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
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