to concede a penalty for not releasing the ball after a tackle. This time Davies did opt for the kick at goal and Dan Davies converted the penalty kick to give Emlyn a deserved half time lead.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first with the difference being it was the visitors who dominated proceedings. After two minutes Emlyn were forced back to near their own line when their backs were penalised for off side. As per the first half Emlyn, led by Joel James managed to stop the catch and drive but the visitors prop Stephens decided to take the law into his own hands and went for James causing a massive punch up. When things calmed down referee Evans yellow carded the prop and James and awarded Beddau a penalty which Hywel Chatham converted to open their scoring.

It has to be said that as the game progressed referee Evans looked completely out of his depth. It was a fast, hard game but he refused to play any sort of advantage to either side and was undoubtedly influenced by the constant barrage of advice he was getting from the Beddau coaching staff who seemed to spend most of the half on the field of play yelling at him.

Beddau’s first try of the game came after some fifteen minutes and was nothing if not controversial. Their excellent full back Callum Wheeler made a lovely break from a line out move and scythed through the Emlyn defence to feed winger Joe Casella. Desperate Emlyn defence got across and looked to have tackled the winger into touch just before he grounded the ball, and the touch judge raised his flag. Referee Evans from at least ten metres away ruled that Casella was not in touch and awarded Beddau a try.

As the game moved into its final quarter injuries began to play their part in the proceedings. Centre Richard Hope had to leave the field resulting in a reshuffle of the Emlyn back line with Llyr Jones moving to outside centre, scrum half Dafydd Evans to wing and Mike Jones coming on to play scrum half. Captain Emrys Davies and fellow prop Gethin Davies had to leave the field with leg injuries, and flanker Davies was replaced by Gareth Patterson.

Approaching the half hour mark it was Beddau who fell foul of the referee when from a seemingly innocuous ruck on the half way line he decided that the Beddau full back had entered from the wrong side and yellow carded Wheeler.

With Beddau trying everything they could to add to their score the tension was palpable in the stands as the red and whites defended bravely. When they did manage to get into the Beddau half they found Evans quick to penalise, so that Chatham could send them back into their own half. There was even the almost farcical situation when from just outside his twenty two Chatham kicked over the heads of the advancing Emlyn line, slipped and fell while chasing his kick. Evans ruled that an Emlyn player must have tripped him, although there wasn’t an Emlyn player near him, and awarded a kick from where the ball landed, allowing the outside half to drive play deep into the Emlyn half again.

Approaching full time Beddau were awarded another penalty on the Emlyn ten metre line. Replacement scrum half David Francis took a quick tap penalty and ran at the Emlyn defenders who sensibly ran back with him allowing him to go ten metres. The scrum half cleverly then deliberately ran into Emlyn flanker Gareth Patterson and Evans ruled the flanker had prevented him going the ten metres and yellow carded him.

With Emlyn down to fourteen men, Beddau kicked for the corner and finally manged to get a drive going in which the backs joined in and eventually were awarded the try scored by winger Cody Baker, surprisingly Chatham missed the conversion. With time running out the Emlyn faithful were hoping against hope that their side would be able to hold out for a win. However when another Beddau attack floundered against some determined Emlyn defence referee Evans ruled that Llyr Jones had strayed off side at a ruck and yellow carded him. Against a side of Beddau’s quality, to defend such a small lead was a big ask for any side and despite the injuries Emlyn had suffered the players concerned had left the field almost immediately, thus the addition of six minutes to the half was mystifying. However that was what happened and centre Tyler Wells scythed through to get the winning score for the visitors.

This was, especially in the first half, a much improved Emlyn performance and gave the coaching team a number of positives to work on. One can only hope that the injuries to certain players are not serious and that they will be available for next week’s important trip to Newbridge followed by the home game against Glynneath.  

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