24 September 2017 / Team News

Woeful Emlyn


There were many in the Newcastle Emlyn camp who thought during pre-season that with the return of certain players, who had spent last season traveling, the red and whites would be serious contenders for a top four finish in the Championship. Unfortunately, based on the evidence of the season to date and especially last Saturday, they will do well to avoid relegation. To say Emlyn were poor in Trebanos would be a huge understatement. They had not been particularly good in their previous games, losing two matches they should have won and allowing Tata Steel to come back into a game and nearly sneak a victory at the death. This team should not need telling that the Championship is not only the pinnacle of the amateur club game in Wales but, by its very definition, is the most competitive. In their third season they should realise that unless they are mentally attuned to the challenge they will get hammered as happened last Saturday. There were a few notable exceptions with number eight Brynmor Jones turning in an exceptional performance as he almost took on the home forwards on his own with some powerful and elusive running. He was closely followed by flanker Gareth Thomson, scrum half Mike Jones, and inside centre Steffan Evans who tried his best to galvanise the rest of his three-quarters.

Trebanos were a joy to watch, refusing to kick for position and preferring to run the ball even from their own line. They were organised, disciplined and more importantly all worked for each other as they looked to cement their place in the Championship. There were no complicated moves, they just passed the ball and supported each other with everyone playing their roles to the best of their abilities. In their half backs, Lucas and Humphries, they had the perfect combination to maintain a high attacking tempo throughout the game. They profited from Emlyn’s generosity in missing first time tackles, lack of accuracy in some passes and failure to take perfectly good passes under pressure.

Possibly there were mitigating circumstances for the red and whites in that they were minus nine players either through injury or unavailability but everyone that donned the jersey at the start had previous Championship experience. They undoubtedly missed their injured, inspirational skipper Alex Williams who hopefully will be back in action next week, and they also missed the talent and competitiveness of full back Shaun Leonard who looks as if he could be out for a lengthy period.

The writing was on the wall from the first kick off when no Emlyn forward moved to catch the ball, allowing it to bounce back into Trebanos hands. From the ruck Steffan Evans was up quickly in defence, intercepted a pass and looked to be away for a clean run to the line only for the excellent referee Kelvin Shorte to rule Evans offside, and Mathew Edwards converted the simple penalty to open the scoring for the home side. Emlyn’s reply was almost immediate but full back Dan Davies pushed a relatively easy penalty attempt wide of the Trebanos posts.

The first hint of what was to come came shortly afterwards when Emlyn constructed an attack which took them into the Trebanos twenty two only for the ball to be knocked forward by an Emlyn player into the hands of a defender. They immediately counter attacked and were halted on the Emlyn twenty two just in from touch where, from the resultant ruck, Trebanos outside centre Tom Dew strolled through a would be tackle to score a try converted by Mathew Edwards. They increased their lead within a few minutes when some more  poor tackling allowed left winger Kieron Whiteman to cross by the posts for another try converted by Edwards.

The writing looked to be on the wall for a humiliating defeat when Trebanos scored again from a scrum on the half way line and the ball was conventionally moved along their back line to winger Sam Davies who just brushed aside the last Emlyn defender to cross for their third try, converted by Edwards. During this period Emlyn had managed to get into the Trebanos twenty two on three occasions with exactly the same result – the ball was knocked forward by an Emlyn attacker.

With half time approaching Emlyn camped in the Trebanos twenty two and for once patiently went through a series of controlled attacks and eventually the outstanding number eight Brynmor Jones  managed to evade a couple of would be tacklers and power his way over  for Emlyn’s opening score, converted by Dan Davies. Davies then added a penalty goal just on half time and the Emlyn supporters hoped it was a sign of a revival by the red and whites.

It was not to be though, and the second half started off badly for the visitors when Tom Dew again ghosted through some poor tackling to get the bonus point try for the home side, converted by Edwards. Prop Gethin Davies left the field with an injured shoulder, to be replaced by veteran Dai Bryant, and with both coaches emptying their benches the game lost a great deal of continuity. For Emlyn, Aled Jones replaced Gareth Thomson, Dyfan Dafydd replaced Mitchell Jones, Dafydd Evans replaced Kami Nakove, and player coach Arwel Davies replaced Dylan Davies.

The home side continued to play flowing rugby and it came as no surprise when they came down into the Emlyn twenty-two after some twenty five minutes and from a scrum five metres out were eventually awarded a penalty try. Emlyn did manage to find some energy and from the restart they took play into Trebanos’ twenty-two and a strong run by centre Steffan Evans saw him cross for a try under the posts. Unfortunately for Dan Davies it just about summed up his day when he managed to miss the conversion from in front of the posts.

Trebanos were spurred into life by the Emlyn score and were helped by a number of the Emlyn side looking as if they could hardly wait for the final whistle and they added two further tries from full back Mathew Edwards and hooker Rhys Thomas, both converted by Edwards, to round off a thoroughly abject performance by the red and whites.

Emlyn now have two consecutive home matches against Glynneath and Rhydyfelin and everyone connected with the club must be hoping that the side can put in a much improved and more committed performance to put the smiles back on the faces of their loyal supporters.

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