Match Reports

First Team

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

BARGOED 42   LLANHARAN 12 (HT 15-9))

Pre match statistics suggested there was only going to be one winner in this top v bottom clash, and so it turned out with Bargoed eventually totting up six tries to maintain their 100% record and leave Llanharan pointless.

However, it  was a  score line that perhaps  did little to reflect the away side’s input, their unstinting efforts throughout eventually nullified by Bargoed’s ability to exploit chances to the full.

It  might also have been different if both Nathan Huish and Bentley Halpin had not been the latest to fall victim to the prominent soccer goal line marking and dived over for “tries” that could have given their team a half team lead.

The Dairymen went into the game with six changes in the back division where youth product Dan Smith and outside half James Whittingham who switched from centre, came through with credit.

Indeed, after conceding just a Josh Prosser penalty in the face of strong early pressure, Scott Malone’s men proceeded to give as good as they got, Whittingham banging over two kicks for a 6-3 lead.

But the championship leaders  struck  with two tries in the ten minutes before the changeover as a collapsed scrum brought a penalty try, Prosser converting, and Lewis Prothero punished a blind side gap to make the score 15-6.

A yellow card for home second row Mathew Gwilt was followed by a third Whittingham penalty to complete the first half scoring.

Llanharan, who had lost wing Bentley Halpin to a shoulder injury, had been very much in the game, but Bargoed proceeded to show a ruthless appetite for tries, Prosser getting an early touchdown after the restart.

Although Whittingham kept hopes alive with a fourth penalty, Prosser also reflected his team’s respect for their opponents by kicking a penalty instead of looking for a try, before Darren Humphries, Dafydd Carter and Lewys Lippiet ensured that the home outfit achieved victory with something to spare.

Llanharan coach Colin Malone felt that despite the result, his side had made Bargoed   work hard for victory after again having selection problems through injuries and unavailability.

“We were committed and in contention for much of the game,” he said.

The Dairymen also know that their four defeats have been against sides in the championship top five, but recognise that a win is a must at fellow strugglers Blackwood this Saturday.

 Bargoed tries:  Lewis Prothero, Darren Humphreys, Dafydd Carter, Josh Prosser, Lewys Lippiet, penalty try; cons (3) pens (2) - Prosser

Llanharan pens: James Whittingham (4).

TEAM

15 JOSH AUSTIN

14 BENTLY HALPIN (ROSS PRITCHARD  32)

13 MORGAN WILLIAMS

12 MIKE POWELL

11 DAN SMITH

10 JAMES WHITTINGHAM

9 MATHEW W ILLIAMS

1 JOE JONES

2 NATHAN HUISH (GETHIN CASHMORE73)

3 TOM PIPER (ALED REES 62)     

4JOSH PORTER

5 HUW THOMAS   

6 OWEN HOWE

7 SCOTT MALONE (C)

8 JACK DAVIES

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN 5 RGC 1404 26 (HT 5-7)

Llanharan lost their third successive game amidst some unfortunate ironies.

Back in December at RGC Dairyfield back row man Dafi Davies was stretchered off with a long-term leg injury and sadly limped to the touchline with knee damage just seven minutes into this game.

More seriously, five minutes from time it  was visiting fullback Afon Bagshaw who was taken away in an ambulance with a neck injury. Referee Gareth Newman had the consent of both sides in ending the match at that stage, RGC with a bonus point already in the bag and no chance of the Dairymen getting even a losing bonus. Happily Afon was discharged later that evening with no serious injury diagnosed.

However, that was one of the few referee’s decisions the home fans would have agreed with, as they seemed to fall foul of multiple rulings throughout, particularly in the scrum and contact area.

The black and blues had done  well up the slope to take a 5-0 lead in the first forty minutes, only to see the development team grab an interval advantage in time added on with their only threat inside the twenty two, Rory Martin- Smith in the sin bin at the time.

It  was a  warning sign of RGC’s potency  as Bagshaw went over after a long range attack, cancelling out  a try by Bill Carey, who along  with Ross Pritchard, was making a return to his home club after a year away..

James Lang’s conversion gave the away side a 7-5 half time lead.

Even so, many would have put money on Llanharan after the turn around, but they went off the boil and allowed RGC to display their attacking ability.

Early pressure after the restart came from the Colwyn Bay based outfit and it was only good tackles from the likes of Mike Powell and Tyler Williams aided by turnovers from skipper Scott Malone that kept them at bay.

However, a rebound saw the pack lose a scrum head and a collapse ended in a penalty try, Lang making it 14-5.

The lead grew in the 56th minute with wing Tom Blackwell going over, again the opposition not helped by another scrum decision against them.

Defeat for the Dairyfield side was confirmed as left wing Carwyn Ap Myrddin sped over immediately after the yellow card and Lang converted.

There was at last a response from the beleaguered side as they pressed on the line, but shouts from the crowd for a penalty try as a quick penalty was tackled inside the ten metres zone went unheeded, and Llanharan know that a huge response will be needed as they travel to powerful Bargoed on Saturday.

Head coach Matthew Lloyd commented: “A disappointing result again as we were firmly in the game at half time. There  was huge effort from the players - the win isn't far away but we must play what's in front of us and discipline has to be better.”

Scorers:

Llanharan.

Try – Bill Carey.

RGC 1404

Tries – penalty try, Afon Bagshaw, Tom Blackwell, Carwyn Ap Myrddin; cons – James Lang 3.

Llanharan:

15 TYLER WILLIAMS

14 MORGAN WILLIAMS

13 MIKE CALLOW

12 JAMES WHITTINGHAM

11 MIKE POWELL

10 RHYS MORGAN

9 ROSS PRITCHARD (MATHEW WILLIAMS 65)

1 SIMON COLLINS

2 NATHAN HUISH

3 TOM PIPER (ALED REES 49)

4JOSH PORTER (RORY MARTIN-SMITH 52)

5HUW THOMAS

6 BILL CAREY

7 DAFI DAVIES   (JACK DAVIES 7)

8 SCOTT MALONE  (C)

UNUSED REPLACEMENT

GETHIN CASHMORE

 

 

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

PONTYPOOL 32 LLANHARAN 13 (HT  13-8)

Pontypool ruthlessly picked off Llanharan for a bonus point win after the visitors had flattered to deceive with a lot of territorial prominence.

Although they got themselves into many strong field positions, the Dairymen’s offensive play lacked fluency, whilst against a modest opposition attack they left too many gaps and offered too many easy options.

But the fact of the matter is that Matthew Lloyd and his coaches  are in an early season building phase which hopefully for them will soon reach fruition, a number of additional personnel likely to be in the frame for Saturday’s crucial contest at home to RGC 1404.

They could, of course,  have done  with an easier opening to the season than buoyant East One champions Merthyr and Pooler, 4th last year, before the third placed finish north Walians arrive on the weekend.

Llanharan could have beaten Merthyr on an opening afternoon when Pooler were being heavily defeated by Bargoed, and indeed started this game with a lot of control.

On the other hand, the home team, were guilty of poor handling, and  a try seemed on the cards after Scott Malone’s lineout ball had instigated a series  of  drives, but it ended  with Morgan Williams having to scamper back to deal with the loose ball.

In fact it  was fifteen minutes before the former giants of Welsh rugby made any serious incursion into the away team’s  red zone and then the lineout combination of Gethin Cashmore and Josh Turner helped their side clear comfortably.

But on twenty five minutes that defensive frailty revealed itself as Pooler passed their   way past ineffective tackles to give centre Mark Thorley a try that Tom Hancock converted.

It was now the former Welsh champions who were dominant, Hancock adding a penalty, before a long stoppage as home number eight Dykoff was eventually stretchered off.

However,   it  was Llanharan who seemed least affected as a brilliant 45 metres try by scrum half Will Baird gave them hope, the half ending  with Hancock and Tyler Williams  swapping penalties for a 13-8 score line.

Seven minutes after the restart Pontypool got a hold on victory with a second try, Thorley stepping inside all too easily for Hancock to make it 20-8 with the kick.

It was all over for Llanharan when two minutes later weak tackling allowed their opponents a long attack to give Mathew Thomas a converted try.

Yet frustratingly Llanharan continued to get themselves into good positions as the pack worked tirelessly, Bentley Hatpin’s touchline thrust showing the potential of quick transfer along the backs.

A reward did come near the end as the improving Josh Porter went through a gap after another Malone line out, although one more missed kick indicated another area on which the coaches will be working.

But it was the jubilant home side that rounded things off with a late try from Nathan Brooks.

Llanharan tries: Will Baird, Josh Porter. Pen: Tyler Williams.

Pontypool tries: Mark Thorley (2),  Mathew Thomas, Nathan Brooks. Cons (3) and pens (2) Tom Hancock.

Llanharan:

TYLOR WILLIAMS

BENTLEY HALPIN

MIKE POWELL

MORGAN WILLIAMS (JAMES WHITTINGHAM 48)

JOSH AUSTIN

RHYS MORGAN

WILL BAIRD

SIMON COLLINS

GETHIN CASHMORE (JORDAN HUGHES 71)

ALED REES  (JOE JONES 49)

TOM WILLIAMS

JOSH PORTER

HUW THOMAS (OWEN HOWE 51)

SCOTT MALONE (C)

JACK DAVIES

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN 20 28 MERTHYR

Newcomers Merthyr showed that they are not there just to make up the numbers as they held their nerve to grab a win on the opening day of the Swalec National Championship.

Much was due to  tries they scored either side of half time, and a penalty award late in the game just as Llanharan looked like stealing victory.

The home pack was well on top with a dynamic set piece performance, where props Bradley Thayer, second row Huw Thomas and flanker Dafi Davies were the pick of an extremely confident unit.

They were driving down to the line in search of the winner when referee Simon Rees  made his decision in the face of an injudicious remark and the Dairymen were pushed back, never to recover.

They were still on for a bonus point until a fortuitous bounce saw old Black and Blue wing Rhys Walker wrong foot the covering backs to stroll in and wrap up the result.

Although the visitors enjoyed the benefit of considerable continuity derived from a successful promotion, it was actually Llanharan who generally looked the more dominant in the first half, with a strong scrum and solid line out providing a good platform.

Merthyr were a good footballing unit, but found the devastating tackling of Dafi Davies and the robust loose play of Huw Thomas hard to deal with.

Even so, the reliable boot of Steve Lang gave them a 9-0 lead with three penalties before Rhys Morgan replied with his own three pointer.

A yellow card for Merthyr’s Ben Murphy offered Llanharan the chance of making progress, but they met opposition that put together some impressive rugby.

They made little headway and then suffered doubly as Thomas was also carded before scrum half Martin Luckwell’s try profited from a penalty to the corner for a 14-3 half time lead.

Llanharan desperately needed the first score of the second half, only to fall further behind as Sam Edwards waltzed through the middle, Lang’s kick confronting the Dairymen  with a 21-8 deficit.

But new skipper Scott Malone rallied his men in an inspired comeback.

Pressure  brought Blues Academy man Dafi Davies two tries, Morgan adding to the second, and helped by Nathan Huish taking another head  it  was young Jack Davies who forced his  way over to leave his team just one point adrift.

But just when it seemed a remarkable comeback was on the cards, their former player struck.

Llanharan:

TYLOR WILLIAMS

BENTLEY HALPIN

MIKE CALLOW

MORGAN WILLIAMS

MIKE POWELL

RHYS MORGAN

MATHEW WILLIAMS

SIMON COLLINS (ALED REES 52)

NATHAN HUISH

BRADLEY THAYER

JOSH PORTER

HUW THOMAS

SCOTT MALONE (C)

DAFI DAVIES

JACK DAVIES

UNUSED REPLACEMENTS:

GETHIN CASHMORE

TOM WILLIAMS

JOSH AUSTIN

DAN SMITH

LLANHARAN TRIES: DAFI DAVIES 2, JACK DAVIES. CON & PEN :RHYS MORGAN

MERTHYR TRIES: SAM EDAWRDS, MARTIN LUCKWELL, RHYS  WALKER. CONS 2 AND PENS  3 STEVE LANG.

KIDWELLY 24 LLANHARAN 17

Llanharan could not follow up their mid week win at Llantrisant  with a victory down in west Wales against a useful looking home outfit that ended last season as One West runners up to Glynneath.

The Dairymen had a bright start, but lost some shape as the game progressed, not helped by frequently falling foul of the referee’s interpretation at the breakdown.

The last quarter saw a resurgent team again start to put pressure on, but another questionable penalty decision allowed Kidwelly to kick to the corner and power over for the winning try.

Head coach Matthew Lloyd commented that he was nevertheless pleased with the general play in two tough pre season games.

“The boys acquitted themselves well and we are looking forward to preparing for the championship opener at home to Merthyr on Saturday, and will be welcoming back a few players into the squad,” he added.

The former Sardis Road man felt there were lots of positives and promising signs, but also plenty to work on in the coming weeks.

He took a squad of twenty three to the castle town and used rolling replacements to give everyone game time, although this understandably occasionally affected on field cohesion.

The black and blues took a  5th minute lead as new outside half Rhys Morgan from Beddau was put nicely through the middle in a 40 metres move, converting himself.

However, just minutes later a loose pass was pounced on ruthlessly by the home side to make it 5-7 and they took the lead at the end of the first quarter as a  weaving run through the middle of the  defence made it 12-7 with the conversion.

The visitors got back on terms though after good work by skipper Scott Malone ended with a typical Nathan Huish drive over the line.

However, just on half time a poor Llanharan lineout gave Kidwelly a third try and a 17-12 lead at the interval.

The championship team did not enjoy a productive third  quarter, but began to get it together again as rangy number eight Jack Davies took a  quick penalty to level the score, only to see the conversion attempt hit an upright and bounce out.

A draw game seemed to be a fair outcome until a crucial award against Llanharan allowed Kidwelly a late winner.

Llanharan tried their best to salvage a result but there was no time added on and then final whistle thwarted their efforts.

Llanharan starting XV:

TYLOR WILLIAMS

DAN SMITH

JAMES LANGDON

MORGAN WILLIAMS

BENTLEY HALPIN

RHYS MORGAN

MATHEW WILLIAMS

SIMON COLLINS

NATHAN HUISH

BRADLEY THAYER

JOSH PORTER

TOM WILLIAMS

HUW THOMAS

SCOTT MALONE

JACK DAVIES

REPLACMENTS USED:

LEWIS BRASHER

CHRIS JONES

JOSH AUSTIN

JACK HAINES

GETHIN CASHMORE

JAKE HOLLAND

OWAIN HOWE

CARL LEATHER

 

 

 

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

PONTYPOOL 34 LLANHARAN 23 (HT10-13)

Llanharan lost their hold on a deserved losing bonus point in this championship finale as Pontypool clinched third pace with a win secured by a last move try.

The dairymen held a 13-19 half time lead with the wind at their backs, Huw Thomas getting a first try of the campaign, a season in which he started every game.

Lewis Williams converted and added two penalties.

Although Scott Malone’s side were 10-0 up, the home team fought back to narrow the gap to 13-10 at half time.

A penalty try helped them take the lead and another converted score made it 24-13.

However the visitors were still full of fight  as Gabriel Davies got his 5th try of the season and then replacement Jack Davies went over from a maul to make it just 27-23 to the hosts who had added a penalty to their tally.

But a last move from a poor restart saw them earn a try bonus with the luxury of a two man overlap.

LLANHARAN

15  TYLER WILLIAMS

14 RHYS WALKER

13  TOM FARRAR-EVANS   

 12 GABRIEL DAVIES

11 JONATHAN LEWIS

10 LEWIS WILLIAMS

9  LUKE CRANE

1  SIMON COLLINS (ROB JONES  )

2  GETHIN CASHMORE (JORDAN HUGHES)

3  TOM PIPER (JACK HAINES)

4  DAN PARTRIDGE

5 ANDREW ROSEN (JOSH PORTER)

6 RORY MARTIN-SMITH

7 SCOTT MALONE

8 HUW THOMAS (JACK DAVIES )

Tries – Huw Thomas, Gabriel Davies, Jack Davies. Pen 2 and con – Lewis Williams

Pontypool – four tries, four cons two pens.

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

CARDIFF METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY 25 LLANHARAN 24 (HT 17-7)

Llanharan were cruelly denied victory by a last kick of the game penalty which gave Cardiff Met a 25-24 success. It was heartbreak for the side, having fought back from a 17-0 deficit in magnificent style, but leaving the capital city  with just a losing bonus point.

Codey Rees had given the Dairymen what they thought was the winning lead when he notched up his 200th point of the season after his pack had again demolished the student eight in the scrum to  earn a penalty near the end of the game.

But Ebbw Vale official Paul Jones, whose flow of penalties against the away side had caused some noisy consternation among the Llanharan following all evening, decided the Black and Blues were offside at the final Metropolitan attack and Mark Cooke slotted the vital score.

The students, trying to play at a frantic pace, built up a substantial lead inside the first half hour despite Llanharan giving as good a s they got in that  period, and it  was entirely down to centre Chris Lewis who bagged all the points with two tries, albeit the second helped by a wicked bounce, both conversions and a penalty.

It looked ominous for a team that had made late changes, centre Gabriel Davies a pre match illness withdrawal, although Tom Farrar-Evans stood in impressively in a solid mid field pairing alongside Pontypridd’s young star Lewis Williams, himself replacing the unavailable Morgan Williams.

They were also without skipper Nathan Huish, but the commitment shown as they chased down the game from such a disadvantageous position spoke volume for the spirit in the side.

The pack led the way, the front five of Simon Collins, Gethin Cashmore, Tom Piper, Dan Partridge, Andrew Rosen, and Rob Jones too playing a full part as a replacement, grinding out a telling superiority over their Cyncoed adversaries.

They were complemented superbly by a back row of Huw Thomas, Scott Malone and Rory Martin-Smith, later boosted by Jack Davies’s introduction. Their combined input was nowhere better seen than after Farrar-Evans was yellow carded for a questionable side entry near the half way line in the third quarter, a decision  that did not go down well amongst the Llanharan coaches.

Although the Met instantly profited from a quick penalty that put Chris Levesley over on the left, there were no more openings as the Llanharan trio tackled like demons.

At half back Codey Rees led the side with his usual fierce resolve and his nine points brought up a commendable 200 haul for the season.

Inside him Bedwas scrum half Luke Crane made a useful debut, while the back three of Tyler Williams, Rhys Walker and  Bentley Halpin were sharp in attack and defence, Halpin bravely playing on despite a painful shoulder injury, knowing that Davies’ withdrawal had left no backs cover on the bench.

The Llanharan fight back began as Martin- Smith capitalised on a wheeled scrum and Rees converted to reduce the half time score to 17-7.

The omnipresent back row man was prominent again early in the second half when he put Williams in under the posts, the kick leaving his side just three points adrift.

However, that harsh card allowed the university a vital try, though dogged defence meant they were resisted at every other attempt to capitalise on the extra  man.

With the side back to full strength and the pack turning the screw increasingly as the home forwards tired, second row Partridge forced his way over and  the conversion meant Llanharan were just one point behind.

Rees put them 24-22 ahead as the Cyncoed eight were unceremoniously driven back in the scrum, but then came despair as a man who won’t be on the Llanharan Christmas card list made the final last gasp decision in favour of the side whose win kept them on course for the runners up spot in the championship.

Tries by Rory Martin-Smith, Dan Partridge and Lewis Williams, all converted by Codey Rees.

Met scores: Tries 2, Cons 2, pen – Chris Lewis. Try – Chris Levesley. Pen – Mark Cooke.

LLANHARAN

15  TYLER WILLIAMS

14 RHYS WALKER

13  LEWIS WILLIAMS

 12 TOM FARRAR-EVANS   

11 BENTLEY HALPIN

10 CODEY REES (CAPT)

9  LUKE CRANE

1  SIMON COLLINS (ROB JONES 61)

2  GETHIN CASHMORE

3  TOM PIPER

4  DAN PARTRIDGE (JACK DAVIES 70)

5 ANDREW ROSEN

6 RORY MARTIN-SMITH

7 SCOTT MALONE

8 HUW THOMAS

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN 44 BLACKWOOD 42 (HT 20-28)

There were satisfied smiles all round as the players left the field after this eleven tries rugby feast.

And none were smiling more broadly than Blackwood despite their defeat, their two bonus points one more than they needed to secure their Championship place next year.

It means that Bonymaen are relegated along with Beddau, irrespective of what happens when the Swansea side meet Blackwood on Saturday.

But Llanharan too were happy, their bonus point win ending an unusually long spell without a win at the Dairyfield.

The visitors, led by former  Llanharan captain and favourite Justin Jones, came out in determined mood on a day when conditions were ideal – and they stormed into a 28-10 lead that ensured their safety virtue of their four tries and seemed to condemn the Black and Blues to more home misery.

However, the score was flattering to the Gwent side, reflecting some enterprising and skilful play that brought tries from defensive positions.

Ironically, Llanharan were the dominant team, albeit with a frustrating habit of turning over possession, and they had the quality in their ranks to turn things round, based on a competent forward display.

None more so than Codey Rees, whose committed play was complemented by a 19 points kicking haul from five conversions and three penalties, taking him to 191 for the season.

In the pack Scott Malone was once more outstanding, his two first half tries alone sufficient to give him the Msn of the Match award.

Yet it was Blackwood who got off to a flier, centre Mathew McGovern completing a fifty metres attack for the first of a hat trick of tries and James Dowley adding the kick, as he would do for all six of his team’s tries.

The response was instant, Rhys Walker and Tom Piper doing well before releasing Malone forty metres out, the former Youth captain shrugging off defenders in a lung bursting run, Rees’s kick tying the scores.

Opportunism was the word though for the away team as they capitalised on a knock on close to their line to create the overlap for full back Nathan Gittings at the other end.

Rees brought it back to 10-14 with a penalty after Jack Davies’s quick tap, only for the opposition to strike for two more tries before half time.

A diagonal run gave McGovern his second after Llanharan failed to commit to a restart and then, despite a good Tom Farrar-Evans tackle, support was on hand from Dowley to clinch the crucial bonus point.

Despite their general dominance Llanharan were staring down the barrel at 28-10 and scores were essential before half time if there was to be any prospect of victory.

They started by wasting a two man overlap, but another exciting Tyler Williams run allowed Malone to rouse the crowd  with a second surging run to the line.

Rees converted and kicked a penalty with the last act of the half to give the Dairymen hope at 28-20.

He added another just after the turn around, but Llanharan squandered another overlap and the Glan yr Afan boys again seized the initiative, left wing Josh Clark set free on the outside, the converted try establishing a twelve points lead.

However, confidence  was high in the home ranks as an easy penalty was ignored in favour of an attacking lineout, Rory Martin-Smith finishing off  for Rees’s conversion to put Llanharan back touch at 35-30.

Blackwood were now very much on the back foot  and after blatant obstruction on Tyler Williams Llanharan once more opted for the line out, this time  the prominent Dan  Partridge emphasising his return from injury by driving over, Rees converting expertly.

It was Martin-Smith run that set up the clincher, hard working prop Tom Piper forcing his way over to make it 44-35with the kick, but Blackwood raised a few heart flutters in the home ranks near full time with another long range converted try courtesy of McGovern, a score which gave them the luxury of second bonus point.

Coaches Matthew Lloyd, Colin Malone and Dennis John were naturally delighted with some of their charges’ attacking play, Lloyd praising the side for the character shown in fighting back from a desperate position.

We are a young side and we will try and keep the squad together with a few additions in the summer – the future is promising,” he said.

Only disappointment for Llanharan was the recurrent injury to skipper Nathan Huish who might have to sit out this week’s final games at Cardiff Met and Pontypool but young Gethin Cashmore again showed himself a capable deputy.

Llanharan tries: Scott Malone 2, Tom Piper, Dan Partridge, Rory Martin-Smith.

Cons 5 and pens 3 – Codey Rees.

Blackwood tries- Mathew McGovern 3, Nathan Gittings, James Dowley, Josh Clark. Cons 6 – Dowley.

LLANHARAN

15 TYLER WILLIAMS (BENTLEY HALPIN75)

14 RHYS WALKER

13 MORGAN WILLIAMS

 12 GABRIEL DAVIES

11 TOM FARRAR-EVANS

10 CODEY REES (CAPT)

9 JONATHAN LEWIS

1 SIMON COLLINS

2 GETHIN CASHMORE (NATHAN HUISH 45) (CASHMORE 65)

3 TOM PIPER (JAMIE UREN 75)

4 DAN PARTRIDGE

5 JOSH PORTER (ANDREW ROSEN 45)

6 HUW THOMAS

7 SCOTT MALONE

8 JACK DAVIES (RORY MARTIN-SMITH 45)

 

  • In a break with tradition this year’s playing awards will be made on Saturday at the clubhouse with all three squads gathering at the clubhouse for a 7pm start.

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN17 NARBERTH 22 (HT 10-12)

Llanharan’s long run without a home win continued against 4th placed Narberth, but they put in a performance worthy of at least a share of the spoils.

The side is built around a core of talented young players, the accumulation of experience a vital factor in attaining future success.

None more gifted than the back row trio, with Jack Davies making a Man of the Match debut start at number eight. Alongside him were Scott Malone and Rory Martin-Smith, both outstanding in the loose.

In the backs, centre pair Gabriel Davies and Morgan Williams are forging a sound partnership; Williams’s try a rugby delight, while another youngster Gethin Cashmore, made the most of a start offered by the injury to skipper Nathan Huish.

However, the rawness of youth also has its down side and this was probably illustrated in the closing ten minutes when in chasing the win unnecessary impetuosity brought pressure on the side as unsuccessful attempts were made to attack from defensive positions instead of first gaining field position.

Not that they were helped by the half time loss of Codey Rees which resulted in a reshuffle of the backs.

The influential number ten had given the home side an early lead with a penalty, and along with Gabriel Davies was putting in good hits to deny Narberth any straight passage down the middle.

But luck was with the west Walians as Malone charged down a kick only to see a rebound take play back to his own line allowing Narberth to gain possession and score a try on the right from Streve Martin, excellently converted by Nick Gale.

They had a second try on the board after half an hour. Scrum half Jon Lewis did some good cover work but after his side had defended successive mauls, back row Steve Worral forced his way over.

However the Dairymen were back in the game by half time after Tyler Williams’s long kick put them in the defending twenty two. Morgan Williams kept the pressure on with a quick penalty and Dan Smith’s illegal efforts to prevent a score saw referee Neil Jones despatch him to the sin bin.

Llanharan went for the line out, earned a scrum and then saw the ball somehow squirt out over the line behind the away pack allowing the admirably alert Martin-Smith to dive on it and make it 12-10 to the visitors.

The black and blues were trying hard to regain the lead as the rain poured down, Tom Farrar-Evans breaking through and Malone constantly finding gaps, but there was no more scoring as the teams trooped off.

The lead did come soon after the restart. Martin-Smith made good ground before releasing Morgan Williams who set off on a scintillating side stepping run from just inside the Narberth half for a brilliant try that Tyler Williams converted.

The Pembrokeshire side were ever dangerous though, although it took a Ianto Griffiths penalty to get them back on the scoreboard.

A try came despite Rhys Walker’s neat cover work on a rolling ball, Griffiths going over right of a scrum and converting himself to produce a five points lead.

The replacement then shaved the upright with an audacious 59 metres kick, but there was still time for Llanharan to save the game. However, to their cost they found that you can’t score tries from inside your own twenty two against the likes of the Otters, repeatedly conceding possession as their efforts failed.

Despite defeat head coach Matthew Lloyd sounded a positive note: “The youngsters did very well. The performances are improving with a settled albeit "tired" squad. If the players can be held together then Llanharan will have a very competitive squad next season with a few additions who have expressed interest in coming onboard. A tough week is ahead starting with Blackwood at home next weekend with the players going all out to finish the season on a high.”

Llanharan tries – Morgan Williams, Rory Martin-Smith. Con and pen – Codey Rees. Con – Tyler Williams.

Narberth tries  - Steve Martin, Stu Worral, Ianto Griffiths. Con and pen – Griffiths. Con – Nick Gale.

Llanharan team:

15 TYLER WILLIAMS

14 RHYS WALKER

13 MORGAN WILLIAMS

12 GABRIEL DAVIES

11 TOM FARRAR-EVANS

10 CODEY REES (BENTLEY HALPIN 40)

9 JONATHAN LEWIS

1 SIMON COLLINS

2GETHIN CASHMORE

3 TOM PIPER (JAMIE UREN  63)

4 ANDREW ROSEN (JOSH PORTER  75)

5 HUW THOMAS (CARL LEATHER 77)

6 SCOTT MALONE

7 RORY MARTIN-SMITH

8 JACK DAVIES

Thanks to Anita Cashmore for taking pictures

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

EBBW VALE 64 LLANHARAN 7 (HT 29-0)

Crowned champions Ebbw Vale finished off their home campaign with a big win – but it was hardly a score line that did justice to Llanharan.

The Eugene Cross boys often looked like what they are – a team on its way to the semi professional Premiership, but the margin of success owed much to an opening two try salvo and a final flourish that brought five tries in the last quarter of an hour.

It demonstrated how lethal the home side were in possession, yet for almost half the game they found that Llanharan too could play a bit, Nathan Huish and his pack competing well in the scrums, Scott Malone and Rory Martin Smith once again lively in the loose, and Rhys Walker looking more and more the part in his scrum half conversion as he sniped himself or gave the confident Codey Rees a good service.

However, Vale were off to a flier as Chris Thomas and Damien Hudd  went over off drives following penalty kicks to touch, Iain Smerdon converting the second.

Llanharan began to find their feet with the pack taking a head and Walker and Thomas attacking strongly, but loss of possession meant that it was Tom Watkins  who raced out of his own half to score the other end, Smerdon making it 19-0.

It continued in similar vein till half time, the visitors’’ efforts punctuated by Wes Cunliffe and Jordan Howells adding to the tries tally to make it 29-0 at the turn around.

The restart saw a resurgent Llanharan as they pressed the Ebbw line, forcing a yellow card, and it was second row Andrew Rosen who brought the reward as he eventually got over the line after successive mauls and rucks, Rees converting on a ground where his father Paul once played with distinction.

There were exciting moments for the Dairymen as Gabriel Davies, Morgan Williams and Bentley Halpin all  made telling contributions, but the Gwent side regained its cohesive momentum in the final quarter with speed, skill and sometimes  a bit of good fortune bringing tries by Smerdon, Howells, David Jones  and two for Cunliffe who completed his hat trick.

Centre Carl Meyer took over the kicking duties and converted all five.

Dairyfield coach Matthew Lloyd summed up by saying: “They were  too powerful and clinical for us. The boys tried their best and never gave up. We should have scored a couple more tries, but defending for majority of game caught up with us in last ten minutes. Good luck to Ebbw in the premiership - they will do themselves proud I'm sure.”

Forwards coach Colin Malone too praised the general quality of the opposition, but felt that despite the score line Llanharan would take a lot of satisfaction from their play in the half hour after the restart.

Llanharan try – Andrew Rosen, con – Codey Rees.

Vale tries – Wes Cunliffe 3, Jordan Howells 2, Tom Watkins, Iain Smerdon, Chris Thomas, Damien Hudd, and David Jones. Cons – Smerdon 2, Carl Meyer 5.

LLANHARAN

15 TYLER WILLIAMS

14 BENTLEY HALPIN

13 MORGAN WILLIAMS

12 GABRIEL DAVIES

11 TOM FARRAR-EVANS

10 CODEY REES

9 RHYS WALKER

1 SIMON COLLINS

2 NATHAN HUISH (CAPT) (GETHIN CASHMORE 55)

3 TOM PIPER (JAMIE UREN  55)

4 ANDREW ROSEN

5 JOSH PORTER (ADAM SCANLON HT)

6 HUW THOMAS (JACK DAVIES 61)

7 RORY MARTIN-SMITH

8 SCOTT MALONE

REPLACEMENTS NOT USED:

BRADLEY MAIS

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN 10 RGC 1404 17 (10-10)

A late try denied Llanharan the reward their efforts had so richly deserved as a miscued clearance into the wind went straight into the arms of visiting hooker Andy Baston who could hardly believe his luck as he completed the twenty metres to the posts, giving Rhodri Carlton-Jones the formality of competing the scoring with a conversion.

It was hard luck on Nathan Huish’s men who had survived consecutive second half yellow cards without conceding a point, so intense was their commitment.

There still seemed time for the ebullient home team, clearly determined to redeem themselves after their December capitulation in Colwyn Bay, to strike back.

Scott Malone, again outstanding in the back row, was at the heart of so many things, stealing a lineout to set Gabriel Davies off on a good run and breaking through himself, but RGC somehow held out.

They eventually were granted a last kick penalty by Owain Griffith and it probably said it all that they chose neither to kick  and deprive the Dairymen of a bonus point, or run and claim a fourth try and extra point themselves, instead kicking it dead to end the match.

It was a tribute to their opponents who, had either strategy failed, were quite capable of taking play back to the other end for a game saving score.

Said head coach Matthew Lloyd: “A good performance but a loss. We have played a lot worse than that and won, but today we missed out on a huge opportunity. We created chances but couldn't capitalise. We needed to show that our performance last time against RGC wasn't a true representation lf Llanharan RFC and I think we did that. Congratulations to RGC on their win and the manner in which they play.”

It was, though, an inauspicious start for the black and blues as Tom Farrar-Evans pulled up in the warm up resulting in Youth product Scott Jones making his debut and doing a fine job at scrum half.

Further misfortune came as a stray boot saw influential second row Dan Partridge to depart for a stitching session in the Royal Glamorgan, Andrew Rosen making a sooner than expected return from injury as he came early off the bench.

Despite all this, Llanharan drew first blood. Malone seized on a loose ball, shrugged off tackles and dived over. Codey Rees, back after a four week layoff, converted and his team were 7-0 ahead.

It  was all Llanharan in the first quarter  with Bentley Halpin again giving s glimpse of his potential on the wing, but no sooner had the WRU sponsored development side got near the opposition twenty two than they had a try of their own on the board, Carwyn Ap Myrddin finishing off after a lineout drive from a penalty.

Rees responded immediately with a penalty, but then a mid field gap opened up for Llywarch Ap Myrddin to level the scores.

Even so it was still mainly Llanharan, Halpin again and Rory Martin – Smith prominent in open play as the half closed on ten apiece.

RGC 1404, the digits reflecting the date on which Owain Glyndwr became Prince of Wales, had the stiff breeze at their backs after the restart, and illustrated their philosophy as a half dozen times or more they ignored kickable penalties to go for tries, only for the ploy to fail to work in the face of stonewall resistance. 

It was a collective effort by Lloyd’s side, but Bill Carey stealing one vital lineout, add Huish securing turn overs played a full part in a phase when they played with fourteen men after the carding of   Malone and Rees in a continuous twenty minute spell.

Llanharan were well and truly in the hunt for victory, Malone and Morgan Williams sending Bentley off on one attack, the wing beating his man but just falling foul of the cover meters s hurt of the corner flag.

As the full complement was restored, they seemed to have every prospect of success – until Baston’s stroke of luck sealed their fate.

WRU overseer of the development team, the legendary Rupert Moon, was gracious enough to concede afterwards that the Dairyfield side had deserved at least a draw.

Our try –Scott Malone, Con and pen – Codey Rees

RGC 1404 tries: Andy Baston, Llywarch ap Myrddin, Carwyn ap Myrddin. Con - Rhodri Carlton-Jones

LLANHARAN

15 TYLER WILLIAMS

14 BENTLEY HALPIN

13 MORGAN WILLIAMS

12 GABRIEL DAVIES

11 RHYS WALKER

/10 CODEY REES

9 SCOTT JONES

1 SIMON COLLINS

2 NATHAN HUISH (CAPT)

3 TOM PIPER

4 DAN PARTRIDGE (ANDREW ROSEN)

5 HUW THOMAS

6 BILL CAREY

7 RORY MARTIN-SMITH

8 SCOTT MALONE

UNUSED REPLACEMENTS:

JAMIE UREN

GETHIN CASHMORE

JOSH PORTER

BONYMAEN 3 LLANHARAN 9 (HT 3-3)

Forwards coach Colin Malone could hardly conceal his delight as his forwards’ powerful display laid the basis for an important win on a wet and foggy day above the Swansea Valley.

Boosted by the  return of  suspended Simon Collins and a full eighty minutes from back row man Rory Martin- Smith following injury, the Llanharan eight dominated play and it  was tribute to some fierce some defence from  a Bonymaen side desperate to escape the relegation places that no tries were scored.

But behind the in-form eight Rhys Walker played outstandingly as a stand in scrum half, spraying out a quick service to give his backs time to play.

None more so than the Williams boys, Lewis and Tyler, whose tactical kicking constantly penned Bony back.

Head coach Mathew Lloyd was equally fulsome in his praise, the former Pontypridd star singling out wing convert Walker as his Man of the Match and adding: “A very important win which was achieved with a team performance full of commitment. For once the awful conditions seemed to play into our hands with our pack dominating proceedings. Keeping our hosts try-less was also encouraging and special mention must go to our backs who also gave a performance full of control and tenacity. Bonymaen are always difficult opponents and they didn't disappoint-we wish them well in the remaining games. For us we will look to finish the season as strongly as possible, hopefully keeping everyone fit. RGC will again be a huge challenge for us next week but one which the players are looking forward to meeting head on. A massively disappointing performance up at North Wales needs to be rectified.”

The game started with spectators struggling to see the far touch line.

The home side displayed customary vigour, Richard Cunniffe rewarding their efforts  with a penalty, but  a typical Martin- Smith tackle turned play and Lewis Williams  struck a 15th minute penalty.

As the half wore on Llanharan began to exert huge pressure on the home try line, those exert kicks establishing field position but it was a credit to Andrew Pritchard’s men that they kept the rampant visitors at bay.

Walker and Bentley Halpin then switched the attack mode as they broke towards the corner flag, and although Scott Malone stole the lineout, the breakthrough would not come, frustration possibly telling as an overlap was eventually ignored in favour of a fruitless kick to the opposite corner.  

The lead came with another Williams penalty soon after the restart, but his  side looked to have it all to do as Tom Piper, part of a superior front row with Collins and skipper Nathan Huish, was yellow carded.

Bonymaen threatened briefly only for a turn over to allow Tom Farrar-Evans and Williams to clear the danger.

Restored to a full complement Llanharan battered the opposition line relentlessly, prominent second row Dan Partridge making one strong surge only for Llanharan to be penalised at the breakdown by referee Gareth John who handled proceedings well in the abysmal conditions.

Morgan Williams was close to a touch down from Williams’ clever kick after more good work from Martin-Smith, and the clinching score came well into time added on as another penalty gave Williams the chance to seal victory with his third successful kick.

The four points almost certainly ensures that Llanharan will not be involved in any relegation struggle in the final half dozen games. It is something of an irony though that the black and blues have won their last three on the road, but have been winless at the Dairyfield  since October, Bonymaen one of the sides to have  won there.

As for Bonymaen, if spirit alone counts, no one can write them off yet.

LLANHARAN

15 TYLER WILLIAMS

14 BENTLEY HALPIN

13 MORGAN WILLIAMS

12 GABRIEL DAVIES

11 TOM FARRAR-EVANS

10 LEWIS WILLIAMS

9 RHYS WALKER

1 SIMON COLLINS

2 NATHAN HUISH (CAPT)

3 TOM PIPER

4 DAN PARTRIDGE

5 JOSH PORTER (GETHIN CASHMORE 60-67)

6 RORY MARTIN-SMITH

7 SCOTT MALONE

8 HUW THOMAS

UNUSED REPLACEMENTS:

JACK HANES

BRADLEY MAIS

CARL LEATHER

CHRIS POOLE

Llanharan pens – Lewis Willaims 3

Bonymaen pen – Richard Cunniffe