Match Reports

First Team

 

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

LLANHARAN 12 GLYNNEATH 13 (HT 12-3)

A second half revival allowed Glynneath to squeeze past Llanharan in this championship basement battle.

Defeat was a major disappointment to the home side, after some encouraging recent performances, had hoped to move up the table with victory over their fellow strugglers.

They seemed on course to do just that at half time with two tries in the bag and a 12-3 lead.

However, a huge tally of penalties against meant few telling phases were developed and they even found the weather against them as a fine first forty minutes changed to wind and rain in their faces after the turn around.

Glynneath had certainly come to do a job, and some of their play brought shouts of condemnation from the  stands, not least when influential outside half James Whittingham  was led off early in the second period after a late challenge that went unseen by referee Simon Wells.

The young Blues academy prospect was the team’s playmaker and goal kicker and his loss was to prove decisive.

However, Llanharan had set themselves up for victory by the end of the first half despite not looking as sharp as of late.

In fact it was a contest of much huffing and puffing, the Dairymen’s play frequently hit by the whistle while the visitors’ inaccurate passing and handling disrupted their own efforts.

The promoted west Walians took a lead through a Jack O’Reilly penalty, but Llanharan were beginning to threaten, good work by Morgan Williams, Jack Davies and Mike Powell starting to test the defence, only for the inevitable whistle to thwart their enterprise.

Kicks by Glynneath were causing little trouble to the likes of Harry Davies who did well under pressure and then on the half hour the breakthrough came as Whittingham hurtled through several tackles and managed to pop the ball up for right wing Davies to score.

Another followed five minutes later when a scramble for the loose ball in the left hand corner ended as wing Tom Farrah-Evans darted over, Whittingham’s conversion producing what seemed like a useful lead.

Yet as the wind and rain drove up field, Llanharan kept finding themselves at the wrong end of Mr Wells’s interpretations, despite their forwards appearing generally dominant, and O’Reilly hit a second penalty.

The killer blow for Llanharan came as another controversial set piece decision went against them and centre James Pike shrugged of a tackle to race through from forty metres out and score under the posts.

O’Reilly’s straight forward kick gave the newly promoted side a lead they were to hold onto.

The home side made valiant attempts to grab the much needed victory, Ross Pritchard, bound for Australia this week, finding a number of gaps.

A last chance arrived with a penalty award inside the twenty two left of the posts.

The thankless task was handed to Nick Theaker  with Whittingham injured, but into the wind the kick drifted left of the upright and Glynneath wound the clock down with their own albeit fruitless  kick at goal at the other end.

Llanharan will travel to Cardiff Met on Saturday hoping for an upturn in fortune where the respective coaches, the Dairymen’s Matthew Lloyd, a former captain at Cyncoed, and Chris Davey, previous captain and coach at Llanharan, will pit their wits against one another.

Scores

Llanharan tries – Harry Davies, Tom Farrah-Evans  cons -  James Whittingham 1

Glynneath try – James Pike con and 2 pens –Jack O’Reilly

 

15 Josh Austin

14 Tom Farrah-Evans

13 Morgan Williams

12 Mike Powell (Andy Humberstone HT)

11 Harry Davies

10 James Whittingham (Ross Pritchard 45)

9 Nicky Theaker

1 Simon Collins

2 Nathan Huish

3 Tom Piper (Joe Jones 56)

4 Huw Thomas

5 Bill Carey (C)

6 Rory Martin-Smith (Tom Williams 42)

7 Sam Parker

8 Jack Davies (Joe Jones – yellow card/Simon Collins)

Unused Replacement:

Gethin Cashmore

 

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

NARBERTH   16 LLANHARAN 8 (HT 16-0)

A case of what might have been for Llanharan as the whistle repeatedly undermined a determined effort that under other circumstance could have brought victory.

Throughout the game their ambitions were thwarted by a one sided sequence of penalties, but the most crucial one came in the 44th minute.

The Dairymen had done reasonably well to restrict the Otters to a 16-0 half team lead, given the strong wind and decisive slope in the home side’s favour.

Indeed, the visitors looked in command as the second period ensued, only to find themselves a man short for the remainder of the game.

The unfortunate miscreant was Blues Academy prop Joe Jones who responded to an uppercut from an Otters front row man with a punishable if understandable couple of punches of his own.

The obligatory retaliation penalty seemed unavoidable, but the travelling supporters shouted loud disapproval as the loose head was shown red.

Even so, Llanharan did well with their depleted forces, keeping play in the home half and benefiting from a yellow card in their favour.

Scrum half Nick Theaker struck a penalty and then a drive from another penalty ended with Rory Martin-Smith capping an outstanding performance with a try.

Narberth’s main hope lay in a breakaway, and when it came Josh Austin snuffed out the danger with a touch line tackle near half way.

It allowed Llanharan to maintain territorial ascendancy, but hopes of a last gasp bonus point reward were ended as Humberstone’s kick found touch in a threatening position only for the ref to blow for time.

Narberth had built up a half time lead despite some sound defence, skipper Scott Malone, along with second rows Tom Williams and Huw Thomas often conspicuous by their efforts.

However, a weak clearance allowed centre Morgan Griffiths to run diagonally to the posts after Ianto Griffiths had scored an early penalty.

Griffiths converted and put over two further penalties to complete the first half scoring.

Llanharan face strugglers Glynneath this Saturday, needing a decisive win to help climb the table and despite this defeat they will take encouragement from a performance that generally showed  sound structure, commitment and plenty of ability

They will, however, need a more benign adjudication from the man with the whistle, if what appears to be an emerging effective force is to deliver on its promise.

Head coach Matthew Lloyd commented: “A good performance in difficult conditions and circumstances. We deserved to get something from a game in which we were on the wrong end of the referee’s decisions, a lot of which baffled both sides. We defended superbly first half into the wind and up the slope whilst in the second we just came up short on a couple of occasions. Nevertheless the squad is being strengthened week by week and there is a great feeling in the squad. Everyone is now looking forward to the upcoming games and to putting some committed and ‎winning performances in”.

Their Pembrokeshire frustration was well summed up his forwards’ coach Colin Malone who trudged back to the changing rooms declaring that he was lost for words at the negative interpretation suffered so frequently by his side.

Team:

15 Josh Austin

14 Ollie Smyth

13 Morgan Williams

12 Mike Powell

11 Tom Farrah-Evans (Ross Pritchard 52)

10 Andy Humberstone

9 Nicky Theaker

8 Jack Davies (Nathan Huish

7 Scott Malone (C)

6 Rory Martin-Smith

5 Tom Williams (Sam Parker58)

4 Huw Thomas

3 Aled Rees (Tom Piper 48)

2 Gethin Cashmore

1 Joe Jones (red card 44)

Unused Rep 

Mathew Williams

Scorers:

Narberth

Tries: Morgan Griffiths

Con: Ianto Griffiths

Pens: Ianto Griffiths 3

Llanharan

Try: Rory Martin-Smith

Pen: Nick Theaker

The chairman's summary:

Scott and the boys made their neighbours and local rivals feel the full frustration of recent results.  Today we saw what this talented young side has  to offer.  Tondu competed well for the first 25 minutes, but the determination of our young side soon started to shine through, with the score 6-5 in our favour at half time it was anybody's game, but Tondu could not cope with the relentless pressure Scott and his side imposed on our opponents.  Some outstanding play between forwards and backs soon took its it toll on our visitors which resulted in us dominating proceedings for the next 40 minutes, the scoreline continually ticked over with James Whittingham dissecting the uprights and with tries coming from  Scott Malone, Harry Davies,and Morgan Wiiliisms. The players fully deserved the accolades of their first win . Narberth next week will provide us with a different challenge, but one the coaches and players look forward to.

Match Report  from Richie Jenkins -

Llanharan 32 Tondu 10

Llanharan gained their first victory of the season with a win over local rivals Tondu.  The win was a result of the power of the Llanharan scrum combined with the hard running of the backs.

The opening 10 minutes of the game belonged to Tondu, who had continuous possession for the whole of this period. This possession resulted in a try and after some good forward drives and a sweeping movement by the backs, Tondu went over in the corner.  0-5 to Tondu as the conversion was missed.

Llan finally had some ball and attacked towards the Club House end.  The attacks resulted in a penalty which James Whittingham  converted from 50 meters out.  3-5.

Both sides played some good attacking football and a superb break by Llan full back Josh Austin resulted in a penalty in front of the posts after Matthew Morgan came from an offside position at a ruck, for which he had the first of Tondu's four yellow cards.  James Whttingham converted the penalty.   6-5 .

Tondu came back hard after this but Llan withstood the pressure with some serious defence and the half time score stayed at 6-5.

Llanharan started the second half  with determined rugby from the kick off and some hard running from 40 meters out resulted in a try for captain Scott Malone under the posts.  James Whittingham converted.  13-5 to Llanharan. 

Llan continued to have possession and to put pressure on the Tondu line .  This pressure resulted in two penalties for the home side, which were converted, These penalties resulted in another yellow card for Tondu.  19-5.

The Llanharan scrum was now dominant and were giving the backs a regular supply of ball to the backs.  After a movement involving all of the backs,  Josh Austin gave a lovely pass to Matthew Williams who then scored in the corner.  24-5.

The Llan scrum continued to dominate with another Yellow card being given to Tondu for collapsing the scrum.  penalty converted 27-5.

At no time did Tondu give up and both sides played some very good rugby.  Pressure by Tondu resulted in a charged down clearing kick and Jake Lewis went over for a Tondu try.  27-10.

The final try for Llan  was scored by Harry Davies,  again after some hard and clever running by the backs making the final score  and a well deserved win to Llanharan by 32-10

15 Josh Austin

14 Harry Davies

13 Morgan Williams

12 Mike Powell

11 Tom Farrah-Evans

10 James Whitingham

9 Nicky Theaker

8 Jack Davies

7 Scott Malone (C)

6 Bill Carey

5 Tom Williams

4 Huw Thomas

3 Aled Rees

2 Gethin Cashmore

1 Simon Collins

Reps Used

Mathew Williams, Andy Humberstone, Jake Holland, Nathan Huish, Carl Leather

SWALEC NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

BLACKWOOD  35 LLANHARAN 29 (HT26 -10  )

In the battle at the bottom it was Blackwood who triumphed, leaving Llanharan winless after five games.

Some comfort for the Dairymen though will come from gathering two bonus points. Indeed they outscored the opposition 4-3 on tries, but suffered on the wrong end of Josh Turner’s boot which brought him a tally of twenty points.

A further encouragement for Scott Malone’s men was the way the scrum regularly destroyed the home eight, two penalty tries for collapses telling their own story.

Forwards coach Colin Malone was certainly happy that mid week sessions on the scrummaging machine had paid dividends.

However, after having the better of proceedings overall, Llanharan’s generally purposeful play was interrupted by conceding crucial penalties and tries despite a good second half when they fought back from a 26-10 deficit.

They had got underway well, Nathan Huish’s drive leading to James Whittingham’s penalty, but were harshly dealt with as referee Richard Brace sent Morgan Williams to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on twenty five metres out.

It allowed Blackwood to establish momentum as Turner’s three penalties were added to by Chris Stevens’ try.

Even when back to full strength Llanharan paid the price for a poor kick whose return was blessed by a fortuitous bounce to give Justin Jones a try.

It got worse for the away side as a poor lineout allowed a drive through the middle where Josh Hayward scored under the posts, the conversion making it 26-3.

The Dairymen desperately needed a score before the turn around and it came as the pack pressurised the line and a determined lunge by tight head Tom Piper produced the try, Whittingham converting.

The Black and Blues continued their fight back after the restart although it took five scrum collapses before the penalty try was awarded.

Whittingham converted but Turner struck another penalty before Llanharan got a third try, Huw Thomas finishing of good powerful forward play.

It put them within a score of the Glan yr Afan outfit with hopes high, only for another penalty to stretch the gap.

Even so they were now flat out for victory, replacement Nick Theaker making one threatening run, an interception eventually killing the assault.

A deliberate knock on as Malone raced into the twenty two elicited shouts for a penalty try, but with home back Ryan Evans sin binned the Llanharan eight again did the business to force another collapse and a valuable seven points as Mr Brace ran to the posts.

Just three points now separated the teams, but a penalty at the breakdown brought Turner his final kick and it was all over for Llanharan who know that a win against fellow strugglers Tondu at the Dairyfield on Saturday is now crucial.

Blackwood tries – Chris Stevens, Josh Hayward, Justin Jones; cons - Scott Turner 1; pens – Scott Turner 6.

Llanharan tries – penalty tries 2, Tom Piper, Huw Thomas; cons – James Whittingham 3; pens - James Whittingham 1.

TEAM

15 JAMES WHITTINGHAM

14 TOM FARRAH-EVANS

13  MIKE POWELL

12 ANDY HUMBERSTONE

11 MORGAN WILLIAMS

10 RHYS MORGAN

9 ROSS PRITCHARD (NICKY THEAKER 58)

1 SIMON COLLINS

2 NATHAN HUISH

3 TOM PIPER

4JOSH PORTER (TOM WILLIAMS  75)

5 BILL CAREY

6  HUW THOMAS

7  SCOTT MALONE (C)

8 JACK DAVIES

UNUSED REPLACEMENTS

ALED REES

GETHIN CASHMORE

JOSH AUSTIN

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.