SCARLETS returned to winning ways with a confidence-boosting six-try triumph over Benetton at Parc y Scarlets.
Flanker Jac Morgan, on his return from a knee injury, produced a stellar man-of-the-match display, crossing for two tries as part of a dominant first-half performance,
Scarlets had the try bonus point in the bag before half-time with half-backs Sam Costelow and Dane Blacker also crossing the whitewash.
Benetton did attempt to fight their way back into the game in the second period, but late tries from Sione Kalamafoni and replacement Paul Asquith sealed a comprehensive triumph.
It was the Italians who were first on the board thanks to a penalty from international fly-half Tommaso Allan, but the Scarlets’ response was swift.
Strong work from a close-range line-out took play up to the Benetton line and it was that man Morgan who found his way to the line for his first try of the match.
With Scarlets dominating possession and territory and with the visitors continuing to fall foul of referee Dan Jones, Scarlets turned the screw as Benetton found themselves down to 13 men following the sin-binning of hooker Tomas Baravelle and prop Tiziano Pasquali.
Fly-half Costelow found a gap to dummy his way through the stretched Benetton defence, but injured an ankle in the process. It was left to Steff Evans to nail the conversion. The injury forced Costelow off the field to be replaced by Dan Jones.
Three minutes later Scarlets were celebrating a third try when a counter attack found Morgan on the left wing. The openside had plenty to do 30 metres out, but powered through and brushed off four Benetton defenders to cross for a stunning solo score.
Scarlets still weren’t finished for the half. A clever kick through from replacement Jones found acres of space, full-back Johnny McNicholl hacked on and it was scrum-half Blacker who pounced for the bonus-point try.
Trailing 26-3 at the interval, Benetton showed plenty of spirit at the start of the second period, having a length-of-the-field try chalked off then crossing for a legitimate score through wing Leonardo Sarto.
Scarlets conjured up a number of further opportunities, but couldn’t add to their lead in the third quarter and had to be content with a Jones penalty to extend their advantage.
Prop Steff Thomas appeared for his PRO14 debut as Scarlets emptied the bench and finally, on 71 minutes, the fifth try arrived. Centre Tyler Morgan turned provider with a scything break and when he was brought down just before the whitewash, Kalamafoni was on hand to crash over.
The visitors hit back straight away with a try from a line-out rumble, but it was the Scarlets who had the final word when slick hands across the back division found Asquith, who put the finishing touch on the victory with a sharp sidestep for try number six.
With only three matches of the Guinness PRO14 season remaining, the win keeps the Scarlets firmly in the hunt for a Champions Cup spot for next season.
Cefneithin hold off Cwmgors for second win
Cwmgors 22-31 Cefneithin
LOOKING for their first WRU Bowl victory since the restart, Cwmgors welcomed Cefneithin to Parc y Werin, the hosts kicking off playing towards Ysgol y Waun.
The visitors notched the opening score with an early converted try, before Andrew Mason sent a penalty over after 12 minutes for the home side.
The Cherries scored an excellent try on 20 minutes, a fine break from the impressive “Owz” resulting in a well-worked try; the resulting conversion unluckily came off the post, but ‘Gors led 8-7.
Some great work by the forwards brought due reward as Cwm grabbed a second touch down which Mason converted; but before the interval, Cefneithin hit back with a try of their own, to leave them trailing by just a point at the break.
Cefn then took the lead early in the second half with a penalty, and missed another minutes later, before breaching the Cwmgors defence to record a third try of the afternoon on 50 minutes.
Minutes later, the ever-industrious “Owz” popped up again, another clinical break and good support which saw Ioan Jones crash over the whitewash for the try; Andrew Mason’s conversion meant Cwm were just two points adrift.
But, ten minutes from the end, home hopes soon evaporated by a late try from the visitors which gave the Cherries too much to do and they ultimately went down to a valiant defeat.
Cwmgors travel to Tumble this Saturday (Sept 25) while Cefneithin host Amman United.
Amman United too good for Betws
AMMAN United earned their fourth win of the campaign on Saturday as they beat Betws 43-13.
After a short delay following the late arrival of the referee, it was Betws who opened the scoring when outside half Aled Rees Jones slotted an early penalty.
But the home side were soon on the attack; backrow man Alun Lewis’ jinking run opened the defence and his perfect pass put in supporting scrum- half Alex Williams to grab the try.
Following Dan Jones’ excellent run, Betws were penalised, and outside half Tom Caddell made no mistake with the resulting kick. A well struck penalty from the boot of Betws placekicker Jones made it 8-6 after 17 minutes.
Newly-married Iwan Davies showed no sign of flagging and was in the thick of things as his superb run typified his all-round effort, along with impressive centre Hacuna Bezzara.
Craig Ratliffe’s break then created space, and Rhodri Lewis’ pass put in Dan Jones for try number two, Caddell’s conversion making it 15-6.
Amman’s purple-patch continued as wing Eurig Morgan crossed for a fine corner try, but Betws showed their sheer grit, despite being down a man by now, peppering the Amman try-line before Rory McGhee forced his way over for a deserved try which Aled Rees Jones converted on the stroke of half time.
A gallant Betws defence was breached early in the second half as Iwan Davies’ pass put in centre Bezzara for a Caddell-converted try.
A superb individual try from Alex Williams which saw him sidestep in for another Amman try began taking the match out of the visitors’ grasp on the hour mark.
Eurig Morgan’s ‘try’ was then ruled out for a forward-pass, just before Alex Williams incurred the referee’s wrath, yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle.
Betws almost took advantage of the 14 men as scrum half Ryan Tancock, who had a solid game, made a searing midfield break which sadly earned no end reward.
Betws’ tiring defensive legs conceded a further score as Alun Lewis provided a try on a plate for replacement Liam Poole to gallop over with minutes remaining.
Caddell’s conversion completed the scoring on an entertaining encounter.
Amman make the trip to Cefneithin on Saturday (Sept 25), while Betws are next in action on October 2.
Ynys prove one hill too far
Cwmamman Utd Reserves 2-4 Ynysygerwn
AFTER two 5-1 wins Cwmamman Reserves, playing their second game in 3 days, put up a brave fight against an Ynysygerwn team with lots of first team experience while also having to play 70 mins of the match with ten men.
The last thing they needed on tired legs was the dismissal of Brieg Matthews after 18 mins for an off the ball incident and it had been a tight match to that point.
But then on 23mins a through ball to Rhys Brewer saw him open the scoring for Ynys.
The 10 men of Cwm fought hard and Ashley Twigg was causing problems on the flank while Olly Dymond was brought down for a strong penalty shout but the referee waved play on.
Grant Rees and Stuart Dunn were strong at the centre of defence. Then just on half time a failure to clear at a corner saw Josh Davies slot it home for the equaliser for CWM.
The second half saw Ynysygerwn increase their possession as Cwm tired and in the 50th minute Tom Phillips flicked in a corner which was quickly followed by a goal in the 53rd minute when a ball over the top saw Charlie Farrell make it 3-1 for Ynys.
Again Cwm came back with Rhys Williams and Rhydian Jones making strong runs and Cam Isaac who had been a safe pair of hands for Cwm in goals but playing out for the last 15 mins score a great individual goal for 3-2.
Cwm pressed and had another strong penalty appeal before themselves conceding a penalty in the last minute which was converted by Nathan Davies to seal a hard fought 4-2 win for Ynysygerwn.
Cwm will enjoy the week’s rest before entertaining Briton Ferry next Saturday (Sept 25).
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