20 October 2019 / Team News

Scrappy victory for Red and Whites

NEWCASTLE EMLYN 52 GOWERTON 3   Gowerton paid their first visit to Dôl Wiber on Saturday with a reputation of being a very solid defensive unit. Indeed up until yesterday they had the second best defensive record in the Division. So it proved as the home side took an age to break down the visitors defence, a lot of it was due to some quite poor play by the home forwards in the loose where they seemed to forget the basics and went for miracle off loads.

Emlyn could not have got off to a better start. The Gowerton kick off was caught by Emlyn second row Dan Havard, returning from injury. From the ensuing ruck, scrum half Dafydd Evans hoisted an up and under, caught by the visitors full back, who was immediately tackled and lost the ball in contact. The ball was swiftly inter passed among the Emlyn backs and centre Andrew Owens sprinted some thirty metres to score the opening try under the posts converted by full back Shaun Leonard.

As often happens to the home side an early score quite often leads to a certain amount of complacency and so it proved much to the frustration of the watching coaches and spectators. During the first half every time Emlyn got themselves into a promising attacking position one of the forwards, instead of holding on to possession when tackled, decided to throw an off load out of the tackle in the hope that someone would be there to catch the ball. Fortunately for the visitors more often than not it was a Gowerton player who received the pass and they were able to clear their lines. It took until the twenty second minute of the half before Emlyn extended their lead courtesy of a forty metre drop goal from Shaun Leonard.

Gowerton spent a fair amount of time in the Emlyn half but their attack revolved almost entirely around their live wire scrum half Tom Ham, who gave the Emlyn forwards a run around all game. With half time approaching Emlyn finally decided to go through a series of phases with the forwards driving well as units until the ball was released to the three quarters and centre Teifion Davies glided over for a try well converted by Leonard.

Playing towards the clubhouse in the second half the home side showed far greater discipline and control as they took charge of proceedings. They still found the Gowerton defence difficult to break down as they tackled everything that came at them. It took Emlyn fifteen minutes before they scored their next try when captain and hooker Alex Williams was credited with the score from a driving maul with Leonard adding the extra points. Emlyn added to their total from the restart with some excellent play taking them deep into the visitors twenty two. Mobile tight head prop Lewys Jonathan looked to have reached the line only for the referee to rule he was inches short and from the ruck centre Andrew Owen crossed for his second try under the posts, Leonard converted.

Any hope that the floodgates would open proved to be false as the visitors continued to defend expertly and with a great deal of determination. Powerful Emlyn second row Osian Davies eventually forced his way over for his sides’ fifth try, again converted by Leonard but it was proving hard work for the home side.

As the game entered the final ten minutes Emlyn did put together some excellent inter play between forwards and backs and the crowd were treated to a couple of top quality tries. The first came courtesy of a turn over ball just outside the Emlyn twenty two metre area. The ball was moved wide to flying winger Llyr Freeman, as the cover came across he passed inside to the supporting Teifion Davies. Another couple of passes saw the ball in the hands of winger Llyr Davies who crossed for a try under the posts converted again by Leonard, who had an excellent day with the boot.

The final try was possibly the best try seen so far this season at Dôl Wiber. From inside their own half Emlyn again moved the ball wide to the left wing. When the inside pass arrived in the hands of Teifion Davies he was faced with two defenders. He cleverly passed the ball behind his back to the supporting Leonard who drew another defender before passing to the supporting prop Emrys Davies. The rampaging prop unselfishly passed the ball inside again for Llŷr Davies, now playing at outside half, to cross under the posts for Emlyn’s final try of the game again converted by Leonard. The visitors were determined not to come away from the match pointless and from the restart Emlyn were penalised at a ruck and centre Josh Hamer kicked the penalty goal to bring proceedings to a close.

Emlyn will undoubtedly have to improve on this performance in the coming weeks. It was pleasing to see second row Dan Havard recovered from his injury to strengthen Emlyn’s second row options. With centre Steffan Evans ruled out for the rest of the season the form shown by Andrew Owens and Teifion Davies would undoubtedly please coach Warren Leech. Emlyn face some daunting away trips starting this coming Saturday with a trip to Pembroke, followed by the potentially top of the table clash at Felinfoel, then a WRU Plate away match in Brynaman. In fact the red and whites will not be on Dôl Wiber until December and it is hoped that the Emlyn supporters will travel to these important matches in numbers.









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