29 November 2015 / Team News

Bargoed and weather too much for Emlyn


This result would have come as no great surprise to the majority of Emlyn followers as the red and whites made their first ever trip to the Rhymney Valley. Their hosts Bargoed won the Championship last season only losing one game in the process and are working hard to try and ensure that they are one of the four sides who will be promoted to the Premiership next season. Whether or not they achieve that ambition remains to be seen but they have certainly assembled a side which will allow them to compete with the best in the Premiership.

On a very windy, wet, afternoon both sides managed to serve up a creditable game due in no small part to the excellent refereeing on Mr. Gwyn Morris. The score in fact does not really reflect the game when the statistics are looked at in closer detail. Emlyn won a great deal of line out ball mainly through Dyfed Morgan, their scrum was solid for most of the game, and their back line threatened on a number of occasions. However as they are finding out to their cost, the Championship is a tough, unforgiving league, and lapses in concentration and mistakes are punished and half chances have to be taken.

The visitors started positively and it was very much against the run of play that Bargoed opened the scoring after seven minutes through a long range penalty by their outside half Mathew Hurley. Emlyn took the game to the home side and some excellent high kicks by outside half Dyfan Dafydd and full back Shaun Leonard saw the home side put under some pressure. In their attempt to run the ball back at Emlyn, Bargoed lost possession just on their own twenty two metre line and excellent Emlyn scrum half Dafydd Evans spotted an opportunity on the blind side of the ruck and fed number eight Gareth Thomson. Unfortunately for Emlyn ‘white line fever’ took hold of the young number eight and he ignored two men free outside him and went for the line only to be held up over it. The heavy rain meant that the ball became like a bar of soap and Emlyn were unable to control the ball at the resultant scrum allowing Bargoed to hack the ball away from their line.

This did not deter Emlyn who continued to try and play an expansive game when in Bargoed’s half of the field. An excellent long pass by Dafydd put Leonard into acres of room on the ten metre line and it took some excellent defending by the home left wing Gareth Dare to stop Leonard being able to pass to the flying Llyr Jones. Leonard was eventually forced into touch deep inside the Bargoed twenty two metre area.

With thirty minutes gone nearly all the pressure and rugby had come from the visitors, but due in no small part to the awful conditions, and a committed home defence they found the line impossible to cross. Emlyn did attempt two penalty kicks at goal in this half by Leonard but the strong cross wind made any attempted kick at goal a difficult proposition for all kickers.

Then very much against the run of play Bargoed shoved Emlyn back at a scrum on Bargoed’s ten metre line. Emlyn conceded a penalty kick and Hurley kicked for touch in the Emlyn half. From the resultant line out the Bargoed forwards executed an excellent catch and drive. As they marched towards the Emlyn line the red and whites tried desperately to stop the drive, penalised for collapsing the maul to the extent that they conceded a penalty try and prop Emrys Davies went to the sin bin for ten minutes. Hurley added the extra points.

Half time saw both sides take shelter from the storm and the home side were fortunate to be able as well to change their jerseys. The start of the second half saw the home side exert a great deal of pressure on the Emlyn line. Emlyn flankers Callum Evans and Gethin Davies tackled their hearts out in order to stop the relentless Bargoed attacks. Unfortunately the same could not be said of every Emlyn player, and a series of missed tackles saw Bargoed advance to the Emlyn line where prop Andrew Gardner crashed over for another try converted by Hurley to extend the home side’s lead.

Bargoed were penalised from the restart but Daniel Davies saw his penalty effort just go wide of the posts.  The game was still very much in the balance at this time, but gradually the more experienced home side forwards began to take control of matters. After seventeen minutes two attempted pushover tries were thwarted by Emlyn only for the quick thinking Bargoed skipper and hooker Lee Meads to take a quick tap penalty and cross for a try converted by Hurley.

Emlyn were not deterred and the forwards surged on by combative scrum half Dafydd Evans and with prop Emrys Davies and second row Bleddyn Davies carrying well, came back at their opponents. With fresh legs in the front row with club captain Alex Williams and debutant Neil Elworthy, replacing veterans Bedwyr Davies and Dai Bryant who both had excellent games, the Emlyn scrum again provided a platform for the backs to work off.

From a scrum deep in the Bargoed twenty two Evans, at scrum half, neatly switched the focus of the attack to the blind side and his pass saw the speedy Dan Davies outstrip the home defenders for an unconverted try in the corner.

The next ten minutes of play saw Emlyn yet again being guilty of taking their foot off the throttle. An inability to clear their lines, two attempted clearance kicks being charged down, saw home centre Lewis Protheroe fall on the ball over the Emlyn line for the simplest of tries. Then some absolutely terrible attempts at tackling enabled Bargoed’s other centre Darren Humphries to run from almost the half way line to cross for a try converted by Nial Martin.

To their credit, inspired by skipper Williams, Emlyn did spend the last five minutes of the game hammering away at the Bargoed line. Winger Llyr Jones was brought down from behind as he tried to accelerate away. Replacement outside half Barry Thomas made a lovely outside break but was thwarted by the Bargoed outside defenders who turned and ran with their opponents, thus cutting out the try scoring pass. Prop Emrys Davies had one surging twenty metre run but threw a rather speculative pass out to his supporting players.

Next week Emlyn face the might of runaway League leaders Merthyr at Dol Wiber and if nothing else spectators will have the opportunity of seeing the likes of ex-Wales and British Lion Andy Powell, as well as a host of full time professional players playing for the first time ever in Emlyn.     


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