Match Reports

First Team

 

SSE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN 6 BRIDGEND ATHLETIC 17 (HT 6-7)

Llanharan may still be without a win this season, but their performance against the Athletic showed that when they are anywhere near a full squad they are certainly a match for the sides in the lower half of the championship.

It was a case of a few crucial incidents not going their way, while Huw Thomas’s surging seventy metres run to the corner in the final move deserved a better outcome than Paul Spurrier’s final whistle.

A score and bonus point would have been no more than Scott Malone’s battlers deserved.

The Dairymen certainly enjoyed the better of the first half, largely thanks to a dominant scrum. The bedrock of Tom Evans, Rhys Taylor and Rhys Haines with the hefty backing of powerhouse men Kieran Martin and Owain Howe had the Bridgend team in trouble and allow3ed the back row of Malone, Tom Wilson and Thomas to forage effectively.

It would have been a pleasing sight to head coach Colin Malone and forwards guru Jeff Pick, both past members of strong Llanharan packs.

The visitors led only 7-6 to at half time, Llanharan certainly unhappy about the yellow cards for Haines and Gavin Parsons that reduced them to thirteen at one stage as the interval approached.

Mr Spurrier found a lot of fault with the Black and Blues, although to be fair he also dished it out the other way, carding prop Matt Muir in the second half.

It looked like another heavy defeat on the cards for home team when Sean Williams strode through from the breakdown and touched down under the posts for Lewis Evans to convert in the second minute.

However, Llanharan shrugged off the setback with determined play, the later yellows given perspective as Athletic conceded four successive penalties without a sin bin sanction.

Scott Jones landed two kicks to leave just a single point deficit.

When the Athletic attacked they were either careless in their handling or met resolute defence.

At the other end, their opponents were still going strong, Thomas, Malone, Burton and Jones particularly prominent as their side asked the questions.

But the team that now plays out of the Brewery Field gave themselves breathing space early after the restart  with an Evans penalty for off side and rode out the yellow card ten minutes  without conceding.

The game was now scrappy, injuries and replacements disrupting the fluency, but Sean Williams’ XV struck the crucial blow twelve minutes from the end.

Ironically, it  was a lost head that led to corner pressure and a driving maul ended  with number eight Stuart Edbrooke over the line, Evans converting to finalise the score.

Thomas’s last despairing drive brought matters to a close,  with disappointment for the home outfit for whom Prop Paul Boddingham, centre Liam Union and scrum half Rob Chen made encouraging debuts.

The Athletic will be pleased with the win which helps keep them above the relegation places, but will find Pontypridd a handful in this week’s cup game.

For Llanharan,  Malone expressed disappointment at coming away with nothing to show for a good effort, unhappy aboutthepenalty count against,  but will look forward to giving Narberth a good game when they arrive at the Dairyfield on Saturday.

His main injury worry will be energetic second row Howe who took a blow to the upper body in the second half.

Scores:

Llanharan: Pens (2) Scott Jones.

Bridgend Ath: tries – Sean Williams, Stuart Edbrooke; pen and con – Lewis Evans.

Team:

HARRISON EVANS 

GAVIN PARSONS

LIAM UNION

HARRY GRIFFITHS

HUW RUSSELL (CHRIS SHARKEY 71)

 SCOTT JONES

 CRAIG BURTON (ROB CHEN 71)

TOM EVANS

 RHYS TAYLOR (RHYS HAINES 75)

 RHYS HAINES (JAMES HOLMES 35) (PAUL BODDINGHAM 54)

 OWAIN HOWE (RICHARD LAWRENCE 62)

 KIERAN MARTIN

 TOM WILSON

 SCOTT MALONE (C)

HUW THOMAS

Match Report: Llanharan 8 v Tata Steel 67. 30-01-2016

By

RICHIE J

 

 

Another gritty and determined performance by an under strength Llanharan side. Llan were further hindered by the loss of their full back, due to injury, at half time. The team started the game with uncontested scrums and the loss of the full back meant that he could not be replaced, so for the second half Llan were again reduced to 14 men.

 

The game started with Tata showing their intent by running the ball at every opportunity, Llan came back at them with some good drives by the forwards. These were set up by outside half Harrison Evans, who cleverly used the wind to gain ground. The game swung back and forth with Tata being able to diffuse the Llanharan drives for their line . After one of the drives Tata gave away a penalty and Harrison Evans converted from 22 meters out.  Not to be outdone Tata came back with a sweeping movement for their second row, Danny Hockin, to go over under the posts. The try was converted by their outside half .

After a penalty against Llanharan, Ross Pritchard, the Tata No 9, made a clean break and quickly made ground towards the Llanharan line. The move was finished off with a try by Rory Morgan-Williams No 10, who also converted. Kristian Jenkins then scored another try for Tata, making the score 19-3

Llan came back with some good moves and a number of times were well within striking distance of the Tata line. One of these moves resulted in a yellow card for the Tata No.4.

From the penalty, Llanharan second row Keiron Martin broke through the Tata line and used his long legs to cover the ground and go over in the corner for a try. Llan continued to put pressure on the Tata line but were unable to break the Tata defence. The first half ended with the score  Llanharan 8  Tata 19.

 

This was a good result for Llan. from a team that had fought well against the odds. There was some hope that this good performance would continue in the second half.

 

The second half started with Tata making full use of the wind and the loss of Llanharan's full back scoring three quick tries, which effectively put an end to Llan's hope of a comeback.

Under pressure and with 14 men the Llanharan players dug in and showed their determination. Again they made  forays into the Tata half but were unable to turn the pressure into points.  Tata continue to take full advantage of their numerical advantage and  the wind and the game ended with them scoring 67 points.

The Llanharan players could not have put more effort or spirit into the game and should be proud of the way they performed against the odds.

Match Report 23-01-2016

BY

RICHIE J

 

Llanharan v Pontypool   14 - 64

 

 

 

A tremendous result by a much depleted Llanharan side.  The score does not reflect the way that Llanharan played against a side who are third in the Championship. Llanharan were led by the returning Huw Thomas instead of the injured Scott Malone. The game started off with Llanharan having a bare side which resulted in uncontested scrums. They were further reduced to 14 men, with an injury to prop Rhys Taylor, before half time.  The rules of uncontested scrums not allowing substitutes.

 

The game started with Pontypool playing away from the Clubhouse and down the slope. Pontypool showed their intent from the very start and ran the ball at every opportunity. Their backs and forwards combining to produce  sweeping movements showing excellent handling skills by backs and forwards.  The pressure on the Llanharan line finally gave way when the Pontypool No.12 Sione Tuipulotu went over in the corner for the first try.  The rapid movement of the ball by Pontypool, set the scene for the first half. Despite Llanharan putting in a strong defensive effort they could not keep Pontypool out.  Josh Hurley the Pontypool No. 11 made some impressive runs, to trouble the defence and score Pontypool's second try.

Llanharan had difficulty in slowing down the pace and power of the Pontypool backs and Marc Thorley went over for another try.  Pontypool's forwards also got in on the act with Jamie Jeune (prop) adding to the try count.

The display put in by Llanharan in defence of  their line was impressive. A number of try saving tackles being made to keep the score down.  Every Llanharan player put in a 100 percent effort to make it an entertaining game. The half ended 0 - 43 to Pontypool.

 

The injury to Rhys Thomas just after half time was a further set back to Llanharan. It  looked as though it would add to Pontypool's dominance of the game when they scored early on in the second half.  This turned out not to be so .  The loss of one man made the Llanharan players even more determined to continue with their good display. We were then treated to a very good game, with both sides showing good skills in attacking rugby.  Strangely enough it was Llanharan who came out on top of these encounters. Harry Griffiths (wing) kicked a loose Pontypool ball  from his own 22 meter line and followed this  by going over in the corner.  The try was converted by outside half Scott Jones. Llanharan's momentum continued and with 14 men.  They were constantly putting pressure on the Pontypool line.  It was then the turn of  Llanharan to make ground, with good driving and interchange of passing between backs and forwards. After one of these drives, Craig Burton went over under the posts.  The try was converted by Scott Jones.  Scott was also starting to control the game with a fine performance. His out of hand kicking making ground for Llanharan.

 

Pontypool came back with a try by Rob Nash and a thoroughly entertaining game ended 14-64, with Llanharan scoring two tries against third in the table Pontypool, who will probably be back playing in the Premiership next year.

This was a superb performance by a Llanharan side who did not give in against a very competent side.

Match Report 16 th january 2016

From

RICHIE J

 

Cardiff Metropolitan University 60, Llanharan 7

 

 

Another spirited and committed display by Llanharan ending in defeat by a more powerful and speedy side, who had the continuity of play to overwhelm their visitors.

 

The first half was fairly even in both territory and play with both sides trying to play running rugby and attack from anywhere on the field.  Llan had slightly more of the game with possession and position in their favour but were unable to turn this possession into points.  An off side decision against Llan led to the first points of the game , when Cardiff Mets No. 12 , Tom Morgan converted the penalty. A series of penalties against Llan  led to a pushover try scored by Cardiff Mets No 4, Alec Dombrant, who had a particularly good game with his strong running.

Llanharan put pressure on the oppositions try line with some good lineout work by Owain Howe and Keiron Martin. This pressure resulted in a yellow card for Cardiff Met, with their number 6, Dominic McGeekie being sidelined. But Llan could not convert the pressure into points.  Cardiff Met came back with what was only their third incursion into Llanharan territory which resulted in a try for

wing James Beale. Half time score 15_0 to Cardiff Met.

 After the good work put in by Llanharan they felt they were in with a chance during the second half.

 

The second half started with Cardiff Met raising the pace of the game and quickly spreading the ball to their wings. The continuity of being together on a full time basis showing its benefits. Their forwards started to show their power using their greater size and speed to good effect..  They dominated in the scrums and after some effective drives on the Llan line gained a penalty try.  Cardiff Met then run riot, running the ball at evey opportunity, the speed of their backs created havoc, resulting in a glut of tries. Llanharan tried hard to respond but lack of possession and the tenacity of the Cardiff Met defence stalled the moves.  There was some consolation when Llan drove hard for the Cardiff Met line resulting in a try for hooker Sam Pick, which was converted by Scott Jones.  This set back inspired Cardiff Met to more attacks which could not be stemmed by the stoic defence of Llanharan, resulting in a final score of 60 points to 7 to Cardiff Met.

SSE SWALEC CUP

RGC1404 93 Llanharan 0

It said everything about Llanharan’s plight this season that the squad sent to north Wales had just three who last year were part of the senior set up.

Even allowing the logistics of player availability for this long distance fixture with a 7am start, the statistic is a startling reflection of the huge exodus of players last summer.

Those on duty in Colwyn Bay were largely young and inexperienced, and despite commendable effort were no match for the WRU sponsored development outfit.

RGC took a while to get into their stride but the tries began to flow as the second quarter approached, although Llanharan could justifiably claim that they weren’t getting the better of some refereeing decisions.

It was fifteen touchdowns by the end through Tom Hughes (4), Tom Seddon (3), Sam Jones (2), Danny Cross, Sean Lonsdale, Zigimantas Radiuz, Richard Hopkins, Cam Davies and Danny Cross.

Davies and Cross landed nine conversions in total.

RGC led 43-0 at half time.

Team - Sean Haines Alex Hughes Gavin Parsons Owain Howe Rhydian Worgan Harrison Evans Daniel HaleTom Evans Sam Llewelyn Rhys Haines Rhys Taylor Kieran Martin Richard Lawrence Scott Malone (c) Tom Wilson

Replacements Used: Carl Leather Paul Winters

SSE SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

BEDDAU 53 LLANHARAN 8 (HT 10-8)

Llanharan will be glad to see the back of 2015 after this latest heavy defeat.

They ended last season escaping relegation only in the penultimate game, suffered a huge summer time exodus of players, and have yet to register a win this campaign as a young side withstands the worst of painful rebuilding.

Hopes of a turnaround in fortunes had come with recent forward recruitment, second row Kieran Martin the latest.

Moreover, it was the giant props Joel Ringer and Rhys Haines who had shown in their side’s last game that they could give the Dairymen a platform to play off.

Yet typical of the luck of an outfit struggling at the bottom, both were injury victims denying the away team what appeared to be an early set piece advantage.

Even behind the scrum too there  was agony as young full back prospect Ben Burgess suffered a dislocated shoulder.

It was just 10-8 to Beddau at the interval, but the home side consolidated a highly satisfactory return to the championship by taking full advantage of their opponents’ woes, eventually running in eight tries through Hywel Chatham 2, Lewis Egal 2, Cody Baker 2, Jordan Odgers and Sam Withers. Kicks were added by Chatham (cons 3) and Withers (pen and cons).

For Llanharan Sam Edwards collected his third try of the season and Harrison Evans put over a penalty, but the damage caused by the injuries and the gale in their faces  second half were just too much for a team which nevertheless did not give up the effort.

Llanharan try –Sam Edwards;  pen – Harrison Evans.

Beddau  scores: Hywel Chatham 2, Lewis Egal 2, Cody Baker 2, Jordan Odgers and Sam Withers. Kicks -  Chatham (cons 3) and Withers (pen and cons ).

LLANHARAN:

15 BEN BURGESS

14 MORGAN WILLIAMS

13 CHRIS SHARKEY

12 SAM EDWARDS

11 GAVIN PARSONS

10 HARRISON EVANS

9 SCOTT JONES

1 RHYS HAINES 

2 RHYS TAYLOR

3 JOEL RINGER

4 OWAIN HOWE

5 KIERAN MARTIN

6 RICHARD LAWRENCE

7 SCOTT MALONE (C)

8 TOM WILSON.

REPLACEMENTS USED:

16 SAM LLEWELLYN

17 SAM PICK

18 CARL LEATHER

19 PAUL WINTER

20 HUW RUSSELL

SSE Swalec Championship

LLANHARAN 14 GLYNNEATH 16 HT 14-6

Without a win and just a single bonus point all season, Llanharan were on course for a remarkable first victory with just two minutes of normal time to play.

They had performed with tremendous strength, ability and resilience against the second half wind to hold Glynneath at bay, leading 14-9.

It was a sad irony that when they eventually broke the territorial stranglehold and advanced to a position where they could have realistically held on, two kicking miscues brought the away team back on the counter, fullback Mathew Llewellyn rounding the scrambling defence to touch down under the posts and Craig Jones’s conversion winning the game.

Said head coach Colin Malone: “Great effort from the boys today after what happened last week and devastated to see the win snatched away at the death.”

Llanharan had made a mockery of their championship record with a first half in which they scrummaged strongly and attacked with neat combinations, much of it stimulated from the back row duo of Scott Malone and Tom Wilson.

The starting line-up was considerably changed from the previous slamming at Merthyr.

Props Rhys Haines and Joel Ringer added much needed bulk to the front row, while regular second XV performer Richard Lawrence came into the back row after a late non-appearance and worked hard.

Halfbacks Craig Burton and Scott Jones were doing well behind this platform, and from a Jones grubber to the corner the home side were able to drive at the line allowing Burton to get the touch down and his half-back partner to add two points for a 7-0 lead.

Unfortunately, a Jones penalty attempt then came back off an upright to give the Neath Valley men a reprieve, and they took advantage despite good tackles from Malone and Lee Edgecombe, presenting Lloyd Thomas with a penalty success.

A telling up  field kick from left wing Gavin Parsons put his men back on the offensive and again the  Wilson/Malone combination from the scrum ended  with Morgan Williams taking Jones’s pass to  score on the right.

The conversion took the lead to 14-3, and although more thumping tackles from James Holmes and Ringer halted an opposition response, Thomas added a second penalty before half time.

If ever proof was needed of Llanharan spirit it came early after the turn around. Owain Howe seemed to be on the harsh end of a yellow from referee Dai Cambourne, but his depleted outfit denied Glynneath a single score, a seven-man pack actually pushing the opposing eight back on one scrum with Harry Griffiths and Parsons contributing useful play in the loose.

Ironically, once back to fifteen some poor decision making thwarted the Black and Blues’ effort and replacement outside half Craig Jones landed a drop goal with a penalty holding.

The Dairymen continued to thrive under pressure with turnovers and one huge line out steal by Howe at the front.

It had been significant that Glynneath had abandoned their efforts to drive .lineouts over the try line in the face of such ferocious resistance.

However, just when the bottom club looked to have done all that was necessary, came the vital lapses which deprived them of a victory that by sheer effort and character they certainly deserved.

But despite those final heart breaking minutes,  Llanharan can take encouragement from this display as they make the long journey to Newcastle Emlyn Saturday.

15 BEN BURGESS,

14 MORGAN WILLIAMS,

13 LEE EDGECOMBE,

12 HARRY GRIFFITHS,

11 GAVIN PARSONS,

10 SCOTT JONES,

9 CRAIG BURTON,

1 RHYS HAINES (TOM EVANS 55),

2 RHYS TAYLOR,

3 JOEL RINGER,

4 JAMES HOLMES,

5 OWAIN HOWE,

6 RICHARD LAWRENCE,

7 SCOTT MALONE (C),

8 TOM WILSON.

Unused reps: Sam Llewellyn, Carl Leather, Harrison Evans

MERTHYR

SSE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2015/16

Nov 28

L 99-0 HT 40-0

With a team decimated by withdrawals and injuries, we were on the end of a drubbing by 99-0 at Merthyr a club record defeat..

The situation required uncontested scrums and the line-up had a strange look about it.

Ender the rules, no replacements were available to us.

That hit us hard late in the game when Sam Edwards was injured and the home team ran in several more tries.

Despite the one sided score the boys who wore the colours never gave up trying, especially those whose normal environment was the Mid Glam league and those seriously out of position.

Merthyr tries: Ellis Benham 4, Andy Powell, Osian Davies 2, Rhys Downes, Ben Murphy, Tom Hiscock, Joe Page, Dan Parry, Martin Luckwell 2, Dean Gunter. Cons: Matthew Jarvis 12.

Team:

15 BEN BURGESS,

14 MORGAN WILLIAMS,

13 OLLY SMYTH,

12 SAM EDWARDS,

11 CHRIS SHARKEY,

10 HARRISON EVANS,

9 SCOTT JONES,

1 ASHLEY SHELLARD,

2 SAM LLEWELLYN,

3 CARL LEATHER,

4  HARRY GRIFFITHS,

5 RICHARD LAWRENCE,

6 ALED LLEWELLYN,

7 SCOTT MALONE(C),

8. TOM WILSON.

SSE Swalec Championship

Llanharan 0 Bargoed 74 HT 0-31`

Llanharan’s tale of woe continued against reigning champions Bargoed at the Dairyfield.

Various circumstances had necessitated several pre kick off changes while match time injuries added to the headaches,

The young and inexperienced home side was competitive for the first and fourth quarters, yet could not threaten a score. In total contrast, Bargoed, with a side full of capable and well-practised men, exploited the other sessions to run in no fewer than eleven tries.

There has never been a lack of spirit in this Dairymen’s outfit, hastily strung together after a whole raft of outward movement in the summer, some of it on the very eve of the season.

Indeed, without unavailable skipper Scott Malone they gave a good account of themselves in the early stages, moving the ball left and right in sequential phases, Tom Williams and Craig Burton prominent contributors.

However, a failed penalty to touch brought Matt Hurley to the tee to collect the first of his nineteen points tally, then accomplished centre Darren Humphries broke Llanharan control with a long range effort, second row Martin Morgan finalised lineout pressure and, despite one good tackle by Ben Burgess on prop Kieron Brown, another kick that failed to clear the touchline saw Dwayne Dyer cross.

The Dairymen were still lively and Williams led a counter supported by Tom Evans and Owain Howe, only for Nicky Coughlin’s converted try to give the away team a 31-0 half time lead.

The champions showed their pedigree with five quick tries after the turn around, Hutchion, Grant Rogers, Coughlin and Ross Coombes touching down in quick succession along with the all-telling penalty try to end the contest at 60-0.

Nevertheless, it signalled Llanharan’s clear resolve to stop further scores.

Outside half Scott Jones and Howe were at the heart of most efforts.

Praise too for James Holmes, working valiantly in an unaccustomed second row role and Gavin Parsons, admirably doing bench duty despite a nasty virus, but not letting the side down when he made an early entry from the bench after Lee Edgecombe’s injury.

However, Bargoed put the finishing touches, prop Kieron Brown and speedy full back Lee Pearson adding two more tries to the total.

With an away trip to Merthyr next on the list it doesn’t get any easier for the basement team.

15 BEN BURGESS,

14 MORGAN WILLIAMS,

13 LEE EDGECOMBE (GAVIN PARSONS 25),

12 SAM EDWARDS,

11 HARRY GRIFFITHS,

10 SCOTT JONES,

9 CRAIG BURTON,

1 RHYS TAYLOR (SAM PICK 60), 

2 SAM LLEWELLYN

3 TOM EVANS (PAUL WINTER 62),

4 TOM WILLIAMS,

5 JAMES HOLMES,

6 OWAIN HOWE,

7 CARL LEATHER,

8. TOM WILSON (C).

Bargoed tries - Lee Pearson, Kieron Brown, Matt Hutchion, Grant Rogers, Nicky Coughlin 2, Ross Coombes, Dwayne Dyer, Darren Humphries,Martin Morgan. Cons 8 and pen – Matt Hurley.

SSE Swalec Championship

NEWBRIDGE 50 LLANHARAN 3 (HT 24-3)

Unless the powers that be reverse the puzzling decision to reduce the championship to twelve clubs while enlarging the premiership to sixteen, Llanharan look doomed to a drop into Division 1.

After eight games, they are adrift at the bottom of the table with just a single bonus point for their albeit unquestionable efforts.

Newbridge were just above them going into the game, but ended with a full eighteen points advantage in the race for  survival.

The fact of the matter is that for various reasons the side that battled well last campaign lost a whole pack of forwards late in the summer and have seen their plight worsened recently by serious injuries to Huw Thomas and Nick Theaker, arguably their best players.

The last thing they wanted on Saturday was a mud bound pitch and persistent rain, hardly ideal for a young lightweight pack.

There were bright spots, like the experienced Craig Burton coming in at nine and doing a commendable job, and a satisfactory championship debut for Pontyclun product Ben Burgess who appeared as a second half replacement.

However, the home team’s superior size up front and the numerous missed tackles behind in a misaligned defence saw Newbridge belie their lowly status with eight tries.

Both sides looked like chocolate soldiers after just a few minutes and the slime aided the home team’s forward drives as well as their ability to slip out of tackles.

In addition, in full back Lewis Hudd they had the man of the match as illustrated by his three tries and five conversions.

Llanharan were not overrun throughout, and after conceding four tries in the opening twenty-five minutes, took the game to the Gwent side though without really threatening their line.

Hopes of a miraculous revival were soon scotched after half time as the confident home team ran in three more quick tries, and although Llanharan showed indomitable spirit in once more pressing forward for much of the final quarter, a late pushover try said it all.

Kyle Taylor got his side’s first after a second drive from a line out and although telling work by Olly Smyth led to Harrison Evans penalty, right wing Gerwyn Davies popped up on the wrong side and then cut back in for the second.

Missed tackles were again costly as Davies got another, and then Hudd launched a big solo scoring run from long range which, with his own two conversions, made it 24-3 after 25 minutes.

Llan however began to get into the game, Owain Howe and Carl Leather combining to allow Morgan Williams to put pressure on the defence.

Nevertheless, despite a typical Sam Edwards break, it took good cover work from Burton to stop a Lloyd Peart try at the other end.

The start of the second half saw Llanharan condemned  to heavy defeat, tries from Mathew Mc Govern and Hudd (2) helping the score to 45-3 with twenty five minutes to pay.

It was to the away side’s credit that only Ethan Doyle’s pushover troubled the scorer from then on with Edwards and Sam Llewellyn making inroads, but Llanharan lacked the ability to threaten the line in any serious manner.

Llanharan score – Harrison Evans penalty

Newbridge  scores – Tries : Lewis Hudd 3, Gerwyn Davies 2, Matthew McGovern. Lloyd Peart, Kyle Taylor; cons - Hudd 5.

Llanharan team:

15 OLLIE SMYTH,

14 MORGAN WILLIAMS,

13 LEE EDGECOMBE (BEN BURGESS 60),

12 SAM EDWARDS,

11 GAVIN PARSONS (HARRY GRIFFITHS 60)

10 HARRISON EVANS,

9 CRAIG BURTON

1 TOM EVANS (JAMES HOLMES 64),

2 RHYS TAYLOR (SAM LLEWELLYN 66), 

3 ALED REES,

4 TOM WILLIAMS,

5 OWAIN HOWE (PAUL WINTER 66),

6 TOM WILSON

7 CARL LEATHER

8. SCOTT MALONE(C),

SSE SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

NARBERTH 40 LLANHARAN 15 (HT 21-10)

Plenty of spirit and intent from struggling Llanharan – but on their own, admirable though they were, such attributes were again not enough to put the side in with a hope of victory.

A hard working young side was once more exposed for its relative shortage of bulk up front, while a mature organiser behind the pack would undoubtedly tighten up defensive play and release more of the obvious attacking flair.

The club is not unaware of such needs and is working hard to turn things around.

Former captain and coach Jeff Pick has returned to the fold to assist Colin Malone and Jonathan Hooper, and one of the one-time tight head’s roles is player recruitment.

Whilst it is now no wins from seven starts, no one is throwing in the towel and this Thursday a development game has been arranged at the Dairyfield against Bryncethin as part of the work in progress.

Evidence of one of the clear under-strengths in the team came in the opening phases with the competent Richard Brace having no hesitation in awarding the penalty try as Llanharan collapsed the drive to the line.

Outside half Ianto Griffiths, converted and although Nicky Theaker pulled back three with a penalty the one time Scarlet hopeful was on target again after full back Johnny Morgan sailed through.

Llanharan were not giving in though, and good work by Morgan Williams down the right touchline ended with Sam Edwards powering his way over, Theaker’s kick making the leeway just four points.

However  hooker Dan Smith strode through the middle for  another converted try, and although their efforts took play into the home twenty two, the visitors finished the half 21-10 down.

The size advantage again told early in the second half as a second penalty try was awarded following a series of scrums, and as the match entered the third quarter, Scott Malone’s men lost possession in a good position and were punished by a length of the field counter, which produced a touch down for replacement back row Pat Roberts.

Away hopes were finally extinguished when from another strong scrum Morgan got his second, Griffiths supplying a straightforward conversion.

Even so, a rousing finale exemplified one quality, which Llanharan will need in abundance in the months ahead, when they showed fitness and determination to take the game to the Otters.

Young prop  Tom Evans was involved in a couple of attacks into the twenty two, but it  was fellow front row man Rhys Taylor who forced his way over, the Gilfach Goch product displaying a wry smile as the announcer credited the score to prop James Holmes actually off the field having been replaced earlier!

15 OLLIE SMYTH,

14 MORGAN WILLIAMS,

13 SAM EDWARDS, (LUKE RUAL)

12 LEE EDGECOMBE,

11 GAVIN PARSONS,

10 HARRISON EVANS,

9 NICKY THEAKER,

1 TOM EVANS,

2 RHYS TAYLOR, 

3 JAMES HOLMES (SAM LLEWELLYN),

4 OWAIN HOWE (TOM WILLIAMS),

5 ROB JONES (CARL LEATHER),

6 JORDAN SENIAWSKI,

7 TOM WILSON,

8 SCOTT MALONE(C).

Llanharan tries – Sam Edwards, Rhys Taylor

Narberth tries: penalty tries 2, Johnny Morgan 2, Dan Smith, Pat Roberts.

Cons (5) – Ianto Griffiths.

SSE SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN 16 TATA STEEL 30 (HT 11-6)

Despite plenty of effort, Llanharan suffered their sixth consecutive defeat of the season as they found the visitors’ forward muscle a bit of a handful.

The pressure caused led to many penalties and two yellow cards, and given such advantages Tata must be asking why they only outscored the opposition by three tries to two.

In addition, just when it looked like the home side were beginning to see a strengthening of their squad, it was bitter blow to see powerful number eight Huw Thomas leaving with what looked a serious ankle injury just twenty minutes after the start.

The game had not reached the final quarter when second row James Beaton became another casualty.

Even so, coach Colin Malone saw plenty to be encouraged by in his team’s performance, commenting: “There were a lot of positives to take from the game although the injury to Huw Thomas was a big loss followed by James Beaton. The first twenty minutes of second half, when we had the two cards is when the game got away from us and the penalty try was a big blow. The scrummage started well and finished well but they dominated during the middle part, not all of it legally, and they played the ref well. Defensively we were a lot better today and we have given ourselves a good platform to build off. I’m really proud of the efforts of all the boys.”

Llanharan even enjoyed the luxury of a half time lead and held that 11-6 advantage until ten minutes into the second half.

It was down to the outstanding Nicky Theaker who performed heroically often on the back foot. After landing an early penalty, he seized onto a loose ball before haring away from near the half way line. His angled run found new left wing Harry Griffiths running an admirable support line and his touch down under the posts gave the scrum half an easy conversion.

The Pontyclun product added a second penalty on the half hour only for Tata outside half Steve Lewis to contributetwo of his own before the interval, the second after prop Aled Rees had been carded.

Hooker Rhys Taylor was next in the bin and Tata duly earned a penalty try against a depleted scrum.

Lewis converted, added a penalty, then supplied the extras again as wing Lloyd Rodgers won a kick and chase, granted the try by referee Rhys Thomas even though his arm appeared to be under the ball.

The game finally went away from the Dairymen when a lineout drive ended with wing forward David Griggs crashing over, Lewis supplying a good conversion.

However, the spirit was still there as Sam Edwards showed what perhaps could have been had his side had more possession by surging through the midfield.

It led to what many thought  was a perfect touchdown only be ruled as held up, but Llanharan kept up the pressure and were rewarded for their never say die attitude as the impressive Theaker wriggled out of tackles for a corner try, the final action of the game.

Llanharan tries – Harry Griffiths, Nicky Theaker. Pens 2 – Theaker.

Tata tries – penalty try, Lloyd Rodgers, Davies Griggs. Pens 3, cons 3 – Steve Lewis

LLANHARAN

15 OLLIE SMYTH,

14 MORGAN WILLIAMS,

13 LEE EDGECOMBE,

12 SAM EDWARDS,

11 HARRY GRIFFITHS,

10 HARRISON EVANS,

9 NICKY THEAKER,

1 TOM EVANS,

2 RHYS TAYLOR, 

3 ALED REES,

4 TOM WILLIAMS,

5 OWAIN HOWE,

6 JORDAN SENIAWSKI,

7 SCOTT MALONE(C),

8 HUW THOMAS.

Replacements used

16 JAMES HOLMES

17 SAM LLEWELLYN

18  CARL LEATHER

19 JAMES BEATON

Unused Replacement

20 GAVIN PARSONS