21 September 2019 / Team News

Emlyn overcome first hurdle


Is there no longer any attraction of a good Cup run appealing to players and spectators? Hendy turned up for this game with a number of regular players missing and though the Emlyn side showed some eight changes from the previous match at least all the home players were members of the 1XV squad. That many of them were playing their first full game of the season was evident in what was a rather disjointed display by the red and whites. Time and again quality possession saw them go through a series of rucks only for it all to come to nothing when someone either lost the ball in the contact or was penalised for not releasing the ball.

Playing into a very strong wind coming straight downfield Emlyn got off to a good start. Keeping the ball and gradually working their way up field they were eventually awarded a penalty which winger Dan Davies kicked to open the scoring. Hendy fought their way back into the game and an Emlyn indiscretion saw Hendy outside half Rhydian Morris kick the ball into touch just five metres from the home line. There was an air of inevitability with Hendy winning the ball and going through a series of drives before prop Shaun Williams forced his way over for an unconverted try.

This did galvanise the home side who dominated possession and territory for the next twenty minutes. Time and again though their attacks floundered against a well organised, aggressive Hendy defence. As the half hour approached Emlyn pressure finally told when Hendy were penalised just inside their twenty two metre area. Emlyn opted for the kick to touch and from the ensuing line out managed to execute a catch and drive ending in skipper Alex Williams being accredited with the score.

From the restart Emlyn’s Gareth Thomson, playing in the unaccustomed number eight position, fell on the bouncing ball and set up a ruck. This supplied quick ball which scrum half Dafydd Evans moved out to his three quarter line. The pace of possession and ball movement took the visitors by surprise and centre Steffan Evans made a lovely mid field break. He then found winger Llyr Jones in support and the flying Jones crossed for an excellent try under the posts which Dan Davies converted.

Emlyn’s habit of conceding needles penalties cost them dearly as half time approached they were again penalised around the half way line. The accurate boot of Morris drove play down to five metres from the home line. In an almost carbon copy of their first try Hendy went through some phases before second row Lee Thomas crashed over for a try converted by Morris.

Buoyed by this and a half time team talk the visitors started the second half in a very positive manner and were perhaps unlucky not to draw level when Morris missed a fairly simple penalty kick at goal. With Thomson and Ludgate winning quality line out ball Emlyn decided to keep play fairly tight and employed the driving maul to good effect. From one such move they took play downfield some twenty metres and when Hendy collapsed the maul just short of their line, all spectators thought penalty try and yellow card, as used to happen to Emlyn last season. Unfortunately the excellent referee Simon Mills only penalised the visitors. From the line out Hendy managed to stop the forward drive and when Emlyn moved the ball wide some mis-communication in the backs saw the ball fall between two attackers.

It seemed, with the wind at their backs, only a matter of time before Emlyn extended their lead but it took until the twelfth minute before the break though came. From a patient build up hard working flanker Dafydd Rotie burst took the ball at pace, burst through the defence and fed the supporting Llyr Jones who crossed for his second try of the day converted by Davies.

Emlyn were very much in control of the game but were still finding the Hendy defence difficult to penetrate. The introduction of centre Teifion Davies brought much needed width and pace to the Emlyn attack and he proved to be a real handful. Emlyn’s fourth try owed a lot to the vision and skill of Davies. Another catch and drive by the forwards took play from half way deep into the visitors twenty two. When the ball was moved out along the backs Davies realised winger Dan Davies was unmarked on the outside and floated a perfect pass over defenders heads for the winger to stroll in for a try which he was unable to convert.

To say Hendy’s final score came against the run of play would be an understatement. An Emlyn attack in Hendy’s twenty two looked certain to bring another score but when a long pass switched play from the open to blind side of the field there was no Emlyn player there to take the pass. Hendy’s winger Sion Rosser pounced on the bouncing ball and was away, eventually brought down some ten metres short of the line, they recycled the ball quickly and full back Steffan Howells crossed for an excellent score.

With time running out Emlyn found themselves having to defend their line for all their worth as Hendy inspired by Howells’ score tried their best to add to their total. Fortunately the home defence stood firm and manged to repulse a series of visitors onslaughts.

Next week the red and whites are away in Whitland in what promises to be a very stern test.

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