BURRY Port held off a strong second half comeback from Fishguard as they earned victory by a single point in a thrilling game which finished 35-34 in favour of the Blacks on Saturday (Jan 5).
The Blacks were on a five-match losing streak while Fishguard were looking to bounce back after being beaten by Pembroke in their last game.
The game started at a frantic pace with Burry Port’s Luke Ruddal gathering their own kick at kick off and piling on the pressure on the Seagull’s try line, and with quick ruck ball Ruddal darted over for the opening score.
The Blacks definitely had a spring in their step and looked dangerous with ball in hand, a cross field kick looked as if it would bring another score only for winger Tom Davies to just lose control. This didn’t stop the Blacks and from a driving lineout 10m out and the home pack rolling to the try line, the referee awarded a penalty try and yellow card for collapsing the maul.
Burry Port continued to apply the pressure and tried hard to make the extra man count and with Youth winger Tom Davies making up for this early mistake finished a fine try, A penalty soon after by outside half Ceiron Thomas stretched the lead further.
Fishguard however were in no mood to roll over, a rare outing into the Burry Port half saw a lovely cross field kick work perfectly for Ed Bendall to run in unopposed.
This started a period of good play by the visitors and forced Burry Port into some errors and giving Penalties away, and with good field position managed to force another try from close range through Chris Shousha.
Burry Port hit straight back with a move on half way slicing the defence apart for winger Tom Davies to race in for this second and the bouns point try.
The game continued to be played at a frantic pace and Burry port were enjoying themseleves, another excellent team try was finished off by that man again Tom Davies who completed his Hat trick and surely left Fishguard to much to do to get back in the game, score 32-10.
The last play of the half from the restart saw Fishguard regain possession and manage to put the Blacks under pressure and after a few advantages from the referee for Burry Port ill-discipline saw a yellow card given to Burry Port.
With Fishguard knowing a penalty wasn’t enough to get back in the game they opted for a scrum and after a few phases a missed tackle allowed Ben John to cross under the posts and give them a lifeline for the second half.
The second half was a totally different affair with Burry Port looking to protect their lead by opting for territory rather than possession and resulted in them kicking far too much ball away.
Fishguard seemed to enjoy having the ball more and with some powerful runners in their ranks started causing Burry Port problems. A few loose kicks were capitalised on by the Fishguard back 3 and after another fine cross field kick saw them get a well-deserved try, scored by Jordan James to make it 32-22 and bring the Seagulls back in the game.
Burry Port failed to convert a few chances and the supporters could sense a bit of uncertainty creeping in. Another yellow card added to the worries of the Burry Port team, and a break by the visitors led to another try from Ed Bendall and the momentum had most definitely shifted to the Seagulls.
The score was now 32-27 and both sides knew the next score would be vital with time running out.
Finally Burry Port stopped kicking the ball away and after a long phase of ball in hand worked their way up field and once in kicking range forced a penalty which fullback Ben Williams put over to put the Blacks a crucial 8 points ahead with only a couple of minutes remaining.
Fishguard had already secured a try bouns point and even though there might not have been enough time to get the two scores needed for victory there was a losing point up for grabs and to their credit they managed just that with the ref calling last play and Fishguard managing to keep the ball alive and James crossed at the death for his second to also get an important score which could prove crucial come the end of season.
Cwm’s good run halted by leaders
CWMAMMAN United saw their recent good run of form halted on Saturday (Mar 16) as they returned from the Kymco Stadium in Bridgend pointless after a battling display against unbeaten league leaders Penybont who came out 2-0 winners.
In strong wind and rain Cwmamman took time to settle to the 4G pitch and conceded an early goal after 5 minutes when a free header from a corner left Chris Curtis in goal with no chance.
With the wind against them Penybont were keeping the ball on the floor and were controlling possession while Cwm tried to soak up the pressure and catch them on the break through releasing their wingers Ashley Curtis and Ryan Hurlow.
It felt like a long day at the office as Cwm’s midfield fought hard to get a foothold with Ross Morgan, Ryan Thomas and Colin Harris battling hard as the pressure mounted.
On 27 Minutes Penybont were denied a second goal after the effort was ruled off side. Curtis was again called into action and produced a great low save after a snap shot. Cwmamman were slowly getting into the game and a great header on by Chris Allen freed Ashley Curtis but he fired over the bar.
Just before half time Penybont were awarded a controversial penalty but a great save by Curtis kept the score at 1-0 to the hosts at the break.
Cwmamman were now playing against a very strong wind in the second period and Gareth Howarth and Declan John at the centre of Cwm’s defence were required to be error free while Penybont’s wing backs were also putting a lot of pressure on Calem Rees and Ashley Johns at full back.
However, it was still only a one goal deficit and Cwm felt they were still in the game. On 55 minutes Cwmamman had their best chance when Ryan Hurlow found Ryan Thomas who’s shot went narrowly passed the post.
Penybont were then handed a second goal again from a corner when the assistant referee flagged to indicate that the ball had crossed the line much to the surprise of everyone on the ground, including the home fans.
This goal secured the game for the hosts and deflated Cwmamman United who had given their all.
Cwmamman kept plugging away though and nearly pulled a goal back late on through another Ryan Thomas effort.
Cwmamman United have no fixture on Saturday (Mar 23), whilst the reserves are away to FC Nedd.
Tour of Britain nominated for top award
THE OVO Energy Tour of Britain has been nominated for a prestigious Sporting Event of the Year award.
The hugely successful cycle race has been shortlisted as a finalist at the Event Production Awards 2019, which take place in London this month.
The Grand Depart took place at Pembrey Country Park on Sunday, September 2 with Stage One of the race travelling north through Carmarthenshire en-route to the stage finish in Newport.
The Tour of Britain is one of eight nominees in the Sporting Event of the Year category and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in Hammersmith on Thursday, March 14.
The awards recognise and celebrate the hard work and achievements of key contractors, agencies and production teams within the outdoor and live events industry.
Thousands of people lined the route through Carmarthenshire to cheer on the professional riders which included world-class cyclists Geraint Thomas – fresh from his epic Tour de France victory – and Chris Froome; and communities really got into the spirt of the race with various activities and events held and by creating impressive pieces of land art.
Live televised coverage, post-race highlights and national media coverage put Carmarthenshire in the spotlight as a world-class visitor destination and host of major sporting events.
It is estimated that in just that weekend alone, the county benefitted from an economic boost of £800,000 not to mention the long-term impact.
Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths said: “This nomination is testament to the hard work of all involved to put on what is the biggest cycling race in the UK calendar.
“I wish the OVO Energy Tour of Britain team the best of luck; this award reflects the tremendous success of the event and I would like to think that we in Carmarthenshire played a small part in that.
“It is our aspiration to become the Cycling Hub of Wales and I think we have certainly proven ourselves as a first-class venue for major events.”
Talks are ongoing to build on the success of the Tour of Britain and bring more elite events to the county in the future.
Phillips: We’ve got a big match in us
WALES Women head coach Rowland Phillips believes his side can raise their game for their final Women’s Six Nations Test, against Ireland on Sunday (Cardiff Arms Park, 1.30).
Phillips has made two changes to the starting line-up with Elinor Snowsill starting at 10 and Alisha Butchers slotting back into the back row at blindside flanker.
Phillips said, “We want to capitalise on the confidence we’ve gained from the win over Scotland.
“We’ve shown a huge amount of character throughout this tournament – to hold Italy out at the end of that game and to come back from behind to win in Scotland showed remarkable attitude – and skill for such a young side.
“Despite that, I don’t feel we have shown how good a side we are and we’d like to do that on Sunday.
“Ireland are in a similar place as us. They played well against France last weekend. They have a strong back row and players who can make a difference. We certainly won’t be under-estimating them.
“However, we want to focus on ourselves, show what we can do with the ball and produce a better all-round performance. There’s a big game in us and hopefully we can showcase that on Sunday.”
Alisha Butchers, who earns her first start in the tournament since the opening round, is looking forward to some home comforts.
“Being at home lifts us girls massively. We’ve only had one home game this year and although England were tough opposition, we lifted our performance for our home support.
“Travelling away isn’t always accessible for our families so having them there boosts us. I love having my mum and dad and my brothers and sisters there, I can’t wait. There’s very much a family feel ethos and hopefully we can produce an entertaining game.”
“Last week’s game was really exciting and a good stepping stone for us. Moving forward I think we need to stick to our game plan, carry on working on our physicality and keep building as a team.
“Our performance was good last weekend but it can an still be better. We can use the confidence and momentum created by that victory to up our game and also spread the ball a bit more.”
Alisha is now working as a Hub Officer at Y Pant and Bryn Celynnog schools in the Pontypridd area, increasing the range of opportunities for girls to engage with rugby.
“I love it. I’ve already seen a huge increase in the number of girls playing the game and that inspires me – the thought that I’m having an impact on the next generation. They are both brilliant schools and we are getting 40 or more girls training now which is fantastic.
“Traditional 15 a side full-contact rugby isn’t for everyone so we make sure there are different formats and different opportunities all girls to enjoy taking part. A lot of them enjoyed the Rookie Rugby events we held recently, some play touch rugby, others enjoy crash mat rugby which is an introduction to contact or full contact rugby for the more established players who are keen.
“Hopefully a few of the girls – and boys – from the schools will come and support us on Sunday and bring their parents along to see what our game is all about. A few of the girls have role models within the squad, some are inspired by our captain Carys Phillips so I’ve promised they can have some photos after the match.”
Tickets available to print at home from www.cardiffblues.com/tickets and from 10am Sunday at the WRU shop, Westgate Street.
Wales Women V Ireland (Sunday, March 17, 1.30pm, Cardiff Arms Park):
Lauren Smyth (Ospreys); Jasmine Joyce (Scarlets), Hannah Jones (Scarlets), Lleucu George (Scarlets), Jess Kavanagh (RGC); Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears), Keira Bevan (Ospreys); Caryl Thomas (Dragons), Carys Phillips (capt, Ospreys), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Gwen Crabb (Ospreys), Mel Clay (Ospreys), Alisha Butchers (Scarlets), Bethan Lewis (Dragons) Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys)
Kelsey Jones (Ospreys), Cara Hope (Ospreys), Cerys Hale (Dragons), Alex Callender (Scarlets), Manon Johnes (Cardiff Blues), Ffion Lewis (Scarlets), Robyn Wilkins (Blues), Lisa Neumann (RGC)
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