Match Reports

First Team

 

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN 21 CARDIFF METROPOLITAN 13 (HT 5-6)

Llanharan knew the target – a single bonus point would keep them in the championship and send Tondu down.

They did more than enough, a whole hearted display seeing off the students for a precious victory.

A young team that has grown in strength and confidence since the turn of the year, inspirationally led by Scott Malone, truly came of age on a night when a westerly gale and torrential rain graced proceedings.

Encouraging signs that things  were becoming better had appeared in the second half of winter, and coaches Colin Malone and Dennis John, the latter magnanimously stepping back into the breach when Matthew Lloyd left, began to see the reward for their investment in undoubted if  somewhat raw talent.

Against the students there was ultimate composure, commitment and competence as they earned their worthy reprieve.

On the night, they were made to face the elements in the first forty, and did what was necessary at just 6-5 down to set the scene for second half dominance.

Sixth placed Met were given early evidence of what was to come with Nathan Huish and his pack strong in the set pieces, but two penalty kicks by Jacob Chilcott gave them a 6-0 advantage on the half hour.

Howver, Llanharan got the motivational score they wanted before the turn around as Huish, Rory Martin- Smith and Jack Davies made headway, assisted by the unsung grafting of Tom Piper, Simon Collins, Bill Carey and Huw Thomas, with scrum half Nicky Theaker always probing  thoughtfully.

A penalty to the corner gave Huish the chance he thrives on and the doughty hooker was over wide out for the important try.

The Dairymen did not have the best of starts with the gale at their backs after the turn around as the set piece suffered a few wobbles, but helped by referee Simon Mills’s intervention to sort out some illicit scrummaging, it soon got back on course.

Met paid the price for  some talking back as ten metres  were added to a penalty and young Harrison Evans, an example of a player who has rapidly found his feet at a higher level in the game, drilled over  the kick to give the home  side the lead.  

It was Evans’ up and under that created a foothold inside the defending twenty two and Huish came away from the lineout to set the backs in motion, Sam Edwards, a perpetual threat with co centre Tom Farrah-Evans, breaking through the mid field for the clinching try as the third quarter came to an end.

Evans converted and then struck another decisive penalty for an 18-6 lead after Morgan Williams, like fellow  winger Josh Clark an ever alert member of the back division, had come agonisingly close to getting the touchdown as the ball drifted just out of reach propelled by the wind over the try area.

Llanharan were now well in control with Geraint Llewellyn and Evans adopting appropriate tactics, Evans landing yet another superb kick for a fifteen point lead.

Useful re-energising came as Aled Rees, Gethin Cashmore, Tom Williams, Olly Smyth and Mike Powell were sent on, and although there  was a converted  touchdown for prop Will Norton from a short range penalty drive right at the end, Llanharan’s triumph  was by then a foregone conclusion.

Llanharan tries – Nathan Huish and Sam Edwards; con and pens 3 – Harrison Evans.

Cardiff Met try – Will Norton; pens 2 – Jacob Chilcott; con Lewis Pearce.

Llanharan:

15 Geraint Llewellyn

14 Morgan Williams (Mike Powell 74)

13 Sam Edwards

12 Tom Farrah-Evans

11 Josh Clark (Ollie Smyth 72)

10 Harrison Evans

9 Nick Theaker

1 Simon Collins

2 Nathan Huish (Gethin Cashmore 70)

3 Tom Piper (Aled Rees 66)

4 Jack Davies (Tom Williams 71)

5 Bill Carey

6 Scott Malone   (C)

7 Rory Martin-Smith

8 Huw Thomas

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN 27 NEWBRIDGE 25 (HT7-22)

Young Harrison Evans became the hero of the day at Llanharan as he expertly dropped the goal that gave his side a vital victory in the final minute of play.

It meant that the home side moved out of the relegation spots to go one point above Tondu who lost 12-3 to Bridgend Athletic and now face tough games against third place Merthyr at home this mid week then against crowned champions Bargoed  away.

For their part, the Dairymen are left with two home games, albeit top half teams – Cardiff Met on May 5th or 6th and Narberth on May 9th.

Skipper Scott Malone issued a “we can do it” rallying call, praising the attitude in a team that never knows when to give up even when all seems lost.

And so it was on Saturday with Newbridge holding a 22-0 lead near to half time and home supporters fearing the worst.

Yet they found the resolve to battle back to lead 24-22, lost it again briefly to a Meek drop goal, then celebrated joyously as replacement number ten Evans did his bit.

The Gwent outfit, whose losing bonus point secured their own immediate championship future, dominated from the start, building on a Llanharan mistake for Kieran Meek to find the gap, converting his own try.

A tense Llanharan continued to make uncharacteristic errors, although hope came when Tom Farrah-Evans and Nathan Huish made ground only for a foot in touch to deprive Morgan Williams.

The Newbridge response was immediate with Meek slotting a penalty and then made it 17 points in as many minutes as he added to a try from burly centre Scott Williams.

However, gradually the Dairymen began to make ground and gained hope from a yellow card after Huish’s drive was the latest thrust to be stopped illegally.

Geraint Llewellyn’s penalty into the wind came back of the upright, but more pressure came as this time Josh Clark’s foot on the line cancelled a try after Rory Martin-Smith had done well.

A score seemed certain to come, Huish’s charge down leading to a scrum five – but the set piece wheeled and scrum half Lloyd Peart intercepted to race the length of the field and make it 22-0.

The Dairymen needed a life line with half time a minute away, and they got it as renewed momentum had Clark in the action again before the big frame of Jack Davies added the final touch.

Llewellyn put over a superb wide conversion and somehow his side were back in it at 22-7.

The gap closed further in the 50th minute when the irrepressible Huish drove over from Huw Thomas’s lineout ball, Evans converting, and when Newbridge threatened danger at the other end it was Huish and his props Simon Collins and Tom Piper who stole a vital head.

But the east Walians were still a danger and could easily have scored from three opportunities had it not been for a mixture of their own mistakes and determined defence.

Instead, it was Llanharan who served notice that they weren’t giving up without a fight, a bouncing ball just eluding Williams' finger tips after Huish and Martin-Smith had taken play forward.

Ironically, it was an overthrow which brought the all important next score, Malone somehow collecting at the back of the lineout and Williams squeezing in for Evans to put the comeback well and truly on course as his kick put the team two points ahead.

The dramatic closing minutes then saw the men of Gwent sneak back ahead with Meek’s drop goal only for Evans to show admirable composure with that drop goal that could yet see Llanharan to championship safety.

There was still more anxiety for the home crowd as the visitors hammered the line in the final seconds, but the magnificent Llanharan pack won a turn over and Nicky Theaker belted the ball out of play for a praiseworthy victory.

Llanharan tries: Morgan Williams, Nathan Huish, Jack Davies. Cons 2, pen and drop goal – Harrison Evans; Con – Geraint Llewellyn.

Newbridge tries – Kieran Meek, Scott Williams, Lloyd Peart; cons 2, pen and drop goal – Meek.

Llanharan:

15 Ollie Smyth

14 Morgan Williams

13 Sam Edwards

12 Tom Farrah-Evans

11 Josh Clark

10 Geraint Llewellyn (Harrison Evans 41)

9 Nick Theaker

1 Simon Collins

2 Nathan Huish

3 Tom Piper (Aled Rees 70)

4 Jack Davies (Tom Williams 70)

5 Bill Carey

6 Scott Malone   (C)

7 Rory Martin-Smith

8 Huw Thomas

Unused Replacements: Gethin Cashmore, Mike Powell

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Apr 18 BRIDGEND ATHLETIC 34  LLANHARAN 24 (HT 24-5)

Llanharan were 34-5 down as the game entered the last quarter, facing disaster in the face with the threat of relegation weighing heavily on their shoulders.

Yet somehow or other Scott Malone and his men rallied themselves for one last effort, one which brought a bonus point as they scored a fourth try.

With fellow strugglers Tondu failing to take anything from their match at Tata Steel, it moved the Dairymen to within three points of them, but with the significant potential advantage of having three home games left – against Newbridge, Cardiff Met and Narberth.

The Pandy Park outfit, on the other hand, face a tougher looking schedule with visits to Merthyr Bargoed, and a home fixture with the Athletic.

Facing a strong wind Llanharan had the  worst possible start as the Athletic drove over from a lineout through Griff Davies, and although strong running from Nathan Huish and Tom Farrah-Evans gave them encouragement, Sean Williams got a second for the home team  with  Rob Evans converting.

Again though, Tom Williams and Rhys Hutchinson helped the visitors make headway before powerful Jack Davies completed a line out drive to make it 12-5

It was a short lived respite as a lot of good work was undone by poor tackling and left wing  Lyndsey MaCausland ran in two tries before half time, Evans converting the first, for a decisive 24-5 lead.

With the strong wind in their favour after the restart, Llanharan were surprisingly kept in their own twenty two throughout the third quarter, and the Athletic forced two more tries wide out on the left from Stuart Griffiths and Williams’s  second.

Yet somehow the away team found the resolve for a fight back which brought three more tries. The outstanding Nick Theaker found the line from a scrum, Morgan Williams darted in for the next and then, with  a red card issued to home centre Tom Morgan, Geraint Llewellyn’s superb line lick and Simon Collins’ drive allowed Bill Carey to score amid scenes of celebration, Llewellyn converting the last two.

One more score would have brought a second bonus point, but it was not to be and it remains to be seen how significant the four tries reward will be in the final analysis.

Newbridge come to the Dairyfield on Saturday with coach Colin Malone vowing that his team will give 100% to get a win.

Llanharan scores – tries: Jack Davies, Nick Theaker, Morgan Williams, Bill Carey; cons – Geraint Llewellyn 2.

Bridgend tries: Griff Davies, Sean Williams 2, Lyndsey MaCausalnd 2, Dtuart Griffiths, Cons: Rob Evans  2

Llanharan :

15 Geraint Llewellyn

14 Morgan Williams

13 Sam Edwards

12 Tom Farrah-Evans

11 Ollie Smyth

10 Harrison Evans (Mike Powell 62)

9 Nick Theaker

1 Simon Collins

2 Rhys Hutchinson (Aled Rees 50)

3 Nathan Huish

4 Jack Davies

5 Tom Williams (Bill Carey 49)

6 Tom Wilson(Carl Leather75)

7 Scott Malone   (C)

8 Huw Thomas

Unused Rep: Gethin Cashmore

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Llanharan 11 Tata Steel 7

As a game this encounter had little to recommend it, but in the context of Llanharan’s fight to avoid relegation the outcome was of immense significance.

Both Llanharan’s fellow strugglers, Tondu and Blackwood, lost so the four points victory tally took the Dairymen a step closer to escape, climbing out of the bottom two.

An important win for them then on a bright and sunny day with a strong wind blowing in their faces from the start.

Both sides tried to play running rugby, but open play was stifled by a lot of whistle.

An initial worrying sign for the Dairyfield pack was a strike against the head for Tata on the ten metre line, but the strength of the Llan defence was a feature throughout the game.

And in the 25th minute it was Scott Malone’s men who got the first try. A line out was taken by Huw Thomas,  Nicky Theaker  started to make his presence felt, and a break towards the Tata line  and set move resulted in Thomas going over in the corner for a well deserved try, the only score of the first half.

The second half started off in the same vein with Llan putting pressure on Tata, though mistakes and penalties frustrated their efforts.

Yellow cards and penalties continued to disrupt play as Llanharan used the wind for some excellent clearing kicks.

However from one of these Tata ran back at Llanharan, and after a superb break and lovely running, full back Kieran Harris crossed, the kick making it 7-5 to Tata.

A knock on by Tata from the restart and a subsequent off side resulted in a penalty, successfully converted by outside half Harrison Evans to give Llanharan the lead again.

Evans then helped secure victory with a grubber kick towards the corner. Although the line out was lost, strong defence by the Llan forwards again allowed the number ten to make it 11 - 7 with his second penalty, earning a much needed victory.

Then home side now face a difficult away game at Bridgend Athletic before consecutive home fixtures against Newbridge, Cardiff Met and Narberth – their future very much in their own hands.

15 Ollie Smyth

14 Morgan Williams

13 Sam Edwards

12 Tom Farrah-Evans

11 Ryan Wilson

10 Harrison Evans

9 Nick Theaker

1 Simon Collins

2 Nathan Huish (Rhys Hutchinson 63)

3 Tom Piper (YC)

4 Jack Davies

5 Tom Williams

6 Rory Martin-Smith (Aled Rees for Yellow Cd)

7 Scott Malone   (C)

8 Huw Thomas

Unused Replacements

Carl Leather

Tom Wilson

Mike Powell

 

 

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

SWANSEA 54 LLANHARAN 22 (HT 40-7)

Swansea struck hard in the first half to capitalise on every opportunity, albeit with the occasional help of an undetected offence.

Indeed, it looked ominous for Llanharan as they conceded a try in the opening minute when Tom Williams went over.

But, far from capitulating, Scott Malone and the team persisted with their patterns of play and increasingly took the game to Swansea after falling 28-0 behind before half hour had been played.

The reward for their persistence was four tries and a bonus point, which could yet be a telling factor when the final relegation reckoning in the Swalec National Championship comes to bear.

It at least lifted them above Blackwood, and with four of five remaining fixtures at home, starting with Tata Steel this weekend, there is a clear determination in the side to succeed.

Injuries left the Dairymen with the bare bones behind the scrum going into this encounter at sunny St Helens, but the pack gave an heroic display, taking heads and line-outs.

Plenty stood out, though none more so than young Jack Davies in the second row and the dynamic Nick Theaker at scrum half, a lively play maker.

Swansea had followed that early success with three more touch downs before the opposition began to get to grips with things.

Jed Evans pounced on a kick ahead, Mike Sully profited from a poor lineout and then Nicky Thomas went over as the away team failed to put a penalty into touch.

With Thomas converting all four it looked bad for the Dairyfield outfit, but from a set piece on the right Nathan Huish survived a big hit to keep the ball moving and full back Ollie Smyth scored, Harrison Evans converting.

Even so, the All Whites were still lethal in pouncing on lost possession and Andrew Claypole got try number five with Liam Hopkins adding another before half time, Thomas converting the first

The second half was far more of a contest and coaches Colin Malone and Dennis John were clearly pleased at the way their players often took the game to Swansea.

But a charged down kick that led to a converted Liam Gadd try before Theaker did superbly to collect a loose ball and race 40 metres to score.

Unfortunately full back Thomas  was able to shrug off tackles for an eighth five pointer before Mike Powell cashed in on a kick down the line for Llanharan’s third.

The need for a fourth and a bonus point clearly inspired the team which Scott Malone had served so well all afternoon, and it came as Rory Martin- Smith got hold of another loose ball and sprinted in. It meant Llanharan had actually won the second half 15-14.

The black and blue shirted team celebrated as though the try had brought victory – and who knows how significant that point may be in the final table.  

 

 

 

LLANHARAN 45 LLANTRISANT 14 (HT 19-14)

In the end, a clear cut Llanharan victory, but perhaps more importantly in the grand order of things a valuable work out for both teams before resuming league action this weekend with relegation concerns prominent in each camp.

The Dairymen  and Black Army sit at the bottom of the National Championship and Swalec One East Central respectively and will hope to take the better elements of their Friday night displays into their games with Cardiff Met at the Dairyfield and away at Mountain Ash.

The try count was a decisive 7-2 in favour of Llanharan, but the visitors will draw encouragement from a first half in which they put a lot of pressure on their opponents.

It was a commendable effort considering that they were two tries down in the opening minutes.

A typical defence busting thrust by Tom Farrah-Evans led the way to a touch down from the rangy Tom Williams, and then good work by Mike Powell started the attacks which ended with Nick Theaker crossing.

New outside half Harrison Evans, who went on to enjoy a decent debut, converted both and it looked as though Kieran Evans men were in for a long hard night.

However, to their credit, they launched a ten minute blitz against some doughty defence, one good Aled Rees tackle stopping a threatening inside break, before a quick penalty saw full back Michael Williams dart over and Lewis Montague convert.

Llanharan’s attacking flair was being stifled by the Llantrisant forward effort as Julian Andrews and Paul Morgan drove forward with telling frequency, but they were next on the score sheet, moving the ball from a right hand side line out to the opposite touch where Powell finished off.

The away side though made it 19-14 at the break after a Llanharan chip ahead went awry, allowing them to once more attack strongly and grab a second try through their playmaker Glen Holloway who exploited a gap near the breakdown, Montague again converting.

After the turn around the effort had clearly taken its toll and Llanharan began to demonstrate the difference between the two leagues.

Even when defending, breaks by the likes of Josh Clark and Rory Martin- Smith took play quickly upfield where Will Baird probed intelligently.

Second row Jack Davies capped another fine performance with a try converted by Evans, consolation for missing out by his finger tips on a sensational first half interception effort.

Referee Jason Bessant  was doing much to encourage a free running game and there were still glimpses of enterprise from the Black Army as Chris Ritchins made good runs on the right wing and Kevin Oliver went close, but Llanharan were very much calling the tune even though they occasionally made unforced errors.

Dan Smith, a prolific try score with the Seconds, opened his first team account notching his side’s sixth to round off impressive handling, and then some clever work from Carl Leather sent the tireless Martin-Smith striding in.

Nice running by Josh Austin and Clark and good  support from the hard grafting Bill Carey ended  with Scott Malone running under the posts, and Scott Jones, who had put in some impressive line kicks, added his second conversion of the night.

Coach Colin Malone declared himself quite happy with Llanharan’s showing:

“We defended well against multiple phases in the first half and then began to put together some sharp attacks after half time with some of our training ground routines being put into practice.

“Cardiff Met is a big game for us Saturday but this squad is full of potential and it should be a thrilling encounter.”

Our tries - Mike Powell, Nick Theaker, Tom Williams, Jack Davies, Rory Martin- Smith, Scott Malone, Dan Smith. Cons - Harrison Evans 3, Scott Jones 2

Llanharan:

15 Josh Austin

14 Ollie Smyth

13 Mike Powell

12 Tom Farrah-Evans

11 Morgan Williams

10 Harrison Evans

9 Nick Theaker

1 Simon Collins

2 Gethin Cashmore

3 Aled Rees

4 Tom Williams

5 Jack Davies

6 Tom Wilson

7 Rory Martin- Smith

8 Huw Thomas (C)

Replacements used:

16 Tom Piper

17 Bill Carey

18 Scott Malone

19 Carl Leather

20 Aled Llewellyn

21 Scott Jones

22 Will Baird

23 Josh Clark

24 Dan Smith

SWALEC WELSH CHAMPIONSHIP

GLYNNEATH 28 LLANHARAN 19 (HT 13-0)

A frustrating day in the Neath valley for Llanharan, defeat keeping them at the foot of the championship and badly in need of a good run to retain their status.

In truth, their all round performance  should have yielded something and they ended the game with a ten minute bout of attacking frenzy in an effort to get the fourth try that would have at least brought two bonus points.

Whether they should have opted instead for a kick at goal from a series of penalties to produce at least a losing bonus point is another matter.

They instead came agonisingly close to snatching that vital touchdown as what seemed certain tries were prevented – knock ons, forward passes, held up over the line and finally a controversial penalty for not releasing when it appeared to all that the ball carrier had not been tackled all contrived to deny the Dairymen.

They faced a stiff wind in the first half and fell behind in the 6th minute when scrum half Ben Jones found the gap after several phases.

Jack O’Reilly converted and then made it 10-0 as referee Justin Williams penalised Josh Clark for an illegal tackle, issuing a yellow card.

The centre’s accurate boot added three more points before the ten minutes  expired, and although there  was some  strong play by the likes of Huw Thomas and Dafi Davies, Llanharan could not capitalise on their chances.

However, skipper Scott Malone, scrum half Nick Theaker and wings Clark and Morgan Williams were now starting to make ground and a thirteen points deficit did not seem insurmountable as the teams changed around.

But Llanharan clearly needed the first score and instead it went to home hooker Craig Tenant who seemed to pirouette past several close quarter tacklers for a try which O’Reilly converted.

Undaunted the visitors hit back after more penetrating forays by the back row, and it  was Theaker who went over with Geraint Llewellyn ‘s kick making it 20-7.

O’Reilly replied almost immediately with a penalty, but Llanharan were now playing high speed attacking rugby and after Malone’s narrow side burst the tireless Dafi Davies got their second try.

However, again, as they had done all afternoon Llanharan brought so many attacks to a premature end with mistakes and rashness, another possession loss allowing Glynneath to return to the other end where wing Steff Stone raced in to make it 28-12 in the 63rd minute.

The black and blue shirted away team were far from spent though, with a rearranged front row of Tom Piper, Gethin Cashmore and Nathan Huish working splendidly, and relentless pressure brought Davies another try, Llewellyn’s conversion putting the team tantalisingly close to getting some reward form an afternoon of unquestionable effort.

However, wave after wave of promising attacks brought no reward, leaving Llanharan rooted in last place and seeming to be in a three way scrap with Tondu and Blackwood to escape the drop, though with four of their last six games at home they are still in with a fighting chance.

Our tries – Dafi Davies 2, Nick Theaker. Cons 2 -  Geraint Llewellyn

Glynneath tries _ Ben Jones, Craig Tenant, Steff Stone. Cons 2 and pens 3 – Jack O’Reilly

LLANHARAN

15 Rhys Morgan (Josh Austin 68)

14 Josh Clark

13 Sam Edwards (Tom Williams 77)

12 Tom Farrah-Evans

11 Morgan Williams

10 Geraint Llewellyn

9 Nick Theaker (Will Baird 62)

1 Tom Piper

2 Gethin Cashmore

3 Nathan Huish

4 Bill Carey

5 Jack Davies

6 Dafi Davies

7 Scott Malone            (C) (Tom Wilson 73)

8 Huw Thomas

Unused Replacement

Aled Rees

SWALEC WELSH CUP ROUND TWO

LLANHARAN  10 BRIDGEND 20 (H T 10-7)

Bridgend were given an almighty battle by neighbours Llanharan before winning their way through to the quarter finals of the Swalec Cup.

In fact, for long periods of the game the neutrals in the large crowd could have been forgiven for thinking it was the home side who were in the Premier division, their performance belying a lowly position in the championship.

This was particularly so in the first forty minutes when the Dairymen were deservedly 10-0 up and calling the tune against an uncertain Bridgend outfit.

But a crucial turning point came as the game approached the final quarter. The Ravens had got back to level the scores but took full advantage of Scott Malone’s yellow card to collect ten points that ultimately won them the game.

Llanharan’s skipper Malone seemed to have been harshly adjudged to have gone off his feet at the breakdown as referee Dan Jones sent him to the touchline and Bridgend were quick to take advantage.

They opted for a scrum at the penalty; number eight Andrew Waite moved possession to the right and centre Chris Lewis crashed through.

James Dixon converted then added another crucial penalty before the opposition returned to full strength and, despite Llanharan’s continuing efforts, they lost possession in attacking positions and Bridgend held out.

Malone himself had been a vibrant element in an outstanding set piece, effectively blending with the complementary skills of fellow back row men Dafi Davies and Huw Thomas.

The scrum was particularly strong, power house due Bill Carey and Jack Davies adding the weight to the technique of Tom Piper, Gethin Cashmore and Aled Rees in the front row.

It gave Will Baird and James Whittingham the platform to show their class, while centres Tom Farrah-Evans and Sam Edwards constantly forced openings.

Their side went 3-0 up in the 5th minute, Carey and Thomas working well at the line out and Edwards pressing forward to give Whittingham a straight penalty.

When the Brewery Field men did attack there were strong runs by back row men Waite and Iestyn Merryman with wing Tom O’Flaherty also showing his paces, but their handling often let them down and Malone in particular was a defensive scourge as he pounced on anything loose.

It meant that most of the attacking was in the opposite direction where Farrah-Evans made regular inroads, and it was the hard running centre who put Llanharan further ahead after a searing break by Baird.

Whittingham added the kick and as the half hour approached his team had established a worthy ten points lead.

However, the yellow shirted away side who came into the tie on the crest of good recent cup and league form pressed hard in a sequence of attacking line outs and it was prop Mitchel Auger who crashed over as hailstones lashed down, Dixon converting to give Bridgend hope with half time quickly following.

They drew level two minutes after the turn around with a Dixon penalty and it was now more of an even contest with the sin binning to prove the vital turning point.

Now trailing by ten points, Llanharan tried hard to get back in striking distance, but their most threatening moment came as replacement Josh Austin intercepted, only to be hauled down by the cover and Mr Jones’s final whistle saw the championship club bow out of the cup but with heads held high.  

Their performance was a reflected on positively by coaches Colin Malone and Dennis John.

Said Malone: “Everyone in the squad, replacements included, played a part and showed just what we are capable of.”

Son and skipper Scott too was buoyant: “We more than matched Bridgend for a lot of the game and this is something we now need to take into the championship games ahead.”

And for Llanharan, that means showing the same resolve and ability against Narberth at the Dairyfield on Saturday.

Llanharan try: Tom Farrah-Evans; con and pen: James Whittingham.

Bridgend tries: Mitchell Auger, Chris Lewis;  cons 2 and pens 2 – James Dixon.

LLANHARAN:

15 Rhys Morgan

14 Harry Davies (Josh Austin 73)

13 Sam Edwards (Morgan Williams 75)

12 Tom Farrah-Evans

11 Josh Clark

10 James Whittingham (Geraint Llewellyn 65)

9 Will Baird (Nick Theaker 65)

 1 Tom Piper (Aled Rees 74)

2 Gethin Cashmore (Nathan Huish 48)

3 Aled Rees (Simon Collins 48)

4 Bill Carey

5 Jack Davies (Aled Llewellyn 74)

6 Dafi Davies

7 Scott Malone   (C) (Carl Leather 68)

8 Huw Thomas

 

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

TONDU 15 LLANHARAN 0 (HT 5-0)

This was a big win for Tondu in the battle of the championship strugglers, their four points moving them up off the bottom to within touching distance of Blackwood and Llanharan – and with games in hand.

The Waterwheelers were deserved winners, playing the conditions far more wisely than their visitors.

There were even suggestions that the game would be called off as the teams arrived to see a glistening surface of mud, leaving everyone wondering why a match had been allowed on the field the previous night.

In fact referee Mr Justin Evans made a length inspection before declaring “game on”, and although the spring like weather brought improvement as the afternoon progressed, the glue pot surface provided a challenge.

It was Tondu who responded better to the difficulties, an intelligent kicking game and strong, straight running serving them well.

However, it seemed Llanharan had done a  job in restricting them to a 5-0 half time score after facing the slope and wind, thanks to some resolute defence.

The game though was lost in the second period  when their efforts  were frustrated by trying to play too much rugby in the wrong areas, though some of Mr Evans’ decisions  did not help either.

The home side predictably opened the encounter with a lot of pressure, but Scott Malone’s men held out, one particularly bold piece of running out of defence by Josh Clark and Rory Martin-Smith catching the eye.

Llanharan then enjoyed a spell on the offensive, but fell behind on the half hour as Tondu played to the corner and finished a lineout drive with a try from Sean Lambert.

Tondu got a vital second score seven minutes after the turn around, Paul Smithson collecting an easy three points for an offside in front of the posts.

But they delivered a killer blow as scrum half Gareth Lindenburn was able to get away with an outrageous tap penalty metres to the side of the still engaged scrum, with Llanharan having been adjudged to have shoved early. It took play to the far right corner, where the home pack drove Llanharan back for number eight Dean Fitzgerald to finish off.

Smithson added a very good kick, leaving the opposition needing three scores for a win and two for a losing bonus point.

There were still twenty minutes left and Llanharan gave it a good go, but the nearest they got was Huw Thomas’s drive over the line, ruled out by a double movement.

The Dairymen still have everything to play for, though a young side will need a better strategic approach than they showed on Saturday.

This weekend they have a break from championship duties when they entertain premiership neighbours Bridgend in the second round of the Swalec Cup.

Scores:

Tondu: tries – Sean Lambert, Dean Fitzgerald; con and pen – Paul Smithson.

Llanharan:

15 Josh Austin

14 Josh Clark

13 Morgan Williams (Sam Edwards 47)

12 Tom Farrah-Evans

11 Ollie Smyth

10 Rhys Morgan

9 Ryan Sullivan

1 Simon Collins (Aled Rees 47)

 

2 Nathan Huish

3 Tom Piper

4 Bill Carey

5 Jack Davies

6 Rory Martin-Smith

7 Scott Malone   (C)

8 Huw Thomas

Unused replacements : Gethin Cashmore,Tom Williams, Carl Leather

 

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN 92 BLACKWOOD 24 (HT 47-12)

Llanharan recorded an all clubs record score in the National Championship, but more importantly hoisted themselves above fellow strugglers Blackwood.

No fewer than 14 touchdowns came their way, the only downside being the four tries and a bonus point that they allowed their rivals.

The Gwent club have hit on hard times recently with coaches and players departing, and look to have a much bigger struggle than Llanharan to retain their championship status.

Tondu are still at the bottom, their game one of several to fall victim to the frost, and they entertain the Dairymen on Pandy Park this Saturday in another hugely significant encounter.

But Scott Malone’s men will go into that match greatly encouraged by this rout, some of their play breathtaking in skill and speed.

Such was their dominance up front, it allowed the likes of prop Tom Piper to gallop about the field effectively, while young Jack Davies continued to show he is becoming a very capable performer.

The back row too understandably flourished, Rory Martin–Smith’s electrifying breaks a delight to watch, while the contrasting skills of Scott Malone and Huw Thomas alongside together caused Blackwood repeated difficulties.

The backs also thrived on the open spaces created and none more so than wing Josh Clark who helped himself to four tries with a sharp display

It was the Pontyclun product who opened the flood gates in the first minute after a couple of speedy attacks, and although Mathew Hutcheons grabbed a surprise reply, Martin-Smith raced in after seven minutes with Geraint Llewellyn converting to make it 12-7.

With Tom Farrah-Evans repeatedly breaking the mid field Llanharan kept up a nonstop offensive, Huw Thomas (2), Clark again, Farrah – Evans himself and Will Baird all touching down before half time, only a try by prop Tom Bevan interrupting the procession.

Even a yellow card, somewhat harshly awarded against Llewellyn, could not stem the flow, Llanharan actually collecting two tries while a man down.

Llewellyn’s earlier added kicks made it 47-12 at half time.

Skipper Malone led the way with two tries after the restart, and the all out assault saw Clark double his tally, Thomas notch a hat trick, and replacement Sam Edwards show fine anticipation to collect a couple himself. Rhys Morgan had taken over the kicking duties and he hit the target six times.

The second forty minutes also saw prop Aled Rees make  a welcome return from injury while scrum half Ryan Sullivan looked strong in his replacement role.

However, Blackwood somehow found the spirit to pounce on some sloppy home team play to collect two more tries and a bonus point, Ben Snell and Adam Tetley scoring and James Downey contributing a second conversion.

Even so, Llanharan had accomplished their main objective – a bonus point win over a fellow basement club and will head for Tondu determined to maintain this devastating form.

As head coach Matthew Lloyd said: “Blackwood obviously have their problems, but the boys played well today scoring some fantastic team tries. It's nice to see some of the things they go through in training coming off. We played from the 1st to the 80th minute and credit has to go to Blackwood for securing their try bonus point.

“We have some ten weeks of what has been a difficult season remaining and we are looking forward to every game. From the way the boys expressed themselves today the season's run in should be entertaining.”  

Llanharan tries – Josh Clark 4, Huw Thomas 3, Scott Malone 2, Sam Edwards 2, Tom Farrah-Evans, Will Baird, Rory Martin-Smith. Conversions: Rhys Morgan 6, Geraint Llewellyn 5.

Blackwood tries – Adam Tetley, Ben Snell, Mathew Hutcheon, Tom Bevan. Con – James Dowley 2.

15 Rhys Morgan

14 Josh Clark

13 Morgan Williams

12 Tom Farrah-Evans

11 Josh Austin

10 Geraint Llewellyn (Sam Edwards 60)

9 Will Baird (Ryan Sullivan 52)

 1 Simon Collins (Aled Rees 52)

2 Nathan Huish (Gethin Cashmore 52)

3 Tom Piper

4 Bill Carey (Tom Williams 60)

5 Jack Davies

6 Rory Martin-Smith

7 Scott Malone   (C)

8 Huw Thomas

 

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN 12 BARGOED 34 (HT 5-22)

There is a simple reason why Bargoed are run away leaders of the national championship – they are a very good side.

Their squad demonstrated at the Dairyfield that they have players of size, strength and ability, possessing a composure which ensures the ball is not unnecessarily sacrificed.

They also know how to deal with pressure - in the third quarter Llanharan threw everything against them helped by a yellow card but failed to score, whereas in a similar situation before half time Bargoed picked up two quick tries to create a dominating position.

Llanharan are in a dog fight to stay in the division but they know that it will be easier to impose themselves on some of the opponents lying ahead than this impressive Bargoed unit.

And they will reflect on their final try as an example of   what their young team can do when the raw talent eventually fuses.

In fact coaches Matthew Lloyd and Colin Malone were anxious to have their players keep the result in perspective.

Head man Lloyd said: “We did well against a good and heavy side. The next few weeks is our time, against Blackwood and Tondu. We can play and score tries – we enjoy watching the side playing like we know it can as in the second half.   The team must keep the faith and belief – we have a couple of months to show people how we can play, and with a smile on our faces.”

 
"Bargoed showed why they are unbeaten, though for a side second from bottom we competed well for periods during the game. Against heavier opponents our pack did well, whilst behind the backs were more cohesive in defence .Towards the end of the game we played with more fluidity and scored an excellent try. 
Two very difficult games are now behind us, hopefully we have learned from the experiences each game has thrown at us. We now have to move on and play with the confidence and enjoyment that has been evident in training.
"It will come together, honesty and commitment will preserve our Championship status." .

The game began on a heavy pitch with a cold swirling wind. Llanharan contained Bargoed in the early stages, a strike against the head a significant morale booster.

But a string of penalties saw the away side press increasingly and Ross Coombs finished off an advancing scrum.

A second try was ruled out thanks to a forward pass, but a crucial moment came as home flanker Rory Martin-Smith received a yellow card in the 19th minute.

From an attacking lineout Geraint Edmonds went over, Josh Prosser converting, quickly followed by wing Lewis Prothero to make it 17-0.

Yet the spirit which could well serve Llanharan positively in the months ahead was well in evidence as while still a man down Geraint Llewellyn took a quick penalty. It prompted a home team offensive in which Scott Malone, Nathan Huish and Jack Davies drove hard aided by clean lineout ball from Huw Thomas, Huish eventually getting a deserved try.

But the Dairymen paid the price of missed tackles as first a scintillating run by Jordan Purcell tore the defence apart and then Edmonds got another try with half time beckoning.

With the slope in their favour Malone’s men began to build their own momentum after the turn around and, with Darren Humphries shown a yellow by Swansea official Alan Jenkins, a Sam Edwards half break kept the home side on the front foot, Harry Davies setting Josh Clark free only for a good tackle to save a try.

Unfortunately for the Dairyfield side, they could not add to their one score before the yellow card period expired and Bargoed soon showed how it was done with prop Kieran Brown bursting over near the posts, Prosser converting.

It confirmed victory for the all conquering team, but a suggestion that all might not be lost in the championship for Malone’s men came as they somehow drew on deep reserves of stamina and will power to construct a superb right side attack which saw precise handling before Rhys Morgan touched down for possibly the best try of the afternoon, Llewellyn supplying a good conversion.

It’s fellow strugglers Blackwood next up at the Dairyfield this weekend and Llanharan know that nothing less than victory will suffice.

Llanharan tries -   Nathan Huish, Rhys Morgan con – Geraint Llewellyn.

Bargoed tries -  Geraint Edmonds 2, Lewis Prothero, Keiron Brown, Ross Coombs, Lee Pearson;  cons – Josh Prosser 2.

Llanharan team:

15 Rhys Morgan

14 Josh Clark

13 Sam Edwards

12 Mike Powell (Morgan Williams 75)

11 Harry Davies (Josh Austin 54)

10 Geraint Llewellyn

9 Nick Theaker (Ryan Sullivan 75)

 1 Simon Collins

2 Nathan Huish

3 Tom Piper

4 Jack Davies

5 Huw Thomas

6 Rory Martin-Smith

7 Scott Malone   (C)

8 Dafi Davies (Tom Williams 77)

Unused replacement -

Gethin Cashmore

 

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

                                          RGC 1404 58 LLANHARAN 6 HT 10-3

Llanharan’s s second visit to RGC 1404 ended like the first – in heavy defeat.

The only difference this time was that the Dairymen at least gave the North Wales outfit a hard game up till half time.

It is difficult to explain what went wrong thereafter as wide gaps were left and players continually missed or fell off tackles.

The six hour coach journey is of course a factor, with so many other championship teams suffering a similar fate, and this is something the WRU should address – the financial and logistical implications for clubs the union categorise as amateur in fulfilling the Colwyn Bay fixture.

However, Llanharan skipper Scott Malone was less eager to jump on the tiredness bandwagon and felt it was more of a mental hurdle that some players created for themselves.

Even so, the free running style of the Eirias Park outfit is to be admired and persisted throughout, but a mixture of inaccuracy and stern defence kept them at bay from the start, and it was Llanharan who took the lead from a Geraint Llewellyn penalty in the 15th minute.

In fact it was the away team that next went close to getting the first try. Josh Austin made good ground from a loose ball in the RGC 22, his pack pressed the line to earn a penalty and Llewellyn’s shrewd kick for his wing Josh Clark just bounced dead.

But RGC got on the score board just before half time as Afon Bagshaw finished off an attack, James Lang converting then adding a penalty to make it 10-3 at half time.

And it was the development team that ruled the roost totally after the turn around as eight more tries followed courtesy of Andy Williams, Cam Davies (2), Shaun O’Rourke, Tom Blackwell (2), Harry Evans and Andy Baston. Lang’s kicks helped pile up a big score to the surprise and disappointment of the small supporting band.

Llanharan did show a bit of spirit in the final stages characterised by Tom Farrah- Evans and Nick Theaker making strong runs, but failed to build on it as they got turned over at a lineout drive.

With leaders Bargoed at the Dairyfield on Saturday this is one that Llanharan will want to put behind them quickly.

Scores

RGC tries: Afon Bagshaw, Andy Williams, Cam Davies 2, Shaun O’Rourke, Tom Blackwell 2, Harry Evans, Andy Baston; cons 5 and pen: James Lang.

Llanharan pens: Geraint Llewellyn 2.)

Llanharan:

15 Rhys Morgan

14 Josh Austin

13 Morgan Williams (Sam Edwards 55)

12 Tom Farrah-Evans

11 Josh Clark (Mike Powell 54)

10 Geraint Llewellyn

9 Will Baird (Nick Theaker 54)

 1 Simon Collins

2 Gethin Cashmore

3 Tom Piper

4 Bill Carey

5 Dan Partridge (Tom Williams 55)

6 Dafi Davies

7 Scott Malone            (C)

8 Huw Thomas (Owain Howe 71)