Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sport

Rugby record as Hendy beat Athletic

Published

on

By Jonathan Twigg, photos by Sue Bows

HENDY remained top of the Division 2 West table with a bonus point 28-17 victory over Carmarthen Athletic, in the only league game to survive the weather on Saturday (Mar 3).

In a year which will see them celebrate their 125th Anniversary Season with a gala dinner at the Strady Park Hotel on Saturday (June 1) promotion remains a priority for the coaching team of Dorian Jones, Chris Morgan and the Shingler brothers, Aaron and Steven.

The icing on the cake would be to pip challengers Whitland to the title, their showdown game scheduled for Saturday (May 5) at Hendy but there is a lot of rugby to be played before that date.

The micro climate that hovered over the village on Saturday allowed the aptly named groundsman Steve ‘Snowy’ Williams to perform wonders in ensuring the game was played. The ground resembled conditions akin to an early season friendly, the pitch able to take a stud but was hard in places.

Snowy, a local landscape gardener had his work cut out to maintain the surface to allow it to go ahead, after close dialogue with Llangennach based referee Jack Boswell and East Wales based match referee Lee Gibbs.

Efforts rewarded: Hendy forwards reaped the rewards in 28-17 victory (Pic Sue Bows)

The Beast from the East certainly wasn’t Gibbs and once the game was under way the home side broke the deadlock through centre Josh Davies, who benefitted from the silky hands of full back Jake Newman putting him into space to score under the posts.

Versatile player Josh Batcup, playing at outside half as regular Rhydian Morris was unable to travel due to the snow in Cardiff slotted over the conversion. The move started with off the top line out ball from second row Rhodri Hughes who alongside prop Ben Batcup had outstanding games, not only at the set piece but also around the park with their tackling and tracking back.

Such play was reminiscent of former flanker Max Easey who tragically passed away recently, the two sides showing impeccable respect for his life before kick-off, the first opportunity Hendy have had to pull on the ‘jersey’ in seven weeks to acknowledge such an emotional tribute.

Athletic full back Robbie Thomas skated over to equalise the scores after winger Tom Gravell kicked the conversion, before Newman intercepted the ball on the ten metre line to race clear and just manage to touchdown despite pressure from his opposite number Thomas.

Gravell kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit to two points at 12-10 before the well drilled home set piece set up two more tries from driving line outs. Hughes was again the key component in the tries, the first to boiler house partner Ashley Banford and the second to live wire flanker Matthew Wotherspoon to establish a 22-10 half time lead.

The Athletic scored the only try of the second half through Marcus Francis-Curtis converted by Gravell to bring the game back within a score, which was a just reward for the physical and direct play from the red and blacks.

Hendy skipper Chris Bowen had led his side well in the second half, kicking for touch to set up the game deep in the opposition half and capitalising on the mistakes made, eventually opting for two long range penalties from Newman to ensure the victory.

Guest speaker Scott Quinnell will have a lot to talk about at the gala dinner and the situation surrounding the only game to be played, although the Athletic are no strangers to being involved in games when everything else is postponed. In 1985 their fixture survived the frost as did the only other game played involving Cardiff RFC.

Chris Morgan, Hendy coach said: “We are delighted with the result, with the conditions difficult, with the hard ground and late afternoon rain making it difficult for the players. We have kept the players spirits high but missing games for such a long period was bound to leave us rusty.

“Opportunities arose in the second half, but we didn’t capitalise on the territory we had fought for, especially as the Athletic were tenacious at the breakdown and probably edged the play on the gain line.”

Hendy make the trip to Llanybydder on Saturday (Mar 10), whom they defeated in the reverse fixture 38-6. Morgan has an ‘expectation for another physical encounter, against a side whose bottom of the table position doesn’t give a true reflection of their ability’.

The Athletic meanwhile welcome local rivals Tumble to Ystrad Fields hoping to record a double over the Magpies after the 24-13 victory in November and in doing so consolidate their position in the top four with six games of the season remaining.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sport

Scarlets edged out by Ulster

Published

on

SCARLETS were narrowly beaten by Ulster in their Heineken Champions Cup game at Parc Y Scarlets on Friday (Dec 7).

A late try had brought them to within a point but they were unable to find a winning score and Ulster held on for a 25-24 win.

Scarlets got the game underway through Rhys Patchell and Ulster knocked the ball on handing possession straight back to the home side. The Scarlets were given a penalty which Patchell sent through the post to give them a 3-0 lead inside the first minute.

On the five-minute mark Ulster found themselves in Scarlets territory with advantage after Scarlets are penalised for offside. The Ulstermen decided to kick for the posts and scrum half John Cooney brought them level.

Ulster winger Jacob Stockdale then ran through Scarlets defence scoring the first try of the evening in the corner. Cooney’s conversion attempt was wide of the mark but Ulster go ahead for the first time.

Lewis Rawlins is taken for a HIA assessment after a big tackle from Sean Reidy. He catches him high and both go off for an assessment. Steve Cummins is on for Rawlins.

Photo by Darren Harries

Scarlets stepped up the pace a little after that tackle pushed in to Ulster’s 22. An attacking phase sees Steff Evans cross the line. Patchell added the conversion putting the Scarlets back in front.

With only six minutes of the first half remaining Ulster got a second try through winger Henry Speight after a period of pressure in the home side’s 22. He crossed in the far corner making it too difficult a conversion for Cooney.

The Scarlets got a foothold late in the first half but couldn’t turn the pressure in to points, kicking the ball in to touch. Ulster kicked themselves out of the pressure position and the score finishes 10-13 at half time.

Scarlets returned to the field in advance of Ulster looking to get a strong start to the second half. Some positive play returns in the form of pressure for Scarlets but unusual handling errors meant that Ulster keep themselves in Scarlets territory.

Ulster were then awarded a scrum penalty on Scarlets’ 10 metre line despite their tighthead pulling the scrum down. They kicked to the corner and set up an attacking phase with a line out on the 22. Centre Will Addison crossed under the posts and scrum half Cooney adds the conversion, 10-20.

As the game passed the 50-minute mark the Scarlets began to find their mojo. Jonathan Davies got them moving in to opposition territory.

The Scarlets ran it from the base of the scrum. There was great work from the forwards to win important territorial gains but they were then penalised for holding on and Ulster won a penalty under the posts which they kicked to touch.

Johnny McNicholl got  the Scarlets moving once again in the right direction. He had great support from his backline and winger Steff Evans gathers and spotted a gap on the touchline to go over the whitewash for his second of the evening. Patchell added the conversion to make it 17-20.

Just as soon as Scarlets get back within three points Ulster hit back with a third try. They got down in to Scarlets territory and ran strongly in midfield and despite what looks like a knock on play continues. Number eight Marcell Coetzee crossed the whitewash. Captain Ken Owens protests that there was a potential knock on and the referee consults the TMO for confirmation. He’s happy that the ball goes back and try is awarded. The wind pulled the conversion attempt across the posts.

Scarlets got back down in to Ulster territory. Johnny McNicholl gets the ball out to Steff Evans who ran along the touchline. He looked like he may make it a hat-trick but he was bundled in to touch.

Scarlets kept building and a try came from replacement flanker Dan Davis. Dan Jones added the conversion but the Scarlets were still a point behind.

The clock turned 80 but the Scarlets managed to keep the game alive. They won a penalty in the shadow of Ulster’s uprights, a kick to touch handed them a line out on the 10-metre line. Scarlets made territorial gains but they were unable to get the penalty required and Ulster saw the game out.

Continue Reading

Sport

Old Gold made to work for win

Published

on

CARMARTHEN progressed to the Fourth Round of the Welsh Cup with an ultimately comfortable victory over Goytre United on Saturday (Dec 8) – but they were made to work hard for that achievement by the competitive Welsh League side and only secured success thanks to three moments of clinical finishing by experienced strikers Luke Bowen and Liam Thomas.

United almost took an early lead when after only 4 minutes Joe Hopkins produced a speculative long-range shot that skidded unpredictably off the saturated turf, catching Lee Idzi by surprise and forcing the experienced ‘keeper to bundle the ball clumsily around the post.

From thereon the match quickly developed into a fast-paced, end-to-end affair although, with both defences looking quite secure, no further early scoring chances arose until the 16th minute when the Old Gold went ahead after a brief spell of pressure.  Luke Cummings fired a searching corner-kick into the crowded goalmouth where Bowen arrived with perfect timing to plant his close-range header past ‘keeper Luke Martin and into the back of the net.

Goytre immediately responded with a series of spirited counter-attacks but Town’s experienced and well-established back-line of Lee Surman, Dave Vincent and Jordan Knott were, as so often in recent games, in commanding form and capably resisted any serious threat to their goal – and directly ahead of them, industrious midfielders Mael Davies, Greg Walters, Cummings and Declan Carroll eagerly provided a further valuable layer of defensive support whenever necessary.  Consequently, Idzi was never really tested again during this period.

Meanwhile Carmarthen’s strikers were always an available outlet, willingly using their pace and mobility to keep the home defenders fully occupied – and on 35 minutes they went close to extending their lead when, after a slick interchange of passes with Bowen on the edge of the penalty area, Sean Hanbury released a rasping strike that Martin, diving swiftly down at full length, resisted.

In the 41st minute the Old Gold were successful.  Cummings, an increasingly influential figure in midfield, surged forward from the centre-circle before producing a sublime pass that set Thomas racing towards the penalty area and Town’s all-time top scorer completed this incisive move with his customary composure, smartly driving the ball beyond Martin’s reach and into the corner of the net.

After the interval the same pattern of end-to-end football soon emerged but the pace of the game had noticeably quickened with United pouring forward at every opportunity, clearly intent on reducing the deficit.  However the Old Gold defence again comfortably withstood that early pressure – moreover, from those positions, deep inside their own half, they were frequently able to launch rapid counter-attacks.

On 74 minutes Carmarthen further increased their lead in just that fashion.  The ball was played out of defence to Hanbury who moved forward along the left flank before firing a long cross deep into the penalty area where Bowen, with impressive anticipation of the scoring opportunity,  created the time and space to power another close-range header into the net leaving Martin well beaten.

Goytre, stung by that further setback, immediately swarmed upfield and soon went close to reducing the deficit when Hopkins, from 25 yards, struck a promising drive that drew a fine save from Idzi, diving low at full stretch to turn the ball around the post.

Then on 77 minutes Rhodri Cole, from near the left touchline, delivered an inviting free-kick into the packed goalmouth but saw Adam Jenkins direct his close-range header just wide of the goal.

The Old Gold, with some rapid counter-attacking, were still posing a serious threat at the other end of the pitch.  After 81 minutes Walters moved in from the left-wing and, from the corner of the penalty area, released a stunning angled volley that Martin, with a spectacular flying save, turned past the far post.

The exhilarating end-to-end pattern of play continued to the end of the match.  In the 89th minute Hanbury, enjoying possibly his best performance for Town since he joined the club at the start of this season, made ground along the left touchline then lifted a huge cross-field pass that reached Bowen on the right-wing – he, in turn, fired the ball across the goalmouth where Hanbury, having enthusiastically continued his run, sadly managed only a weak shot that Martin easily gathered.

Then in added time at the end of 90 minutes a corner from United substitute Zac Brown reached Thomas Doidge in the goalmouth but from a good position he wastefully sent his looping header over the bar.

This was a highly satisfactory performance by Carmarthen playing away from home against a very capable Welsh League side (that included several former WPL players in its squad), and on a pitch made increasingly difficult by poor weather conditions which was in complete contrast to the 3G surfaces which they have regularly encountered so far this season – all the ingredients for a typical Cup upset were there but, thankfully, overcome by the Old Gold.

For their next fixture Town return to League action when they entertain Barry Town United at Richmond Park on Friday, December 14, k/o 7.30pm.

Continue Reading

Sport

Llangennech hold off Crymych charge

Published

on

LLANGENNECH secured their seventh victory of the season on Saturday (Dec 8) but only after they withstood a late Crymych fightback to win 27-24.

Llangennech started the game well and held a 17-5 lead at half time with Brandon Wood getting himself on the score sheet again.

Richard Thomas and Rhys Davies also went over for the home side while Wood was successful with one conversion.

Nick Bevan replied for Crymych to keep his side in the game going into the break.

In the second half Wood added his second try of the game which he converted and he later added a penalty to seemingly put the game out of Crymych’s reach.

Photo by Darren Harries

Crymych had other ideas though as Iwan Mullin and Guto Davies both went over for tries while Ifan Phillips added two conversions.

Llywellyn Rees also scored for the visitors but the conversion was missed and Crymych were only three points down with some time left to play.

Try as they might they were unable to find a winning score as Llangennech held on for the win.

Crymych’s late surge ensured they would earn a bonus point for their four tries and another point for being within a score of their opponents, all of which could prove crucial come the end of the season.

On Saturday (Dec 15), Llangennech will go in search of another win as they make the long journey up to Aberystwyth. Crymych will look to bounce back as they take on Tenby United at Heywood Lane.

Continue Reading

Trending

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK