Carmarthen Quins 40
THE CARMARTHEN QUINS put themselves in a commanding position at the top of the Fosters Challenge Cup Pool 1 with a thumping 40 points to 14 victory at The Gnoll, in the first of two fixtures between the sides in 5 days.
Having drawn their first outing at Church Bank against Llandovery and disposed of Llanelli, the Quins knew that victory against the Welsh All Blacks would put them on the cusp of qualification for the knockout phase of the new competition, and with Wednesday night offering the return match of this fixture, the Quins will be confident of securing their place in the next round.
The competition is an opportunity to blood young talent as more senior players are called into the Scarlets Premiership Select side to play in the British and Irish Cup, and judging by the Quins showing thus far, the future is certainly very bright for the side from Carmarthen Park. After some encouraging performances in November, it was looking like Neath were about to turn the corner, but they ushered in December with a thumping against Newport, and here they again shipped 40 points, although they did manage to cross the whitewash, and in the first half at least it remained an even contest.
Quins started strongly and rattled into a 16-nil lead through tries by Roy Osborne and Haydn Pugh, outsidehalf Craig Evans converting both. But Neath, playing into a strong wind, gradually got going through their superior scrum and, forcing Quins onto the defensive they hit back with tries by flanker Leon Ward and acting captain Jonny Griffiths, scrum-half Rhodri Cole marking his comeback after a long lay-off through injury by converting the first. At 14-16 there was little in it but slack tackling allowed Quins in for a try by Shaun Evans converted by Evans which extended their lead to 24- 14 but, with wind advantage to come, Neath were by no means out of it. But the second half was mostly Quins as Neath’s effort faded.
Pool leaders Quins fielded a wellproven back division that always looked dangerous while up front the experience of former full-timers Nathan Williams and Shaun Jones and ex-Neath pair Haydn Pugh and Rhodri Clancy held them in good stead while hooker Ifan Phillips (watched by his father Kevin) graced The Gnoll for the first time and fully looked the part. Neath were well served throughout by their back rowers where Calum Davies excelled at No.8 while new prop Ben Uphill caused Quins some inconvenience and hooker Aled Morris was always in the thick of things.
Neath’s back-line did not have as many opportunities to shine but the centre partnership of Cameron Morris and Keiran Williams looks promising. Neath failed to score with the wind but Quins added two more tries – and good ones they were too credited to Ian Jones and Dylan Morgans. The always-accomplished Craig Evans converted both to put Quins firmly in charge of the group.
Teams: Neath: 1 Ben Uphill 2 Aled Morris 3 Marc Jones 4 Jon Barley 5 Jonathan Griffiths 6 Leon Ward 7 Alexander Humphrey 8 Callum Davies 9 Rhodri Cole 10 Iwan Evans 11 Ashley Evans 12 Kieran Williams 13 Cameron Morris 14 Joshua Jones 15 Aaron Bramwell
Replacements: 16 Roy Jones 17 Rhys Cleverly 18 Geraint James 19 Alun Jones 20 Gareth Beer 21 Will Thomas 22 Dafydd Howells 23 Ryan Evans
Carmarthen Quins: 1 Gethin Robinson 2 Ifan Phillips 3 Christian Rumbelow 4 Shaun Jones 5 Haydn Pugh 6 Ellis Lloyd 7 Rhodri Clancy 8 Roy Osborn 9 Gareth George 10 Craig Evans 11 Morgan Griffiths 12 Iolo Evans 13 Dylan Morgans 14 Keiran Jones 15 Dale Ford
Replacements: 16 Nathan Williams 17 Ian Jones 18 Steffan Thomas 19 Efan Ellis 20 Callum Price 21 Steffan Rees
Late goal sees Lido beat Ammanford
Report and photo courtesy of Ian Parfitt
AMMANFORD suffered the heartbreak of late defeat at Afan Lido on Friday night with an 87th minute winner from Liam Griffiths securing a 2-1 win and all three points for the hosts.
Afan Lido started the match on the front foot and Ammanford were clearly struggling with the pace on Lido’s flanks. A foul in the box led to a penalty for Lido in the 11th minute which was dispatched by Chris Jones.
Afan Lido were largely on top in the first half however were unable to add to their goal. Ammanford were restricted to half chances although Callum Silcox did hit the post with an angled shot.
Ammanford would have hoped for an early goal in the second half and that’s exactly what they got in the 48th minute, the excellent Jordan Langley spotting the keeper off his line and hitting a looping shot into the net from 30 yards.
This goal clearly settled Ammanford and spurred on by a vociferous away support went in search of a second goal.
Afan Lido rode their luck in the 63rd minute when Owyn Airey smashed a shot against the bar.
Callum Silcox then forced Lido keeper Steve Cann into an excellent save in the 74th minute with a rasping, long range effort.
Ammanford looked the most likely team to score and had several other opportunities which they failed to convert.
Ammanford were playing well with Morgan Clarke particularly influential in midfield.
Just when it looked as if a hard fought contest was heading for a draw Griffiths swept home from close range in the 87th minute following a Lido corner.
Ammanford frantically went in search of a second equaliser in the time that remained but this eluded them and the final whistle brought about feelings of what could have been for the away team.
Ammanford will look to put things right in their next match, a home encounter against Goytre Utd on Friday (Sept 30).
Williams’ wonder strike sinks Village
CWMAMMAN United came away from a hard fought match at near neighbours Garden Village in front of a large crowd with the three points following a powerful strike from Sion Dafydd Williams.
It was the second win on the trot for Cwm and manager Paul Lewis will have been especially pleased with a second consecutive clean sheet.
Cwm started well and dominated the first half that saw a Cory Saunders inswinging corner beat everyone and bounce out off the far post while Williams then later saw his shot agonisingly trickle past the post.
A high ball in to the Village box then hit the defender’s hand and Cwm had a penalty. Kyle Ashford struck it well but it was a tad too high and Wyn Walters made an excellent save. Charlie Davies then had an opportunity following a great move but fired just wide.
Ross Morgan, Ashford and Davies were dominating midfield while Grant Rees and Callum Dougal in the heart of the defence were controlling the Village attacks.
The goal was coming but not expected as spectacularly as it did when in the 39th minute a cross into the box saw Sion Dafydd Williams leaving Walters with no chance as he rocketed the ball into the net from the edge of the box as he seemed to be facing away from goal.
As the first period Garden Village will have been relieved to see half time just a goal down and will have been happy that they were still in it.
The second half saw a more even game with Walters again making excellent saves from Keiran Richards and from a Williams header. Village were now breaking more and Kai Rees who had tidied up excellently behind the Cwm defence throughout had to make a great finger tip save in the 70th minute.
Both sides then had to make changes due to injury with Cwm losing Leon Croucher, Williams and Richards to be replaced by Harrison
Thomas, Jordan Sullivan and Alex Giardelli returning to his old club.
Cwm seemed to be seeing the game out comfortably but had a late scare when Giardelli was given a red card for a reckless challenge in the 98th minute and nervously had to defend one last free kick.
An important win in the context of the season and Cwm now entertain Treharris Athletic on Saturday, October 1, at Grenig Park, 2.30pm
Amman earn first win of the season
AMMAN United claimed their first win of the season after an opening-day draw, and a cup defeat at Haverfordwest last weekend.
However, you would have been hard pushed to imagine a 50-point final-score when, just before half time, the score remained 0-0.
But two injury time scores had then given Amman an unlikely 12-0 interval lead against the Bulldogs.
A bright opening from United saw centre Gavin Lewis, on yet another comeback, show his trickery with a nice run and offload early on. Hooker George Clark had a fine game and was in the thick of everything, as were fellow forwards Iwan Davies, Dan Jones, Rhydian Jones and captain Alun Lewis.
Bynea suffered a very early blow, losing Corey Butler to an untimely injury, and they were later to also see Jamie Thomas limp off before half time.
These injuries meant a large period of added-time, and the Bulldogs’ valiant defence cracked during the injury-time as Joel Foster and Alun Lewis combined to put in flanker Rhydian Jones for the opening try, which Tom Caddell converted.
A frustrating couple of minutes for the visitors was compounded when a quick tap and go penalty from scrum half Foster saw him smuggle over the try line for a second try on the stroke of half time.
The Reds continued in good heart after the restart, and after some good play,Foster and and Dan Jones were involved before Rhydian Jones slipped a fine offload to skipper Alun Lewis who went under the posts for another converted try.
Another “vet” came on, Adrian Thomas off the bench as the home side largely dominated with their pack in the ascendency, Cian Lewis, Jason Knell and Rhys Phillips having put in a good shift throughout.
The Bulldogs then had a purple patch for a while,centre Jack Mal almost finishing off a fine move, before more calamity struck for them as Jake Sam was sadly stretchered off.
Amman capitalised and grabbed a bonus point try when the excellent George Clarke went over for another score to make it 24-0.
But the dogged visitors were always a threat, and carved out an excellent try for their efforts as wing Nathan Baker finished off a well-worked team move, which outside half Finlay Cook converted.
Amman hit back when the back row combined well before Dan Jones went over the whitewash for a try.
A very young Bynea side battled to the end,and some more excellent play was rewarded with a try for Tom Badger, converted by Cook.
However, the home side had the last word and grabbed a very late injury time try as the industrious Rhydian Jones crossed for the final score of the game.
Amman face a tough trip to Tumble on Saturday, October 1, while Bynea are home against New Dock Stars.
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