16 April 2018 / Team News

Excellent home win for Emlyn


On a warm, sunny, spring like afternoon Emlyn at last put together a performance which brought smiles to the faces of the large crowd at Dol Wiber. In a hugely entertaining game the red and whites ran in five converted tries in a victory which assures them of their place in the Championship next season. Matches against Beddau have always been competitive and Saturday’s proved to be no exception as the visitors brought a pack of forwards who scrummaged effectively all afternoon as they looked to dominate the Emlyn eight.

The potential for this to be a real banana skin for Emlyn had been evident all week as with injuries, and unavailability due to other commitments the red and whites had a complete set of forwards out. The Emlyn coaches had to delve deeply into the club’s reserves and call upon second team youngsters Aled Jones at hooker, and prop Dafydd Davies as a front row replacement. To their credit they both had excellent games with Jones being especially prominent in the loose with some excellent ball carrying. The whole pack worked exceptionally hard, none more so than second row Bleddyn Davies, flankers Callum Evans and Steven Leonard who not only tackled their hearts out but also carried the ball well in the loose. Davies’ second row partner Dyfed Morgan also had a fruitful day at the line out winning a steady stream of possession.  Pack leader and prop Dai Jones led by example with some excellent scrummaging and along with Leonard was probably Emlyn’s leading ball carrier.

Things looked ominous for the home team when the visitors opened the scoring after just five minutes. After a series of scrums on the Emlyn line which had to be reset referee Gavin Roberts eventually ruled that Emlyn were the guilty party and awarded the visitors a penalty try. At this stage Emlyn had not really had any worthwhile possession and when they did manage to get their hands on the ball scrum half Mike Jones, a thorn in Beddau’s side all afternoon, made a lovely break, linked with winger Dan Davies who was brought down on the Beddau twenty two metre line. Beddau were penalised at the ruck and outside half Mitchell Jones converted the penalty kick to open the socring for the home team.

It soon became apparent that Emlyn had the speedier three quarter line but Beddau the more powerful scrummaging unit and it was just a question as to how much worthwhile possession Emlyn could manage to obtain to release their backs. The problem was eventually solved by the referee who decided after a series of scrums on the half way line which had to be re-set time after time, that it was Emlyn’s tight head prop, the veteran Dai Bryant, who was solely responsible for all the disruption at the scrum and he sin binned Bryant. Unfortunately for Beddau Emlyn’s replacement prop young Dafydd Davies normally plays loose head and the game had to go to uncontested scrums for ten minutes.

Within a couple of minutes of the sin binning Emlyn took the lead with an attack from inside their own twenty two metre area. From a scrum the ball was rapidly moved out wide and into the hands of Emlyn full back Ashley Sutton. The speedy Sutton, whose runs from deep posed problems for Beddau all afternoon, quickly rounded the opposite winger and when faced with the full back chipped over his head, gathered the bouncing ball to score a superb individual try which Mitchell Jones converted.

Emlyn now, despite being down to fourteen men, ran the ball from anywhere on the field with number eight Brynmor Jones being especially prominent with his carrying and off loading out of the tackle. Emlyn’s second try soon followed when inside centre and acting captain Steffan Evans, made a lovely break from the half way line and found scrum half Mike Jones on his shoulder supporting him. The speedy Jones when he received the inside pass accelerated away from any defenders to sprint some thirty metres to score under the posts, for Mitchell to convert.

With the return of Bryant saw the Emlyn eight manage to tighten up their scrummaging and Beddau were not able to capitalise on their earlier superiority. This meant that they also decided to run the ball hoping that their big wingers would make inroads against the smaller home backs. They did not reckon though on the defensive qualities of the Emlyn flankers and time after time Evans and Leonard in combination with their centres Evans and Llyr Jones nullified any Beddau attack. As half time approached Beddau centre Adam Ashford eventually and unexpectedly broke through the Emlyn defence to score a try converted by outside half Hywel Chatham, to bring the visitors within three points of Emlyn at half time.

The second half followed a similar pattern to the first half and proved to be immensely entertaining as both sides ran the ball at every opportunity. With a slight breeze at their backs Emlyn outside half Mitchell Jones showed excellent control by sometimes kicking long down field but keeping the ball in play rather than kicking for touch, thus forcing Beddau to run the ball back at Emlyn. This paid dividends for Emlyn when Beddau were forced to concede a scrum some five metres from their line. Emlyn went through the phases and despite some tenacious defence by the visitors eventually Mike Jones popped a pass up out of the tackle for the supporting Brynmor Jones to cross for a try converted by Mitchell Jones.

Disaster struck from the kick off when despite the forwards catching and driving the ball up to the ten metre line, instead of using the short pass to the forwards to carry on taking the ball downfield Jones decided to throw a long pass out to his threequarters. Unfortunately for Emlyn, Beddau outside half Chatham read the play and intercepted the pass to sprint some forty metres to score a try which he was unable to convert.

With only five points separating the two sides the next score was going to be vital for the outcome of the match and it was nearly the visitors who got that all important score. From a ruck on the Emlyn ten metre line visiting second row Sam Tilley burst through some poor Emlyn tackling, and looked certain to score a try. He reckoned without Emlyn’s wing Llyr Freeman, who not only tackled the big second row five metres from the line but quickly got to his feet to attempt to retrieve the ball. Tilley was penalised for not releasing the ball and Emlyn were able to clear their lines.

Fatigue and injuries were beginning to play their part on the game and coach Marc Lloyd replaced the excellent Mike Jones with Dafydd Evans, Carwyn Rees replaced Aled Jones in the front row and Haydn Baldwin and Luke Kendall came on in the second and back rows respectively in place of both Emlyn second rows Davies and Dyfed Morgan. The powerful Kendall unfortunately only lasted a few minutes before he had to go off with a shoulder injury to be replace by prop Dafydd Davies. The Emlyn pack had to be completely rejigged with Davies having to pack down in the second row for the rest of the game.

With the game moving into injury time Emlyn extended their lead when the experienced Carwyn Rees fly hacked the ball downfield for centre Llyr Jones and winger Freeman to chase. Jones looked to be winning the race only for the referee to inform him that he was off side and it was left to Freeman to carry on and win the race to score Emlyn’s fifth try converted by the reliable boot of Mitchell. To their credit Beddau realising that another try would give them a try bonus point came back at the home side who conceded a penalty on the half way line allowing Chatham to take play deep into the Emlyn twenty two. Some excellent defending looked to have kept them out, but Emlyn were penalised at the breakdown every time they looked to have stolen the ball. Eventually Beddau decided to opt for a scrum rather than a line out and were fortunate that the referee, once again decided it was Emlyn at fault at the scrum and awarded another penalty try to the visitors with the last play of the game.

This victory now guarantees the red and whites another season in the Championship and it is testament to the excellent work done by the coaches and players that Emlyn will be playing their fourth season at the very top flight of Welsh club rugby with what are basically ‘home grown’ players. Next season will see some changes to the coaching set up at Emlyn with Arwel Davies being replaced as forwards coach by ex-Emlyn product now playing with the Blues, Welsh international Josh Turnbull, and Warren Leach joining the team as an attack coach.

There doesn't appear to be any tagged photos.

Upload and Tag Photos

You must be signed in to add comments