11 September 2016 / Team News

Excellent away win for Emlyn


As performances go Emlyn’s first thirty minutes of this game has to rank amongst some of the best they have ever produced. The speed and tempo at which they played the game had the home side gasping for breath as they tried to stem attack after attack from the red and whites. Emlyn not only looked to spread the ball wide to their pacey wingers, Llyr Jones and debutant John Lumb, but they also took it on down the middle of the field through some barnstorming runs from backrowers Joel James and Brynmor Jones.

Despite going behind to a very early penalty kicked by Wanderers outside half Luke Fish, the visitors quickly replied with an absolute cracker of a try. Some powerful driving runs by the forwards sucked in defenders, the ball was then moved out to left wing John Lumb who stormed down his wing. When halted, the ball was quickly recycled, prop Neil Elworthy took the ball on in midfield, when he was brought down the ball was  moved out to centre Tomi Jones who threw out a long pass to winger Llyr Jones. The prolific Jones needs no second invitation when the line is in front of him and he crossed in the corner for a try excellently converted from the touchline by Nico Setaro.

That set the standard for the rest of the half as Emlyn just played the game with great pace and tempo. For once their lineout worked efficiently and second row Ryan Morgans and number eight Brynmor Jones won a great deal of quality ball, thanks in the main to the accurate throwing in of hooker Tom Curry.  Outside half Setaro and centre Tomi Jones were able to call the shots and, with flanker James always on hand to carry the ball up the middle, the home side did not know where the next attack was coming from. They did however defend manfully and ensured that the visitors had to work hard for their tries.

The second Emlyn score came after some fifteen minutes and was again due to some fine driving play by the pack, and scrum half Mike Jones was quick enough to spot that the narrow blind side was not protected at a maul some five metres out from the Wanderers line, and he shot over for an unconverted try in the corner, the conversion hitting the post. The Wanderers then came back into the game and, using their huge forwards, they managed to put together some concerted pick up and drives and were awarded a penalty on Emlyn’s ten metre line which Fish converted.

The Wanderers were really at sixes and sevens though when it came to trying to move the ball along their three quarter line with the speedy Emlyn defence, marshalled by Tomi Jones, putting a great deal of pressure on the home side when they had the ball. Emlyn’s third try came as a result of this pressure when a pass in the Wanderers midfield went astray and winger Llyr Jones kicked the ball ahead and just won the race to touch the ball down in the corner, unfortunately Setaro again found the post with his conversion.

The Emlyn travelling support, with their numbers swelled by a number of Emlyn ’ex-pats’ living in Cardiff, were not unduly concerned as to the missed kicks as the red and whites were in control of every phase of play. With the front row of props Dai Jones and Neil Elworthy, along with hooker Tom Curry, managing to hold their own against the heavyweight Wanders pack, and second rows Morgans and Dan Havard working hard in the loose and tight, captain and flanker Owain Powell was able to enjoy himself acting as the link between the pack and speedy scrum half Mike Jones.

Emlyn’s bonus point try came on the half hour mark and was again attributable to some excellent team work. From a line out in their own half the ball was worked through a series of rucks and eventually ended up in the hands of right winger Jones. With the line at his mercy the winger unselfishly passed inside to the supporting John Lumb and the left winger crossed wide out for his first try for the red and whites, the conversion was only just wide of the mark.

With halftime approaching Fish landed another penalty for the home side but then on the stroke of half time the visitors gifted the home team a converted try. A seemingly harmless looking clearance kick from inside the Wanderers twenty two should have been cleared to touch but the Emlyn defenders took too long deciding what to do. The clearance kick was charged down, the resultant ball bobbed around in the in goal area until a defender managed to minor it. From the resultant five metre scrum the Emlyn pack managed to stop two attempted push over tries, the ball was then moved to the bulky Fish at outside half and he was impossible to stop at such close range and he crossed by the posts to cut the half time deficit to just six points.

The first fifteen minutes of the second half saw the home side rampant as they used their big forwards to pick up and go from the base of rucks and the smaller Emlyn pack were forced to defend desperately. The next try when it arrived, after some seven minutes, was no less than the home side deserved. A series of drives close to the Emlyn line eventually saw replacement flanker Curtis Hocks force his way over for a try converted by Fish to give the home side a one point lead.

They extended their lead two minutes later when an Emlyn player lost possession forward after a kick on the half way line and the Wanderers quickly counter attacked. Giving the visitors a taste of their own medicine they moved the ball from one side of the field to the other until Fish sold an outrageous dummy to cross under the posts for a try he converted. With Powell off the field injured, acting captain Shaun Leonard gave the side a real tongue lashing behind the posts and to their credit the side responded to his call. Coach Marc Lloyd also used his bench effectively and the two hard working props Jones and Elworthy were replaced by Emrys and Gethin Davies, Gareth Thomson replaced Powell, and Rhys Davies came on instead of Dan Havard.

Emlyn started to come more into the game and were awarded a penalty on the Wanderers ten metre line which Shaun Leonard converted into the breeze to bring the visitors a potential losing bonus point. The red and whites were being rattled by the increased intensity shown by the homes side’s forwards who continually drove up field with pick and drive from rucks. Led by Joel James and Emrys Davies, time and again the Emlyn pack drove the home side backwards in the tackle but turnovers were few and far between.

With fifteen minutes to go influential number eight Brynmor Jones had to leave the field with a serious looking shoulder injury. The Emlyn side had to be re-jigged with Dafydd Evans coming on at scrum half, Mike Jones moved to the wing, Llyr Jones to centre, and Tomi Jones to flanker. Then almost against the run of play Emlyn scored again. Moving the ball inside their own twenty two, Mike Jones showed a great turn of speed to round his winger, chipped infield when the cover was coming over. Tomi Jones picked up the ball and kicked it deep into the Wanderers twenty two. Wanderers were penalised for not releasing the ball, Nico Setaro took a quick tap, grubber kicked the ball over the line and when he was just going to dive on the ball in the corner for a try found himself tackled without the ball. The excellent referee Sean Bricknell had no hesitation in awarding Emlyn a penalty try and Setaro added the extra points.

Emlyn continued in trying to run any ball they had back at the Wanderers, who had themselves made some important substitutions, taking off their two biggest forwards and replacing them with lighter more mobile players. Another Emlyn attack saw them awarded a penalty on the ten metre line which Leonard kicked to open the gap to five points. With time running out the Wanderers really came hard at Emlyn and it took two excellent tackles by full back James Owens and winger John Lumb to stop almost certain tries being scored.

With time running out Emlyn found themselves camped on their own line thanks mainly to some very dubious touch judging. A line out led to a scrum for the home team five metres out from the Emlyn line and things looked ominous for the visitors. The pack though, led by the front row, gathered themselves and shunted the home forwards back some ten metres. They managed to retain possession but were under such pressure from Emlyn that they conceded a penalty. The referee informed Emlyn that there was still time for a line out and rather than risk that, Leonard set up a ruck from a quick tap, and showing tremendous composure the forwards went through another two phases before Setaro kicked the ball off the field to bring an exciting game to its conclusion.

Next week Emlyn are home to Narberth in the West Wales derby and undoubtedly the Otters will be looking for revenge having lost to the red and whites twice last season.


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