Match Reports

First Team

WRU ONE EAST CENTRAL

MAR 11 2017

LLANHARAN 17 TREORCHY 34 HT 0-10

 

Treorchy won the bonus point that greatly enhanced their One East Central championship prospects, but the scoreline barely reflected the contribution Llanharan made to the game.

In fact, it was fairly even-Stevens for much of this encounter with the Zebras making the most of the limited opportunities that came either way to win the try count 4-3.

Home coach Kevin Jones said: “We are near to where we want to be, it is often a matter of execution when we can see the prospect of a try – we certainly found ourselves advancing on the Treorchy line for much of today’s game.

“But ultimately, following last year’s relegation, our bottom line has always been to avoid a further drop – I think we can do that and then it will realistically be two to three years more of development to think about regaining our Championship place”.

If his team wanted encouragement it certainly came from its pack. The scrums were dominant, with Rhys Taylor doing a fine job on the loose head as well as contributing conspicuously around the field. In the lines out skipper Kieran Martin, performing a competent job as replacement for the injured Huw Thomas, was supreme.

But the path forward for Llanharan, who have recruited many fine potential backs this year, is to develop a cohesive and coherent unit behind the pack.

The potential was clearly visible throughout the game, and nowhere more than in the opening phases where a sharp home side was quickly into its stride.

Llanharan attacked with verve as backs like Stuart Griffiths and Lee Davies made inroads.

However, it was Treorchy who took the lead in the 11th minute, having escaped from the Dairyfield pressure courtesy of a suspiciously looking forward pass, picking up a three points with an offside penalty from Jacob Lloyd.

Ten minutes before half time they extended the lead, Peter Hutchins running diagonally after a series of pressure lines out in the left corner, and Jacob Lloyd converting.

Llanharan knew though that they were far from out of it and began the second period with a stunning try from the Treorchy restart. The Black and Blues swept up the field, Chrissy Poole delivering an exquisite off load and Stu Griffiths carrying further with a characteristically strong break before Morgan Williams went over on the right.

But within eight minutes the error prone leaders had clinched a winning score. Lloyd Williams conjured up a try from nothing, before try number three came just a short while later with Hutchins running across the defence to send Owen Williams in.

Lloyd converted the first and Llanharan were 24-5 down.

Heads did not drop though, Jamie Williams running strongly up the left before Poole made the breakthrough he had so often threatened, finding Williams on his right for the wing to finish superbly in the corner. Adam Williams converted to reduce the lead to 24-12.

Martin’s pack was still performing strongly, only for their prospects to be diminished when referee Gerwyn Taylor yellow carded Aled Llewellyn for obstruction with ten minutes normal time left.

The Zebras lost no time in making the advantage count, Cory Dunn securing their bonus point with a try which took the score to 31-12.

The Dairymen were far from daunted though and a long pass from Morgan Williams out flanked the defensive formation for the tireless Owain Howe to dive over on the right.

Adam Williams’ kick hit an upright, but his team were still pressing for a bonus point score of their own as Poole and Burton all but made the telling breakthroughs.

But their hopes were finally dashed as Treorchy decided not to give them that satisfaction by opting for a 47 metres penalty which Lloyd put over in the dying seconds.

 Llanharan scores

Tries Morgan Williams 2, Owain Howe    con   Adam Williams

Treorchy scores

Tries Cory Dunn, Lloyd Williams, Peter Hutchings, Owen Williams cons Jordan Lloyd 4 pens Lloyd 2

Team

15 Lee Davies (Jack Pring 52)

14 Morgan Williams

 13 Stuart Griffiths

 12 Chris Poole

11 Jamie Williams (Ales Hughes 62)

10 Adam Williams

9 Dan Burton

1 Rhys Taylor (Gethin Cashmore 78)

2 Sam Grant (Sam Llewellyn 72)

3 Matt Phillips

 4 Richard Hart

 5 Kieran Martin (Capt)

 6 Owain Howe

 7 Morgan Griffiths (Bill Carey 70)

 8 Aled Llewellyn

WRU ONE EAST CENTRAL

MAR 4 2017

PORTH QUINS 31 LLANHARAN 6 HT 17-3

This was a defeat that left Llanharan looking over their shoulders at the drop spots.

They still hold a 14 points advantage over Cardiff Quins in the second from bottom place, but they will be anxious to register a few more victories before the campaign ends.

Their supporters will need no reminding that established clubs like Tondu and Blackwood suffered the same relegation fate in the championship prior to their own demise last year, and proceeded to fall through the hatch into the second division the year after.

However, there was no denying the Quins their victory and a bonus point as well, a result which boosted their own chances for avoiding relegation.

And there was no doubt after this showing that the Dairyfield men will have to quickly learn to perform without their talisman skipper Huw Thomas.

The brave number eight was floored by a blatant illegal tackle at Dowlais only to commendably, but perhaps unwisely, carry on.

He declared himself fit for the Ystrad Rhondda match two weeks later only to suffer pain again playing the only way he knows in taking the battle physically to the opposition, and was again forced to exit early.

Only this time, the medical diagnosis showed a dislocated shoulder and a premature end to the season, a poor return for his selfless commitment.

It meant that in the Rhondda on Saturday they were without the former Cardiff University man’s ball carrying presence as well as his abrasive defensive play.

Llanharan backs’ coach Kevin Jones had no complaints about the outcome however.

“It just didn’t happen for us,” he said.

“We played ourselves into threatening positions a number of times but could not finish off, while Porth were expert at defending their own line and then taking full advantage at other end.

“But we take it one game at a time and face leaders Treorchy on Saturday, when we will have worked hard this week on rectifying the weaknesses.”

On a heavy pitch the power of the home pack brought two tries, though one of the others was as good a score as would grace any encounter.

Llanharan had a lot of the second half play but lacked composure and sometimes physical presence.

Scores

Porth tries 4

Llanharan pens Adam Williams 2

 

 

Team

15 Chris Poole

14 Morgan Williams

 13 Stuart Griffiths

 12 Gareth Dyer

11 Jamie Williams

10 Adam Williams

9 Ross Pritchard

1 Sam Grant

2 Sam Llewellyn

3 Gethin Cashmore

 4 Richard Hart

 5 Lee Morris

 6 Kieran Martin (Capt) 

 7 Owain Davies

 8 Morgan Griffiths

 

Replacements used

Rhys Taylor

Matt Phillips

Rhodri Jones

Jack Pring

 Replacement unused

Aled Llewellyn

 

WRU ONE EAST CENTRAL

LLANHARAN 12 YSTRAD RHONDDA 19 (HT 5-19)

A thrilling last move try by Lloyd Thomas, converted by himself, gave Llanharan a well-earned losing bonus point.

It came as second placed Ystrad were pressing for their own try scoring bonus in the dying minutes.

With hooker Sam Llewellyn sin binned, it looked odds on they would succeed as three consecutive penalty scrums put the pressure on.

But somehow Llanharan wrestled possession away from the third and Morgan Williams went haring away up field. Ystrad managed to get the ball back but replacement Thomas expertly pounced on an interception 40 metres out to race away and score, coolly adding the all-important kick.

It was deserved consolation for the home side, team manager Wayne’s Jervis, who himself had a spell with the Rhondda Fawr boys, praising their hard work.

To their credit they had denied the away team a score in the second half after it looked like a runaway victory was on the cards at half time.

Indeed, Huw Thomas’ men lacked cohesion and composure in the first forty minutes against a no nonsense and direct Rhondda outfit who threw everything into forceful attack.

A shaky start was punished in the 6th minute as number eight Liam Davies forced his way over.

They notched a second in an unusual way when referee Tim Davies awarded a penalty try despite the fact that the scrum was still intact and straight, and no offence appeared to have been committed.

It was a disappointment for the home front row of Rhys Taylor, Llewellyn and Matt Phillips who until then had held out well in the set piece.

Ironically, an identical set piece ten minutes later drew no whistle and the visitors knocked on attempting the try.

Rhys Truelove converted, but Llanharan were given a glimmer of hope with a try from the dangerous Jamie Williams who got the touch down to Stu Griffiths’ kick after the inspirational skipper Thomas had effected some good recovery work.

However, the Gelligaled XV made it 19-5 at half time, Llanharan falling for the old front of the lineout ruse by allowing scrum half Jack Foulkes to sneak through the blind side.

Llanharan started the second half missing a penalty under the posts and Ystrad soon pressed at the other end, only Thomas again and a good Rhodri Jones clearance preventing a score.

Then it was Llanharan’s time to threaten, their hard working pack with Kieran Martin, Richard Hart and Lee Morris providing quality lineout ball creating enough scope for talented runners like Chrissy Pole, Morgan Williams, Jamie Williams and Jack Pring to start making ground.

Yet it seemed there would be no reward especially as the physical commitment of Huw Thomas forced his departure five minutes from time, followed by the yellow card.

But they never gave up and Thomas’s try was the positive outcome of their resolve.

It was also pleasing to see Owain Howe make a successful return to senior action after five months out  with injury

Llanharan tries Jamie Williams, Lloyd Thomas con Lloyd Thomas  

Ystrad tries Liam Davies Jack Foulkes penalty try cons Rhys Truelove 2

Team

15 Lee Davies (Jack Pring 52)

14 Morgan Williams

 13 Stuart Griffiths

 12 Chris Poole

11 Jamie Williams

10 Rhodri Jones (Lloyd Thomas 65)

9 Evan Parry-John 

1 Rhys Taylor

2 Sam Llewellyn

3 Matt Phillips

 4 Richard Hart

 5 Lee Morris

 6 Owain Davies/Owain Howe

 7 Kieran Martin

 8 Huw Thomas (Capt) (Gethin Cashmore 75)

Unused Replacements

Sam Grant

Rhydian Worgan

 

WRU ONE EAST CENTRAL

DOWLAIS 27 LLANHARAN 19 (HT 17-0)

Played on Merthyr’s hi tech 4G pitch, this was the proverbial game of two halves.

Settling first on the synthetic surface, the home team enjoyed the lion’s share of ball and with it territorial dominance, even though the bounce occasionally bamboozled both attackers and defenders.

With Llanharan suffering two yellows, the Dowlais side built up a telling points advantage despite the visitors’ great defensive effort.

However, it seemed the Dairymen had been thrown a life line just before half time when Maesteg referee Richard Brace had no hesitation in showing the red card to Dowlais skipper Adam Cullen for a reckless dangerous tackle which left opposing captain Huw Thomas distinctly the worse for wear.

To his credit the Builth product struggled bravely on after lengthy treatment, but the departure of his side’s talisman in the second half left Black and Blues  supporters wondering just who had gained most from the sending off.

As it was, Llanharan did their best to get something out of the game, but at times were too frenetic with the line a begging, putting to bed just three chances when it could have been double that number - Dowlais were even down to thirteen for the last five minutes thanks to a yellow card.

The opening 40 minutes belonged to the Merthyr outfit, waves of attack only kept out by desperate defence.

But a yellow for second row Richard Hart proved significant, as scrum pressure allowed Lloyd Hynes to feed full back Tom Griffiths and then add the conversion before Llanharan were back to full strength.

They were soon down to fourteen again as Evan Parry-John was binned and it was during his absence that Dowlais rattled up another ten points.

Outside half Hynes hit a penalty and then put the extras on Bleddyn Rees’s try, the wing pouncing on a bouncing kick for the touchdown.

The away team threatened only twice, Jamie Williams crowded out after a fifty yard Llanharan surge, and then a three scrum-fives sequence coming to grief on a penalty.

But Cullen departed just before the turn around and suddenly prospects of a comeback seemed realistic.

Indeed the first try came just two minutes after the restart, Morgan Williams putting the finishing touch after outside half Rhodri Jones had split the defence.

Williams was prominent again, combining with Parry-John in another attack, but Llanharan suffered significant blows to their hopes mid-way through the half with Hynes landing another three points and then, just after Thomas’s departure, Rees flat footing the defence with a diagonal run from the left wing to the posts.

The kick made it 27-5, but at last the Dairyfield men sprung to life. Fifteen minutes from time Williams did well to get over the line for his second, Rhodri Jones converting, followed by Kieran Martin touching down from Jones’s pass, Parry John this time adding the kick, and Llanharan were in the hunt for at least a double bonus point.

They did everything but score, an element of unnecessary desperation often denying them success, then suffered the ultimate frustration with just thirteen against them by twice conceding penalties in the home twenty two.

One of Llanharan’s problems in a year of rebuilding is an understandable inconsistency, especially with so many new young players, but constant changes in selection caused by injury and unavailability have not helped either, the starting line up going into this game at the Wern showing another six changes behind and one up front from the starting XV that went on to beat St Joseph’s so well the previous weekend.

This game added to the problem with back row Richard Lawrence a first half ankle victim and Thomas hoping this weekend’s break will aid a quick recovery

Dowlais tries – Bleddyn Rees 2, Tom Griffin. Cons 3 and pens 2 Lloyd Hynes.

Llanharan tries: Morgan Williams 2, Kieran Martin. Cons: Rhodri Jones and Evan Parry- John

 

15 Evan Parry-John

14 Morgan Williams

 13 Lloyd Thomas

 12 Gareth Dyer

11 Jamie Williams (Jack Pring 60)

10 Rhodri Jones

9 Adam Williams

1 Rhys Taylor

2 Gethin Cashmore (Sam Llewellyn 60)

3 Matt Phillips

 4 Richard Hart

 5 Lee Morris

 6 Kieran Martin

 7 Richard Lawrence (Morgan Griffiths 29)

 8 Huw Thomas (Capt) (Dai Pearson 58)

Unused Replacement

Huw Russell

WRU ONE EAST CENTRAL

LLANHARAN 19 ST JOSEPH’S 14

Llanharan’s coaches had demanded an improvement after the previous Saturday’s lethargic capitulation to Rumney – and got it as their side registered a good win.

Head coach Jeff Pick complimented the team, acknowledging a desire and passion that helped them fight back for victory.

It was achieved despite two cards, the latter a red for Lloyd Thomas twenty minutes from time under the contentious new high tackle laws, but they only spurred the team on to greater efforts.  

The result well illustrated the vagaries of the game – Rumney had been thrashed on their ground earlier in the season whereas it was the Dairyman who suffered such a fate when they met St Jo’s at Blackweir the following week.

For the crowd it was a very good game of rugby with Llanharan trying to move the ball on every occasion.

The first half belonged to the capital city outfit, their pack working hard in the scrums and lineouts.  Their tactics were based on a kicking game to achieve territorial advantage - and it looked like paying off until the home team broke away and Chris Williams scored an exciting try.

However, the visitors kept pressing and forcing mistakes, which they capitalised on for two converted tries making it 14-5 at half time.

The Llanharan response was emphatic with Huw Thomas galvanising his men into dominance, the whole team grafting and pulling together.

The pack was securing the necessary possession and two tries came – Richard Lawrence going over after more forward pressure and the Gareth Dyer marking his return to the team cashing in on a charge down.

Despite their numerical disadvantage there was a clear determination not to give the game away in the final quarter of the game.

Former skipper Pick deemed it the best performance of the season, against a Cardiff side that had been rattling up big scores.

He said there were good performances all round, but identified Matt Phillips in the front row of a strong scrum, Gareth Dyer for his straight running, Evan Parry-John who did well on the wing, and Bridgend dual Chris Williams for his sharp play behind the pack, as particularly praiseworthy.

Defence in general was very good with impressive line speed.

Tries – Chris Williams, Richard Lawrence, and Gareth Dyer.

 

15 Lee Davies

14 Evan Parry-John

 13 Stuart Griffiths

 12 Gareth Dyer

11 Jamie Williams

10 Lloyd Thomas

9 Chris Williams

1 Rhys Taylor

2 Gethin Cashmore

3 Matt Phillips

 4 Richard Hart

 5 Lee Morris

 6 Owain Davies

 7 Richard Lawrence

 8 Huw Thomas (Capt)

Replacements used

Sam Llewellyn

Morgan Griffiths

Rhodri Jones

Unused

Sam Grant

Kieron Martin

WRU ONE EAST CENTRAL

LLANHARAN 6 RUMNEY20 (HT 3-10)

Back in early September Llanharan ran in six tries at Riverside Park in an impressive 43-11 demolition of the Cardiff side.

In this return encounter they failed to cross the line once and looked distinctly mediocre for much of the game.

The contrast is hard to explain. There have been changes of personnel, but nine of the starting line-up remained with three more on the bench.

Even the inclusion of two premiership duals in Chris Williams (Bridgend) and Ross Pritchard (Cross Keys) could not inspire the team to other than sporadic efforts.

To compound a bad afternoon, there was the distressing sight of club stalwart Paul Winter being ambulanced away with a triple fracture of the leg, something which could well have dampened spirits.

Llanharan though had the basics in place with a solid set piece, but could not establish the dynamics for effective territorial advance.

Their old East District foes on the other hand, undoubtedly buoyed by a WRU Plate run that has taken them to the quarter finals, had a lot more effectiveness in their play.

Up front and behind they had players who could not only make telling ground, but also link up productively, whereas the Dairymen struggled to get phases going for much of the afternoon.

They had the encouragement of a 3rd minute Chris Williams penalty and occasionally threatened with Chris Poole  making ground up one wing after good initial play by Morgan Williams, and James Williams on the other touchline just failing to find support with his bold reverse pass.

After Winter’s departure, Rumney came more into it. Poole brought off one good tackle, but a try was given away as the home side lost the ball in an attack and centre Paul King finished off.

The self-inflicted damage continued, a ball dropped over the line allowing Danny Clarke to gratefully pounce and give his side a 10-3 half time lead.

Clarke added a penalty just after the restart, and although Williams responded in kind, then ended the home side’s hopes as he converted a try from his skipper Mike Young, when another despairing Llanharan attack broke down.

To be fair, there were spells of improved intensity from Huw Thomas’s men, but this was one their old East District rivals were not going to let go of.

Backs coach Kevin Jones  could be heard in the post-match “warm down” warning his players that far better was expected if they were not to be drawn into another relegation scenario for the second successive season.

An eight points buffer currently keeps them clear of Cardiff Quins in the bottom two, while Rumney’s victory lifted them four points above the drop spot.

 

 

 

 

 

Scores:

Llanharan

Pens: Chris Williams 2

Rumney

Tries Paul King, Danny Clarke, Mike Young. Con: Clarke.  Pen: Clarke.

Team

15 Evan Parry-John

14 Chris Poole (Rhydian Worgan 69)

13 Stuart Griffiths

12 Morgan Williams

11 Jamie Williams (Ross Pritchard HT)

10 Lloyd Thomas

9 Chris Williams

1 Sam Grant

2 Rhys Taylor (Gethin Cashmore 20)

3 Matt Phillips (Sam Llewellyn 69)

 4 Richard Hart

 5 Lee Morris

 6 Paul Winter (Morgan Griffiths 26)

 7 Richard Lawrence

 8 Huw Thomas (Capt)

FRIENDLY

LLANHARAN 5 KENFIG HILL 12

After an extended Christmas break, the last thing each side wanted was a blank Saturday.

The fixture gap was caused by Llanharan’s exit from the Plate at the hands of Mold, while Kenfig Hill went out at an even earlier stage, losing 15-14 at home to Aberavon Quins.

As such the game undoubtedly provided a useful run out but it was Kenfig who stole the honours.

Home backs coach Kevin Jones identified the failure to turn first half superiority into points as the reason for defeat.

“They took their chances better,” he said.

Head coach Jeff Pick agreed:. “We were playing superb rugby in that first half and no one would have complained had we been 25 points up but Kenfig’s defence coupled with the crucial final pass going adrift cost us. We perhaps took it for granted that we would run up points after the turn around but penalties allowed them to get to the corner and pick up vital tries.”

Llanharan will also be worried about injuries to Lloyd Thomas and Lee Edgecombe, the latter dislocating a shoulder for the second time.”

But at least they did score the try of the match as brilliant hands saw Stuart Griffiths take his score well.

Next up on Saturday for Huw Thomas’s men will be Rumney, for many years prior to national leagues the club that vied with the Dairymen for top dog East District status.

 

No run out for the club Seconds Saturday as Heolycyw declared themselves unable to raise a team, another worrying sign of the state of community rugby, despite statements to the contrary from the WRU!

WRU ONE EAST CENTRAL

LLANTWIT FARDRE 11 LLANHARAN 13

WRU ONE EAST CENTRAL

LLANTWIT FARDRE 11 LLANHARAN 13

Llantwit missed the chance of a share of the spoils as a last gasp conversion attempt missed the target, and Llanharan were celebrating their first win since early November with a cup defeat, two league setbacks and a draw in that period.

The Dairymen were undoubted favourites entering the game against the bottom placed club, particularly after the 33-0 opened day success.

However, signs were that Llantwit had been improving and so it proved as they provided tough opposition.

It was just as well that the Dairymen had a good start behind them with tries from Jamie Williams and Scott Jones, the latter also adding a penalty to make the lead 13-6.

Williams used his speed to cash in on Craig Burton’s good work, while Jones, making his first start since a summer arm break, found the space around the platform for his touchdown.

That late comeback though came close to derailing Huw Thomas and his men.

Backs coach Kevin Jones confessed the game has been harder than expected and praised the battling qualities shown by Llantwit.

“At the end of the day though, we got an away win in a local derby and with the squad getting stronger we are looking for a better second half of the season.

“In training we are working on the need to get into positions and come away with points – and we just did enough at Llantwit to get the win.

 

Tries – Jamie Williams, Scott Jones. Pen – S.Jones

 

Team:

15 Rhodri Jones

14 Jamie Williams

13 Chris Poole

12 Morgan Williams

11 Evan Parry-John

10 Scott Jones

9 Craig Burton

1 Rhys Taylor

2 Gethin Cashmore

3 Matt Phillips

4 Lee Morris

5 Richard Hart

6 Paul Winter

7 Owain Davies

8 Huw Thomas (Capt)

Replacements used

Sam Grant

Sam Pick

Jack Pring

Stuart Griffiths

Unused

Tom Buckle

WRU ONE EAST CENTRAL

HEOLYCYW 10 LLANHARAN 10 (HT 5-7)

This was a dour, no quarters given, battle between the two neighbours, each of  whom could lay claim to perhaps deserving victory, though on reflection will probably be content with a draw.

There  was a  lot of build up to the first league meeting between the clubs in over a  quarter of a century since  the WRU structure was set up, a scenario related to the relative fall of the away side from a one-time Premier club and the rise through the divisions of their hosts.

For a while it certainly looked as though it was going to be a memorable Cyw win as they threw everything at Llanharan in the opening half hour.

It was credit to a doughty defence against unrelenting pressure that only one try was conceded. It was grabbed by scrum half Aled Jones, one of many players to have represented both sides over the years, Short’s conversion adding to the lead.

Gradually however, the tide turned. Rhys Taylor was given ten minutes on the side-lines, but it was Heolycyw who increasingly fell foul of the whistle, Stuart Nation receiving a yellow card, and they lost much of their early power.

A good penalty to touch from Rhodri Jones at last gave his team a foothold. The ball was moved out right. Richard Hart, prominent in all the pack's play, led the drive and eventually a strong forwards rumble gave second row Lee Morris a try to make it 7-5.

Llanharan were now well in the game with telling contributions from Craig Burton and Morgan Williams. Huw Thomas was as ever leading by example, and they reached half time in better heart than might have been expected from early proceedings.

The restart saw the Dairymen exhibiting a variety of attacking tactics, while indiscipline was to cost Cyw two more cards.

However, while Llanharan threatened much, one scintillating Morgan Williams break coming to grief courtesy of the first of those sanctions, it was proving difficult to master both the conditions and determined resistance.

And it was Cyw who stretched the lead as Short’s penalty against the run of play added three points.

Llanharan were soon back on the attack though. Scott Jones, in his first game since breaking an arm back in the summer, guided the away pack to the corner.

Thomas, Burton and Williams all made attempts to get over, but it was a scissors between Jones and Chrissy Poole that eventually led to Williams’ touch down.

Jones’s kick hit an upright and the scores stayed level.

Despite their team’s overall dominance in the second half, away supporters watched with baited breath as two late penalties against the run of play gave Short the chance of victory, but he was off target with each and the final whistle went soon after to signal a sharing of the spoils.

Cyw try – Aled Jones. Con and Pen Short

Llan tries – Lee Morris, Morgan Williams

15 Evan Parry-John

14 Stuart Griffiths

13 Chris Poole

12 Morgan Williams

11 Rhydian Worgan (Jack Pring 75)

10 Rhodri Jones (Scott Jones 25 blood, 45)

9 Craig Burton

1 Rhys Taylor

2 Gethin Cashmore (Sam Llewellyn 75)

3 Matt Phillips

4 Lee Morris

5 Richard Hart

6 Kieran Martin

7 Paul Winter (Sam Pick 36 YC, Owain Davies 55)

8 Huw Thomas (Capt)

WRU PLATE ROUND THREE

LLANHARAN 17 MOLD 20 (After extra time – full time 17-17)

An extra time penalty from full back Jack Martin edged Mold through to the last sixteen of the WRU Plate.

Llanharan had plenty of basics in place, particularly a strong scrum and accurate line out, but all too often adopted running tactics in appalling conditions.

Not so the north Walians who had less possession, but put the boot to just about everything.

It became an increasingly successful tactic as heavy rain and mud made constructive play impossible, the inevitable mistakes thwarting Llanharan’s attempts to impose themselves.

Mold got an early lead from a Martin penalty, but with Lee Morris supplying good line out ball from Gethin Cashmore's accurate throws the Dairymen began to press and powerful scrummaging ended with Referee Steffan Edwards awarding the penalty try which Rhodri Jones converted.

However, in the twentieth minute Llanharan fell for one of the oldest tactics in the game  as hooker Ryan Kirby took a short return lineout ball to run over in the corner, Martin’s excellent conversion restoring their lead at 10-7 despite being a man down after Aaron Jones’s sin binning.

Outside half Jones tied the scores again with a penalty after a Huw Thomas drive, and it was skipper Thomas who got his side’s second try from another powerful scrum after Rhydian Worgan had put the home team in a good position with a kick and chase.

Jones’s conversion scraped over, but despite again going down to fourteen after centre Cai Edwards was shown a yellow the visitors held out against further pressure.

However, with a surfeit of possession it seemed  only a matter of time before Llanharan would be extending their 17-10 lead, but despite isolated cameos from the likes of Chrissy Poole and Stuart Griffiths, most efforts fell foul of the mud and rain.

Mold’s tactic of hoofing all that came their way downfield eventually got them a foot hold and with Lee Morris now in the bin, a drive from a lineout brought a second for Kirby with Martin’s conversion levelling the scores.

Yet it still seemed it would be Llanharan making progress to the next round as centre Morgan Williams sailed through a gap to touch down only for Mr Edwards to rule it out for alleged crossing.

But with two tries apiece at full time it was another ten minutes each way with all thirty looking more like chocolate soldiers than rugby players.

It took just one decision to settle the affair, the Abercrave official deeming a Llanharan mid field player to be off side some twenty metres away from the contact area.

Martin slotted over the easiest of kicks, and apart from one exciting Poole break, Llanharan could not attain the continuity needed to bring a saving try.

The rapturous celebrations in the One North club’s ranks showed just how much victory meant to them.

Llanharan tries: penalty try, Huw Thomas. Cons 2 and pen: Rhodri Jones.

Mold tries: Ryan Kirby 2; cons 2 and pens 2 – Jack Martin

15 Evan Parry-John

14 Stuart Griffiths (Jamie Williams 74)

13 Chris Poole

12 Morgan Williams

11 Rhydian Worgan

10 Rhodri Jones

9 Craig Burton

1 Rhys Taylor

2 Gethin Cashmore (Sam Pick 74)

3 Matt Phillips (Rhys Haines 74) 

4 Tom Buckle (Aled Llewellyn 64)

5 Richard Hart

6 Lee Morris

7 Owain Davies

8 Huw Thomas (Capt)

WRU ONE EAST CENTRAL

LLANHARAN 5 MOUNTAIN ASH 33 (ht 0-23)

Llanharan lost emphatically to second placed Mount in this lively Dairyfield encounter, and the result put their standing in perspective after last year’s disaster.

The club knew that relegation would need a determined effort to  halt the slide and not end up like other championship outfits such as Tondu And Blackwood who slipped straight through to the League Two section.

A major restructuring in the summer saw home grown personnel take charge of on field matters, and an intensive recruitment programme with promising signs.

However, whilst a further drop would be surprising, this game showed Llanharan how far they have to go to start aiming championship-ward in the future.

Their main strength was a powerful set piece scrum, but elsewhere the Black and Blues were very much second best to the Cynon valley lads who demonstrated all round competence.

Not that the Dairymen were helped by the withdrawal of line out ace Kieran Martin, their subsequent disaster in that department illustrating the point.

Mix in poor tackles, wrong angles, dubious tactics, and turnovers and the only surprise is that Mount only accumulated four tries. In fact it was a mystery why they opted to put over a penalty from half way when already 30-5 up, although perhaps that was a tribute to their opponents never say die effort despite their shortcomings.

Skipper Huw Thomas, a prime example of that endeavour, accepted their second best performance, but looked forward to Saturday’s WRU Plate game at home to Mold as a chance to take the embryonic team forward, and inspire a side hugely reconstructed since the summer.

In fact Llanharan started brightly with some eye-catching ball handling as they fought their way out of defence, but Mount countered with their own attacking aplomb and within fifteen minutes were leading through a Liam Jones penalty and a David Richards try, significantly also from a line out.

Determined bursts by the likes of Paul Winter again gave hope only for the Old Firm to extend that lead as fierce resistance was eventually worn down and Kieran Davies went over.

A yellow card against Bleddyn Lock offered hope and although Tom Buckle drove through well, the away side ran up another three points thanks to a Jones penalty and then a sparkling counter attack that saw scum half Ross Davies finish off, the kick making it 23-0 at half time, even though Ross Pritchard tried hard to find gaps with quick penalties.

After the turn round hope was resurgent as another Pritchard break gave Jack Pring a left wing try, but Davies’s second converted try put the game out of reach at 30-5.

And even though Llan kept trying after the 65th minute final score, ultimately hinging on Chrissy Poole’s tricky running, nothing linked up with a positive outcome.

 

15 Rhodri Jones

14 Stuart Griffiths

13 Morgan Williams

12 Gareth Dyer

11 Jack Pring (Evan Parry John 75)

10 Chris Poole

9 Ross Pritchard (Craig Burton 76)

1 Matthew Phillips

2 Rhys Taylor (Sam Llewellyn 65)

3 Joel Ringer (Sam Grant HT)

4 Richard Hart

5 Lee Morris

6 Tom Buckle

7 Paul Winter (Bill Carey 74)

8 Huw Thomas (Captain)

Llan try – Jack Pring

Mount tries – Ross Davies 2, Kieran Davies, David Richards. Kicks – Liam Jones

Ref Jack Boswell

Pics tomorrow

RHIWBINA 21 LLANHARAN 20 HT

Head coach Jeff Pick was far from happy with his team’s discipline in this defeat in Llanharan’s first meeting with the Cardiff side.

Yellow cards were awarded against Rhys Taylor, Joel Ringer and Lee Morris.

Said the former Llanharan skipper: “These lapses meant that we were a man down for a substantial part of the game, even two short at one stage, and we cannot afford to give our opponents that sort of advantage. We were actually scoring a try when one needless infringement took place.”

He also conceded that unusually his forwards gave second best against the East District club.

On the bright side he was pleased with the play of two newcomers in the backs, Pontyberem product Rhodri Jones scoring a try and penalty, and Morgan Williams, back in the club after a spell at Beddau, looking dangerous in mid field as Gareth Dyer’s partner.

There were also two tries from Ross Pritchard who made a start at number nine, but generally Rhiwbina held the upper hand and the repeated card infringements made it a challenge too far for the Dairymen who saw Rhiwbina steal the result with a late penalty.

Huw Thomas and his men, who held the lead no fewer than four times, will be looking to get back to winning ways when Mountain Ash come to the Dairyfield.

Llanharan vice presidents should note that this is a free sponsorship and it would be helped if they contacted Steve Rossiter to indicate their attendance. Steve is available this week on: [email protected]

Rhiwbina tries came from Josh Trewartha, Jamie de Abreau  and Josh Slocombe, with penalties from Rory Harris and Rhydian Morgan.

Llanharan tries – Rhodri Jones, Ross Pritchard 2. Con Chrissy Poole. Pen Rhodri Jones

Llanharan team:

15 Rhodri Jones

14 Jack Pring

13 Morgan Williams

12 Gareth Dyer

11 Rhydian Worgan

10 Chris Poole

9 Ross Pritchard

1 Rhys Taylor

2 Sam Llewellyn

3 Sam Grant

4 Lee Morris

5 Richard Hart

6 Kieran Martin

7 Morgan Griffiths

8 Huw Thomas (Capt)

Subs used:

Joel Ringer

Paul Winter

Elys Goode

Craig Burton