19 January 2020 / Team News

Back to winning ways for Emlyn

Newcastle Emlyn 58 Llanelli Wanderers 5 The question for the Emlyn side in the build up to this match would how they would react to their first League defeat of the season last week. To their credit the red and whites responded in the most positive fashion with a resounding nine try defeat of Llanelli Wanderers. It was not only the fact that they scored all these tries but the manner in which they went about their work, they were controlled, discipline and accurate in almost everything they did on a beautiful winter’s day at Dol Wiber. The pitch, considering the deluge it had had over the previous week, was almost in perfect condition for running rugby and testament to the hard work put in by the Emlyn groundstaff led by Geraint Jones.

The welcome return from injury of the experienced Brynmor Jones was a huge bonus to the home side. He has the ability to bring out the best in the rest of the forwards and his leadership and carries from the base of the scrum have been sorely missed by Emlyn. The other big plus for the red and whites was the play of Shaun Leonard in the unaccustomed role of outside half. Forced into this experiment by injuries to three other players, Leonard fitted into this role to the manor born. Yes he made mistakes, but such is his natural ability and attitude that these did not affect his overall play and he was a constant threat to the Wanderers defence all afternoon with his constant play variations.

Emlyn got off to an almost dream start when after only three minutes they opened the scoring. Pacy full back Dean James gathered a long twenty two metre drop out by the Wanderers just inside his half and went on a run brushing aside some five would be tacklers to cross wide out for the first try of the game. Wanderers replied fairly quickly when they intercepted a long pass from another Emlyn attack, kicked downfield and centre Rhydian Morgan won the race to touch down for what would be the visitors only score of the afternoon.

In recent games this score might have had a negative effect on the home side but not on Saturday. When they had possession they kept it, and went through series after series of rucks to pressurise the visitors all the time. Powerful runs by Jones, hooker Dai Jones, prop Lewys Jonathan, second row Dan Havard, and flanker Osian Davies continually crossed the gain line and put the home side on the front foot.

Emlyn soon regained the lead when Leonard made a break in loose play and fed his fellow half back partner Mike Jones who was brought down just short of the line. A couple of close range drives by the forwards were halted by the visitors defence, the ball was then moved wide and full back Dean James crossed in the corner for his and Emlyn’s second try. As often happens the game settled down into a pattern with both sides looking to run the ball but defences proving to be superior to the extent that when awarded a penalty kick Emlyn opted for the posts and Leonard extended their lead by a further three points.

Approaching the half hour mark scrum half Mike Jones was fed the ball from a scrum just inside his own half. He accelerated away from the Wanderers back row, was tackled inside their twenty two, and from the resultant ruck the ball was fed to the second row Dan Havard who stormed over for a try converted by Leonard. The visitors were beginning to struggle with the pressure being put on them by series after series of attacks involving backs and forwards. Emlyn’s fourth and bonus point try came just before half time, when Dean James picked up a bouncing ball and fed the supporting flanker Osian Davies who crossed for a try converted by Leonard.

The question on every supporters mind was, would Emlyn be able to sustain this level of play in the second half? Too often this season the home side have taken their foot off the accelerator and allowed the opposition back into the game. Fortunately this was not the case on Saturday as playing some of the best rugby of the season they really showed their true Championship potential.

They extended their lead after some five minutes when powerful centre Andrew Owens broke downfield from a scrum and then fed the supporting winger Dan Davies who crossed for a try converted again By Leonard. It was all Emlyn now and their attacks were more often than not prompted by their half backs Jones and Leonard. The variations they displayed were excellent as the ball was either taken on by the forwards or moved wide along the three quarter line.

A flowing Emlyn attack saw Jones break through the defensive line, he fed Owens who looked certain to score only to be brought down just short of the line. The ball was quickly recycled and fed to second row Dyfed Morgan who crossed for a try converted by Leonard. There then followed possibly the best try of the day when the ball was moved from one side of the field to the other and back again ending up in the hands of prop Emrys Davies who was standing in the wing position. The speedy prop needs no second invitation when it comes to running in open play with the ball in his hands and he was away down the wing. When he reached the Wanderers twenty two he passed inside to winger Llyr Jones and the pacy winger crossed for his first league try of the season, converted by Leonard.

To their credit the Wanderers continued to try and play with the ball in their hands whenever they had possession. They found the Emlyn defensive line speed led by aggressive open side flanker Dafydd Rotie difficult to handle and even when on the few occasions they managed to move the ball wide Emlyn outside centre Teifion Davies expertly marshalled his troops to deny them any worthwhile territory.

Emlyn crossed the fifty point line on the half hour mark when from a line out five metres out the initial forward drive by Emlyn was halted, as were the two subsequent rucks. The ball was then smartly moved out to Leonard who passed to his inside centre Owens, looped around him, took the return pass, and crossed for a try which he converted. The scoring was completed when Emlyn ran back a kick ahead by Wanderers from the half way line and some neat inter passing saw Dan Havard cross for his second try which went unconverted to round off a very satisfactory display by Emlyn.

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