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78 Sport Emlyn back on track

Newcastle Emlyn Newbridge

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to winning ways as they blanked Newbridge on Saturday (Oct 1) to come away with a 20-0 victory. With ten changes from the side that

was humiliated last week in Beddau and some really hard work in training, Emlyn at last put in a performance to make their supporters proud of them. The game began in bright sunshine

and, after the deluge of the previous evening, the pitch at Dol Wiber looked in perfect condition. The elements did have their part to

play in proceedings and five minutes into each half the heavens opened and made handling difficult for part of each half due to the slippery ball. This did not deter Emlyn, though,

who started positively and began to test the resolute Newbridge defence from the first whistle. When Emlyn opted for a kick ahead

to turn the defence, they found full back Craig Duncan in fine form and he caught everything kicked at him and returned it with interest. The home supporters felt it was only

a matter of time before the red and whites opened the scoring as Newbridge were unable to break out of their own half for any length of time. The home front row of props, Emrys

and Gethin Davies, along with skipper Williams, were dominant at scrum time and with second rows Ryan Morgans and Bleddyn Davies working hard in the tight and loose, the pressure was maintained on the visitors throughout the game. Indeed, the most pleasing aspect of the match was the work of the forwards who operated more as a unit than they have done so far this season.

Work in progress, yes, and there was

still a tendency to act as an individual on occasions but the Emlyn coaches must have been satisfied with the improvement. With no score on the board, things

looked ominous for Emlyn after 25 minutes when scrum half Mike Jones went off with a shoulder injury. However, it is testament to the control

the forwards had on the game that Tomi Jones had an excellent match in his unaccustomed position of scrum half. Nearing the half hour mark, all Emlyn had to show for their pressure was a missed penalty kick by winger Dan Davies. Things changed then when a lovely

break from midfield by Shaun Leonard saw the full back brought down short of the line; two rucks later the ball was moved wide for winger Dan Davies to dive over in the corner for the opening score, which went unconverted. For once, Emlyn did not relax and ran

back at Newbridge from the restart and basically set up camp in the visitors’ half. With five minutes to go before

the break, Emlyn increased their lead when second row Ryan Morgans took a two handed catch at a lineout on the Newbridge twenty two. The Emlyn pack gathered around

him and with Luke Kendall controlling matters marched towards the Newbridge line. The big number eight broke from the maul and was hauled down inches from the line, but Morgans picked up the ball and dived over the line for a try converted by Leonard. The second half followed a similar

pattern to the first with the Emlyn pack in control of proceedings but the side, as a whole, finding it difficult to breach the visitors defence. A nice grubber kick by outside half

Barry Thomas just eluded winger John Lumb as he dived on the ball as it crossed

the touch in goal line. A cross kick by Thomas saw winger

Dan Davies given another scoring chance but he opted to pass inside and the chance was gone. Davies in fact on another day might well have picked up at least three tries if he had only backed his speed and elusiveness. The elements combined to thwart an

Emlyn attempt to score after 20 minutes when, after some excellent harassing by Gareth Thomson, Newbridge conceded a five metre scrum. Unfortunately for Emlyn, the ball was spilled forward when they tried moving it wide. By now, coach Lloyd sent on the

rest of his bench of Dai Jones replacing hooker Williams, Neil Elworthy at prop, Dan Havard in the second row and Brynmor Jones on the flank who continued the good work done by their predecessors and maintained the pressure on Newbridge. Leonard did eventually convert a

penalty in the 29th minute from wide out on the 10 metre line, having just missed an effort in front of the posts - such was the fortune of the kickers on the day! Emlyn were in full control and, from

a scrum, Emlyn lost control of the ball and Newbridge were awarded a scrum. Fortunately for the red and whites,

they made a mess of clearing their lines and Tomi Jones pounced on the loose ball over the line to score Emlyn’s third try. With time running out, Emlyn

attacked from the restart but another attack floundered when the wet ball slid for Lumb’s grasp as he was tackled in the visitors twenty two in the final move of the game. Emlyn will hopefully build on this

performance as they visit Glynneath next week in what will be a very tough encounter.

Presidents XIII ease to win

by Ian Golden at Glan-yr-Afon Park, Blackwood Wales Presidents XIII

West of England Lionhearts IN THE FIRST game of a brand

new Welsh representative side, created to bridge the gap between the full international side and the Wales Dragonhearts, the Wales Presidents XIII eventually eased to a win over West of England Lionhearts, but not without the odd scare over the 80 minutes. The Welsh players came from all

over the nation, from North Wales Crusaders to South Wales Ironmen and a number of the top community clubs, all wearing the shorts and socks of their club side, and they took on an equally broadly representative side from England’s South-West’s community clubs. And it was the English who took

the lead despite some early pressure for the Welsh, with Joe Uren going over in the corner, but Jamie Deal failed to land the conversion. Wales soon hit back; Rhys Gant,

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fresh from winning a trophy at the South Wales Scorpions’ awards night hours early, made a clean break and scored under the sticks. Mike Hurley easily converted to

make the score 6-4 and, following a short break due to an injury, Wales further increased their lead. Dean Higgs going over from dummy half and Hurley making it 12-4. With his first touch of the ball

after coming on as a sub, Harry Boots was sent in under the sticks for Wales’ third try. Hurley’s kick made it 18-4. West of England hit back

following an error in the Wales backline. The former Cardiff Demons centre and Malta international Paul Bartlett took advantage by scoring just short of the left corner. A great kick brought the score back to 18-10. But the Welsh addressed the

balance before the interval when Lewis Hughes was sent over in the corner. Hurley sliced the kick wide but the Welsh had a healthy two try lead.

West of England took first blood in the second half, with Kyle Phillips


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Narrow Home win against Loughor

Aberystwyth Loughor

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WITH the pitch in pristine

condition, Aber started the game full of purpose and intent and were 14 points to nil up after 10 minutes. The first try was a beauty with

a wrap-around move by influential outside half Mathew Hughes, freeing up Adam Carvell to run strongly for the corner. As the cover defence came across, he passed inside to the ever supporting flanker Paul Stubbs, who crossed for the first try. This was converted by Llyr

Thomas. Loughor then missed a penalty attempt when Aber were penalised for not rolling away from the tackle area. The next score for Aber was even

better than the first when Mathew Hughes made a searing break from open play and passed inside to Gruff Jones to score a class try. This was also converted by Llyr Thomas to make the score 14 - 0 after only 10 minutes. If the first period of the half had

scoring in the corner and Deal missing the kick, with the score being brought back to 22-14. The Welsh hit back straight

away with Ethan Coombes using his strength to score on the right centre. Hurley’s conversion attempt hit the post and went in, to give his side a 14-point lead. A try under the sticks for Shane

Lee, converted by Hurley, extended the advantage further. Morgan Jeffries scored the next but it was a touch of class from Gant and Josh Stafford- Smith that gave him the try near to the sticks and the Hurley goal bringing the score up to 40-14. Jeffries soon went over again for

a good individual effort with Hurley nicely placing the goal through the black dot, but his West Wales Raiders teammate couldn’t join him in a brace, Boots fumbled whilst under pressure when diving for the line. They reached the 50 with the last

play of the game. Lee Goddard setting up Dean Higgs to go under the posts and Gant adding the final points with the conversion.

been dominated by Aber and Mathew Hughes in particular, the next period was dominated by Loughor scrum half Tom Davies, who scored two tries and converted them both to make the half time score 14 - 14. His first try came when Loughor

worked their winger free down the right. Some excellent cover defence tackled him just short of the line and, after some disciplined close drives, scrum half Davies forced his way over. He also converted it to make the score 14 - 7.

During this period, Aber were

handing the initiative to Loughor with the concession of petty penalties and bouts of indiscipline which did nothing to help their cause. Davies’ second try, which was

very similar to his first, came after he made a fine break was tackled short and after a couple of drives by the pack was on hand to score his second which he converted to make the score 14-14. Aber dominated the next period

of play with Mathew Hughes making another fine break and a great off-load the cover defence nullified the attack and cleared their lines. Aber’s scrum was by now becoming more dominant

and from one they were surprisingly penalised. The kickable penalty was missed,

which was to prove crucial by the end of the game. Dan Binks, who had a storming game, then stole the ball from a Loughor maul but the attack was repelled and the score stayed at 14 - 14 at half time. The feeling was that Aber, after a

very good opening period, had become sloppy and ill-disciplined in giving away far too many penalties and that Loughor had grabbed the initiative. Aber had to play with more purpose and discipline if they were to prevail. Aber’s scrum in the second half

got stronger and stronger with front row Matt Roberts, Carwyn Thomas and newcomer Kevin Jones well to the fore.

They took the ball against the head

on a number of occasions and from one Loughor scrum, under intense pressure, the ball popped out and the ever alert Paul Stubbs pounced on it to score his second try. This went unconverted to make the score 19 - 14. Loughor, to their credit, came

back strongly and after a series of disciplined drives by the forwards, the ball was released to the backs and their right winger scored in the corner. The try was magnificently

converted from the touch-line by scrum half Davies to give Loughor a narrow two point lead. Aber responded positively to

this set back and took the game to Loughor, who were penalised for not rolling away from the tackle area 8m inside their own half. Up stepped Llyr Thomas, who coolly slotted a magnificent penalty to effectively win the game for Aber 22-21. For the next period of the game,

Aber penned Loughor in their half with some probing kicks deep into the Loughor half. They had numerous attacks trying

to secure a four try bonus point but these were dealt with efficiently by the Loughor defence and indeed came back strongly themselves and Aber had to defend heroically to win the game. Bryn Shepherd deservedly won

the Man of the Match award for his willingness to support runners and his appetite for carrying the ball in attack.

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